Truck-Loaning Etiquette 101, Part 2: Bring It Back Better

Truck Barrow 3 II

By G.R. Whale

I once swapped a co-worker's pickup for my sports car to move some stuff for a day, retrieved my car in the dark and ran home for a shower. The gal who owned the truck had only taken my car to the gym but since neither of us checked the vehicles when I returned her truck, no one knew stuff had fallen out of her gym bag until my date climbed in and asked who the slinky bra on the floor belonged to.

No good deed goes unpunished, right?

So my No. 1 rule is a walk-around as soon as I swap out of a borrowed ride. Look inside, outside, underneath and under the hood while you can ask questions and the loanee can answer or forever hold your peace (or note the mileage at the time of return so things discovered later are properly attributed).

I return vehicles in equal or better shape than I got them. That could be more fuel than it had, a minor service, a new piece of equipment like a trailer plug or a new tow ball. I also return them cleaner, even if it's just a shaken-out floormat or swept bed in a recently washed truck. I have one of those inexpensive headlight plastic refinishing kits; using that makes many vehicle owners think I installed new lights. They remember that every time they drive at night. However, use caution when cleaning a vehicle. Some owners may prefer you not wash their truck, especially at an automated place.

Fuel is pricey but still a deal compared to rental fees (or fueling charges at a rental place). At absolute minimum the tank(s) (diesel exhaust fluid included) should have as much fuel on board as when you borrowed the truck and preferably more. If you drove through lots of bugs or weather, top off the windshield wiper fluid too.

Clean it up. If you got it fresh from the car wash that's how you bring it back. Wipe down the dash, door handles, steering wheel and gearshift with disinfectant wipes. Give the interior a spritz with an air freshener; I don't want to know where you stopped for meals in my truck.

If you used the truck to haul material or parked it under a messy tree, sweep out the bed. If the owner lent you tie-downs with the truck, stow them neatly and untangled, and replace any you frayed or broke.

Be sure to bring the pickup back on time. If you are unavoidably detained, call and explain why you're running late — and make sure it's a legitimate reason. I've loaned vehicles with written agreements and only made one phone call if it wasn't returned on time; if I didn't hear back in a few hours with a really good reason, I reported it stolen. I did this more than once.

Whatever you do, remember the truck owner did you a favor. If you add in a car wash and filling a half-empty tank, the cash outlay might be more than a rent-a-wreck pickup for a day. But by borrowing a pickup, you probably got a nicer, less abused, more reliable truck. There also was a lot less paperwork, you didn't need a credit card and you didn't need to plan your trip around a rental business' hours.

You never know when you might need to borrow your friend's pickup again, so do it right the first time.

Loan dually[2] II



1985 Toyota truck sr5
1992 Isuzu truck
2006 ram 1500 pickup truck
2002 ford expedition
luckily I have never had to ask a friend to use his/her pick up truck.

I have let my brother use my Isuzu. he always returns it with a full tank of gas. I don't let my friends use my trucks because they are inmature drunk bstrds.

It really is a shame that very few to none practice this. My step brother pretty much handed the keys back over to his father. That truck hasn't been the same since: scratches all over, dents all over, and stains.

No one gets to borrow my truck.

It comes from upbringing. Your brother brings back a truck with dents all over, he's an idiot, and his parents are probably idiots, too.

How can someone insult people that they have absolutely no background knowledge of?

The community here is disgusting.

You told us. That's how. You are insulting everyone by saying NO ONE practices this. I'm sorry your step brother is an idiot who leaves dents all over other's people vehicles, but don't put this on anyone else but your brother and parents. You disgust me and insult every pickup truck driver.

A man asked to borrow my truck.
He said he was down on his luck.
The furniture he just bought
was heavier than he thought.
I said "Sir, I do not give one f*ck".

"It really is a shame that very few to none practice this. My step brother pretty much handed the keys back over to his father. That truck hasn't been the same since: scratches all over, dents all over, and stains."


None practice this? Speak for yourself.

If your family hands back trucks to you with dents and scratches and stains all over that speaks volumes on you and your family.

I don't do that and don't know any of my friends or family that would even think of doing that. We were taught proper etiquette and morals and have common sense.

"It really is a shame that very few to none practice this. My step brother pretty much handed the keys back over to his father. That truck hasn't been the same since: scratches all over, dents all over, and stains. No one gets to borrow my"

This post is offensive to me and to anyone who has good sense and judgement! In addition you are implying that we will leave dents on borrowed trucks and not say anything. That may happen in your family but that's not how it works in mine!

It don't happen in my Family either. You need to borrow my truck you borrow me to cause I am driving. Worthless farts will destroy it if they can. Its called RESPECT.

I try to limit loaning out my super duty because I hate having to retrieve it when it breaks down.

I have to loan Frank my 2013 RAM Hemi all the time because his shoddy V10 Super Duty keeps spitting spark plugs and dropping transmissions. You'd think he would have learned by now. I am about to stop him from borrowing my truck. The drivers seat always ends up smelling like ###, there is tabacco juice on on the carpet, and the gas tank is empty. Good for nothing neighbors is all I can say.

Yeah thank goodness for neighbors. I have a few good ones that let me borrow a RAM when I go get parts for my super duty. My truck has 61,000 miles so it's not under any warranty.

This is exactly what I do when I use my dad's truck. Always brought it back in better shape. A few years back I had to use it when I moved across the country and had it for three months, but during the time I washed/waxed his truck and treated it as if it were my own. Heck, I even surprised him when I returned it to him with a oil/filter change, detail, full tank, and four brand new tires since they were worn out (he is the old school type that'll get every ounce of miles out of everything, including tires). Definitely made his day.

My family taught to bring anything you borrow to bring it back better than you received it. Its common sense and respect for other peoples property.
I sometimes need to use my friends Case backhoe to work around my home. And it always comes back to him full of fuel the hydro fluid topped off and greased.

I would never loan my truck to anybody. Period. If someone needs a truck I will drive it for them. No way I'd just hand someone the keys.

I don't lend anything anymore. You get back nicks and scratches and for what? You washed my truck. Big deal.

People seem to think that the favor is reciprocated by some useless favor they do back. This is probably the most insulting part of the loan.

Go to the rental place, it's only a few bucks. How cheap are you?

Good, most peolpe would be happy get thier truck back clean when it left dirty. I'm with you though I don't loan out my truck as I'm very picky about it, its eight years old and doesn't have a scratch on it, one time lent out and it'd probably come back with at least a couple scratches.

A few years back when my Dakota was in the shop awaiting a new camshaft (apparently an odd occurance for a 4.7 to eat a cam) I borrowed my then father in laws low mileage Ranger, which barely gets used, to move a load of rocks for the driveway. It barely gets a good cleaning too. He had a bedliner, but I gave it a good cleaning, and the wheels hadn't shined like that in years. (He was 84 or so at the time)

I appreciated the use of the truck, he was happy it was cleaner then it had been since he bought it.

I hate to lend out anything. I have lent out a rototiller and had it returned not running. Things like that happen but to be so cheap that you don't offer to pay for repairs is disgusting. I have rented tools and trucks in the past because I do not want to impose on anyone. If I am going to use a piece of equipment frequently then I will buy it.

The writer has loaned vehicles with written agreements? Okay, if you don't trust the guy, then tell him to go rent a truck.
I've loaned out tools to friends and have never gotten them back or they've broken or worn the tool out. My brother has been the worst offender. I loaned him some u-joints so he could remove some awkwardly located bolts and latter he argued that they were his. Lucky for me, I have most of my tools engraved.

If someone needs to borrow something, I'll offer to come and help.
If I need something, I buy it or rent it.

Honestly, I like my truck returned to me in whatever condition the person had it in. You show up with buffed headlights, and smelling like some air freshener on the inside makes me (and probably most people) suspect something is up. Full tank of gas (or at least as much as you used) is obviously a different story, but dont assume that people realize or care that you know how to buff their headlights out withough f'kn something else up or that they have the same taste in air freshener as you do. You are right to say ask before washing or detailing someones truck, and I say never assume you know how to do something well enough to not offend the owner. Washing and detailing is sacred territory for a lot of people. That'd be like going on a jog in the same group with someones wife and offering to give her a leg massage afterwards, or helping her stretch out her hamstrings... thats grounds to get killed in some circles.

I loaned my truck to a lot of people over the years and my rules were, replace the gas you burn, and dont leave anything in it. Otherwise, keep your hands off. If nothing else, lets you see how they treated her.

I let my co-worker use my truck one week end, and I used his camaro. I was shocked when he then complained about how many mile I put on HIS car. Needless to say, I didn't loan it to him again.

No one, I repeat no one drives my truck except me

I agree with Jason.

If you need a truck now and want the newest tech, go for it.

But if you don't need it, waiting makes more sense. Take any new intro of any vehicle. The first ones don't get much deals. Give it a couple years and usually better rebates and a big one.....get the first year bugs out of the way.

If it were me I would be looking at truck in the 2016 MY. This will allow 3 years for the Fiat bugs to work out, 2 years for the GM and 1 year for the new Ford.

I remember when the new c6 corvette came out in 2005. People paying msrp or more and now later models have much better resale value than the 05 due to more options and better fit/finish and bugs worked out.

Not quite the same thing as a truck but just saying.

@Tyler - agreed, it is always best to wait. let someone else be the guinea pig.

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I have had my truck for 27 years. No, I will never let anyone borrow it or another vehicle again.
"Friends'" borrowing have brought back with empty gas tank, broken door handle and feigned that they thought it was broken when they picked it up. One person put close to 3,000 miles on it and I had to ask him for it back as he had it for a month. He said there was a problem with it. I had to drive to his place and it ended up the clutch needed fluid. But, the fact that he said nothing and didn't take initiative to rectify was just so wrong.
After having admired how my front bumper had never been damaged. Another friend returned truck with empty tank and a bent in bumper which it appears they tried to use a crow bar to pull out the corner. Failed to tell me they hit something or someone hit them.

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