If you are a Ford Explorer owner who may need to infrequently tow small loads, here's a Public Service Announcement that may be of interest. Apparently, U-Haul, which we'd guess is the first name that pops in people's minds when the subject of a rental trailer comes up, will not loan trailers out if the lender plans on hooking it up to a Ford Explorer, regardless of the vehicle's tow rating.
According to a spokesperson for U-Haul that spoke to Consumer Reports, it's company policy to deny trailer rentals to Explorer owners. Why? Lawyers. Says Joanne Fried, director of media and corporate relations, "Every time we go to hire an attorney to defend a lawsuit, as soon as we say 'Ford Explorer,' they charge us more money."
The issue can be traced all the way back to the Firestone tire debacle that tarnished the Explorer's good name in the late 1990s. Though the original lawsuit has long since been settled and, more importantly, the current Explorer shares absolutely nothing but its moniker with the old truck-based model cited in the lawsuit, the name 'Explorer' is still enough to incite bouts of panic, sleepless nights and a bucket full of dollar signs to U-Haul's legal team.
The corporate edict also applies to the Jeep Wrangler, unless the owner agrees only to tow the U-Haul trailer only when a hardtop is in place on the iconic off-roader. Seems more than a little arbitrary and ignorant to us, but we're not the ones with law degrees, so what do we know?