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For the last six years I’ve caught a lot of crap for my PT Cruiser. Onlookers have labeled it a sissy car, chick-mobile, geriatric short bus, and my personal favorite, denture wagon. To be perfectly honest it may be some of those things. However, what it does do better than most folks give it credit for is haul a bunch of crap around.

With trucks either in use elsewhere or in some sort of flux, I’ve depended on the Cruiser to do the heavy lifting from day to day and the last few days remind me that, laughable or not, it works. This weekend I was transporting cinder blocks back from my dad’s place and then running a bunch of 8’ stock – with the front passenger seat laid down – back to the shop from the big box. I didn’t have any trouble or at any time have to break stride to get “creative” with the packing.

So as long as the vehicle remains safe to operate, make use of whatever you’ve got and don’t let jackholes tell you what you should have done it with. Trust me, in the end it doesn’t matter one damn bit what you made the trip in, as long as your payload gets where it’s going — this comes from a guy that drives the “geriatric honey wagon.”

 

27 Responses to Work With What You’ve Got

  1. Sal says:

    I’ve hauled all kinds of stuff in my Honda minivan, including a 20″ bandsaw, and on one trip I had a Unisaw, a floor model drill press and a 40″ wood lathe at the same time. I’ve hauled gangs of lumber, drywall and a carload of kids (although not at the same time. The only thing I miss about not having a truck, was being able to hose out the back at the carwash, now I have to take a little more consideration to how dirty I get it.

  2. flabbyboohoo says:

    You forgot PT Luzer. 🙂

  3. Steve says:

    Me making fun of you would be contingent on what color it was and if you painted flames on it. I love my (soon to be) wife’s pontiac vibe for its fold down seats and fairly large capacity for such a small car. But its pumpkin orange with lady bug seat covers, so I give her a hard time about it. But effective trumps all of that. My dad has a pickup truck, but was more sad about giving up his big van. He prefered to haul most things out of the elements, including pooltables, projects supplies, and his two massive great danes.

  4. Simon says:

    I can top that – I have a Nissan Cube – Small & ugly as hell on the outside- big, comfortable and hauls cubes readily on the inside.

    Simon

  5. Jerry says:

    Previously owning small trucks for many years, I somehow ended up buying an Astro van. I swore for decades that I would rather be shot than to own a mini-van. Loved that old van but it took a hit recently but was adopted by someone who is rebuilding the body damages.
    The only thing I didn’t haul in the van was things going to the dump if they were wet or smelly. Small trailer handled that.
    So, if you get those cinder blocks home in the PT, you accomplished your goal. And think of it as far better than hauling them if your only transport was a motorcycle!

  6. Discobubba says:

    My mother has a PT Cruiser and it does seem pretty handy how the seats can fold down and pop out. However, I’m a little apprehensive about hauling anything too heavy around with it as the front end suspension seems really weak and poorly designed. Hers has only about 55k on it and already one of the drive shafts have been replaced (still doesn’t drive right IMO) and the control arms have slipped under the center of the bushing and need to be redone. I found a PT Cruiser forum and found a LOT of people with similar problems including the ball joints failing at around 75k.

    Still, Hatchbacks are pretty versatile and its crazy what they can gobble up. If ya really had to you could always add a hitch and use a small trailer instead. Either way, just be careful and watch those weight limits. Drive safe!

  7. Slow Joe Crow says:

    It’s amazing what you can haul without a truck, although getting 8 foot fluorescent tubes into a Ford Escort with a family of four takes a bit of creativity. With just me, I fold down the seat and go. Of course a roof rack can be a huge help, like when I was carrying a bed home on the same Escort.

  8. MattC says:

    I am a firm proponent of having a small pickup as a third vehicle. The few times that I haven’t owned one, I have hauled bags of mulch in my 2001 Odyssey (HF tarps are wonderful for containing any eventual spillage), 2×4’s and other HD/Lowes runs. There are few times that you want an open bed (dump runs), but many can get by without a truck. For me, I like buying a $1500-2000 truck for the dirty jobs and having it as a backup vehicle.

  9. Joe says:

    I too have a Cruiser, it was my first car and I love how versatile it is, also there is a HUGE online community for it, with random cool aftermarket parts. To those asking about flames… its had two sets, some magnetic ones which were originally a gag gift for my father (it was his car first), and the vinyl decals from the dealer (long story), paint is black (like Sean’s appears to be).

    Anyways, I can pack so much stuff in it, including 5 bookshelves from IKEA, a complete counter height dining set (8 chairs and 54 x 54 table, that was some fun packing), and pretty much everything else I have wanted to put in it (exception: 4×8 sheets of anything, I haven’t tried yet, but I don’t think it will work).

  10. fred says:

    I try not to ever use a business vehicle (like a flatbed trailer for hauling our Daewoo excavator and skid steer) for personal use – and always had either a Sierra pickup truck, double-door Suburban or before that a big old Buick Electra Station Wagon to do my personal hauling. I still think that a big station wagon – with its capacity to carry full 8×10 sheet – was a good family vehicle – but they seem to have lost out to smaller SUV’s

  11. michael says:

    I couldn’t help thinking how incredibly dead you’d be in even a modest, otherwise walk away from, collision with all that sharp, abrasive, ready to be flying debris in the back.

  12. John Seiffer says:

    I got a 2001 Cruiser – brand new. Had to wait months for it. It’s still going strong. I’ve heard that the reason it gets such lousy mileage for a small car (I get about 20 and my Buick Rendezvous gets the same) is that it’s legally classified as a truck because the seats fold down flat.

    Don’t know if that’s true but it is great to haul stuff – except for a full piece of plywood.

  13. Steve says:

    I think the best solution for hauling is a 4×8 utility trailer. I have the 1720 lb capacity model from Harbor Freight. I’ve hauled drywall, lumber, and even several 1/2 yard loads of gravel with it.

  14. Jim says:

    The damage is already done, but just a word to the wise. Even though you car may be able to do it, it will severally shorten the life of the components in your car. Meaning it may haul it, but your maybe your transmission will overheat. Some of the gear teeth might chip and break off and then spend months grinding up your gears in the transmission. Ask me why I think that.

    Pssst…(soft voice) I did that in my Honda Civic, it hauled a trunk full of paver stones but it was definitely well over my payload rating of 810 lbs. It hauled it, but a year later I replaced my transmission. Make sure to follow your payload ratings VERY carefully! lol You live and learn. Most of the time I let other people live and learn from them. But occasionally I learn the hard-headed way.

  15. Brau says:

    I’ve owned small trucks, big trucks, plus a plethora of cars. If I had to buy one vehicle over, it would be my Standard PT Cruiser. It has been the most versatile vehicle I have ever owned. You can take 5 people and all their crap, or take the seats out and use it like a van. Hell, you can leave the seats in and still load it up with an 8′ ladder and a ton of 8′ studs, all inside. I modified the roof racks to carry 4×8 sheets, added a trailer hitch, and there’s almost nothing I can’t load into, on, or tow with this car. The high roof makes it better than a small pickup with canopy, it isn’t belabored with all that 4WD crap, and yet drives smooth like a car. Repair expenses are in line or better than other vehicles I’ve owned. (Hint: Standard transmission PTs are much better on fuel, more reliable, and much more powerful than their automatic counterparts – the difference is drastic.)

  16. blore40 says:

    98 BMW 318ti hatchback. Mulch bags, bricks, flower pots, tiles etc etc

  17. Chuck Cage says:

    @blore: Send me a pic of your BMW full of mulch bags and bricks. I’ll post it!

  18. Joe says:

    assuming the blocks weigh 50lbs each, thats 600lbs for the dozen blocks we see, or 3-4 adults, I certainly wouldnt worry about it. I would however worry about the ~250lbs he has on the rear shelf… I never really trust mine to carry weight, since it likes to bend when I do.

  19. MeasureOnceCutTwice says:

    Before I got a pickup truck (old, beat up, but solid as a rock), and after my 1973 Ford Country Squire station wagon went to it’s rust-induced grave (I hauled EVERYTHING in that!), I hauled a ton of stuff in an old Ford Escort hatch-back. Eventually I ripped out the rear seats & front passenger seat, and found it would actually hold quite a bit that way. Even took home a stack of 8′ landscape ties with the hatch closed.
    The station wagon was my favorite – would take a stack of 4×8′ plywood & still get the tailgate closed. For longer stuff, could just put the tailgate down. Would love to have one again.

  20. fn says:

    I loved my PT cruiser. It carried everything except a car seat, stroller and anything else. Good bye PT cruiser. Hello mini van.

  21. ambush says:

    My record would have to be flat towing an 8000# truck into the shop with my 1990 corolla because our mule had a broken oil line.

  22. Mac says:

    Buddy has a POS Chrysler minivan rigged nice for his tools, and he’s a finish man for a local builder – does a little bit of everything. He loves his ‘shop vehicle’.

    +1 on the wear and tear on components though – he’s on his third transmission rebuild. Guess you’re gonna pay one way or another.

    Me? I’m sticking with my 3/4T diesel. Wanted to get rid of it (no longer need the size), but it’s worth too much. Go figure.

  23. Chad says:

    How many of those onlookers drove short-bed pickups that couldn’t swallow 8′ lumber like your PT can? I too can haul 8′ lumber inside my Malibu Maxx when most truck owners have theirs sticking out the back.

    I previously had a Toyota Matrix. It was great that everything (including the font seat) folded flat and was hard plastic so no carpet or fabric to worry about. It even had tie down points in the trunk and on the back of the rear seats. My Malibu Maxx is close but the rear seats don’t fold all the way flat (what were they thinking?) but it’s got a V6 so it’s much more capable at towing. Guess you can’t have everything. My alternative hauler is my HF 4×8 trailer.

  24. Davo says:

    I can fit 4 x 8 drywall, in my Izusu Rodeo, with the gate down. It sits on top of the wheelwells, so you need something to prop up the ends, to keep it from warping…I use empty cases of beer, which are in always in plentiful supply around my place, and are the perfect height.

  25. michael pendleton says:

    I am currently working as a freelance carpenter and using the only vehicle I have, which is a ’96 Geo Metro. This is the four-door version, not the hatchback, which also means I have a whopping 75 hp available!

    I can and regularly do carry 8′ lumber by folding down the back seat. Anything over 9′ has to stick out of the trunk though… I mostly build cabinets and smaller projects, so I still manage most of my deliveries with the car. However, bigger stuff, any kind of 4×8 for instance, means that I need to procure a bigger vehicle. If I’m shopping at a big box, I can rent their truck or if that doesn’t work, I belong to a car sharing organization that has several mini-vans and a small pick up. I manage.

    Not that getting a more suitable vehicle isn’t at the top of my list! But even in my big dreams I don’t get full size truck. Protecting my final product is far more important to me than any potential hassle from having an enclosed cargo area. A mini-van, mini-SUV or station wagon would suit me fine. If you see any lying around, let me know, OK?

  26. paul says:

    I’ve had 6 8′ 4×4’s in my bmw 740 that doesnt have fold down rear seat. and 8 bags-o-cement 🙂

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