Shipping Your Car Safely

Having your car shipped by a professional carrier is a much more convenient, safe, and reliable way to get it from one place to another over long distances than driving it (or having it driven). It’s common enough when people are relocating due to a move, buying a car from a different region, or just getting a vehicle out of storage. Here are ten tips for making your car transport experience as smooth and hassle-free as possible.

  1. Compare Carrier Prices : 

The first part of making sure you have a good car shipping experience is to make sure you get a great carrier.  You’ll want to start by narrowing down your options to those that fit your budget.  Some services let different carriers bid on your shipment, as well.  But that doesn’t mean you should always choose the lowest price—just that you should keep the price in mind.

  1. Research Carrier Reputation : 

Once you’ve got a list of carriers that fits your budget, you’ll want to check out the reputation of your top choices online. After all, saving a few bucks and then having your car delayed, lost, or damaged isn’t worth it, right? Google the carrier and find out what’s being said about them on third party sites, check the BBB (Better Business Bureau) for complaints, and consider how long they’ve been established.

  1. Confirm Carrier Licensing, Legality, and Liability : 

Different regions have different requirements for carriers, so know yours before you start. Make sure the carrier you choose is properly registered, has the necessary licence, and carries the required liability to ship cars. In addition to making sure the carrier has the minimum required liability, you’ll want to be sure that the amount they offer is sufficient for your vehicle in particular, especially if you have a very high end or a luxury car.

  1. Ask About Transportation Options : 

If you do have a high-end car or a vintage one, you’ll want extra protection from the elements.  Different carriers accomplish this in different ways, and some offer multiple options. Two of the most common are fully enclosed transportation and top loaded transportation. Fully enclosed transportation keeps your car safe in a trailer, while top-loading means it’s on the upper deck of an open carrier. There, it’s less likely to come into contact with road chemicals, debris, or fluids from other cars.

  1. Do a Self-Inspection and Document it  : 

Before the carrier arrives, thoroughly inspect your vehicle for visible damage and mechanical issues. Document the entire process via photos and video. That way, if your car arrives with new damage, you’ll have proof that the damage occurred during transport. It’s rare that vehicles are damaged during transport, but this tip doesn’t take long, and can be very helpful if you happen to be unlucky in that regard.

  1. Double and Triple Check That Your Vehicle is Empty : 

The carrier is going to insist that your car is empty anyhow, so you’ll want to make sure that’s done before they arrive. There are multiple reasons for this, most of which are related to safety and liability. You can’t use your vehicle to haul other items due to the risk of those items being damaged in transit, their potential to cause the car to weigh more than expected, and they can impede the view for the carrier when loading and unloading your vehicle.

  1. Make Sure the Gas Tank is Only 1/4 Full : 

Do check with your carrier on their own specific requirements in this regard, but the industry standard is to leave the car with approximately 1/4 tank of gas. This leaves you enough gas to travel and refill it after it arrives at its destination, and greatly reduces the risk of damage during transport.

  1. Put Thought Into Your Pick Up and Delivery Locations  : 

“Door to door” transport doesn’t mean “wherever you want,” if you choose areas that a carrier’s delivery truck can’t navigate. If you live in a rural area and have a long or difficult driveway, or you’re in a cul de sac that doesn’t offer sufficient room, you’ll run into problems. Communicate with the carrier beforehand about their needs for an efficient pickup and drop off and choose a place where this is possible.

  1. Plan Ahead—Way Ahead : 

Transporting a vehicle isn’t like mailing something overnight. If you get a good head start on planning—three to six weeks being ideal—you’ll have more and better options in terms of carriers. You’ll also be more likely to receive your vehicle within the time frame you desire.

  1. Make Sure Your Car is Road Ready : 

This is especially vital if your car isn’t being delivered right to your door. Make sure the battery is well charged and that your tires are filled and not leaking—it’s extremely inconvenient to have a car delivered and then immediately need to have it towed!