If you decided to move or buy a vehicle from a private party or dealership in another state you definitely need to know how the process of car shipping works.
We're here to tell you the whole picture from the beginning to the end with all underwater rocks.
What do we usually know about car shipping? That some driver comes and load your vehicle on the truck and then deliver it to your destination location.
But it’s only a tip of an iceberg.
The first step for car shipping is to choose the transportation type which suits you best.
Open transportation means that your vehicle is going to be transported on an open trailer and exposed to the outdoors. They have built-in ramps that make the loading and off-loading process easier. These trailers are using power hydraulics to raise or lower the ramps.
This type of car shipping is the most important. An open car carrier trailer is any trailer without sides.
And what about trailers?
It is a pickup dully with a tow trailer, which is usually a single level.
One of the biggest advantages of a small truck like a hotshot or a single level multi-car carrier is that it can get to places that are not accessible to the big multi-level multi-car carrier trucks.
This trailer can be used for shipping RV, Travel Trailer, big Pickup truck, or SUV.
This the most commonly used auto transport trailer.
If you need to ship a car across the country for private or business needs it’s your choice.
It can be a soft side or hard side trailer.
The vehicle in the enclosed trailer is safer from the outdoor conditions (for example weather).
This type of trailer is used for transporting luxury vehicles or for short distances.
This trailer can transport up to 3 vehicles at the same time.
This trailer can transport 6-8 vehicles at the same time.
These trailers are pulled by powerful semi-trucks and are loaded and unloaded just like an open carrier with adjustable deck ramps.
3. For inoperable vehicles
In the case if you’re vehicle is inoperable the driver needs to know from where to where it’s going.
If it’s going from an auction or port, they will load the vehicle by a forklift.
If it’s going from residence the driver needs to have a winch to load it on the trailer.
If you there is help on the pickup and delivery locations you can use the driver even without a winch.
Also, everything depends on the condition of the vehicle.
Usually, it should roll, brake, and steer.
You can use both open and enclosed trailers for this type of shipment.
4. For motorcycles or ATV/UTV vehicles
There are two ways to ship your motorcycle or ATV/UTV vehicle.
You can use open and enclosed trailers.
An open trailer means your vehicle may share the shipping truck with a few other vehicles and they will be openly exposed to the elements for the entire journey.
On the other hand, the enclosed trailer means the vehicle will stay inside the truck or in its own container, safe from any outside elements.
5. For boats
Depends on the size of the boat it can be an open or enclosed trailer.
If it’s already on the trailer it’s better to hire a pickup truck that will tow your boat anywhere you need.
If it’s not, it can be transported on a flatbed, hotshot, hard side or soft side enclosed depending on the size.
Thirteen feet, six inches is a number when it comes to overland transportation. If your boat has a tower, arch, pulpit, or bridge that will be any taller than this once the boat is on its trailer, it will need to be removed.
It also has to be secured to the boat and protected with padding.
6. For heavy or farm equipment
To transport some heavy machinery the carrier will need dimensions.
Your equipment can be towed or it may require a special trailer.
It can be hotshot or a step-deck but depending on dimensions the driver might require permits.
This is especially important if your load qualifies as oversized or overwidth.
All these kind of shipments we can easily handle.
We’ve already discovered different types of transportation & trailers, what should we know next?
I will tell you. The best way to choose the company is to compare prices and check their reviews.
Prices depend on the distance, year, type, and size of the vehicle, condition, locations, type of shipment, trailer used, time of the year, the situation on market.
Don't pay anything before the vehicle is actually picked up. Some companies might give you a low price just to get their hands on your deposit money and charge you without even finding a truck. They will raise the price after all.
If open carriers usually charge $0,50/mi, enclosed carriers take $1/mi, for towing away they will take around $1.5-$3.5/mi and trailers like step-deck or hotshot for heavy equipment – $1.5-$4 per mi.
Now the total price transporting a 2019 operable Toyota Camry from Los Angeles, CA to New York, NY on open 9 car hauler will be around $1250 and at the same time for inoperable – $1450.
And if it’s an operable 2019 Ford F-150 it will be around $1550 total.
If the vehicle is not from Los Angeles, CA but from Santa Paula, CA the transportation cost will increase because it’s far from the regular driver’s route and from the big city.
As we told, size, year, locations, and condition of the vehicle are important.
To compare prices you can simply request a couple of quotes from different companies.
Check if it’s door to door, without any hidden fees, with insurance included.
You can check reviews at the different websites, the most popular are BBB, Trustpilot and Transport Reviews.
Be aware of companies without any reviews and companies with a lot of negative reviews.
There are two types of auto shipping services offered: auto shipping brokers and vehicle shipping load boards.
Load boards allow you to post your own transport request and connect directly with the drivers to set up your own transport.
To have an opportunity to post your car on such a load board as Central Dispatch you’ll need to have the carrier, broker, or dealer license.
A broker handles all the details for you—contacting the driver, setting the time, coordinating the shipment, ensuring on-time delivery, etc.
You can easily call the company or visit their website and make the request.
The information needed to provide a quote:
The company will check the current situation on the route, from where to where exactly the vehicle is going and provides an estimated price.
The price that the company will tell you from the beginning can not be final. The price should be confirmed by a carrier according to the current situation on the market.
Vehicles are insured against in-transit damage caused by carrier negligence or equipment failure by the auto transporting truck that we assign.
These auto shipping and car transport trucks, by law, carry a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability insurance and between $30,000 to $50,000 in cargo insurance per vehicle.
This will cover any damage caused during transport.
Usually, carriers offer $100,000 insurance from bumper to bumper 0% deductible for an open trailer.
And $250,000 insurance from bumper to bumper 0% deductible for an enclosed trailer.
We recommend scheduling your auto transport anywhere from two days to two weeks in advance.
We are often able to ship your car on the very same day, but providing us with a longer lead time allows us to schedule your vehicle transport better.
You want the most current pricing, and you get that by staying within two weeks of your first available date to ship.
Believe it or not, a request of $50-$75 too low can really hold up your order if there are plenty of other cars available to ship at the higher pricing.
To avoid that, try not to book more than a month in advance and preferably within two weeks, because seasonal changes can impact the current pricing.
Once you requested the quote from a shipping company, you’ll definitely receive a phone call, a text, and e-mail.
There are two ways to book an order: online or over the phone with the shipping manager.
Both ways are good but over the phone, you’ll be able to ask all questions you might have.
To book an order the sales manager will need:
Usually, companies take the credit card information to have some kind of insurance that you're working with them only. If you're working with a couple of companies it will be hard to find the driver.
We don’t need any charges upfront but once the driver is assigned, we will need to authorize partial payment from the credit card (usually it’s $100-$300, depends on the carrier’s insurance) before the pickup.
We will charge it only after the pickup.
1. Wash your car
Dirt and dust can easily hide scratches or dents. Before the pickup of your car, wash it thoroughly, and when the driver comes to inspect the vehicle, check it together on any pre-existing damages.
2. Remove all personal belongings from the vehicle
During the transportation things might be tossed a bit, so to prevent damages, we advise removing everything from the vehicle.
3. Disable the alarm
If there is an alarm system, it must be disconnected prior to dropping off or the alarm remote must be provided.
Leave less than a quarter tank of fuel. Your vehicle will be transported, not driven and if you fill the tank, it will make the vehicle heavier and may cause problems during transportation.
5. Check for leaks
If your vehicle has an aggressive leak, the car shipping company may refuse service. It may damage other vehicles and causes dangerous situations during the shipment.
6. Remove Tags and Plates
No one will actually drive your car, it will be on the trailer, so if anything happens during the transportation, you may need all the items.
Take pictures of the car before the shipment to cover yourself in case of any damages.
You should provide the selected carrier with the keys, so he can load and unload the car from the trailer.
Car Shipping is very simple. Feel free to check our other articles here.
Once you submit the required paperwork, the transport of your vehicle will be scheduled according to the dates on your shipping order.
You should receive a call from the carrier anywhere from 10 to 24 hours in advance of your pick up date.
When the driver picks up your vehicle, he will do a detailed inspection of your automobile and will present you with a Bill of Lading document.
The same Bill of Lading will be present on delivery so you can re-inspect the car.
The reverse happens at the delivery point.
The driver calls in advance, you’ll walk around the vehicle to see if there is any damage and take delivery upon your approval.
Delivering is the final step in the process, and also the simplest part.
Once your vehicle has been assigned and picked up, not too much can go wrong.
Once the vehicle is picked up, you can estimate that it will take roughly 1 day of transit time for every 500 miles distance.
100-500 miles takes 1 or 2 days; 500-1000 miles takes 2 or 3 days; 1000-1500 miles takes 3 or 4 days; 1500-2000 miles takes 4 or 5 days; 2000-2500 miles takes 5 or 6 days; 2500-3000 miles takes 6 or 7 days
Depending on the distance, weather conditions, and population centers it could be a few days or weeks until a vehicle reaches its destination.
The carriers usually estimate about 10 days on coast to coast trips, but they frequently arrive earlier.
The Department of Transportation has strict safety laws. Pickup and delivery can be estimated within the quoted 2 to 3-day window.
Oftentimes there are unforeseen occurrences which is why you must allow a 2 to 3-day window from the quoted dates.
These are situations that are out of the control of the driver.
Experience has shown that there is approximately a 90% pick up and delivery is exactly as quoted.
Please make a note that if any company assures a guaranteed date you may be disappointed.
This part is the simplest.
If you’re happy with the service the company provided, they will really appreciate it if you leave a couple of reviews for them to help other clients make the choice.
If your vehicle was damaged.
At the delivery, please inspect your vehicle with the driver to see if any damage occurred during transport.
Please notate all damage on the Bill of Lading (A vehicle inspection report) before signing for the release of the vehicle.
Ask the driver for a copy of the Bill of Lading and take pictures on-site of the damage for claim purposes.
Then please contact your sales manager to get the claim process started.
Please note that any damage to the interior caused by personal items is not covered with insurance.
We hope that this article was useful and you’ll use all-important tips.
We will be happy to transport your vehicle from anywhere to anywhere for the lowest possible price with no charges upfront.
Even during the hard situation in the world, we keep working as usual for you to have the ability to transport your vehicle at any time.
Thanks for reading this article.