7 Essential Car Shipping Tips

November 16, 2022Car Tips and Tricks
Maya Brown

Born in Atlanta, Maya has called many places home in her lifetime. She's a content writer and moving expert who loves to help people relocate smoothly

Once you’ve made the decision to move, it’s necessary to think about what to do with your trusting four-wheeler. It can get overwhelming quickly. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered as we compiled the most important car shipping tips you need to keep in mind for a smooth experience.

The Benefits of Shipping Your Vehicle as Opposed to Doing It by Yourself

If you’re a person that likes to do things on their own, it might seem like a good idea not to hire a car shipping company or get any moving services. However, even if you’re a moving expert, transporting your car is not something you can do yourself. While you can still gather the relocation essentials, create a to-do list, and even organize the packing process, don’t skip booking a shipment for your car just because you’re looking for the cheapest way to move. It might seem like an easy way to save on costs, but you’ll probably be as far away as possible from a stress-free relocation.

Whether you’re relocating to another state, purchasing a brand new car, or preparing your home for sale, booking professional help is the best option. It’s a reliable and convenient way to get your four-wheeler from one place to another. It will save you time and unnecessary stress knowing that it’s taken care of by professionals. And at the end of the day, it might turn out to be the cheaper option that fits right into your moving budget. After all, being on the road all by yourself can often bring unforeseen costs.


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The Number One Priority Should Always Be Safety and Health

There are numerous benefits of shipping your vehicle as opposed to driving it yourself for hours upon hours. If you’re relocating with kids, it will be near impossible, even if you’re an experienced driver. The same goes for moving with pets.

During long drives, it’s simply not possible to stay focused at all times. After a while, you will feel exhausted, especially if you’re relocating to another state alone. That’s when your safety is compromised, and the last thing you want is a mistake you can’t take back happening. So, if you’ve taken all of this into consideration and you feel like the shipment of your vehicle is the way to go, let’s go over some auto transport tips you need to know.

A road sign
The road holds many dangers, so ensure your safety by not driving long distances

#1 One of the Essential Car Shipping Tips Is Preparing Your Trusted Four-Wheeler for the Move

The first important thing you should do is to prepare your car to be shipped. Everything should be done on time, so start early and don’t let yourself go through the stress of relocating at the last minute. Because this is something you can do yourself, it’s a good idea to start the process even before making your final decision on the professional shipment.

Visit Your Local Mechanic to Ensure Everything Is in Order

It goes without saying that check-ups are something you should do regularly. But when you’re relocating, it is absolutely essential. So get your car checked by a professional to see if the engine, the tire pressure, and the brakes are in order. Your local mechanic should also look for fluid leaks and ensure that the hydraulic parts are in good condition. Explain to them the reason for your visit because they will know what to look at and may even share some helpful advice with you.

Clean Your Car Inside-Out and Get Rid of Anything That Can Cause Problems During Shipping

After making sure everything is in order, you need to clean your vehicle as thoroughly as you can. Checking for damages will be easier that way because they won’t be covered by dirt and dust. If there are any paint scratches or dents, document them clearly. Even if your four-wheeler is in perfect condition, you should take detailed pictures of it, so you have proof if any damage happens during the move. It’s not a bad idea to also take a photo of the odometer if you’re worried that your car will be driven unnecessarily.

Clean it on the inside as well and remove any valuable things, including attachments such as bike and luggage racks or other car accessories. Things you usually keep in your car could move around and cause damage. It’s very important to remove these things because the liability coverage you’ll acquire is concerned only with the outside damages. On that note, take a look at this helpful video to wash your car like a pro:

YouTube video

#2 Check the Reviews to Find the Most Reliable Auto Shipping Company

The most important relocation hack is to always do your research as in-depth as possible. Being well-informed about various aspects of the process is essential, and the same goes for having your four-wheeler shipped. Go through the website of the USA auto transport company you intend to hire and read the reviews of their previous customers. A great tool you can use for your research is the Better Business Bureau.

See the offers and compare prices, but be aware that if the quote is way below what other professionals are offering, it’s probably a relocation scam. To ensure that you have a reputable company booked, look up their USDOT number to ensure that they hold a current license and up-to-date insurance.

#3 Figure Out What Is Covered by Insurance to Remove Any Possibility of Unforeseen Costs and Stress

Your four-wheeler should always be insured, especially if you’re a young driver. When you find reputable professional help, you will know that they have an insurance policy that will make you feel safer during the process. It’s a federal law that they provide you with this kind of liability coverage, and this isn’t the place to think about saving on relocation costs.

When you’ve made sure your mover is legit, review the policy and ensure that you’re covered before, during, and after the process of shipment. This will surely lessen your anxiety about relocating because even the worst-case scenario (your car getting damaged during transportation) is not something that you should fix and pay for. As was mentioned, you should take photos of your car to be extra safe. If something happens to it, you have undeniable proof that it happened during the relocation.

Make sure to have all the evidence about damage in order to repair your car
Don't forget to check your car for damage and take photos before the pickup

#4 Gather the Documents You Need and Get In Contact With Your Chosen Professional as Early as Possible

Once you’ve made a decision on which professional shippers to hire, you should contact them and go over the necessary details. Plan out the moving schedule, as well as the pick-up and delivery locations for your car. Keep in mind that the schedule may slightly change due to things like traffic and weather, as these can affect the time your professional driver spends on the road.

If you’re working on a tight schedule, inform them about it, but be prepared to be charged more. To find the date that works perfectly for you, make sure to plan everything ahead. While you’re at it, go through this list and prepare all the necessary documents:

  • Driver’s license or passport,
  • Registration information,
  • Original vehicle title,
  • Bill of sale or other proofs of ownership,
  • Proof of insurance.

#5 Decide Whether You Want the Car Delivered Directly to Your New Place or if You’d Rather Pick It up Yourself

The time it takes to ship a car shows that this is definitely not an overnight process. That’s why it’s important to plan everything on time and book your services in advance. A big part of this is figuring out the most convenient places for picking up and delivering your vehicle.

If you want to be time-efficient, you should opt for door-to-door auto transport and have your car delivered straight to your new residence. But keep in mind that your car will come in a large transport carrier, which makes certain areas difficult to reach if there is not enough parking space. If you don’t mind picking it up yourself, opt for terminal-to-terminal car shipping. It is maybe more inconvenient compared to having your car delivered straight to your place, but it can be cost-effective.

Open Carrier Auto Transport

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Enclosed Auto Transport

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#6 Inform Yourself About the Types of Transport Available to Make the Right Choice

You’ve surely seen a transfer truck on the highway and wondered where it is going and for what purpose. These large vehicles are the most efficient way to ship your car, especially if you’re relocating several vehicles at once. Save yourself the driving stress and book the carrier, but first, learn about the two types of transportation you will be offered.

You Can Have Your Car Shipped in an Open Carrier

The first thing you should keep in mind is that the option of booking an open trailer is the more affordable one. But everything in this world comes with a price. It’s great if you’re looking for the cheapest way to ship your car, but keep in mind that your car will be exposed to the outside world during transportation. It won’t be fully protected from snow, rain, or dust, and because of that, this option can potentially cause damage. Also, if they occur, the liability coverage for this option is lower.

For Extra Safety, Go For Enclosed Auto Transport

If you don’t want to take any risks or own an expensive luxury car, it’s best to go for the enclosed trailer option. It might be more expensive, but it’s definitely worth the price knowing your precious four-wheeler is fully secured. The weather won’t be a concern, so if you’re relocating in winter, it’s the best option possible. These enclosed trucks also carry fewer vehicles than the open ones, and that means an added layer of protection for your car.

usa auto transport truck
An enclosed carrier provides extra safety that will make all of your worries go away

#7 Do One Last Check-up of Your Car and Take Care of Any Special Requirements Your Movers May Have

Once the pick-up date is set, you should check your car one more time to ensure everything is in order. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your tank should be approximately ¼ full because the car will be driven only during the loading and unloading. Also, a full tank adds to the weight, and you could end up with additional costs. Your drivers will probably ask you to disconnect the battery, so it doesn’t die during the move and to turn off your car alarm as well.

A woman holding car keys through the window of a car
Once everything is double-checked, it's time to hand over your car to the professionals

It’s Time to Sign the Bill of Lading and Get Going

The last step of the process is to sign the bill of lading, a legal document that contains details of the car shipment. It will be handed to you once the driver comes to pick up the car and inspects it or when you drop it off at a terminal. Before you sign it, double-check if all of the information is correct. The bill of lading should contain pick-up and delivery locations, a report on the condition of your car, and any mechanical or special issues it may have.

Once you’ve checked that everything is in order, give the driver your spare set of car keys and wish him a good trip. There is one less thing to think about now, and you can focus on preparing for the exciting changes that are coming.

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