All You Should Know About Shipping a Car in Winter

February 7, 2018Car Shipping Essentials
Kate Holland

A true grunge and rock music fan born in Seattle, Kate has moved across the country and started writing about her experience.

There are many reasons why we may opt for shipping a car in winter. Sometimes, a good deal on a car comes unexpectedly, no matter the season. Or perhaps we choose to move during colder months, for different purposes. But car shipping during that time isn’t as simple as contacting an auto transport company and getting a quote.

A car on a snowy road
There are several benefits if you choose transportation for your car during the cold season

Some of the best car shows take place during colder months, and the attendees who choose to buy a wheeler after the show will have it shipped during somewhat trickier weather. But most importantly, there are many reasons to move that could drive us to relocate during these untypical months. We may be moving out of state for a job or personal reasons, to be with our loved ones. Perhaps you are living in a colder area, but you’re dreaming about driving in Los Angeles with the warm wind in your hair, so you’ve decided to relocate to nicer weather, just like birds do. But moving in the cold season requires some special preparations, especially for a car.

There Are Several Reasons Why You Might Choose to Ship Your Vehicle Off-Season

When we think about moving during the cold months, several things that come to mind are snow, icy roads, and other inconveniences. Or at least, that’s how the majority of people think. Many choose to relocate between May and September and transport cars from state to state in that period. It is when kids are out of school, and we have more free time. But choosing to move in the winter months has its perks and advantages, even when you ship cars.

Give USA Auto Transport an Ask for a Free Quote


The Moving Season Has Ended

Many decide to move the car to another state in the summer. In fact, more than half of all relocations occur between the end of April and Labor Day. It means several things – all the companies which offer an open carrier auto transport and the pricier enclosed auto transport are busy and have to be called more than a week in advance. Also, more carriers are on the road, and they are harder to book.

Car Shipping in Winter Will Enable You to Save On Cost Significantly

We can’t beat around the bush here – relocations are expensive. A typical household consists of 6,500 pounds worth of items, and if you add different services from a moving company on top of that, the cost just keeps growing. But one of the best car shipping advice and tips on saving on moving costs is to relocate while it’s cold. Since most people have already moved and settled down, moving companies and their carriers become more available. They can give you a quote your moving budget will appreciate.

A piggy bank and a pile of coins
Find some tips before you pick a company, and compare each quote to save on expenses

You Should Know a Thing or Two About Companies That Ship Vehicles

A relocation takes a lot of effort. And although the modern age has made many aspects of it way easier, some things are still complex. It may seem easy to find the right movers, but you should be careful and wise and armed with tips on how to choose a moving company, so you can avoid moving scams with agility. Besides checking if a company offers both open and enclosed auto transport for your car, there are some simple tricks to pick wisely.

How to Check if the Company Is the Perfect Choice

First off, we’ll start by doing some basic internet research. Once some companies pop up in your search, and after you determine they offer car shipment, you should check if a moving company is legitimate through several steps. Look at the reviews written by their customers, and see if there have been any name changes. That could be a sign of fraudulent movers, and you should avoid them. But the most certain way is to run a check-up on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website and see if that company has a USDOT number. If it checks out, contact a few of them, get a quote, and compare them.

A man typing on a laptop
Do your research to avoid scammers

Decide on the Type of Shipment – Open vs. Enclosed Transport

A good moving company will take care of each step of your move, and it’s no different when it comes to your car. If you have decided about the company that will take care of your vehicle, the next step is to consider car transport open vs enclosed, and which one suits you best. Shipping car cross country is usually done in two ways – on carriers that have no walls on the sides and no roof or on a closed carrier, where the cars are completely safe from atmospheric conditions.

Let’s Elaborate on Both Types of Carriers, and Determine Which Is Better for Winter

There are several advantages of an open carrier. For those wondering how much does it cost to ship a car, an essential piece of information is that such a carrier is always cheaper. Another advantage is that they are more available throughout the year, and they can ship more cars, up to ten. But this type of carrier doesn’t provide ultimate protection. Although it may come at a lower quote and greater availability, it may not be wise to choose it for cold months, especially December, January, and February, which tend to be the coldest.

An enclosed carrier is indeed the more expensive solution, with lower availability and lesser space in it. An enclosed trailer can ship up to five vehicles. But its biggest perk is that a car shipped this way will arrive without even a dust particle on it, let alone being exposed to cold weather conditions. Even the most expensive cars in the world can be transported this way, without any fear it would get damaged. That’s why picking this option during the winter months is always a wise choice, even if it’s not the cheaper one.

Choose a USA Auto Transport Company That Offers Different Pickup and Shipping Solutions

Another stop on your moving to-do list for your vehicle is choosing between the pickup and delivery options. A reputable company will provide you with the pricier door-to-door auto transport, which is usually the most popular option because of its convenience. People decide to use this solution because the movers come to their doorstep to pick the vehicle and later deliver it straight to their new home.

You can get a lower quote for the terminal to terminal car shipping, but this solution is more convenient for those who have more time on their hands. With it, you are required to hand over your car at a designated terminal and later pick it up from the one that’s nearest to your future address. It is a great opportunity to drive around a bit if you have moved to a new city in another part of the country.

Trucks on the road
Pick a solution that fits both your needs and your budget

Typical Preparatory Steps When You Ship Cars

No matter which season you choose your car to be shipped in, there are some basic preparatory steps you must undergo before you give the car keys to the movers. It is vital to thoroughly wash and clean your vehicle, which will be fairly easy if you know how to use a car wash. After you’ve cleaned it, take photographs and document any damage. You should also drive it for a complete check-up. Although your car will be shipped on a trailer, you should take it for a complete service check-up.

If you’re thinking about how to pack a car for moving and the company’s policy on things to keep in your car, it’s best to contact them and determine. Companies usually require their customers to empty their vehicles of personal belongings, except for the spare tire, jack, emergency kit, and license plate. Gather all the necessary documents, such as vehicle registration, proof of ownership, insurance documents, and other vital papers. Leave from ⅛ to ¼ of fuel in the tank, and make sure it is premium because it will be a better solution for the cold. If you are wondering what happens if you put the wrong gas in your car, you should look for advice on how to get gas out of the car.

Car at a washing station
Thoroughly wash your car and photograph any damage

Shipping a Car in Winter Needs Some Special Prepping

While some steps are elementary when you want to ship your car, cold months require us to put in some special effort. Here’s how to thoroughly prepare the car to be shipped in unpredictable weather and low temperatures:

  • Make sure you check if there’s enough antifreeze. This is especially important if you’ve opted for an open trailer and your vehicle will be exposed to all kinds of weather during the transportation.
  • It is important that the thermostat is functional. If you don’t know how to tell if a car thermostat is bad, it should close all the way. If it doesn’t, your car will take longer to heat up.
  • The wiper blades and windshield washer fluid should be in perfect condition. If you don’t know how to fix windshield wipers that stopped working, ensure you take it for a maintenance check.
  • Window seals shouldn’t be skipped, and they should be working properly and without any problems.
  • Don’t hand over your vehicle before you’ve lubricated the door locks. There are also some tips on opening a frozen car door if it was shipped on an open trailer.
  • The tires should have plenty of treads if you’re going to send it somewhere where it’s cold. Since it will be transported on a trailer, you won’t need to use a tire repair kit, though.
  • Double-check the battery so it won’t die during transportation. This doesn’t mean that the movers will drive around in your wheeler, but each part of the car should be functional since it will be driven and then parked on the trailer and later unloaded the same way. If the battery is not working, it should go into car battery disposal, and you should acquire a new one.
  • Service fluid levels are vital, so you should add brake fluid if the levels are low. Make sure that the four-wheeler is completely functional before you send it on the road.

The following video shows a complete guide on how to both clean and lubricate the car doors, which is essential for a car owner.

YouTube video

Although Your Car Can Be Delivered With a Delay, Cold Months May Be the Right Time to Move

Winters are often associated with snow, low temperatures, and slippery roads, and that’s why choosing to transport your car by yourself may not be wise. It is especially the case if you want to avoid driving stress. Although driving down the famous routes in the USA can be tempting for anyone that loves their four-wheeler, professional transportation is the most stressless option for people who are relocating. And when you combine it with all the benefits of moving off-season, yours is just to relax and enjoy your new life in another state.

Get a Quote

    check mark
    Download as PDF

    Moving Checklist

    Get a Free Estimate 855.675.3451