The auto transport industry is growing rapidly, as things like online car buying become more popular. In addition to buying a car online, you may need auto transportation if you are moving across the country, vacationing for several months in another state, or even sending a child to college. Whatever the reason, getting a car from one part of the country to another is no small feat and that’s where auto transportation companies come in. They handle all of the logistics of transporting your vehicle so you don’t have to. While this is a very convenient service, there is more to the process than simply handing over your car keys.The process is a bit more complex than most people realize and it requires a bit of planning, research, and preparation on the part of the customer. Here are some important facts you should know if you are considering auto transportation services.
1.Not All Car Shipping Companies are the Same
Just as you would shop around before hiring a professional painter or contractor, you also need to shop around before hiring a professional auto transport company. Like any other industry, there are multiple companies that offer the same services but not all them offer the same customer service. For starters, you want to verify that you are working with a reputable company that is properly licensed, registered, and insured. Next, you want to check plenty of reviews to be sure the company has a good reputation. Finally, you want to compare pricing, and be on the lookout for any company whose prices seem too good to be true. The last thing you want is to be scammed when looking for auto transport.
2.There is Not a Set Price
One of the first things people want to know about auto transport is how much it costs. It is important to keep in mind that there are a number of factors that determine the cost of shipment. These factors include: the size of the vehicle, the distance of shipment, pick-up and drop-off locations, open or enclosed transport, time of year, and current fuel prices. Any reputable company should be able to provide you with a free quote when you provide them with this information.
3. Delivery Times are Not Guaranteed
It is nearly impossible to guarantee exact delivery dates in the auto transport industry. That’s because there are a number of factors that are out of their control that can contribute to delays. These include weather delays, traffic jams, road closures, and possible mechanical issues with the carrier. Though most companies will do their best to accommodate your needs, it is important to be flexible and keep in mind that some things just cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, plan in advance and expect your delivery date to fluctuate by a few days.
4. There are Different Methods of Shipment
When you are choosing an auto transport company, there are a lot of things to consider, including what method of shipment you prefer. You will have the option of choosing between open or enclosed transport. Open carriers are the most popular and affordable option, although your car will be exposed to the outdoor elements. An enclosed carrier, on the other hand, is the most secure option, though it will come at an additional cost. It is most common for vintage, classic, exotic, or luxury cars that need to be kept in pristine condition.
5. You Will Need to Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipment
It’s not quite as easy as simply handing over your keys. There are a few important steps you need to take to ensure a safe delivery of your vehicle. In order to prepare your vehicle for shipment, you will need to:
- Wash the exterior
- Take pictures and document and existing scratches, dings, dents, or other damage
- Top off all fluid including transmission, oil, brake, and washer fluids
- Check the battery and tire pressure
- Perform any necessary repairs or maintenance such as an oil change
- Leave no more than ¼ tank of gas in your vehicle
- Remove all exterior accessories including bike or luggage racks, retractable antenna, or customer spoiler
- Remove all personal items from inside the vehicle
Frequently Asked Questions
Honest Answers to Your Car Shipping Questions
Yes, we always ask for your specific pickup and delivery addresses, if the carrier can get right to the addresses you provide, they will. If the addresses that you give us are not safely accessible for a Multi-car carrier, however, you will need to make arrangements with the driver to meet at a nearby location where the carrier can safely get in and out.
People do it all the time (rarely for free) but the official answer is no.
Not what you wanted to hear, we know, but that is the honest answer.
We are not licensed to broker the shipment of household goods and, likewise, no car carrier that operates in the USA is licensed to transport them from state to state either. Despite what you might be being told by other car shipping companies you may speak with.
Remember, at the end of the day we're all salespeople, and the true answer to this question is not a great selling point.
You will hear a lot of companies tell you that you can put up to 100 pounds of items in the trunk, but that is not entirely true. That fact is that items of that amount are fairly common and the department of transportation is probably not going to split hairs and fine the trucker over items of that amount, provided they are not over their weight limit. They could fine them, however, if they see a vehicle stuffed full of personal items so the car carrier will most likely try to negotiate something with you to cover themselves against any costs they could incur. It's not something we can build into your contract though.
We have a short and helpful video on this topic in our user videos.
Only in rare cases and car carriers will usually charge a premium to make it happen.
All dates given by car carriers are typically estimates and projections.
For this reason (and to keep your cost down) we ask that you build in some flexibility and give us the earliest possible date you would be WILLING to release the vehicle, even though it may not be your preferred date.
We'll put you in direct contact with your car carrier and the driver will also typically call you the afternoon or evening before your pick up and delivery (they won't just show up unannounced, and if they do we want to hear about it). However, car carriers are out on the road battling traffic, weather and any number of other factors that can and do throw them off of their pickup and delivery projections from time to time.
If the projected dates we give you come and you are unable to make contact with your carrier, please call our office immediately so that we may help resolve the situation.
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will average 7 to 10 days. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.
Even better, we do not even ask for payment until we have you confirmed for pickup by a safe, reliable, fully insured, direct car carrier. If for any reason you do not ship your car with the carrier that we arrange for you, there is no fee.
The fees paid directly to the carrier however, (in most cases, their fees are not paid until your vehicle is delivered) are not directly controlled by us, so any requests for a refund of the carrier's portion would need to be addressed with the carrier directly.
Of course! And you are always backed by our Damage Free Guarantee policy.
Part of what you pay us for is to verify that the car carrier that we put you on is covered by the proper amount of insurance and that everything is up to date.
There is never any additional cost to you for this coverage, and their insurance is always primary.