There are several reasons why you might need to have a vehicle shipped and this process has become increasingly popular with the rising sales in online car buying. While it is perfectly safe to ship a vehicle across the United States, or even internationally, it is important to make sure the vehicle is adequately prepared for the trip. Since there is nothing you can do once the car is in transit, it’s best to make sure you have taken all the proper precautions prior to shipment. Here are a few important tips on how to prepare your car for shipping.
Wash the Car
It is best to wash your car either on the day you plan to ship it or if necessary the night before. Even if you are purchasing a car from someone else, you should request that the seller thoroughly wash the interior and exterior of the car prior to shipment. Washing the car is important because it makes it easier for you to inspect the vehicle. It is much easier to observe scratches, dings, or dents on a clean car so you can take note of any existing damage. You might even consider taking pictures of any minor damage with a time-stamped camera just in case there are any disputes later on. Once the car arrives, you should carefully inspect it for any new scratches or dents.
Check for Leaks
A week or so prior to shipping your car you will want to inspect the undercarriage for leaks. If you do notice anything leaking, it is important to have it repaired right away. Otherwise, the auto shippers could hold you responsible for any damage to other cars that was caused by your vehicle’s leak.
Check the Tires and Battery
Over and underinflated tires as just as risky during transport as they are driving on the road. If your tires are not inflated properly, you are increasing the risk of damage to the tire. When you check your tire pressure, you will also want to check the condition of your battery. Make sure it is fully charged and secured in its supporting bracket. If your battery is not in good condition, you should replace it right away.
Do NOT fill it with Gas
Your gas tank should only be about ¼ full when you are shipping it so it doesn’t add unnecessary weight to the auto shipper. Since the car is being transported and not driven, there is no need to have a full tank of gas.
Disable Anti-Theft Devices and Remove Personal Belongings This is one you might not think about, but the auto shipper will not enjoy driving a long distance with a car alarm going off. In addition to being a nuisance, anti-theft devices can prevent the driver from having access into your car. Since you should be removing all personal items prior to shipment, it should not be a problem if the driver has to access your 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.
We’re Loved by Customers