Proper loading of your car for shipping will mean the difference between safe travel and scratches, damage or worse. Be sure your wheels arrive safely with these tips.
Prepare your car for travel
- The vehicle should be clean and free of mud and debris.
- Remove fuel.
- Disconnect battery and disable alarm system.
- Retract antenna and roof, if applicable.
- Learn of any applicable permits or permissions required to have the container in your yard. Ask representatives of your homeowner’s association or county government.
Load the car
Your container will likely be 20 x8 x 8 or 40 x 8 x 8. If you are also loading personal items, you may want the larger container. Number and/or label boxes for convenient unpacking. You might also try smart labeling with products such as Quick Peek. Apply the stickers to your moving boxes and take pictures of the contents. Use your phone later to scan labels for a quick reminder of what’s inside. Put these items in first if you are moving into an area where the car will require inspection. Inspectors will need ready access to your vehicle, and it will be a hassle to have to pull out your mattress or boxes at the checkpoint.
Options for loading the car into the container include a ramp or flat-bed truck. If you don’t have access to one, you can rent one from a local vendor. Load the car onto the truck and back the truck as close to the container entrance as you can. Drive the car from the truck to the container. Alternatively, you can rent a ramp to drive the car into the container. If yours is a very narrow container, you will need to push the car inside because you won’t be able to open the doors and get out. Enlist a helper. An extra pair of eyes and hands can help you stay safe and avoid accidents.
Secure the car
The container will come equipped with tie hooks or fasteners on the floor, sides and ceiling. Use these to securely fasten your car and belongings so there is no shifting during travel. Use wooden blocks or wood or metal chocks to keep the tires from rolling and the car in place. Nail chocks in place. Use tow rings or ratchet straps around the axle behind each wheel. Also use straps or rope to attach the top of the vehicle to prevent tipping during rough travel conditions. Don’t skimp on ratchet straps – if you need heavy duty, spring for it. Broken straps offer no protection and will cost you more in damage repairs in the long run. Consider a shipping container bolt seal to reduce likelihood of theft or tampering. Learn from your shipper if this option makes sense in your case.
Loading a shipping container is easy to do with the right equipment. If you take care to fasten the car securely you can feel confident of safe, damage free arrival.
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.