For most people, car shipping is not something they do on a regular basis. In fact, many customers looking for this service are doing so for the first time and therefore have very little knowledge of the industry and how it really works. Like anything else, there are myths surrounding the auto transport industry that can make it difficult to distinguish between what is true and what isn’t. Countless people are interested in auto shipping, but hesitate as a result of these common misconceptions. Here we will address some of the most common car shipping myths.
1. It costs more to ship a car than drive it yourself.
This is perhaps one of the most common misconceptions and the main reason why people hesitate to ship their car. If you are in need of transporting your car across the country, you can easily end up spending more to drive it yourself. People forget about factoring in the cost of hotels, food, and gas for a multi-day trip. Not to mention that it requires you to take off work to drive your car such a long way. Furthermore, it puts additional wear and tear on your vehicle that can result in your car needing to be serviced sooner than expected.
2. Car shipping is not safe.
You may have heard that it’s risky to ship your car but this is completely untrue. Each year thousands of vehicles are shipped safely across the country. Reputable car transport companies take extra precautions to ensure your car arrives safely at its destination. Though vehicle damage is rare, auto transport companies offer shipping insurance to protect your vehicle in the unlikely event that damage does occur. In fact, car shipping is a much safer option than driving your car such a long distance.
3. Car shipping takes longer than driving.
If you are planning to drive thousands of miles across the country, it can take you several days to reach your destination. Auto shipping is a faster, safer, and more convenient option. Many transport companies even offer expedited shipping options if you require your vehicle sooner.
4. The cost of car shipping is determined solely by distance.
While distance is certainly a factor, it is definitely not the only factor when it comes to shipping costs. There are actually several factors that can affect shipping costs such as the size and condition of the vehicle, accessibility of delivery destination, type of carrier being used (open or enclosed), flexibility of delivery dates, and even the time of year. As you can see, the exact price of shipping your car depends on a number of factors.
5. You can only ship your car on an open trailer.
Since it is common to see an open trailer carrying vehicles on the highway, many people assume this is their only option. While this is certainly the most popular option, it is definitely not the only option. You also have the option of requesting an enclosed trailer if you prefer additional protection for your vehicle. In fact, enclosed trailers are the preferred option for antique, luxury, or classic cars.
6. It’s difficult to find an auto transport company you can trust.
As with any business, there are scammers out there looking to prey on unsuspecting customers. That said, there are also plenty of legitimate car shipping companies. There are several ways to find a reputable company such as checking reviews, checking the Better Business Bureau, and checking the company’s licensing and history with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
7. You should pick the lowest quote.
It’s only natural to want to feel like you're getting the best price, but the lowest price can actually be a red flag in the auto shipping industry. Unfortunately, some companies will use bait and switch tactics to lure customers in which they offer a low price upfront and then require you to pay a much higher price once you gain possession of your vehicle. If you notice a company offering a price that is significantly lower than everyone else, this could be a sign that something is not right.
8. You can’t ship inoperable vehicles.
While it may cost you a bit more, you absolutely can ship a car that is inoperable. You just need to find a company that has the proper equipment to load and unload a car that does not run on its own. It requires a special type of hauler and a bit of additional physical labor so not every company offers this service. That said, there are companies that do have this equipment and can safely ship your inoperable vehicle.
9. It’s complicated to get your car ready for shipment.
Preparing your car for shipping is actually much easier than you might think. There are just a few easy steps to ensure your vehicle is ready to go:
- Clean the interior and exterior of your vehicle.
- Take photos of your vehicle’s condition prior to shipment just in case a problem arises.
- Remove all personal items from your vehicle.
- Leave no more than ¼ tank of gas in your vehicle.
- Take care of any maintenance prior to shipping such as oil change, tire rotation, etc.
10. All car shipping companies are the same.
It’s not quite as simple as just picking the first transport company you find. Unfortunately not all car shipping companies are created equal. Some offer different services such as door-to-door shipping , the ability to ship inoperable vehicles, options for enclosed transport, and even different availability for delivery dates. Furthermore, you want to check the reviews of each company closely, as some may have a better reputation than others. Each company has its own menu of services as well as personal customer service so choose one that you feel comfortable with and can trust.
Michael starting working in car shipping over 20 years ago, in 2002; back in the days when fax machines ruled the roost, being the first name listed in the yellow pages was King and google wasn’t yet a verb. Sometimes he foolishly thinks he’s seen every situation imaginable when it comes to shipping a car, but about once a year he’s proven wrong.
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.