Ultimate Guide To Auto Shipping
Send your car to the first time
It can be daunting to ship your car the first time. You may have shipped personal items, furniture, or small household items before, but shipping your car for the first time can be daunting. It's possible that it could be damaged or cost too much.
The good news is that auto shipping is a large industry with thousands of personal cars being shipped each day. The auto transport industry is worth more than ten billion dollars per year and has been around for decades.
You may feel a bit more comfortable now, but you still have no idea how to start or how to navigate the entire process. This auto shipping guide is designed to help you navigate the car shipping process.
Auto-shipping starting at the beginning
Figure out your shipment details
Although you know the exact location of your car, that is only the beginning. It's important to decide what transport method you prefer, when your car will be delivered, where your car will be picked up, and what your budget is.
You need to set a budget you can afford, but also one that is realistic. An average cross-country car shipment from New York to San Francisco without any extra options (expedited shipping or enclosed transport, etc.) will cost approximately $1,200 to $1,500. Depending on the details, it will cost approximately $1,200 to $1.500. It also depends on when you ship your vehicle.
Once you have established your budget, determine the details. Do you need expedited shipping? Are you interested in enclosed auto transport? Is it important to you whether your car is in the top or bottom load? Does your car work? These upgrade options may come at a cost to you.
Here's a quick guide to help you understand the meaning of any of these terms:
- Enclosed car transport This is a special kind of auto hauler. It has a roof and walls that cover the vehicle. This protects it from the weather and road debris. This option is not recommended for antique or classic vehicles and will add several hundred dollars to the cost. Enclosed carriers are only used for 10% of auto shipping. The rest of the auto shipments are shipped via regular auto trailers, also known as open-air transportation.
- Topload refers to the deck on which an auto carrier houses a car. An auto trailer typically has two decks. The upper deck is called the top load and the lower one is the bottom load. The difference between the two decks is that cars in the lower load are more likely to be hit by road debris such as pebbles, and they are also more at risk of fluid leaking from cars above them. Cars in the top load, however, are more vulnerable to weather elements such as snow and rain. The top-load option will add an additional hundred dollars to your overall cost.
- Express shipping This is an option to get "rush delivery" for your vehicle. But unlike parcel shipping, delivery times are more unpredictable. Additional fees will apply.
These are the time frames to keep in mind when you're deciding when your vehicle should be delivered.
- It usually takes between 3-8 days to ship from the Midwest to East Coast.
- Shipping from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast typically takes between 1-2 weeks
- Shipping from the North to South takes between 3-8 days
These time frames are an approximate guideline for an average car. Additionals like enclosed auto transport will take more time.
Also, check to see if your eligibility for door-to-door auto transport. Most people qualify, but it is possible to be denied due to local laws or narrow streets.
This option is recommended if you are eligible. You will need to locate a nearby location that is available for pick-up or delivery before you can book your shipment. You might consider shopping at malls that have large parking lots.
Get a quote
Next, get accurate quotes from the companies you are considering. Although this may seem simple, you should be aware that there are many companies that will offer you a low quote to get you to sign up for their shipment. Companies will offer you multiple quotes from competing auto transport companies in order to get your information. They will also spam you endlessly.
To get a valid quote, you will need to visit the website of the particular car shipping company. You should do this with at most three companies to compare the prices.
It's not important to get the lowest shipping price, but it will allow you to identify outliers and compare them with all other quotes. Let's say that you receive quotes for $800. The exception is $350. It's possible to bet that it's a bait-and-switch quote from a company looking to increase the shipping cost. These low prices should be eliminated.
Find out more about the companies
Once you have received your quotes, you will have an idea of how much your shipment will cost. You'll need to research companies that provided realistic and affordable quotes. You can read reviews on sites like Google and Consumer Affairs. You should ensure that the company has a high rating and received positive feedback from customers in the past.
To ask any questions, you can contact the company. Ask them about their payment options and make sure you don't have to pay a full payment upfront. Their MC number can be used to verify with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration if they are licensed to ship cars.
Before you order your shipment, make sure you have the terms and conditions.
Get your shipment booked
It's now time to book your shipment. Call the vehicle shipping company you choose and a representative will assist you in setting up your shipment. You won't face any problems booking your shipment.
Prepare your car for shipment
Next, make sure your vehicle is ready for shipping and inspection. When your driver arrives, they will inspect your car to ensure that there is no damage. You should take photos with dates so that you have a reference if you receive your car damaged from shipping.
There are many things you need to do in order to prepare for inspection. has a list that you can use. This checklist covers things such as making sure your car runs properly, inflating your tires properly, having only a quarter of gas left, and thoroughly cleaning your car.
Your driver will inspect your car once they arrive. After they have completed their inspection, you should review the bill of lading. You should confirm with them the details of your shipment and verify that any damage has been properly documented.
What is a bill of lading? A bill of lading, also known as the title of goods, is proof that you have an agreement with an auto transport company. It will obligate the shipper that the vehicle is returned to you once the shipment is complete.
Be sure to inform the driver if there are any problems with your vehicle. This will make it easier for them to load the car onto the trailer. Let them know if the alignment of your car is not right. It would be ideal if this was done before shipping.
Once your car has been picked up, it will be shipped.
After your vehicle has been collected for shipping, you can track the shipment with most auto transport companies. You will typically receive a tracking number that you can use online to track the progress and status of your shipment. This number should be received before your driver leaves your car.
You must be ready to accept that your car shipment may go behind schedule. It is impossible for drivers or companies to predict when long-distance auto-shipments will arrive. There are too many variables.
These include traffic delays, weather delays, and customer-related delays like someone not being at home for delivery. If your delivery window is June 1, 3, and 4, you should be prepared for delivery as late as June 5. These delays are not common, but they can happen occasionally and are unfortunately unavoidable.
After your car has been delivered
You should inspect your vehicle for damage during transport before your driver drops it off. You should take photos of any damage to your vehicle so that you can compare them with those taken when the driver picked it up. Contact your shipping company and let them know what you have done.
You can then go online to leave a review about the auto shipping company that you used. You can help others find a reliable car shipping company by leaving both good and negative reviews. This makes auto transport companies more accountable for their employees and business practices.
Tips for shipping your car in 2022
These tips will ensure your car shipping experience is as smooth as possible.
- You might be allowed to ship personal items with some companies. This can add weight to your vehicle and you'll be charged more. These items are not covered by your auto insurance or the insurance of an auto transport company.
- Remove any removable equipment, such as roof racks, so they don't fall off or get damaged in shipment.
- Do not wash your car's interior before shipping. You can expect dirt to collect on your car during shipping, so it is best to wait until the delivery to clean it.
- You may be unable to pick up your car at your home due to the restrictions in your area or street size. Consider a nearby shopping center or mall parking lot for your pick-up and drop-off.