Unless you have moved across the county, you probably haven’t ever thought about shipping cars or what that entails. It’s a service most folks may only need once in their lives – if ever.

But when the need does arise, most people have no frame of reference for the basic process. Here’s what happens after the truck is assigned.

Your driver will call to provide an estimated time for pick-up, usually within 24 hours of arrival. While drivers prefers to stay on schedule, they are easily affected by traffic or weather or issues with other customers.

You won’t have to wait around all day, but it is realistic to be flexible with your time or have a back-up person on call. As long as the truck can safely access the address you specify, the carrier will come right to your neighborhood and load your vehicle there.

The hauler is large enough to transport multiple vehicles so the truck does need a flat, open space away from heavy traffic. Because the driver is usually alone and probably not based in your city, you may be asked to meet the carrier nearby if your location is not ideal for loading.

Your driver is shipping cars for other customers in the same region going the same direction. Open auto carriers take 7 or 8 other customer vehicles at the same time as yours.

car shippingEnclosed carriers can only accommodate 1, 2 or sometimes 3 vehicles at a time.

Your vehicle may have to be off-loaded during the transport to load/unload another customer’s car.

While en route shipping cars, drivers are regulated as far as how many hours a day they can drive, are required to take meal breaks and must sleep at night. In many states, drivers are not allowed to drive and use cell phones at the same time, so your driver won’t always be available to take or make update calls.

Before delivery, you will want to have your final payment ready – COD (cash on delivery) is standard.

Seven to ten days in transit is average from coast to coast, and your driver will call to provide an estimated time for their arrival within 24 hours of delivery.

And as mentioned before, they deliver to your address as long as your street is safe and accessible.

I hope that gives you a good picture of the basic process for shipping cars. If you have any further questions about car shipping in general, please contact us today at 866-221-1664 – (or just play around with our Free Rate Calculator)


Michael began working in the Car Shipping Industry back in 2002, starting as a Salesperson for AAA Discount Auto & Truck Transporters in Los Angeles, CA. In 2008, he opened his own office under the name "Honesty First Auto Transport" where he pioneered the movement within the Auto Transport industry of not charging the customer a deposit up front. Many car shipping companies followed his lead and no longer require a deposit up front. In 2011, in an effort to further improve the customer experience for anyone shipping a car to another state, he changed the name of his company to Safe-Direct Car Shipping and created the auto shipping industry's ONLY Damage Free Guarantee. His hope is that other Auto Transporters will, once again, follow his lead and create similar safeguards for their customers (and he'll be happy to re-emerge once again in a few years with the next great improvement). Simplify things even further, Safe-Direct Car Shipping now operates under the name Ship a Car Direct. He is also proud to announce that Ship a Car Direct has become the #1 company on Consumer Affairs, Transport Reviews and many other review sites. Ship a Car Direct has also been accredited by the BBB since 2008.