Whether you are moving to a different state or buying a car online, shipping your car is much easier than trying to drive it across the country yourself. However, if you are a first-time car shipper, there are some important things to consider before handing over your keys. Your car is a valuable possession so you want to make sure you are working with a trusted and reliable shipping company. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you understand the process so your experience is stress-free. Here are a few of the most important things to consider before selecting a car transport service.
This is probably the first question in peoples’ minds when it comes to auto shipment. The answer, however, is dependent on a number of factors. Here are some of the factors that can impact the cost of car shipment:
- Make, model, and size of your vehicle
- The exact distance of transport
- Open vs. enclosed carrier
- Time of year (some seasons are busier than others)
- Fuel costs at the time of shipment
- Special services such as transporting a vehicle that is oversized or inoperable
The best way to get an accurate estimate is to call several auto shipping companies to request a quote.
The next thing to consider is how quickly you will need your vehicle. Auto shippers will do their best to give you an estimated delivery date but keep in mind that this is only an estimate. It is nearly impossible to guarantee delivery dates with auto-shipment and you should be wary of any company that claims they can guarantee delivery. That’s because there are a number of factors that are out of the company’s control that can impact delivery time. For instance, bad weather, traffic jams, or mechanical issues with the carrier can all be potential reasons for delays. If you require your vehicle in a certain amount of time, be sure to discuss expedited shipping options with your transport company.
Finding an auto shipping company usually starts with an online search but bear in mind that not all companies are created equal. Unfortunately, there are scammers out there and businesses who claim to be something they are not. Therefore, you should be prepared to do adequate research before choosing a car shipping company. Start by verifying the company’s licensing, registration, and insurance by using the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website. This website can also provide you with a safety record for the company. Next, spend time reading reviews, asking friends, and even contacting the Better Business Bureau. Finally, be sure to ask plenty of questions. If the company isn’t willing or able to answer your questions, this could be a red flag that something is off.
When it comes to auto shipping, you will have the choice between using an open or enclosed carrier to transport your vehicle. Open carriers are the cheapest and most popular choice. However, your car will be exposed to the outdoor elements which could present a greater risk for unexpected damage. The other option would be an enclosed carrier, which provides maximum protection for your vehicle from the outdoor elements. This option is more expensive, however, and is generally used for brand new, luxury, antique, or exotic vehicles.
You also need to bear in mind that there are a few things you will need to do to prepare your vehicle for shipment. These include:
- Top off all fluids and leave no more than a quarter tank of gas in the car
- Wash the exterior of your car so any scratches, dents, or dings are easily visible
- Take photos of the car’s exterior and make note of any scratches or dents. This will serve as proof of your vehicle’s condition prior to shipment
- Remove all personal items from inside the vehicle
- Remove all exterior accessories such as bike racks, luggage racks, spoilers, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Your Car Moving Questions
The hardest thing for people researching car moving companies to understand is that the prices they are getting are not hard and fast gaurantees, but rather ESTIMATES of what one company thinks it will take to get a vehicle moved promptly versus another company's opinion of what it will take. Don't be fooled, there are not carriers committed to take your vehicle at these quoted prices, the company you choose will still have to get to work getting a carrier to commit to move it at the price they quote you.
Your total price breaks down into two parts, the broker's fee (or 'deposit' as everyone calls it) and the carriers fee (your COD amount) Make no mistake about this, EVERYONE YOU ARE GETTING SALES CALLS FROM IS GOING TO BROKER YOUR MOVE. In this industry, there are brokers who try to fool you into thinking that they are the actual carriers and there are an equal amount of carriers who sell themselves on the fact that they have a truck or two but are not being honest about the fact that they broker out 90% of the orders they book. Here is a quick easy way to tell, if a company takes an up front fee, whether they call it a deposit or any other name, they are a broker. Carriers do not take any payment until the vehicle is delivered.
In our opinion, you are crazy to do so. Have you ever been paid up front for the work that you perform for your employer? Why would you pay a fee up front when there are reliable and trustworthy companies like ours that won't ask for it until we provide you with your carriers details?
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will be between one and two weeks. 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.