5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Shipping Your Car

Whether you’re shipping your car internationally or interstate, it’s a big deal to hand the keys and full responsibility for your beloved vehicle over to a stranger. Provided you prepare carefully and choose reputable car shippers to carry out the move, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

This comprehensive guide to car transportation gives you essential guidance on what the most costly mistakes are and how to avoid them.

Top Five Mistakes to Avoid When Shipping Your Car

These are the five main mistakes that people make when using a car transportation service to ship vehicles.

1. Insufficient Research

When searching for a reliable car transportation company, make sure you conduct all the necessary research. We trust shipping companies to move goods from state to state and country to country, which is a significant responsibility. The government has regulations in place that mean shippers must register with the Department for Transport. Additionally, if it moves items over state lines, it should also be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Only use a registered shipping company that doesn’t hesitate to give you information such as its registration number, MC number, or DoT number.

2. Leaving Belongings in the Car

There aren’t any laws to prohibit people from shipping a car with belongings inside — provided they weigh less than 100lbs. However, it isn’t advisable, and most shippers won’t allow it. The main reason for this is that the transportation company’s insurance won’t cover the goods in the unlikely eventuality anything goes wrong. That means if any of your stuff gets damaged or goes missing, you’re liable for the costs and won’t be able to make any claims against the company.

If the weight of the items did exceed 100lbs, the DoT would have the right to seize your belongings. Trust us, leaving stuff in the car just isn’t worth the risk.

3. Poor Vehicle Preparation

As with most things, the key to success is preparation. Provided you make the necessary arrangements and follow our recommendations, you’ll be able to deal with all eventualities efficiently. One of the major points of conflict when transporting a car occurs when the recipient collects it and points out damage. If no-one has taken pictures or notes before shipping, there’s no way of objectively saying whether the shippers, the person collecting it, or the person who dropped it off caused the damage.

By cleaning the automobile, meticulously checking it for marks, and taking pictures before the move takes place, you have absolute clarity about the condition it should be in when it reaches its destination.

4. Incomplete Documents

There are several documents you’ll need to fill in to ship a car from one place to another, and the company you choose will provide you with all of them. This might mean you show them items like your insurance, vehicle registration, and the bill of lading. Make sure you have all of these ready when you’re trying to ship your automobile. If there is a vehicle inspection report, make sure you sign it and ask the driver to sign it in case of any damage. Without a signature, you won’t be able to file a claim.

5. Insurance Issues

Proper insurance is integral for your peace of mind throughout the shipping process. Make sure you call them in advance and request details to prove that their insurance coverage is sufficient in the unlikely event something goes wrong.

How to Avoid Making Those Mistakes

Don’t fall into the trap of making the preparations for shipping your car poorly. Follow this advice for preparing your automobile for shipping, and the process will run smoothly.

Find Reliable Car Transportation

  1. Select a car shipping company with favorable customer reviews.
  2. Check it’s registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
  3. Decide whether open or enclosed vehicle shipping is best-suited to your needs.
  4. Use the company’s website to input your requirements and calculate how much the move is going to cost.
  5. Contact the automobile transporter by phone, live chat, or email to discuss the critical details of your move and ask any questions you might have. Find out if the quote you’ve received online is correct and inquire if there are any further costs to take into account.
  6. Schedule a date and sort out insurance
  7. Get your vehicle ready for transportation.

Thoroughly Prepare Your Car for Shipping

  • If the vehicle hasn’t been on the road for some time, we’d recommend taking it in for repairs. You’ll need to make sure your car is roadworthy so that the shipper can drive it on and off the transporter. Shippers can still move a non-operational vehicle, but it costs more.
  • Thoroughly wash your automobile by hand, inside and outside. This way, dents, chips, dings, and other damage is easy to spot.
  • The car shippers will keep your vehicle safe, so disable your alarm before taking it in. You can find out how to disable the alarm in your car’s manual.
  • Fold in your side mirrors, remove all personal belongings, and retract or remove the antennae.
  • Leave the gas tank less than half full.
  • Take pictures and make notes detailing any damage or marks on the paintwork. That way, there’s no uncertainty about marks or nicks on the paintwork when the car arrives at its destination.
  • Gather the following documents: vehicle registration, driver’s license, and proof of insurance.
  • Prepare a list to let the shippers know if there are any issues with the car that they should be aware of. For example, a weak parking brake or engine that floods easily.

Consider Car Shipping Costs in Advance

If you’re wondering how to calculate the cost of shipping your car, there are several factors to take into account. At Nexus Auto Transport, we have an online car shipping calculator that does all the hard work for you, but it’s smart to conduct some research so you can get the best deal. Here’s a breakdown of the different factors that affect the cost of car transportation.


The closer to a large city you plan to transport your car, the more affordable the journey will be. Moving to or from an area that’s close to a main freeway or highway route is less costly than shipping to or from a rural area.


Labor fees and fuel charges are calculated by distance. However, the route still plays a crucial role in determining the price of moving your automobile. A longer move might cost less in a major city than a shorter move in a rural area.


A small vehicle is less expensive to ship than a large car, and a luxury automobile is usually a little more costly than a standard model. SUVs and pickup trucks incur the highest transportation costs.


With open haulage, we load your car onto a large purpose-built truck with four or five other automobiles. While it’s 100% secure, it’s exposed to the elements.

If you choose closed transportation, your vehicle is protected within a soft or hard carrier. Collectible, convertible, luxury, and antique cars particularly benefit from enclosed car transportation.


Door to door car transportation sometimes costs a little more than dropping it off and picking up at a terminal. However, it tends to be worth it because, with terminal collection and pickup, you’d still need to cover the costs of car carrier checks. You’d also still have to pay for moving the vehicle to and from the terminal.


Expedited car shipping is the fastest way to get your vehicle transported from A to B, usually guaranteeing collection on the same or next day. Standard shipping is more affordable, but you’ll need to wait between one and three days for collection. Economy is the most affordable method of car shipping, with collection usually taking place within one to five days of when it’s ready, at the time best suited to your courier.


Rates are often a little higher during the peak months of March to September, as well as during the winter when driving conditions are more hazardous. Seasonality plays a vital role in the way your car is shipped, too, so be sure to carry out plenty of research.


As mentioned previously, an inoperative automobile costs a bit more to ship than a car that can brake, steer, and roll. This is due to the manual labor involved in moving a vehicle the shippers can’t drive on and off the transporter.

Find Reliable Car Transportation Today

Provided you gather the necessary documents, carefully check your vehicle for damage in advance, and conduct plenty of research, you can avoid making costly mistakes.

Call Nexus Auto Transport today at 224-218-2949 to find out about our range of expert car shipping services, all protected by a secure online vehicle tracking service.