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How Vehicle Shipping Works

December 31, 2016

Having your vehicle shipped with an auto transport company isn’t a complicated task. You’ll just need to spend some time upfront doing research. You do, however, likely have a few important questions you’re curious about. Here we explain the process in the simplest terms we can.

The first step to shipping your car is to get an auto shipping quote. This is done by searching out the car shipping companies online, using queries such as:

“Car Shipping Companies”

“Auto Transportation”

“Auto Shipping Quotes”

Most paid ads will take you to a lead generator website, which you’ll definitely want to avoid if you value the privacy of your information (to read more on lead generator sites, click here). Instead, what you’ll want to look for is an Anonymous Car Shipping Calculator

A few details they will need include:

  • Where the car is located for pickup
  • Where the car is being delivered to
  • When the car needs to be shipped
  • What make, model, year


After you’ve provided this information, you should have multiple anonymous quotes from several different companies. Don’t be afraid to call car transport companies to ask questions. This is how you determine which automobile transport is best suited to your needs, as well as helping to identify any red flags that show a lack of integrity.

Once you have chosen the auto transport that suits your budget, you come to the second step of the process, which is to prepare the car for shipping. We have outlined important actions below for this process.

  1. Remove all personal possessions from the car.
  2. Check all fluid levels in the vehicle to ensure antifreeze is full if you are shipping in cold weather.
  3. Keep only enough fuel in the tank for loading and unloading, plus a small amount to get to a fuel station after delivery. This helps with weight and the auto transporter will appreciate that.
  4. Take pictures of the outside of the vehicle. This is done to ensure both you and the transport company have a record of the condition of the vehicle at pickup.
  5. Take pictures of the interior of the vehicle. As with the exterior, this is to provide a record of the condition at pickup.
  6. Make sure the vehicle will be easily accessible by the auto transport truck. You may need to arrange a pickup location if your location is difficult to navigate.
  7. If you will not be there, make sure to set up arrangements with the vehicle shipping company as they will not accept a signature from an unauthorized party.
  8. If you live in a residential area, make sure you arrange a pickup location with the shipping company. Auto transporters are large and will find it difficult to maneuver effectively on residential streets.
  9. Wash and wax your vehicle. While this may sound silly, it will protect the paint from road grit, bugs, inclement weather conditions, and other debris during shipping.
  10. While transport companies are required to carry liability insurance and often offer cargo insurance, be sure to check into additional insurance to cover costs that may not be covered by their insurance. Make sure to get a clear list of what you will need to cover separately!

Finally, enjoy your trip and look forward to the delivery of your car! Car transport services are designed to take the stress out of your move. Let them do their job and focus on your job, which is getting to your destination safely.