10 Auto Transport Tips

Auto Shipping Tips

Empty your trunk of valuables before auto shipping.

Choosing a company to ship your automobile can be a somewhat overwhelming experience if you are doing it for the first time, so here are 10 auto transport tips to get you started.

Decide If You Want an Open Carrier or an Enclosed Carrier

By default, most car transportation companies haul cars in open carriers. These are large, customized trucks capable of hauling between 10 and 12 cars at a time. Open carrier hauling is relatively inexpensive. However, if you are concerned about damage to your car during transit, you can have it transported in an enclosed carrier. Enclosed trailers offer complete protection for your car against inclement weather and road debris during transit. Be prepared to pay between 50 percent and 100 percent more for enclosed carrier transportation though.

Compare Door-to-Door and Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping

Both door-to-door shipping and terminal-to-terminal shipping have their advantages and disadvantages, so you need to compare them to see which makes the most sense for you. Door-to-door shipping is convenient because it allows you to have your car picked up and delivered at your front door. However, door-to-door services may not always be available in your area and are often more expensive than a terminal-to-terminal service. Similarly, terminal-to-terminal shipping is often the cheaper option. But, if you have to travel a long distance to drop off your car at the shipping company’s terminal and pick it up from there at the destination city, the savings can quickly get negated.

Make Sure the Company you Choose Has the Right Credentials

Among the most important auto transport tips is the need to ensure that your car shipper has the needed credentials. Before entrusting your car with a professional auto hauling company, make sure the firm is properly licensed, bonded and insured. Cars can sometimes get damaged during transit. You need to make sure your carrier has the insurance coverage needed to pay for any damages during transportation. Make sure you understand what the shipping company’s policies cover and the kind of deductible you would have to pay in the event of an insurance claim. In terms of auto transport tips, few are as important as this one.

Know your Payment Options

Typically, auto haulers will require you to pay between 10 percent and 25 percent of the total price in advance as a deposit when you make the booking. The balance is due in full at the time of delivery. Many auto transport companies do not accept checks or credit cards and will instead expect you to pay in cash or via a money order. Before making a booking, ask your vendor if they accept credit cards and if they charge any fees for such transactions. If not, be prepared to pay by cash.

Make your Car Transportation Arrangements Early

Another piece of advice that makes the list of the top auto transport tips is the need to make your car transportation arrangements early. Most car transport services require you to give them at least seven days advance notice to ship your car. Often, they are willing to ship you car with less notice, but be prepared to pay higher fees for priority handling.

Make Sure your Car Transporter is Reliable

Don’t feel shy to ask your car transporting company for customer testimonials. Call a couple of those and ask them about their experience with the company. See if you can find any information on them with the Better Business Bureau. Reliable car transporters will likely offer to you the testimonials they have received from customers. If they do not, simply walk away.

Check If any Discounts are Available

It never hurts to ask your auto shipping company if they offer any discounts for students, senior citizens, veterans, active military personnel, or AAA members. It’s one of those auto transport tips that can save you some real money. Sometimes, these discounts can reduce your cost of shipping by up to 10 percent.

Prepare your Car for Transport

Remove all personal belongings and valuables from your car. Car transporters do not allow you to store luggage or any cargo in your vehicle during shipping, so you need to make sure that all storage spaces are empty. Do not ship you car with a tank full of gas. Leave the gas tank about half to two-thirds empty.

Leverage the Power of the Internet

Take advantage of the Internet to find and to research car shipping companies. Most offer free online quotes and websites that allow you to make your car transportation arrangements online. Use online quote comparison sites to receive and compare quotes from multiple car transporters.

Set Realistic Expectations

No list of auto transport tips would be complete without this one. Sometimes, despite all your planning and research, things can go wrong. Your auto shipment may be delayed because of adverse weather conditions, mechanical problems and other reasons. Though rare, cars can get damaged during transit. Sometimes, even the safest and most reliable auto transporters can have accidents.

Finally, use these auto transport tips as a guide, but make sure to do your own homework as well before selecting an auto transport company for your needs.