Whether you are moving to a different state or purchasing a new vehicle and need it to be shipped from another state, figuring out how to move it can be a very daunting task.

It gets even more complicated if you do not have a solid plan in place to facilitate the delivery of your vehicle.

This article will help you understand the various ways you can ship your vehicle across the United States, and what you need to plan for successful automobile transport.

Hiring An Auto Transport Company

Auto Transport, also referred to as car or vehicle shipping, is a service that helps consumers move their cars from one place to another aboard a truck made specifically for that purpose.

An automobile transport company is a registered company that offers these services to its clients through qualified industry experts.

Step 1:
Understanding How It Works

When a consumer needs to have a vehicle relocated from one place to another, they first contact a business that provides this service.

The customer and the transportation provider then agree on the vehicle’s transportation.

Following the conclusion of the arrangement, the business sends a driver on a carrier truck to pick up the car from the customer’s specified location.

The carrier truck driver then subsequently delivers it to the customer’s specified location. Working with a reputable company guarantees clients a simple, hassle-free process for getting a price, signing a contract, and scheduling pickup and delivery.

The Process of Vehicle Shipping

When the transportation driver arrives at your location, they are responsible for securely and safely loading your car onto the carrier truck and moving it with maximum care.

They must do their best to ensure your vehicle reaches its specified destination within the scheduled time.

The dispatch team’s top priority is to make sure that your automobile is well-cared for throughout the journey and that it gets to your destination on schedule and in excellent shape.

Step 2:
Get a Quote for the Transportation Cost

When it comes to the cost of your automobile transportation, you should be aware that there is no straightforward answer.

Wherever you are shipping your vehicle to or from, the distance of your relocation will have the most impact on the cost of transportation.

For shorter routes that are 500 miles or less, you could pay about one dollar per mile, but as distance increases, costs per mile fall.

For cross-country shipping, you should budget between $0.40 and $0.60 per mile.

Cost Factors that Influence Auto Transport

When you contact a vehicle shipping company, the factors that they consider before they prepare a pricing quote for you include the following:

  • The distance between the pickup point and the delivery location
  • Style of transportation (whether you want the open or enclosed)
  • The time it will take to transport the car from the pickup location to the destination
  • The condition in which the vehicle is (newer and higher-end vehicles could require more delicate care)
  • The model, make, and year of manufacture of the car – if you are transporting a classic or luxury car, it will require more attention than standard ones, so you might end up paying more
  • The vehicle’s height and length
  • The collection and Drop-off locations of the car

Before settling on an automobile shipping company, it is a good idea to acquire several quotations and average them to see where they fall.

Research the services that the businesses provide and their standings and read their reviews from previous customers.

Knowing the best company may ask for a little more than the cheaper ones.

Step 3:
Choose a Shipping and Delivery Option

Open vs. Enclosed Carrier Shipping Options

There are two methods of vehicle shipping via a carrier truck, open and enclosed. Open shipping involves shipping the car in a long open two-level trailer.

You can use open transport to ship any type of car. Most people choose this method, especially for used and standard cars.

Open transportation is the more affordable option, with its rates being between 35% and 50% less, and your shipping company will take care of its security.

Open Carrier Trucks are more available than enclosed ones, so it will be much easier to access an open one than an enclosed one. This means your vehicles will get to their destination faster.

The only drawback to this method is the fact that it may expose your vehicles to natural elements like sun, rain, and hail.

Before settling on this method, you need to know your vehicle will not get any cover and will be affected by elements.

However, your transportation company will ensure you get your vehicle in perfect condition by using carrier trucks that are highly trained.

Also, you do not need to worry about your car arriving in bad condition due to movements in the truck because the company neatly straps and places it in the perfect position to reduce vibrations and any sort of mobility.

Enclosed Carrier Trucks involve transporting cars in enclosed carrier trucks.

The main aim of this method of shipping is to ensure maximum car protection. However, with this choice, be ready to dig a little deeper into your pockets and wait a little longer for your car’s pickup.

If you are transporting a luxury, vintage, or custom car, an enclosed auto shipping carrier truck is a fantastic option.

Contrary to open car carriers, enclosed car transporters have four walls, a roof, and a space inside which vehicles can be stored.

Most times, enclosed carrier trucks have a maximum capacity of five vehicles.

The enclosed shipping option usually calls for a lengthier wait time before pickup because there are often fewer enclosed automobile shipping transporters available on the road at any given moment in the US.

Additionally, they are much more expensive than open transportation trucks.

Door-to-Door vs. Terminal-to-Terminal Transportation/Delivery Options

With door-to-door shipping, the carrier picks up your car from your driveway and delivers it to the doorstep of the destination. This is convenient and saves you time and the hassle of driving it.

If you pick the terminal-to-terminal option, you will have to drive it to an agreed terminal then the driver will drop it off at the destination terminal for collection.

This option is cheaper, but it might inconvenience you.

Step 4:
Prepare Your Vehicle for Pick-Up

Before you begin your shipping journey, you need to countercheck your car to ensure it is in perfect condition so that it arrives without any hitches.

Typically, a reputable auto transport company will go through the particulars that you need to accomplish before pickup.

However, you also need to know the specific areas to check on so that you become confident enough that your car is in the best condition for transit.

First, you need to make sure that the fuel level in your fuel tank does not exceed a quarter of its normal capacity.

For example, if your vehicle can hold 16 gallons, check your fuel capacity before the shipping starts to ensure it does not exceed four gallons.

Double-check all your tires to ensure they are in perfect condition and properly inflated.

If any of them have deflated or worn out, contact someone to repair them before starting the journey.

Also, check your vehicle’s battery and engine. Ensure you fully charge your battery and check if your engine is in good condition.

Your auto transport company may require you to empty your vehicle before picking it up. Alternatively, they can also inform you about their weight limit if they have any.

This ensures they do not overload their carrier truck to avoid any accidents that might occur as a result.

You also need to remove any valuables from the vehicle, including the standalone GPS units and all the paperwork stored in the glove box.

To avoid risks, you also need to inspect your car thoroughly to see if it has any existing damage. Make sure to take multiple pictures and videos of how the car looks before the transit begins.

Should anything happen along the way that makes it sustain any damage while on the road, you will be able to prove that it was not present before, and you will get compensation through the proper insurance channels.

Step 5:
Receive Delivery of Your Car

When your car arrives at its destination, the only thing you need to do is verify your identity by showing your ID to the carrier driver and making the necessary payments.

Inspect the car, take pictures, and cross-check against the ones you took before to ensure no damages have occurred while in transit.

Sign the bill of lading and enjoy your car.

How Long It Takes to Ship an Automobile

While you may need that car in a few hours, you need to understand that that is not going to happen.

Typically, the entire shipping process takes between four to seven days until the car arrives at its destination for distances between 1,000 and 2000 miles.

Several factors may affect the time that your car will take to arrive at its destined location:

  • Distance is the biggest factor that affects the delivery time, just like the cost
  • Weather determines how easy and fast the transit will be
  • Traffic patterns
  • Whether both locations are urban or rural