10 tips for shipping a car

10 Things to Know Before Shipping a Car

1. It is risky depending on your method of shipment

Enclosed Auto Transport Trailer 

You can ship your car in an open or enclosed trailer. Open trailers are typically cheaper but are prone to damage, theft, and the weather. Cars on open trailers are typically secured with chains, while reputable enclosed car transport companies use nylon straps or wheel nets to prevent damage to the vehicle. Be wary of companies that use chains to secure their vehicles. Chains are often put over a vehicle’s axle, which can put a lot of strain on that vehicle especially if they are over tightened. If the chains loosen, they will bang against the car for the remainder of the journey- over every pothole and bump. Enclosed trailers have lift gates for low clearance cars and have a lesser chance of damage or theft. At Intercity Lines, we only have top of the line enclosed carriers that use nylon straps to ensure your car is transported safely. 

2. Reading reviews is not a waste of time

transport reviews

When shipping a car you are risking thousands of dollars. You need to use a transport company you can trust.  Visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website to look up a company’s safety record: http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/CompanySnaps .You should ask friends, family, and local dealerships for recommendations. You can also use car forums and review websites to ensure that you are picking a company who will offer you quality service. Some useful websites are: www.transportreviews.com and www.yelp.com

We cover how to research auto transport companies more in: How to Research an Auto Transport Company

3. Beware of auto transport brokers

Back of Intercity Lines truck in front of Ferris Wheel

Auto transport brokers are something that most people are not aware of when they ship their first car. So what exactly is an auto transport broker? They are companies that bid your shipment to a group of other shipping companies. When doing business with an auto transport broker, you do not know what car carrier or driver they are going to broker your order to. Unfortunately, customers often suffer at the hands of these tricksters because the cars are shipped with sub-par drivers that lack customer service and transport skills. The equipment used can vary significantly in quality depending on the company the order is brokered too. The trailer may use ramps instead of hydraulic lift gates, which may damage low clearance vehicles. They may also lack oil drip pans, car covers, floor mats, etc. If you have an issue with your vehicle you will be going through two separate companies just to receive help. Get to know the driver you are trusting your vehicle with. Do not be fooled by these companies! Read more about auto transport brokers at: Be Wary of Auto Transport Brokers

4. Never give a deposit

shipping a classic car

Red flags should go up if a company asks for a deposit! Exclusive and reputable car carriers often do not require a deposit, but instead, ask for a payment when the car is picked up or dropped off. This allows you to ensure you are getting the service you expect and gives you a way to back out if they don’t live up to your expectations. We cover whether you should give auto transport companies deposit at Shipping a car? Should you pay a deposit?

5. Never base your decision on price alone

Corvette Museum Delivery

You will find that the old expression ‘quality over quantity’ is relevant in the car shipping industry. The cheapest is usually not the best or safest choice. Transport pricing reflects the price of the equipment. A new enclosed shipping rig with the highest quality safety equipment can cost about $500,000 new. When a price is low you are most likely dealing with an auto transport broker or an open carrier that has sub-par equipment. A low price should raise red flags! Read more about the Price of Shipping a Car here.

6. Be aware of insurance policies

Cars stuck in mudslide

It is always best to have your transporter provide a Certificate of Insurance. This certificate should include coverage amounts for liability, workers comp, cargo limits, and deductible if applicable. Typically broker companies do not carry their own insurances; only the brokerage bond. At Intercity Lines, we have $2,000,000 worth of cargo insurance.

7. Make your scheduling needs known

VW Car and Orange Airplane

If the delivery of your car needs to coincide with a particular timed event such as a birthday or a car show you need to emphasize this to the company and your driver. Trucking is extremely difficult to predict. Most auto transport companies require a certain window of time for a pickup and delivery. Often at least 5-7 days because trucking is not like the airlines the situation changes every day!

8. Preparing your car for transport

Old Fashioned Ford Cars Lined On Line

Once you have picked an auto transport company, you feel comfortable with, it is time to prepare your car for shipping. Car carriers typically charge a non-run fee if the vehicle cannot be driven on and off the trailer. Making sure there is gas in the tank and that your battery is fully charged helps prevent being charged with this fee. Also, check the antifreeze level to ensure that it is adequate for the climates the car will endure during transport to avoid a cracked engine block or other problems. It is also not recommended to ship additional items in the car because if not properly secured these items can cause damage. Also remove your EZ Pass! It is possible for the transponder to be read even inside of an enclosed trailer.

9. Explain the oddities of your car

Hot Rod

Explain those “quirky” things about your car to the driver such as kill switches, alarms, cut-off switches, and brakes only work with the motor running. The more information your driver has, the easier it will be for him to ship your car safely across the country and prevents you from getting charged an unnecessary non-run fee. Written instructions are very helpful!

10. Your car needs a thorough inspection

Model A Provo 

When your car is picked up, the truck driver should inspect it, and note any pre-existing damage, scratches, or marks. After delivery you or a trusted representative should inspect your classic car and note any damage caused during auto transportation before signing. If any damage is noticed you should submit a claim with the auto transport company.

Here at Intercity Lines, we take care of our customers. Your vehicle will always be safe with us because we have the best drivers in the industry. We are a family owned auto transport business and have been in business since 1985! We only have enclosed trailers and specialize in classic car transport, luxury car transport, and exotic car transport. You can learn more about Our Enclosed Auto Transport Services or Request a Quote today!