Auto transport is a serious adventure and requires some answers to the question of how does car shipping work in order to find the best option. While exploring car shipping guides and websites, you can find out that there are a number of things to consider, such as the right transporter for your type of vehicle, the distance, and the factors that affect the price. Your decision depends to a great extent on your needs, as you might want the fastest, safest, or the cheapest option.
How Does Car Shipping Work – the Basics
Even though it can be arranged for the carrier to pick the car up at your place, it may be better to find a suitable spot somewhere out of the residential area, as such large trucks are hard to navigate in crowded streets. The unloading location is subject to an agreement with the transporter.
Make sure to check your agreement and insurance policy before handing your automobile over to the company, as it is your only protection against loss or damage. You should photograph your vehicl with a high-resolution camera before you ship it to your new destination for insurance purposes, should any damages occur.
Given that hazardous materials are not allowed on the carrier, you have to empty the tank, leaving only a quarter of the tank full, just enough to load the vehicle. You can do that by not filling the tank sometime before you ship your machine to your new home, depending on your driving schedule.
Types of Delivery
Deliveries can be made on a door-to-door basis or from one terminal to another.
As the name indicates, door-to-door service means your automobile is picked up at your place or the location you choose and delivered to your new home or any destination you decide on. If your place is in a residential area where it is hard to drive the trailer, the nearest possible location is mutually agreed upon. Bear in mind that the closer to the terminal you come, the lower the price will be.
If you opt for a terminal-to-terminal service, you will have to drive your auto to a regional terminal and pick it up at the other terminal close to your new destination. This service is much cheaper, even if it may cause you some inconvenience with driving to and from the terminal. Luckily, reputable and established carriers with a nation-wide presence typically have terminals in most major US cities.
Auto Transport Questions That Need Answers
There are a lot of questions that may come to your mind when you start preparing for this adventure. However, your chosen car shipping company will usually have all the answers. Ask them whether your machine can be safely placed in the carrier so as to avoid colliding with other cars, if any damage will be covered by insurance, if the car will be protected from severe weather conditions, and what kind of containers they provide.
Your automobile will be shipped with other cars if you haven’t paid for a costlier private option. There are safety mechanisms that are put in place to prevent the cars from hitting into one another. The rules for securing the cargo are strict, and a reputable company follows all transit safety precautions. Should any damage occur when you ship your machine, and you have full coverage, your insurance will take care of that.
An enclosed container obviously gives better protection from weather conditions than an open one, but covering the cars on an open trailer is not a good option. If the vehicle covering gets loose, it can cause scratches or lead to incidents on the road. It is better to wash and wax the surface of the automobile to protect the paint from dirt and debris.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Auto Transport Step by Step
After choosing the right shipping company, you have to prepare your car for auto transport. If your automobile is in an inoperable condition, loading it will cost you extra since the procedure requires special skill and equipment.
You need to leave just enough fuel for the vehicle to be driven on and off the trailer and to the nearest gas station, and you have to make sure the battery is fully charged. If you want to ship it to a colder climate, you have to use an antifreeze liquid suitable for low temperatures to prevent the engine block from cracking.
All additional items need to be removed from the vehicle because they can get detached during the transport, causing damage inside. That applies to E-ZPass as well, as it can be read while inside a closed trailer.
Ship with Open or Enclosed Carriers
There are open and enclosed trailers you can choose for auto transport. If you are on a tight budget, open trailers might be your choice, as they are cheaper. However, that does not come without certain inconveniences. On open trailers, your machine will be more exposed to severe weather conditions or theft. They frequently have chains for securing the vehicle, and if those get loose for any reason, they can damage the auto by hitting on the surface each time the trailer goes over a bump on the road. Check whether shipping companies use chains or nylon straps for securing the car and opt for the latter. The main advantage of open carriers, besides their lower cost, is that the driver can see the cargo and make visual checks of potential damage during the transport.
Enclosed trailers offer better protection against theft or damage. They also have lift gates for low suspension cars, making them an ideal solution for unique, brand-new or specialty vehicles.
The Right Transport Method Depends on Your Needs
The right kind of method depends entirely on your needs and available means.
If you own an expensive car, then paying some extra money to get better protection is advisable. Enclosed auto carriers have roofs and side protections, so your valuable automobile will be safe from stone ricochets and bad weather conditions, especially if you have to ship it to a cold climate or during winter.
However, if you’re running on a tight budget, or maybe relocating your entire household and paying for professional moving services, an open trailer might be the perfect choice for you.