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Pump the Brakes! 8 Things to Know Before Shipping Your Vehicle

Pump the Brakes! 8 Things to Know Before Shipping Your Vehicle

Shipping your car across the country can be nerve-wracking. Your vehicle was expensive, and you’ll need it where you’re going. Knowing what to expect can help soothe your nerves. Here’s what you need to know about car shipping before you load up the trailer on the big day. 

Do your research first

If you know someone who shipped their car, ask them which company they used and how their experience was. You’ll also want to start researching shippers on your own. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a great place to kickstart that process. 

Look up reviews on Yelp, Consumer Affairs, the Better Business Bureau, and Google. Sites like Yelp do not allow businesses to change or remove reviews, so you’ll know you’re seeing what past customers truly think. Reviews should narrow your search down to a few strong contenders, at which point you can start making phone calls.

Ask lots of questions

You’ll probably have some questions as a natural part of your research process. Make a list of anything you want to know about the shipping company. Ask the transporter what costs are included in quotes, such as environment fees and insurance. Find out if the quoted price is guaranteed, and if so, for how long. This consultation is your time to be as thorough as possible, so take advantage of it.

Avoid choosing a shipper based solely on price

If you go with the cheapest shipper, you may end up paying more dearly later on. Likewise, a higher price tag doesn’t always translate to higher-quality services. Shop around for different quotes and choose the best combination of price and quality for your needs.

Take a look at the shipper's insurance

Before shipping your vehicle, ask for a copy of the shipper’s insurance policy to review. Your regular insurance probably won’t cover auto transport, so you want a company with insurance that will protect your car should anything happen.

Book as early as possible

Summer is the peak traveling season, so it’s a good idea to book as early as possible. You’re more likely to get the shipper and timeframe you want if you arrive before the crowd. 

Don't pay a deposit

Demands for an upfront deposit are a red flag. Reputable shippers shouldn’t ask for anything before your car ships. Typically, they’ll ask for one payment at pickup and the rest at drop-off. That way, you can rest assured that the shipping company won’t just run off with your money.

Prepare your car

Take your car to the shop to schedule an all-points inspection and arrange to have your fluids changed before shipping your vehicle. Wash your vehicle thoroughly and take pictures so you can see any damage that occurs during transport. Clean out the inside, and leave about a quarter tank of gas before dropping your vehicle off at the transport company.

Be on-site for pickup and delivery

You should be present at pickup and delivery to verify the condition of your car at both ends of the trip. At drop-off, you should inspect your car thoroughly before signing anything attesting to its condition.

Wrap up

Shipping your car can save you a lot of stress, but it can also be a massive headache if you don’t do your research first. Explore all of your options before signing with an auto transporter, and you’ll be burning rubber on your new street in no time.


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