5 Things to Know About Shipping a Car
Shipping a car as part of a long-distance move could be expensive, but also a good investment. People who cannot drive their own vehicles to their new homes, or who have too many vehicles to do so reasonably, can have their vehicles shipped using a professional service. With these tips, people who are moving can reduce their workload as they prepare to relocate to a new area.
Shop Around and Get Quotes
Just as is the case for renting services for moving a household, many companies offer some type of shipping or transport for vehicles. People who are not planning to drive their own vehicles to their new homes should consider a few different options before making a choice. Common options include:
- shipping via car hauler
- transport in an enclosed truck
- shipping by train
- professional drive-away services
Once people decide which approach they would like to take, they should get a few quotes for the amount. It is worth keeping in mind that cheaper may not necessarily be best.
Understand the Plan
Handing over the keys to an expensive possession like a car requires some attentive care in advance, to avoid hassle and stress. Vehicle shipping companies may have different practices they like to follow, such as picking up a vehicle at a person’s house or having them drive directly to the terminal. Before people agree to a particular service, they should make sure they understand all the relevant details:
- When do they pick up the car?
- How long the transporter expects the transit time to be?
- Which services (door-to-door or terminal) are included in the fee?
They should confirm that the company is fully insured, registered with the Department of Transportation, and licensed for this type of work.
Inspect the Vehicle
Nobody wants to pick up a car after shipping and realize that there is now something wrong. The only way to know whether the problem existed from the very beginning is to have an inspection before handing over the keys. People may wish to take pictures of the car’s exterior and interior, and arrange for a mechanic to give the car a quick inspection.
Cars that are not driven for a couple of weeks may have minor problems with the battery or other aspects of basic function. It is better to know if these things are likely to be an issue prior to the move. This is also a good time for car owners to find out the requirements of registering a car in a different state. A professional inspection may help them determine if they will need to make a few minor repairs before they register their cars.
Remove Valuables and Other Belongings
When people are trying to save money, it can be really tempting to save on shipping by loading the car full of personal items. This is not only an unsafe choice, but an impractical one. The industry standard for shipping of cars sets a 400-pound limit for anything inside the cabin or trunk. Since a car filled with boxes of books or other heavy belongings could weigh much more than another car, companies keep these limits to protect their drivers and the vehicles in transport. It is important to notify the shipping company in advance if you plan on shipping personal items with the car – drivers may refuse to load your car otherwise. Personal items are also more likely to be stolen, especially if the car is parked in a lot for several days or when driver is resting at a truck stop.
Aim for Safe Transport
The ultimate goal for shipping a car is for it to arrive safely and soundly after the move. Disasters in transit can quickly become costly and even require the replacement of the car, therefore individuals who are moving should take precautions to ensure the move goes smoothly. We suggest draining the gas tank prior to the move. A truck with 40 gallons of gas in the tank is noticeably heavier and is also at a greater risk of catching fire. People may not need to deplete it completely dry but leave about a 1/8 to 1/4 in the tank so that it can be driven upon arrival.
However, minimizing the amount in the tank ensures that they can get to a station to buy gas after delivery, worry-free. Deciding to ship your car instead of driving it may be complicated, but otherwise worthwhile. When people form a complete plan to ensure great care of their vehicles in transit, they can have a better moving experience.
Alex Marinov is the president of RCG Logistics LLC, with years experience in the shipping and freight industry. His main interest include sustainable building design, video production and automobiles.