The Savvy Auto Owners Guide to Shipping a Car

auto owners guide

Are you moving to a new state? If so, you might be able to drive your car there when you do.

But if you’re moving to a state that’s located in a completely different part of the country, this might not be an option. You might need to go through the process of shipping a car instead.

You can ship a car direct to your new home in a matter of just a few days in most cases. But before you do it, you should figure out the best way to ship a car.

If you don’t do this, it’s going to make it so much harder to ship a car than it should be. It’s also going to take an already stressful moving situation and make it even more challenging.

Want to avoid finding yourself in this scenario and make shipping a car a breeze? Check out our guide on how to do it below.

Start by Searching for Car Shipping Companies in Your Area

If you’re going to be shipping a car sometime soon, the first thing you’ll want to do is find out which car shipping companies can help you. There are more than 4,000 of these companies in the country today, including at least a few in your general area.

You should be able to track down some companies that can assist you by Googling something like “ship a car.” You’ll see a whole host of options pop up.

Write down the names of these car shipping companies, the websites for them, and any contact information that you can find for them. It should get your search for a car shipping company off to a strong start.

Do Your Homework on the Different Car Shipping Companies Available to You

Once you’ve compiled a running list of car shipping companies in your area, you should take some time to get to know each of them better. Ideally, you’ll want to spend at least 30 minutes or so digging into each option to see what they’re all about.

You can begin by visiting a car shipping company’s website. While you’re on it, you should be able to find out:

  • How long they’ve been in business
  • Which car shipping services they offer
  • Where they specialize in shipping cars to
  • How much they charge for their car shipping services
  • And more

Outside of visiting a car shipping company’s website, you should also look around online for reviews for each company. These reviews will shed a lot of light on what you can expect from them. You’ll want to shy away from working with any car shipping company that has racked up lots of negative reviews.

Decide How Exactly You Want to Ship Your Car

There are two main ways that you can ship a car. You can either ship it:

  • On an open carrier
  • Inside of a closed carrier

If you don’t mind your car being exposed to the elements while it’s being shipped, you can have it put on the back of an open carrier. But if you want to guarantee that your car arrives at its final destination without a speck of dirt or dust on it, a closed carrier will typically be your better option.

Either way, you should see which car shipping companies can cater to your needs based on your personal preferences. Some will only ship cars on open carriers, while others would much rather their customers choose closed carriers.

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It’ll be up to you to locate a car shipping company that has the specific services that you need.

Get Quotes From the Various Car Shipping Companies You’re Considering

After you’ve done your research on car shipping companies and know which ones can supply you with the services you need, you should start trying to gather quotes from as many of them as you can. This will give you a better indication of what each of your options is going to charge you to ship a car.

On average, shipping a car is going to run you somewhere between $600 and $1,000. But you could be looking at paying way more or a little bit less than that depending on which car shipping company you call on for assistance.

The more quotes that you’re able to get from car shipping companies, the better off you’ll be when it comes to saving money on shipping a car. You should be able to find at least a few companies that will ship a car for you without breaking the bank.

See If You Qualify for Any Discounts on Shipping a Car

When you’re obtaining quotes from car shipping companies, you shouldn’t be shy about trying to see if you might qualify for any discounts. A good car shipping company is going to give out discounts to:

  • Members of the military
  • First responders
  • Students
  • Senior citizens
  • Return customers

You might even be able to earn a discount just by shipping more than one car through a particular company. The discounts that you get could save you a pretty penny in the end.

Click here for more details on the different discounts that you might be able to get access to when shipping a car.

Choose the Car Shipping Company You Like the Most

When you reach this point in the process, you’ll know what all the different car shipping companies in your area bring to the table. You’ll also know how they’re going to go about shipping a car for you and what they’re going to charge you to do it.

With these things in mind, you should be able to go ahead and choose the car shipping company that you like the best out of the bunch. You should feel 100% comfortable with the idea of tossing the keys to your car to this company so that they can ship it for you.

This is not a decision that you should take lightly. You should put some real thought into which car shipping company you believe is going to do the best job when you trust them to transport your car to its final destination.

Prepare to Ship a Car Through Your Preferred Shipping Company

Picking out the best car shipping company that you can find is just half the battle when shipping a car. You’re also going to need to do your part to make sure that your car is able to be shipped safely and in a timely fashion.

For starters, you should go through your car before shipping it and empty as much out of it as you can. The less that you have in your car, the less that it’s going to weigh. This will make shipping it way more manageable for your car shipping company—and it might even cut your shipping costs down to size.

In this same vein, you’ll also want to use up most of the fuel that you have in your car’s gas tank prior to shipping it. You should try to give it to a car shipping company with only about a quarter of a tank of gas left in it to reduce its weight.

And in addition to doing these things, you should also make it a point to take lots of photographs of the inside and outside of your car. If you notice that something is off with your car later on, you’ll be able to use these photos as reference points.

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But whatever you do, don’t just give your car to a car shipping company as-is without preparing it at all. You’re almost always going to be asking for trouble if you take this approach to shipping a car.

Arrange to Drop Your Car Off or Have Your Car Picked Up for Shipping

Once you have your car all ready to ship, you’ll be able to contact your car shipping company so that you can get your car to them. They’ll usually give you two options when it comes to giving them your car.

You can either:

  • Arrange to have a car shipping company come to your house to pick up your car
  • Drive your car down to a car shipping company’s location

Since you’re going to have a million and one other things going on while you’re in the process of moving, you should try to find a car shipping company that can come and get your car from you. But if you have to drive your car to them, it also won’t be the worst thing in the world.

What’s important is that your car ends up in your car shipping company’s hands. They’ll be able to take things from there and ensure that your car makes it to its final destination in one piece.

Sit Back and Wait for Your Car to Be Shipped to Its Final Destination

Shipping a car isn’t typically something that can be done overnight. Most of the time, it’s going to take a car shipping company several days to get it from point A to point B.

You’re probably going to be so busy packing up your old house and moving to your new one that you won’t mind not having your car around. It’ll actually be a relief to have someone else worry about that particular aspect of things.

But if you’re concerned about where your car is, you should be able to check in with your car shipping company periodically to see how far it has made it. They should be able to provide you with updates whenever you would like them.

Don’t be afraid to ask them if they’ll be able to produce these updates in advance of working with them. If they tell you that they’re not going to be able to update you at all, you should find a different company to lend a hand to you.

Inspect Your Car for Any Signs of Damage When a Shipping Company Drops It Off

As long as you follow all the other steps when shipping a car, you shouldn’t have to worry about a thing while you’re doing it. A car shipping company should be able to take your car from you and get it to its final destination without encountering any issues.

But there is always going to be a small chance that something could happen to your car during the shipping process. It might get scratched up while it’s being put on to a truck, or it could be subjected to some brutal weather patterns as it makes its way across the country.

As a result, you should make sure that you inspect your car for any signs of damage when it gets delivered to you. That would be the perfect time for you to bring it up.

That would also be the perfect time to refer back to the photos that you took while preparing your car to be shipped. You can prove that it wasn’t damaged when you gave it to a car shipping company by using these photos to your advantage.

You shouldn’t really have to worry too much about any damage being done while shipping a car. But in the event that it does happen, you need to be all over it from the beginning so that you can get your car fixed on someone else’s dime.

Shipping a Car Is So Easy When You Know What You’re Doing

As you can see here, there are quite a few steps that you’ll need to take when shipping a car. But at the same time, these steps shouldn’t be all that difficult for you to take.

You should be able to hunt down a car shipping company that you love so that they can ship a car for you. You should also be able to keep your car safe by making the proper preparations in the days leading up to you giving a car shipping company your vehicle.

Are you interested in getting more tips on shipping a car? Find them by taking a look at the other articles posted on our blog.