Essential Steps for Shipping Your Vehicle Successfully

Shipping a vehicle can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time. Whether you’re relocating for a job, sending a car to a family member, or buying a vehicle from another state, understanding the process can help ensure your car arrives safely and on time. Here are the essential steps to follow for a successful vehicle shipping experience.

1. Choose the Right Type of Transport

The first step in shipping your vehicle is deciding the type of transport that best suits your needs: open or enclosed transport. Open transport is the most common and cost-effective option. It involves transporting your vehicle on an open trailer that accommodates several vehicles. However, it exposes your car to the elements and road debris. Conversely, enclosed transport offers complete protection from all external elements but is more expensive. It’s ideal for luxury, antique, or specialty vehicles.

2. Select a Reputable Transport Company

Choosing a reputable and reliable vehicle transport company is crucial. Start by researching and comparing different companies. Look for reviews and ratings on platforms like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Google Reviews. Ensure that the company is licensed and insured. Verify their U.S. DOT number with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to ensure legitimacy. A useful resource for finding and comparing vehicle transport services can be found at

3. Get Multiple Quotes

Obtain quotes from several transport companies to compare prices and services. Be wary of quotes significantly lower than the average; this could signify a potential scam or hidden fees. Ask each company what services are included in the quote to ensure there are no surprises later on.

4. Prepare Your Vehicle for Transport

Preparing your vehicle for transport is a critical step. Clean your car inside and out; this will make it easier to spot any damage that might occur during shipping. Remove all personal items and any custom accessories that can be detached. Ensure the gas tank is only a quarter full, as a full tank adds unnecessary weight. Also, check your car for leaks or mechanical issues and report them to the transport company before shipping.

5. Inspect Your Vehicle Before Pickup

Before handing over your vehicle to the transport company, conduct a thorough inspection with the carrier. Take photos from various angles and document any existing scratches, dents, or damage. This will be crucial if you file a claim for any damage during transit.

6. Understand the Insurance Coverage

Ask the transport company about their insurance coverage. Understand what is covered and what is not. It’s often advisable to see if your auto insurance provides any coverage for transport and consider purchasing additional insurance if the carrier’s coverage is insufficient.

7. Be Flexible With Delivery Times

Vehicle shipping isn’t an exact science, and various factors like weather, traffic, and logistical issues can affect delivery times. Being flexible with your delivery dates can alleviate a lot of stress. Most companies will give you a delivery window instead of a specific date. Ensure you’re available or have someone else ready to receive the vehicle when it arrives.

8. Inspect Your Vehicle Upon Arrival

Once your vehicle arrives, inspect it carefully before signing the delivery report. Compare the condition of the car against the initial inspection report and photographs. If there are any discrepancies or new damages, note them on the delivery report, take pictures, and contact the transport company immediately to initiate a claim.

9. Leave a Review

After delivering your vehicle, consider reviewing your experience with the transport company. This helps them improve their services and assists future customers in making informed decisions.


Shipping a vehicle doesn’t have to be stressful if you prepare adequately and choose the right partners for the journey. By following these essential steps, you can ensure that your vehicle reaches its destination safely and in the same condition as it left. Remember to research, prepare your vehicle properly, and stay informed.

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