Shipping a car can be a daunting task, whether you’re relocating to a new city, buying a vehicle from a distant seller, or sending a car as a gift. Ensuring that your vehicle arrives at its destination safely and securely requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here, we will discuss you through the steps to ship your car safely and stress-free.
Research and Choose the Right Auto Transport Company
The first step in shipping your car safely is to research and select a reputable auto transport company. Here are some key factors to consider:
- Reputation: Read reviews and check the company’s ratings on websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website.
- Licensing and Insurance: Verify that the company is licensed and insured to transport vehicles. The FMCSA regulates auto transport companies, and they should have an active Motor Carrier (MC) number.
- Services Offered: Choose a company that offers the type of service you need, whether it’s open transport, enclosed transport, or expedited shipping.
- Cost: Get quotes from multiple companies and compare their prices, but remember that the cheapest option may not always be the best.
- Prepare Your Car for Shipping
Before handing over your car to the auto transport company, take the following steps to prepare it for shipping:
- Clean your car: Remove all personal belongings and clean the interior and exterior of your vehicle. This will make it easier to inspect for any damage upon arrival.
- Document the condition: Take photographs of your car from various angles, highlighting any existing dents, scratches, or damage. This documentation will be crucial if you need to file a claim for damages during transit.
- Remove or secure loose items: Make sure all loose items inside the car are removed or securely fastened. Anything left loose could become a hazard during transport.
- Reduce fuel and fluid levels: Keep your fuel tank at approximately a quarter full, and ensure that other fluids are at appropriate levels.
- Disable the alarm system: If your car has an alarm system, make sure it is turned off to prevent unnecessary disruptions during transit.
- Choose the Right Shipping Method
There are two primary methods to ship a car: open transport and enclosed transport.
- Open Transport: This is the most common and cost-effective option. Your car will be transported on an open trailer, exposed to the elements. It is suitable for most vehicles and short to medium distances.
- Enclosed Transport: If you have a high-value, classic, or luxury vehicle, enclosed transport is a better choice. Your car will be enclosed in a trailer, providing protection from weather and road debris. It is more expensive but offers greater security
Review the Contract and Insurance
Before finalizing your agreement with the auto transport company, carefully review the contract. Ensure you understand the terms, conditions, and any additional fees. Verify the insurance coverage provided by the company and consider purchasing additional insurance if necessary to protect your car fully during transit.
Delivery and Inspection
When your car arrives at its destination, follow these steps:
- Inspect your car: Thoroughly examine your car for any new damage that may have occurred during transit. Use the photographs you took before shipping as a reference.
- Note any damage: If you discover any damage, make sure the driver acknowledges it on the Bill of Lading, which is a document detailing the condition of your vehicle upon delivery.
- Contact the transport company: If you find significant damage or issues that were not present before shipping, contact the auto transport company immediately to initiate a claim.
Shipping a car can be a smooth and stress-free process when you take the time to research, prepare your vehicle, choose the right auto transport company, and ensure proper documentation and insurance. By following these steps, you can have peace of mind knowing that your car will arrive at its destination safely and securely.