Frequently Asked Car Shipping Questions

There have been many questions about car shipping whenever car owners or prospective car owners want to transport their cars from one place to another. In this post, Moving Feedback provides answers to frequently asked questions on car shipping. We answer some of the popular car shipping questions using our expertise.

You will have to find out how to ship your car if you are getting ready to move to a long-distance destination and wants to hire a car transporter — one of the industries in the automotive world that is experiencing rapid growth is auto transport industry.

So many people are looking to buy or transport their vehicles (not to drive), especially if the distance involves hundreds or thousands of miles. With the help of the internet, the auto transport business has gained popularity and thus causes the industry to thrive.

However, we understand there are some questions you need to ask, as this is not a day-to-day engagement. You are in the right place for answers to your auto shipping questions, whether you are shipping for the first time or you are planning to use this service in no distance time. You may have questions about how your vehicle will be shipped as well as when it will be shipped.  Get answers to your burning questions. Read on!

We have compiled a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions to provide you guidance on your auto shipping. Read through the FAQs below for some satisfying answers and helpful tips.

Frequently Asked Car Shipping Questions

In this article

Who usually uses a car shipping company?

When moving, car shipping companies are usually hired by individuals such as students relocating to college and families moving to another part of the country and want to move their cars along with them. However, several others use car shipping services such as vacationers who use car shipping services when temporarily relocating to a place with a warmer climate during winter.

Other ways in which one may require the service of a car shipping company includes online sales and car collectors. Reputable car collectors will ensure the safety of their car by shipping it themselves from one location to another without accumulating mileage.

Buying a vehicle online has become the latest norm in the whole world. With auto shipping, you get a solution to moving your newly online purchased vehicle from another state to your destination. Vehicle shipping is not only available for individuals; others like car corporations, car dealerships, and construction teams also use these services to transport automobiles anywhere in the country.

How does car shipping operate?

Car shipping companies ship your car from one place to another. Usually, the shippers load the vehicle at your current home and deliver it to your specified location. Two kinds of companies are available for your job, and they are carriers (they transport your car on their trucks) and brokers (they help you get carriers). Car shipping involves five basic steps, and they are:

  • Check your insurance: The license and insurance of the car shipping company are important. We provide you guidance in Auto Transport Insurance – the coverage on your car while in transit.
  • Load: Release your vehicle keys to the driver, who will load your car on their truck. Follow the steps listed in smart ways to ship your car to know how to get your car ready for shipping to prepare your car for transport.
  • Transport: Relax or focus on another task while your car is in transit. Check our best car shipping companies to know if your auto shipping broker provides uninterrupted communication.
  • Unload: Scrutinize your car for any damage and appreciate your driver after delivery. Check our article on what are the required documents to ship a car to understand what a bill of lading is before signing it.

How much does car transport cost?

This is one of the most famous auto-shipping-related questions. This question has a comprehensive answer as the cost of auto transport is determined by each company based on different factors as well. Your price will be affected by the different fuel prices in different locations.

Another factor is the carrier and customer’s popularity towards a route. Prices for popular routes may be cheaper because of the increase in demand for shipping services as well as an increase in competition among car carriers.

Make sure your schedule is not far than 2 or 3 weeks in advance as that is the period prices are generally good. Auto-shipping prices may mostly change after two to three weeks, so be sure to consider this when making a reservation.

Read our post on how much does it cost to ship a car?

How fast is it to get the car shipping done?

Car shipping delivery is estimated to be around six days to four weeks. That seems to take so long. There are several factors that determine car shipping timelines, such as the number of cars on the transport truck, the number of hours a driver is permitted to drive daily, as well as traffic situation.

However, some shipping companies get the job done faster than others. Because of the inability to give a precise delivery date, car shipping companies do give time estimates to give c consumers a kind of insight. Our findings suggest Between 6 to 12 days for vehicle delivery.

The Estimated Delivery Timeline for Auto Shipping

Distance (in miles) Booking – Pickup Time Transit Time (Estimation) Time (Estimation)
0–200 4 days 2 days 6 days
200-600 4 days 3 days 7 days
600-1000 4 days 4 days 8 days
1,000–1,500 4 days 5 days 9 days
1,500–2,000 4 days 6 days 10 days
2,000–2,400 4 days 7 days 11 days
2,400+ 4 days 8 days 12 days

Is there any protection on my car in transit?

The majority of car shipping companies offer insurance policies to prevent any unforeseen cases while customers’ cars are in transit. They offer insured auto shipping services.

They treat your car as if it were their own by giving it ultimate care all through the transport process. They recommend that you consult your insurance provider in addition to the insurance they offer.

This will enable you to discover what is and is not covered during the auto shipping process with your personal insurance company. Ensure you read and understand the policies of both the auto shipping company and your personal car insurance company.

They recommend the enclosed carrier for those shipping classic models, luxury or sports cars for added protection, and increased peace of mind.

Can I ship a non-running vehicle?

Yes. You just have to inform your shipping company of the car’s condition in advance. However, be prepared to pay additional fees troubles the shippers will face when loading it onto the truck as loading a non-running vehicle is more difficult than operable vehicles. The additional cost is a result of the special equipment needed to do the loading.

Ask your car shipper the cost of the additional fee. Most auto transport companies will be able to provide transport for an inoperable car. This is because they will charge additional costs on their part for tow trucks and others.

A premium may be required for non-functional vehicles. Vehicles that are in good shape don’t attract such fees as they can be easily driven to the loading deck.

This is why you have to inform your car shipper of the condition of your car before booking to ensure your safety.

For more information on shipping non-operable vehicles, read Tips for Shipping Non-Running Vehicles.

What differentiates open transport from enclosed transport?

Open transport implies that your vehicle is on the back of a transport truck and is exposed to various elements. Enclosed transport implies that your car is loaded inside a fully-enclosed transport container. A typical example of open transport is riding on a motorcycle where you are exposed to direct sunlight, rain, wind, and so on.

While riding in a car with windows rolled up, ensuring full protection from such an element is a good example of the enclosed transport option. Each option comes with benefits and limitations.

Read our article on Enclosed Vehicle Transport vs. Open Trailer to know more.

Does shipping a car in winter costlier than other seasons?

Maybe. The cost of hiring car shipping services tends to be higher in the winter months. This is because there is a reduction in demand for auto transport during winter, and thus some auto shipping companies opt for price reduction to make more sales. However, the price of shipping a car in the south during winter is surprisingly higher.

Despite that, many people still move to the south during winter to enjoy warmer weather. Some car shipping companies increase their shipping rates due to the higher demand resulting from snowbirds.

You can transport your vehicle to or from a location with harsh weather anywhere in the country in an enclosed carrier, but the expensive cost might discourage you.

Can I ship a car by plane?

Yes, but it is costly. Usually, shipping a car via air freight is worth more than the value of the car. Only people with highly valuable cars as well as those who won the lottery and want to experience a different shipping method can embrace this. You don’t want to spend a fortune shipping your old vehicle to your destination city.

Can I ship items in my car?

No. Only vehicles are allowed for transport by car shipping companies. No other item is allowed. Shipping personal items like a couch in the truck is prohibited and may come with greater consequences.

The shipping company will weigh your car before loading, so there is no sneaking item in. The maximum weight and item you can ship in your car are about 50 pounds of clothes, linens, or other similar item. You can arrange with a professional long distance moving company if you have any item to ship to your destination.

What are the things I am supposed to do before and after shipping my car?

There are preparation steps and suggestions of things to do prior to the driver’s arrival to pick up your vehicle. Make sure the interior and exterior of your car are cleaned. Aside from the nice feeling that accompanies having a clean car, it will also help you a lot during the inspection and finalizing a condition report.

Get rid of any item from both the inside and outside of your car. We also recommend having not more than a quarter (1/4) worth of gas in your gas tank before shipping to reduce the overall weight of the car.

Make sure you change your vehicle registration, license, and license plate to carry your destination state. Check with your local DMV or their online portal to fill out the essential forms as early as you can because each state regulates the time frame for completion of these tasks. You can start enjoying the beauty of the new city once your vehicle arrives safely at your new location.

How far in advance do I need to reserve car shipping services?

We encourage you to book as early as you can even though car shipping companies can arrange car shipping services within a short time frame. Once you know you will require a car shipping service, do not hesitate to call for a booking.

This will give you enough time to do many things like getting your vehicle ready for shipping and schedule for the flight. You will have a sweet shipping experience when you book well in advance. There will not be any need to rush to do anything, thereby giving you enough time to relax.

Call the company and request to speak with an auto shipping representative to know exactly how to begin the process. They are always happy and ready to answer any questions that you may have.

We want you to enjoy your car shipping to the fullest with no sour experience. This is why they provide ultimate customer service, fast delivery, and reasonably affordable pricing.

How much do you tip the driver that transports your car?

You are in total control of how much you tip a transport driver. No amount of tip you give to your transport driver is too small or big. Below are the things we believe are worthy of tipping:

  • The driver displays politeness and professionalism.
  • The driver delivers your car earlier than expected.
  • The driver keeps open communication with you.
  • The driver delivers your vehicle with no added damage to its initial condition.

Can I ship moving boxes while shipping my car?

Yes, but transporting your moving boxes and your car at the same time will require you to work with a separate moving company. Professional moving services like Allied Van Lines, International Van Lines, and American Van Lines are recommended for your move.

Is it safe to ship a car?

Car shipping is generally a safe process; however, you must carefully research the auto shipping companies you are looking to work with. Schedule a time for reading online reviews and check the accident history of the companies before you hand over the keys to them. Read more on the safety of your car during shipping in one of our articles.

What does door-to-door service mean?

Door-to-door shipping is the preferred delivery option for car transport by most people. It is a convenient and affordable delivery service. The transport driver will come to the pickup location and also deliver the car at your (or closer) specified destination address. You and the transport driver will have to decide a local area for pickup or delivery if any difficulty arises at any of the locations.

Terminal-to-terminal shipping is also another option being offered by some shipping companies. It involves picking up the car from the closest terminal or location by you or a carrier. This option, however, is not a match to door-to-door transport.

How do I prepare my car for shipment?

Make sure the inside and outside of your car are properly cleaned. This is very important, especially when the driver is performing an inspection to note any pre-existing damage in your car. You also have to take out any personal belongings from the vehicle unless the items are to be shipped with the vehicle, but remember, the items’ weight must not be up to 75 pounds.

They must be placed below the window level of the vehicle. Any special cases relevant to the car must be discussed with the driver. Lastly, ensure that the gas left in the car’s gas tank is not more than a quarter during pick-up.

Is my presence required for pickup and delivery?

Yes, you should make sure you are available when the vehicle gets picked up and delivered. This is because you must sign the Bill of Lading, a document between you and the auto shipping company. It contains the details of your auto shipping and other important notes.

However, if you cannot be present at any or two of the occasions, you can designate a third party such as a friend, co-worker, family member, or neighbor. The third-party must be a reliable and trustworthy fellow that can carefully and thoroughly go through important documents.


Some of the frequently asked questions on car auto shipping have been discussed in this article. Feel free to leave any questions or concerns related to car shipping that are not covered in the comment section below.

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