First Timer’s Guide to Car Shipping.

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You never know when it’s going to happen, but at some point in your life you may need to ship a car. You may get a long-awaited promotion in the Silicon Valley that will require you to move all the way across the country. Or maybe you are a retiree from New York looking to settle in the Sunshine State; or a freshman from the East coast looking forward to starting classes at Harvard. Or maybe you’ve just bought a car online and need to bring it home.

If you’ve never shipped a car before, you may feel a bit lost. Where do you start? Is it a good idea to entrust your vehicle in the hands of an auto shipper? Well, moving cars is what professional car haulers do, this is how they make their living. Let us help you understand how the car shipping management process works; we want you to feel more confident letting an auto transporter handle car shipping for you.

Start with a car shipping quote

You can easily request a quote online. It is fast and easy. You will be required to fill out a simple form with the information about your car, service you are looking for and your contact information. Many websites offer instant quotes that provide you with a dollar amount in a matter of seconds after you have requested a quote. It’s time you pay attention.

Instant quotes are reliable if you ship your vehicle from point A to point B on well-traveled routes.

Fast, computer-generated estimates, give you a ballpark idea of what auto transport will cost you. But the instant quote doesn’t typically distinguish between the highway and rural miles. Software some companies employ to calculate instant quotes doesn’t know your car may need to be picked up from a remote village atop the Rocky Mountains or dropped off in a small town a hundred miles off a major highway. In this case the instant quote is not accurate.

If you are aware of certain logistics complications that may affect shipping of your car, make sure to bring them up with your potential auto transporter. You may have to make it worth the trucker’s time and extra gas expense, or consider terminal-to-terminal shipping.

What factors affect the price you pay to ship a car?

  • Make and model of your vehicle (SUVs and trucks are more expensive to ship)
  • The condition of your car – operable or non-operable (shipping a non-running vehicle implies the use of additional equipment which means higher price)
  • Modifications to your vehicle affect the size, weight and overall dimensions and thus can raise the price ( a 4X4 lift kit, lower vehicle clearance, or camper shell require additional assistance or special preparations for shipping)
  • Type of transport: open or enclosed trailer (enclosed trailer is about $300 more expensive than open)
  • Supple and demand affect the price daily
  • Recent change in fuel prices
  • How fast you need your vehicle – expedited service usually costs more

If you have never shipped a car before you are most likely unaware of the discounts available to you, and certain discounts may offer a significant break in price. Some discounts that may be available with your shipper are military, student, senior citizens discount and multiple vehicle discount. Request multiple car shipping quotes to make sure you’re getting the deal that works the best for you and your vehicle. To learn more about how auto transporters come up with car shipping quotes, read here.

It’s time to schedule your shipping.

After you and the shipper have agreed on the price, it’s time to schedule your shipping.

Keep in mind that auto transport companies are rarely able to provide exact pick-up and drop-off times. You will get an estimated pick-up and delivery date and time, a window of 1 to 7 business days. Unplanned for issues such as breakdowns, traffic and weather conditions may cause delays. Truck drivers are driving all over the country picking up and dropping off their loads, and sometimes they get thrown off their schedules due to unforeseen circumstances. At pick up you can ask the driver what his best guess would be for an estimated delivery date.

Get your vehicle ready for shipping

Preparing your vehicle for transport should not take much of your time. It’s your responsibility and it will help you make sure the car shipping process goes smoothly. Confirm with your car shipper the steps you need to take to get your car ready. Properly preparing your vehicle for shipping is the easiest way to ensure a worry-free vehicle hauling process and protect your car from damage.

To avoid any discrepancies in the future, you should inspect your car and document any existing damages. To do so follow these steps:

  • Wash your car thoroughly
  • Make notes of any dings, nicks, and scratches
  • Take photographs of your car, including close up shots of any existing damage
  • Don’t forget to date photographs and written record
  • Verify that the transporter signs the official inspection report – the Bill of Lading

What else can you do to prepare your vehicle for shipping?

  1. Make sure to empty your vehicle of any personal belongings. Don’t forget to check the trunk. Shipper’s insurance won’t cover damages to any personal objects you leave inside your car. Besides, these items may add to overall vehicle’s weight and potentially cause damage to your vehicle during transport.
  2. You would want to check your vehicle is free of any mechanical damage. Although it will be driven very little, it should be in good working order; cars with mechanical problems can cause unforeseen delays and damages.
  3. Make sure to fully charge your car’s battery and inflate tires.
  4. Top off all fluids.
  5. Leave your gas tank only a quarter full. An almost empty tank will save weight.
  6. If there are any leaks or mechanical problems, make sure to let your carrier know. Vehicles with leaks should never be placed on the top of a multi-vehicle carrier because they can drip on the vehicles below.
  7. If your car is equipped with any specialty items like fog lights, ground effects, or spoilers – make sure they are secured or removed for car transport.
  8. Finally, turn off or disable your car alarm. In case this is not possible, provide detailed written instructions on how to turn off the alarm in case it’s triggered.

Your vehicle made it to its final destination!

Before you sign the Bill of Lading, inspect the car. If you find any damage that is not accounted for on the Bill of Lading, make sure to make a note of it before you sign off on the delivery. Take your time and be thorough checking your car before signing your name.

After dark only accept delivery in a well-lit area. Many customers don’t notice the damage to their vehicles until the carrier drove away. That is too late! In the unfortunate case, you found new damages to your car, make sure they are noted on the Bill of Lading, ask the driver to sign and demand a copy for yourself. Any amount you owe for shipping will be due at the time of delivery.

Our final piece of advice to you, – before choosing an auto shipper, make sure the company is fully licensed, insured, and bonded. It’s easy. Most reputable auto transporters display this information on their websites. If a company doesn’t make reference to these things, ask! Not sure how to choose THE auto shipping company? We have it covered. Read here!

To ship your car with Corsia, fill out our online quote request form or call (818) 850-5258 to speak with one of our friendly, helpful representatives. We are a full-service logistics company, fully insured and USDOT and FMCSA certified. Our seasoned team of agents will be happy to assist you with your car shipping needs. We do not employ software to determine the cost to ship your vehicle. Our agents manually track daily car shipping rates fluctuations to come up with the optimum quote for you and your prized possession. We only hire verified carriers with the highest safety ratings to ensure your vehicle’s safe journey.

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About the Author:

Not in any particular order, Elena is a traveler with an unquenchable taste for adventure, writer, translator, dictionary aficionado,truth seeker, multitasker, problem solver, chocolate lover, yogi.
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