Shipping a non-running car

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You don’t have to become a nervous wreck over shipping a non-running vehicle. You don’t have to develop migraines and deep furrows over it either. Do your homework and contract an auto hauler with experience in transporting inoperable vehicles. After just a bit of research, you’ll find out that shipping damaged or any sports or project car that does not have an engine yet, is easy.

Call us now at (818) 850-5258 and ask about shipping a non-running car. We are here to help you.


What is a non-running vehicle?

A non-running or inoperable vehicle is a term used in the auto transport industry for any vehicle that can’t be driven on and off the car carrier safely and effectively on its own power. You may know already that the primary method of loading and unloading vehicles is driving them on/off the carrier. A vehicle is considered inoperable when it does not start and can’t be moved under its own power. Sounds pretty clear: a car with no engine or severely damaged vehicle. Yes, but not exactly.

  1. We consider a car inoperable if there is no key and we can’t start it to drive it onto the trailer.
  2. A vehicle that starts but has flat tires is also considered non-running.
  3. A vehicle that starts, has good tires, but no brakes, is also labeled as INOP by auto transporters.

As you can see, the definition of a non-running vehicle is much broader than you might have thought.

Note: A car with a dead battery usually would be considered non-operable. However, transporters often carry a set of jumper cables for occasional jump starts. If the car fails to start regardless or jumper cables are not immediately available, your vehicle will be labeled as inoperable, which means the price to ship it goes up.

Before you ship an inoperable car

It often makes sense to fix the car, if possible, before shipping it, as this will reduce the cost of transportation.

  • If you don’t have a key to start the car – order a copy.
  • If the only issue is a dead battery, look into replacing it. The cost of a new battery runs between $50 and $120 for an average brand, while a premium battery will cost between $90 and $200.
  • Flat tire(s)? The answer is rather simple – look into getting a new set of wheels for your car.

Depending on what classifies your vehicle as inoperable it may be cheaper and faster to transport it if you can get in a driving condition. If repair before shipping is not feasible, then you’ll have to go through with shipping a non-running car.

Shipping a non-running car

Corsia Logistics can transport your vehicle as long as it has four wheels, rolls, steers, and brakes. You have to make sure to inform us whether the car is inoperable and has any problems starting and moving under its own power. Based on your information we will give you a customized auto transport quote. As frustrating as it may be, not all carriers carry equipment necessary to transport non-running vehicles.

The price to haul an inoperable vehicle is usually higher than the rate for a running car.


If a car doesn’t start due to mechanical problems – a carrier will use a winch to load it. It doesn’t come standard on transport trucks and can be difficult to operate sometimes. Therefore, the winch must be properly installed and driver trained to use it. For example, what if your car doesn’t have a towing hook? It’s quite a common issue with older vehicles. Do you know what it takes to load and unload it on the truck? You sure would hope your carrier knows what he’s doing.

If the car does not start at all and does not roll and steer, hauling it will be even more expensive because then the auto transport company will need a fork lift to load it onto the carrier.

When a carrier has to pick up a car from a salvage auction, a forklift is usually available. But an adequate size forklift will also be necessary to unload a vehicle at delivery. Therefore, it’s important you relay the information on the vehicle’s condition to your auto hauler.

So, you see it now – additional equipment, driver skills – it all comes at a price. For successful vehicle transport, it’s essential to have access to the right equipment and knowledgeable people. Also, keep in mind that many companies would not want to ship a non-running vehicle which makes it harder to find a carrier. One more reason for a higher cost.

Cost to ship a non-running car.

We are sure it’s clear to you by now that vehicle’s condition will affect your cost to ship your car due to additional time, labor and equipment. But that’s not the only factor that determines what your total will be.

The cost will also depend on the distance your car will travel, pick up and delivery locations, vehicle make and model, type of carrier (open or enclosed), and last but not least – supply and demand fluctuations. We recommend requesting multiple car shipping quotes. It will help you position an average cost to haul your vehicle. Think twice before you settle for the lowest quote.

An unusually low price may well mean a longer waiting period until a hauler is interested in your load. Carriers look to make the most money from every shipment; therefore, higher paying loads usually ship first. If you are in a hurry, think twice before you settle on the lowest quote.

Some people also think that by withholding information about a vehicle’s condition will help to keep the car shipping cost down. Wrong. It’s critical for an auto transporter to have the right information on the operability of your vehicle.

Don’t hold back any information. Issues may arise if the driver comes to pick up your vehicle unprepared (without proper equipment). Besides dealing with an upset driver, you may face delays, a dry run fee, and possible order cancellation. You sure wouldn’t want that.

Choosing the right transporter

Now that you know a bit more about shipping a non-running vehicle, all you need to do is choose a transporter to haul your inoperable car. The easiest way to search for a car shipping company is to search online or ask for references. There is no single company that is absolutely best at moving cars. Luckily for car owners, there are quite a few good businesses deserving attention.

If you search online, look beyond the first page of Google. And don’t get discouraged when you see that there are hundreds of companies out there. Make sure to check the business is licensed with USDOT and FMCSA and has adequate insurance. In addition to that, you can choose to trust the experience of others and confide in your intuition.

To help you with your search we’ve created a guide on how to choose a car shipping company.

In a nutshell, here’s how shipping a non-running car with Corsia Logistics works.
  1. Request a quote online or call (818) 850 8258 to speak with one of our agents.
  2. Set your first available date and schedule the vehicle pick up.
  3. Prepare your car for shipping. Make sure to secure all the loose parts, especially if you are shipping a damaged vehicle.
  4. At pick, up perform vehicle inspection alongside the carrier to make sure everything is noted.
  5. At delivery, inspect the vehicle again, sign the Bill of Lading, and pay the remaining balance.

Corsia Logistics can arrange to ship your inoperable vehicle anywhere in the US, including Alaska and Hawaii. We provide manually calculated rates that reflect current supply and demand situation, hence will transport your vehicle in a timely and professional manner. We offer straight talk and transparency, and encourage you to ask questions because we want you to make informed decisions.

Browse our FAQ and read our terms and conditions to learn more about the auto transport process. Ready to request an estimate? Fill out our online quote request form or call (818) 850-5258 to speak with one of our relocation experts. Thank you!

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About the Author:

I am Vassi and I am a co-owner and a marketing manager of Corsia Logistics. I talk to people and help them get to know us. I am also the content curator of this blog. I have been involved with the auto transport industry for several years and I enjoy it very much. If you would like to contact me please do so via our contact us form or any social media channel. Thank you.
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