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Auto Shipping Transport Tips

Be realistic with your expectations:
For most of us, shipping your car across the country is a foreign to us as learning a new language. It’s not like sending something off through the Post Office of Fed-Ex. Typically you will be provided with estimates in regards to pick-up and drop-off dates. Ironically you may not have even considered the possibility of a delay due to weather, or break down or even traffic. Believe it or not, the most common delay for auto transport companies is caused by customers. When a customer doesn’t show up on time or changes their pick-up location at the last minute this delay can have a snowballing effect on the next few days for the transport driver. Be patient! Your auto transport company will be working diligently to ensure that your vehicle arrives at its destination safely and in the timeliest manner possible.

Choosing your Shipping Method: Open or Enclosed
Traditionally open trailers are the typical method for auto shipping. When quoting your transport, the default will always be by open shipping. The truck trailer will have the ability to transport up to 12 vehicles at any given time and of course your automobile will be exposed to the elements. Enclosed trailer transport, known as a premium service with auto transporters will cost an average of 25%-100% more than the typical open shipping method. The benefits of enclosed shipping include a smaller load, characteristically a maximum of only 3 automobiles per transport and the total enclosure of each vehicle. You can be assured that your automobile will be in lock-down until the time of delivery.

Door-to-door VS. Terminal-to terminal
Auto Transport Carriers provide several options for your auto shipping needs. You’ll hear terms such as door-to-door, or terminal-to-terminal. For most of us we’ll need an explanation. Door-to-door means that a truck will arrive at your door, or agreed upon location for both pick-up and delivery of your automobile. Although this may sound as “SIMPLE” as it gets your transport driver could have difficulty reaching you. Auto Shipping Truck Trailers can be 75 foot long and terribly difficult to maneuver. Residential neighborhoods typically have restrictions, and although you’ve arranged for the driver to pick-up your vehicle at your home he may be unable to do so. You will then need to make arrangements to meet him at a different location (ie. grocery store, or shopping parking lot) for loading your automobile. Unfortunately, this can be a timely delay for the driver and an added expense for you if the lot isn’t within walking distance from your home. You may want to consider an alternative method of pick-up. An auto terminal is used to store your vehicle until the driver can schedule a specified time for pick-up. Although your “window” for pick-up is generally 12-24 hours this could save you time, money and stress. You will also have the option of receiving delivery of your vehicle at a terminal. By doing so you will be able to pick-up your automobile at a location and time most convenient to your home and work schedule. 

Paying for your Auto Transport
A deposit is generally required when ordering your auto shipping service. This deposit will range from 10% to 25% of the total fee and is due prior to shipping. Your balance will be due upon delivery of your automobile. You will be required to pay by Cash or Cashiers Check when your vehicle arrives. Ask your transport company about the option to pay for your service by credit card. Although this isn’t common in the auto transport industry, you may want to inquire about the possibility of doing so. The Auto Transport Company may ask you to pay for the transaction fee (usually 2%-3% of the total fee) but will allow you to do so. Paying by credit card gives you added assurance if a problem arises during transit.

Be certain your Properly Insured
Your automobile will be covered against theft and damage by your auto transport company. You should ask for a copy of this coverage so that you can clearly understand what the auto shippers’ coverage is and what your deductible will be if a problem arises. Verify your personal coverage and find out if there are any restrictions or exclusions to your coverage while your vehicle is being transported. Although the likelihood of a problem occurring during transport is limited, educate yourself to ensure you’re fully covered. Just as with any business, don’t take the other guys word, especially with something that could potentially cost you money. Get it in writing.

Be prepared for Pick-Up
Wash your car! This may sound strange, but being able to properly assess your vehicles condition is extremely important. You will clearly be able to identify chips and scratches on your automobile. These damages will be easily documented and detailed on your inspection report. By doing so, this will eliminate the possibility of questions regarding “responsibility of damages” upon the delivery of your vehicle.

Empty your car out! Your auto shipping company isn’t responsible for items left in your vehicle.  Personal items are not covered by insurance and add to the total weight of the transport.

Turn off your car alarm. Your transport company isn’t likely to hear, let alone take the time to find the way to disable your car alarm if it goes off during transport. You don’t want your car arriving at it’s destination with a dead battery.

Run down your gas tank. Try to keep your tank to a minimum when preparing for transport. This isn’t only a weight issue. Safety is also a major concern of the Transport Company. Your carrier will appreciate your efforts.

Remove and/or secure any special effects on your car. Spoilers, fog lights and antennas can all be damaged during transport. You may also want to turn in mirrors if when possible.

Transport your convertible with the top up and secured properly. If you can’t raise the top, you should secure your car with tarp that prohibits moisture and wind from causing damage to your vehicle. If you’re concerned about the possibility of damage caused by the elements you should consider ‘enclosed” transport for your automobile.

Check the air pressure of your tires and make sure that your battery is fully charged. You may want to consider taking your car in for an oil change and have your fluids topped off.  If your car is leaking anything, especially brake or transmission fluid the driver won’t want to load your automobile on the top of his trailer. You wouldn’t appreciate your car being exposed to this type of damage so be considerate to others; keep the driver informed.

If your vehicle is difficult to start, or it just has a mind of its own let the driver know. You don’t want to be charged extra money if the driver has a problem loading or unloading your automobile. Leave a note, or document your instructions on the “Bill of Landing”.

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