Transport Tips

Home / Transport Tips

Vehicle Transport FAQs

How does car shipping work?

We ship your vehicle with a licensed and insured auto shipping trucking company. Once your order has been placed, your car transport will be scheduled for dispatch as close as possible to theCar Transport FAQs | Vehicle Carriers | Auto Delivery | Vehicle Transport - High End Transport date(s), which you requested on your order form. We will establish an auto transport tracking file on your car shipment. We will then choose the best auto trucking company that is available to transport your vehicle closest to the day you choose for dispatch. After we re-verify that the auto shipping company we chose is still properly licensed and insured, we will then assign your car shipment to them. You will get 8 to 24 hours advance notice from either the truck driver himself or from the auto transport trucking company in order to schedule both the pickup and delivery time and day. Please be readily contactable at any time for pickup or delivery once your order is placed, and have your cash, money order or cashiers’ check, if applicable, payable to the trucking company, ready upon delivery, or pick up if you choose. If you place an order for “ASAP”, you must be ready to release the vehicle at any time we ask for it.

Normal transit time varies depending on where your vehicle shipment is shipped to and from, and how many vehicles are on the car carrier to be picked up or delivered. It can also be affected by how many vehicles shipments are available in any given area to be auto hauled. In general, an East Coast to West Coast move is usually delivered within 7 to 14 days. A move up or down the East Coast or West Coast is usually 3-5 days once on the truck. A move from the Midwest to either the East Coast or West Coast is approximately 4-8 days. The actual time for your delivery may vary due to the route taken, weather and road conditions, other pickups or drop-offs and even driver illness. Please remember that no company can offer you a guaranteed date, day or time for the above reasons. Also during some peak shipping times, for example, in the “snowbird season”, deliveries to and from the Northeast and the Midwest to Florida can, and almost always run late due to the vast amount of car shippers leaving at one time, and the inability of the auto shipping trucking companies to accommodate so many people with a limited amount of time and equipment.

All of the quotes provided by Auto Transporters Online are for door-to-door car shipping. Door-to-door car shipping service does not always mean a truck will be able to pull up to your front door. Door-to-door means that the truck driver will get as close to your specified pick-up or delivery spot as he can legally and safely get. Large towns and cities often restrict large trucks and prohibit them from entering into some residential areas. Auto shipping trucks can be up to 75 foot long, and drivers will need lots of room to maneuver and turn around. When access to your residence is restricted by narrow streets, low-hanging trees, speed bumps or tight turns, the driver may ask that you meet the truck at a large parking lot nearby, such as a grocery store, school, or shopping mall.

In most cases, your vehicle(s) will be transported on an open 8 or 10 vehicle hauler, the same type of trucks used to deliver new vehicles from factories to your local dealerships. Enclosed carriers are also available.

Auto transporters are not licensed to transport personal belongings, as they do not have a household goods transportation license issued by the Federal Government. In addition, if you were to place things in the vehicle during car shipment, they would not be covered by insurance, unless you have a floater on your own home insurance. Many auto transporting companies we use, will however, allow some personal belongings discreetly placed in trunk. It’s their call.

We would like to have as much notice as possible of your preferred car transport dates. This will help us to schedule your vehicle pickup and delivery within the time frame which you requested. We will gladly accept your order for shipment with little notice, but the more notice, the better.

ONLY the trucking company (the actual car carrier, auto hauler) provides the insurance. During the pickup and drop-off of the vehicle, the trucking company will complete a detailed physical inspection of the vehicle, on a bill of lading/condition report, which you or your agent and the trucker must sign and acknowledge. Make sure you or your agent gets a copy. This same bill of lading/condition report will be presented again upon delivery, so that you or your agent can re-inspect the vehicle for any discrepancies.
In the highly unlikely event any damage did occur during the auto transporting, please be sure to note it on the bill of lading at the time of delivery and have the driver sign in agreement immediately while he is there. No claims will be honored if the damage is not noted at the time of delivery and acknowledged by the auto delivery driver. You still must pay the balance due COD for the transportation charges. It will not jeopardize any claim you may have for damage. The auto transporting company usually will not take the vehicle off the truck until you pay for the move. You cannot withhold or deduct moneys from the COD amount to cover any damage that may have occurred while in auto shipping transit. All claims are handled separately once the actual auto transporter has received the signed bill of lading noting the damages.

The deposit is paid to Auto Transporters Online. We accept cashier’s checks, money orders, cash, personal checks (shipping subject to clearance) and most major credit cards (Visa, Master Card, Discover and American Express) for the administration fee down payment only. An administration fee is required to initiate the transport process.
The balance is paid directly to the trucking company driver. The trucker must be paid on delivery of your vehicle in cash, cashier’s check or money order only. The trucker will not accept credit cards. If you want to, you can pay the truck driver the balance due at the pickup point, if it is easier for you.
Whenever possible, we don’t use auto delivery terminals. Shipping terminals are usually in the worst parts of town where land is cheapest. Security is usually not very good. Auto shipping trucks are maneuvering in and out all day and the possibility of damage being incurred is very real.
We try to use one truck going all the way to your destination instead of allowing “truck switching” enroute, which can dramatically delay the delivery of your vehicle. Many companies offering guaranteed pickup dates deliver vehicles to holding terminals, where they often stand for weeks awaiting transport for shipment to the destination.
Open trailers are either partially or fully exposed to the elements. There are many different types of auto hauling, open car carrier trailers, ranging from small three car carriers to the large 11 car carriers that you often see on the Interstate. Enclosed trailers are protected from the elements, and your vehicle shipment is basically shipped in a mobile garage. Having your vehicle shipped enclosed is typically a 30-50% premium over having it shipped on an open trailer. Most cars can be car shipped either on an open car carrier trailer or in an enclosed car transport trailer. It all depends on what you want to spend. Some trailers are made to transport antique cars.
The most important issue for people to understand about the process of car transport is that this industry is not like UPS, Fed-Ex or even the Postal Service. Pick-up and delivery dates are estimates, typically not guarantees of pick-up or delivery dates. Unforeseen problems from mechanical break downs, traffic, and weather all contribute to delays in auto transport. Ironically, the biggest delays for vehicle shipping companies are typically caused by their own customers. Customers fail to show up on time, try to change pick-up or drop off locations at the last minute etc. Patience is required we want to get your vehicle shipped to you as soon as you do. Make sure you have realistic expectations about when your car transport will be picked up and delivered.

Talk to our Shipping Experts