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Shipping a Vehicle: A Comprehensive Guide to Safe and Cost-Effective Transport

An open car transport trailer. Shipping a vehicle with National Transport Services is safe and easy.

Whether you’re moving to a new state, selling your car to someone in another country, or buying a vehicle from a dealership far away, shipping a vehicle can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, with proper planning and research, you can ensure that your car arrives at its destination safely and cost-effectively.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about shipping a vehicle, from choosing a reputable carrier to preparing your car for transport. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to navigate the shipping process with ease.


How to Choose a Vehicle Shipping Company

A man sitting wearing an overcoat looking at his laptop.

Choosing the right vehicle shipping company near me is crucial to ensuring a safe and hassle-free transport. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:

  • Reputation: Look for a company with a solid track record of satisfied customers and positive reviews. Check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau and read online reviews from previous customers.
  • Experience: Choose a company with experience shipping vehicles similar to yours. For example, if you’re shipping a luxury car, look for a carrier that specializes in high-end vehicles.
  • Insurance: Ensure that the company carries sufficient insurance to cover any damages that may occur during transport. Ask to see a copy of their insurance policy and make sure it includes comprehensive and collision coverage.
  • Cost: While price is an important factor, don’t make it your sole consideration. Remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Look for a carrier that offers a fair price for the level of service they provide.


How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Transport

Hand with a blue rubber glove holding a car interior cleaning spray bottle.

Preparing your vehicle for transport is an essential step in ensuring its safety during transport. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Wash your car: A clean car will make it easier to inspect for any damages before and after transport.
  • Remove personal items: Take off all identifying items from your vehicle, including GPS units, toll tags, and stray objects. During shipment, these could slip loose and inflict harm.
  • Document damages: Take photos of your car from all angles and note any existing damages. This will serve as evidence in case any additional damages occur during transport.
  • Disable alarms: If your car has an alarm system, disable it before transport to avoid setting it off during transit.
  • Fuel level: Keep your fuel level to 1/4 or 1/8 tank.
  • Maintenance: Perform basic maintenance like checking tires pressure, and making sure the brakes are functioning properly.


Types of Vehicle Shipping Services

A soft side covered car transporter. Enclosed car transport is how we started. We initially started shipping classic cars for some of the largest collector car dealerships in the U.S.

There are two primary types of vehicle shipping services: open transport and enclosed transport. Here’s what you need to know about each:

  • Open transport: This is the most common and affordable option. Your car will be transported on an open trailer along with other vehicles. While your car will be exposed to the elements, it’s a safe and secure way to transport your car.
  • Enclosed transport: Although it costs more, this option gives your car more security. Your car will be carried in an enclosed trailer, which will shield it from the elements and dangerous road debris.


How to Schedule Vehicle Shipping

A calendar journal

It’s time to book your shipment after you’ve selected a vehicle shipping company and prepared your automobile for transport. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Choose a pick-up and delivery date: Work with the carrier to determine a convenient pick-up and delivery date that fits your schedule.
  • Plan for delays: While carriers strive to stick to their schedules, delays can occur due to weather, traffic, and other unforeseen circumstances. Plan for potential delays and make sure you have a contingency plan in case your car doesn’t arrive on time.
  • Provide accurate information: Ensure that you provide accurate information about your car, including the make, model, and year. This will help the carrier determine the appropriate trailer and equipment needed to transport your vehicle.
  • Review the contract: Before signing a contract, review it carefully to ensure that you understand all the terms and conditions. Ask questions if anything is unclear and make sure that you’re comfortable with the agreement before signing.


What to Check for When Receiving Your Vehicle

Inspectors review vehicle damage. Auto transport.

It’s important to thoroughly inspect your car upon delivery to ensure that it has arrived undamaged and in the correct condition. Failure to do so can lead to costly repairs and headaches down the line:

  • Exterior damage: Before signing off on the delivery, thoroughly inspect the exterior of the car for any obvious signs of damage. Look for dents, scratches, and chipped paint. If you notice any issues, take photos and bring them to the attention of the driver. Test all the lights and mirrors to make sure they are working properly.
  • Interior damage: It’s time to look inside the car after you’ve examined the exterior. Look for any stains or tears in the upholstery. By testing them all, ensure all the knobs and buttons are in good functioning order. Look for warning lights that may have illuminated the dashboard during the journey.
  • Mechanical issues: Finally, test drive the vehicle to make sure everything is working properly. While driving, pay attention to any unusual vibrations or sounds. To ensure correct operation, test the brakes, steering, and accelerator.

FAQs About Shipping a Vehicle


  1. How long does it take to ship a vehicle?

The distance, the mode of transportation, and any potential delays all affect how long it takes to send a car. In general, expect shipping a vehicle across the country to take 1-2 weeks.

  1. Can I pack items in my car during transport?

No, it’s not recommended to pack items in your car during transport. Carriers are not responsible for any personal belongings left in the car, and loose items can cause damage during transit.

  1. What occurs if my vehicle is harmed while being transported?

You should make a claim with the carrier’s insurance company if your car is damaged while being transported. National Transport Services can help you make the claim with the insurance company.

  1. What is the price of shipping my vehicle?

A number of variables, such as the distance, the mode of transportation, and the size and weight of the car, affect the shipping a vehicle quote. In general, expect to pay between $800 and $1800 for shipping a vehicle across country.

  1. Can I track my vehicle during transport?

Yes, most carriers offer tracking services that allow you to monitor the progress of your shipment. Check with your carrier to see if they offer this service.



Although shipping a car can be a stressful process, with careful preparation and study, you can guarantee secure and affordable delivery. Make sure to select a dependable carrier, get your automobile ready for shipment, and carefully read the contract before committing. You can be sure that your car will reach its destination promptly and safely by paying attention to these suggestions.


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