Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Auto buying: How to ship a car cross-country (shipping a car cross country)


shipping a car cross-country

Save time and money by learning how over the road commercial carriers calculate the cost of moving a vehicle across country.

There are several things that need to be taken into consideration before the choice to "transport" or "ship" a car across country with a commercial carrier service. The type of vehicle to be shipped and the condition of that vehicle will determine the cost of shipping and the method of shipping. When the cost of shipping is more important than the method of shipping, you will more than likely have the red carpet rolled out to you along with a lengthy bill of "hidden" fees, and possibly a damaged vehicle. There are extra charges attached to the cost of shipping as determined by your specific needs and the type of vehicle. Before we go into the cost involved, let's take into consideration your needs.

One such need could include the carrier come to you on a specific date, at a specific time; and the vehicle delivered directly to you on a specific date, and at a specific time. This particular "need" is going to cost extra only because major vehicle transport carriers have their own terminals that accommodate their vehicles. If an extraordinarily large vehicle has to maneuver through a residential area and deliver to a residential area you will pay for the headache it causes the driver as well as any special permits necessary to enter a residential area with a commercial vehicle. You can save yourself money and decrease your frustration level if you have someone that can act on your behalf when the vehicle is shipped and delivered. This will free up your time, and enable the carrier to open their schedule and decrease their cost; which, decreases your cost. Each company has a set of guidelines that help determine the cost involved and the method of shipping your vehicle.


Certain guidelines need to be met to insure that the cost of shipping your vehicle does not become greater than the original value of the vehicle. Keep in mind that your vehicle will be inspected thoroughly. Clean your vehicle inside and out, take photographs of your vehicle; inside and out. Be certain that your vehicle is operable and that your battery is fully charged and mounted properly and securely. You must provide a complete set of keys to your vehicle. Check all levels of fluids, and prepare the vehicle for any weather change. There can be no visible signs of fluid leakage from your vehicle. Remove any exterior cargo racks, spare tire racks, antennas, and any non-permanent rack. Do not attempt to store these items or any other household items inside the vehicle, with the exception of maybe the antenna, as DOT regulations prohibit the use of the interior of a vehicle for use to transport household items. You must also follow the guidelines in reference to the weight of your vehicle, the amount of fuel in the tank, the size of your vehicle, and any special modifications to the vehicle. All of these specifics will determine the cost and method of shipping your vehicle. Each method of shipping is different.

All of us have seen racks of cars zoom past us on the highway and we wonder, how do they load those vehicles like that? Vehicles loaded onto the diagonal trailers could possibly suffer drive train or suspension damage. Although many of the vehicles we see being shipped in this manner look as though they are headed for a new car dealer, individuals also use this method. Another method you might have seen is vehicles being shipped on a flat bed trailer. This method, while it reduces the strain on the drive train and suspension during the loading of the vehicle, does not insure that the exterior of the vehicle will be safe from debris from the highway or other vehicles.

The preferred method, which will cost more; is using an enclosed trailer, or soft-side trailer. If you can reduce your cost by eliminating certain "needs", then this method will eliminate the possibility of damage to your vehicle and the cost of repair. Although it is required that you carry insurance on your vehicle, if any damage occurs, you must remember that the carrier will only reimburse you the Blue Book value of your vehicle. They do not take into consideration any expensive modifications made to that vehicle. Now, you ask, how much is all of this going to cost me? I don't know, as each company has different rates according to your needs, the type of vehicle you need shipped and the time of year you ship your vehicle. These rates fluctuate according to the cost of insurance and diesel. When the cost of diesel goes up, so does the cost to ship any item. Keep this in mind when you are planning to ship your vehicle. Most importantly when considering all the factors, remember to become informed on the DOT regulations and the rules that govern all commercial vehicle carriers. Check prices, talk with many carriers before you decide on one carrier and one method. Know all the rules and the lesson you learn about the transportation industry won't be a harsh one.

shipping a car cross-country

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