How to Transport Your Car Across the Country

Planning for a long-distance move? Make life easier by shipping your car with these practical tips.

Montway Auto (Sponsored)
4-minute read

If you’re considering a long-distance move or a cross-country vacation, you may have looked into shipping a car to your destination. Compared to the alternatives of leaving your car behind or driving it yourself, shipping can prove to be much easier and more affordable than you might realize. Save your car from the harsh wear and tear of long trips, and save yourself the headache by booking with an expert car shipper.

Where do you start? Look no further. Here are some tips to help you ship your car safely and easily:

Plan your trip in advance

Start by picking out your preferred travel dates ahead of time. The further in advance you can start contacting companies and getting transport quotes, the better your experience will be. In general, try to book your transport at least two months in advance, to be sure that everything is taken care of with ample time for setup. Last-minute bookings are possible, but similar to buying airline tickets, you’re likely to pay more money.

Shop around and get several quotes

You’ll need to do more than a Google search to find the right shipping service. Ask your friends and family or local members of your community for recommendations.

Find companies on social media, and skim any negative reviews on Facebook to see how the companies handle complaints. Check customer feedback from websites like Transport Reviews, Review Centre, Reseller Ratings, and My Moving Reviews.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, use company websites to get a quote, entering in your vehicle’s information as well as your planned travel dates. Decide if you need enclosed or open auto transport for your car, as well as whether you’ll be paying in cash or with a card. Keep in mind that any quote you receive is not set in stone. Quotes are general estimates of how much the service will cost, and that price fluctuates on a daily basis. If you’re using a broker,  they may be able to secure a cheaper transport option for you on one day, and then that option becomes unavailable the next time you call. However, your quote should be fairly close to your final price.

When you’re happy with a quoted price, go ahead and book your order. You’ll receive confirmation and the company will reserve your pickup window. You should receive transport dates within the next week or two, although it may take longer if you’re located in or traveling to a rural area.

Prepare your vehicle for pickup

A truck will come to pick up your car for transport within your scheduled timeframe. Most companies will send you alerts to let you know when the truck is scheduled to arrive. Be sure that your car is clean and has roughly a half tank of gas. Go through your car to be sure that all of your personal belongings are removed beforehand. Some services will allow you to ship personal items in your vehicle, with or without fees, but this isn’t ideal. Items in your car become dangerous during transit, moving around in your car and potentially causing damage to the interior. Any damage to your car or to other vehicles caused by personal belongings is not covered under shipping insurance in most cases, so it’s best to transport your belongings separately for safety reasons.

Assign someone to be available for pickup to go over the bill of lading with the driver, and make sure all payments are taken care of ahead of time. During transport, many companies will send you periodic updates to keep you informed of where your car is and when it will reach your destination.

Receive your car at the destination

Similar to pick-up, someone will need to be available to receive the car. Upon delivery, you’ll receive the bill of lading as a receipt from the driver. Perform a final inspection on your vehicle at this time. If you have any concerns or notice any damage, be sure to follow up with the company as soon as possible. Whether your experience is good or bad, consider leaving a review for the company online so that others can make an informed decision as well.

Keep cancellation policies in mind

If there’s a chance you may need to cancel, read up on the shipping company’s cancellation policies beforehand. Many companies will allow you to cancel for free before booking, but most will charge a service fee if you cancel after pick-up dates are confirmed.

To learn more about how car shipping works, here are a few articles that explain the process:

1.    How Auto Transport Works

2.    How Does Car Transport Work from Start to Finish?

3.    How Stuff Works How Auto Transport Works

It also never hurts to call up a company directly and ask them how their particular process works. This is also a great way to gauge the company’s customer service practices.

Montway is one of the largest and most reputable auto transport companies in the country. Customers include thousands of satisfied individuals, as well as corporate clients in the moving and relocation, dealership, auctions, and OEM industries. It is A+ accredited by the BBB, fully licensed and insured broker and carrier, with a 5-star review rating across all top review sites.