Whether you are the buyer or seller, shipping a car the right way is imperative. As a buyer, you should know that your newest purchase will get to you in one piece. As a seller, you need to know that you will not lose the money you made due to a careless mistake. So, how do you ship a car the right way?

How NOT To Ship a Car

Before we get started on how to ship a car, let us cover some quick β€œdo nots.”


  • Do not look for the cheapest car shipment company available!
  • Do not ignore negative feedback or negative reviews from previous customers.
  • Do not cut corners.

Enclosed Car Shipping

How To Ship a Car

Research Local Car Shipping Companies

Begin by researching car shipping companies. The best way to find local car shipping companies is to use a major search engine to search for β€œcar shipping near me.”

Select a handful of recommended companies and do a second search on that company specifically for recommendations and reviews. Pay attention to reviews from previous customers – are they positive or negative?

After finding a few companies with good reputations, consider the following questions regarding each company by looking over their websites.

  • Does the company serve the area you are shipping to and from?
  • How do shipping rates compare to competing car shipping companies?
  • How soon can the company pick up your vehicle?
  • Does the company offer pick up for the type of vehicle you are shipping?
  • Does the company require upfront payment?
  • Does the company have full insurance coverage?
  • Does the company have a good reputation?
  • Does the company have a good BBB rating?
  • Does the company vet all of its carriers?
  • Does the company offer 24/7 customer support?

Get Quotes

After answering the questions above – and perhaps weeding out a few non-candidates – use company websites to request a quote. While many companies will ask you to call for a quote, get a binding written cost quote before agreeing to hire a shipping company.

When requesting a quote, clarify the type of shipping option you are interested in – the best choice for most car owners is by enclosed Freightliner. Open bed shipping is cheaper for vehicles but can leave your vehicle vulnerable to damage from road debris.

Choose a Shipper

After finding shippers that meet your budget and offer the service you need, decide on one company. Follow up with the shipper and let them know you have decided to utilize their services.

Upon booking, you must provide multiple details to the shipper to confirm your reservation. Required details vary by company but usually include:

Enclosed Car Shipping

  • The make, model, and year of your vehicle
  • The VIN and license plate number of your vehicle
  • A copy of your photo identification – acceptable identification methods include a passport or driving license
  • Car insurance proof
  • Information for the shipper and the recipient of the shipment
  • A copy of the car title or vehicle registration.

Pay Your Deposit

All car shipping companies require you to pay a deposit to reserve your slot on the transport vehicle.

Pay attention to the terms of your shipping contract – is there a cancellation window within which you will receive a refund for a canceled reservation? What are the cancellation terms?

Prepare Your Car For Shipment

To prepare your car for shipment –

  • Remove any personal property from the vehicle – auto transporters will not ship or insure any personal property left inside vehicles.
  • Clean your car thoroughly – cleaning your car lets you see any existing damage so that if your vehicle gets damaged during transport, you will know. Take a video of your car as you walk around it and document any damage.
  • Check and perform any regular maintenance – ensure your vehicle is not leaking fluids Β  that could damage your car or any others on the transport vehicle.
  • Take any removable additions off your car – roof racks, bicycle racks, etc.
  • Make a record of your car’s mileage to ensure others do not use your vehicle without your knowledge.

Make Arrangements With Your Transporter

Once your car is ready for transport, you can either leave it with the transport service or have them pick it up from you with door-to-door service.

If you are leaving your car with the transportation company, leave a set of keys with your transporter, but be sure to keep a set of keys on you, too.

If you choose door-to-door service, the company will call before their arrival and ensure you are available for pickup.

Best Way to Ship a Car

At the time of pickup (or drop off,) your transport driver will look over the vehicle and ask for you to sign a bill of lading. The “bill of laden” is your legal contract and covers:

  • The condition of your vehicle
  • Where your car is coming from and going to
  • Whether there are any current issues with your vehicle (for example, if it is non-running.)

Read your bill of lading thoroughly because once you sign the contract, you agree to all terms.


Shipping a car the right way costs money, but taking a chance on shipping without the necessary precautions can cost you far more. You can save time, money, and heartache with time and research.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like