What You Need to Know When Shipping a Car

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Your long-distance move is just around the corner. You’ve packed up your entire house, packed up the kids, but how are you supposed to pack your car?

Driving it is out of the question. That would take days’ worth of time you just don’t have. 

You need to hire a car shipping company instead. They’ll load your car on a trailer and drive it to your new location for you. However, there are a few things you need to know first. 

Keep reading this guide to learn some helpful tips about shipping your car! 


There Is More Than One Car Shipping Method

Car shipping is a blanket term that encompasses several different types of vehicle transport. A car shipping company will often offer at least two different shipment options: open car transport and enclosed car transport. 

Never hand the keys of your car over to a shipping company until you understand the distinction between these things. Otherwise, you may end up picking the wrong one for your car, which can make the process riskier or more expensive. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of each choice. 

Open Car Transport

If you choose to ship your car with open car transport, your car will be loaded up onto a trailer with several other vehicles. There won’t be any type of covering over the trailer, leaving your car exposed to all the elements and dangers of the road. However, it is unlikely your car will sustain any damage over the trip. 

This is the most common and most affordable way to ship a car. It will likely be the best choice for your needs. 

Enclosed Car Transport 

Do you own an expensive, antique, or rare car? Then paying a bit more money for extra protection might be worth the cost. Enclosed car transport services carry your vehicle in a covered trailer, which will keep it safe from bad weather or flying debris on the road. 

These types of trailers tend to carry fewer cars, so your car might even show up at your destination faster than it would with open car transport. But this also depends on the route and the driving condition. 

Keep in mind, if you choose this method, the price will go up.

You Need to Clean, Inspect, and Take Photos of Your Car Before the Trip 

What’s the purpose of cleaning your car right before you ship it across the country? It will be filthy again by the time it reaches you. 

While that may be true, cleaning your car will help you spot any damages before it hits the road. Examine the car (both inside and out) for any dents, paint chips, scratches, and other flaws. Then take pictures of them as documentation. 

After you get your car back, repeat this process all over again. If you find any new damages, reach out to the car transport company and let them know. As long as they have insurance, they will cover the cost of repairs.

Again, your car likely won’t suffer any damages during the trip. It is possible, though, for a rock (or something similar) to hit your car and leave a mark.  

Make Sure the Car Shipping Company Has Insurance 

If they don’t, you’ll be responsible for anything that happens to your car during the shipment. All reputable companies have insurance, and they should be able to show you proof of this. Never work with a company that isn’t insured. 

Always Take Everything Out of Your Car 

It’s not a good idea to leave any personal items in your car during the shipment. In fact, many companies will require you to take lose belongings out of the car before they load it onto a trailer. 


These items will roll around your car during the trip, which can ruin the items and damage your vehicle. If the belongings are valuable, leaving them in the car also puts them at risk for theft. 

Always remove all items and important paperwork from the car before you hand it over for shipping. 

Don’t Forget to Empty the Gas Tank 

You might want to give your car a full tank of fuel before shipping it across the country. That way, when you receive it, you can start driving it right away. 

Don’t do this. 

Vehicle transport companies will weigh your car before they load it onto a trailer. The heavier the car, the more money you’ll have to pay. It’s a good idea to hand your car over with only a quarter tank of fuel instead. 

However, don’t make the mistake of emptying all the fuel out of the tank! If you do this, you might not be able to drive it to a station after the company unloads it, meaning you’ll have to spend more money on a tow truck later. 

Never Hire a Car Shipping Company Just Because They’re Cheap 

Shipping your car can be expensive, so you might want to save as much money as possible during the trip. However, that doesn’t mean you should simply choose the cheapest shipping company you can find. 

Remember, the price reflects the quality. 

Hiring a cheap company might not help you save any money at all. You might get your car back with numerous damages, or it might not make it to the correct location in time. It’s a better idea to spend more money upfront to ensure your car you get your car in the same condition you left it. 

Shipping Your Car Across the Country or Internationally 

Do you need help shipping your car to a new location? Whether you need it to reach the other side of the country or even a new country altogether, our team at SG Haulage LTD can deliver it for you. 

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today for a quote or more information! We’ll walk you through the entire car shipping process and ensure your car reaches its final destination safely.