10 Tips for First-Time Car Shippers


Navigating the landscape of auto transportation may seem daunting at first, especially for a first-time car shipper. Yet, with a bit of knowledge and guidance, this process can transform into a stress-free, straightforward experience. This article will elucidate some essential tips to aid you in effectively shipping your car across the United States.

Deciphering the Logistics

Choosing the Best Season for Shipment

Timing plays an integral role in auto shipping. Typically, summer months tend to be busier due to a high influx of moves and student relocations. While this increased demand can lead to higher prices, the widespread availability of transporters also promotes competitive rates. Thus, understanding the cyclical nature of the industry can enable shippers to strike an economical and convenient deal.

Opting for the Right Type of Transport

When shipping a car, you’ll face a critical choice: open or enclosed transport. Open transport offers affordability and easy availability, making it a popular choice for standard vehicles. Conversely, enclosed transport provides superior protection from weather and road debris, making it a suitable choice for luxury, vintage, or high-value vehicles.

Selecting the Appropriate Shipping Method

Another significant decision to consider is door-to-door vs. terminal-to-terminal shipping. Door-to-door shipping ensures the convenience of having your vehicle picked up and delivered at specific locations, thus saving you time and effort. Alternatively, terminal-to-terminal shipping requires you to drop off and pick up your vehicle from designated terminals, a cost-effective option for those flexible with their time and location.

Preparing Your Car for Shipment

Inspecting and Documenting Your Vehicle’s Condition

Before shipping your car, carry out a thorough inspection and document its condition. Take clear photographs of any pre-existing dents, scratches, or damage. This documentation can serve as evidence in case any disputes arise regarding the condition of your vehicle upon delivery.

Ensuring Appropriate Maintenance and Preparation

Your vehicle should be in good running condition, with properly inflated tires, a working emergency brake, and no leaks. Remember to remove any personal items and deactivate any toll tags or parking passes. Additionally, you should keep your gas tank filled to about a quarter to keep the weight down and save on shipping costs.

Navigating the Legalities

Reviewing Insurance Coverage

Review your transporter’s insurance coverage to understand what it includes and excludes. You might want to consider supplemental insurance if you deem the transporter’s coverage insufficient. Ensure you receive a copy of the insurance policy and understand all its details before proceeding with the shipment.

Reading and Understanding Your Shipping Contract

Your shipping contract is a legally binding document outlining the terms and conditions of your vehicle’s shipment. It is crucial to read and understand this document thoroughly, ensuring you’re aware of your rights and responsibilities. If you encounter any confusing or concerning clauses, don’t hesitate to seek clarification or legal advice.

Ensuring Compliance with Shipping Regulations

Your auto transporter should comply with the regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Before committing to a service, verify the transporter’s USDOT and MC numbers, and check their safety record and complaint history.


Shipping a car for the first time can be a significant undertaking. However, with proper preparation, understanding the logistics, and navigating the legalities, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free experience. Keep these tips in mind as you embark on your first auto transportation journey.

In the realm of vehicle shipping services, Best Auto Transport has emerged as a distinguished entity, offering streamlined and stress-free solutions for car transportation. Their unwavering focus on customer contentment and staunch adherence to premium service standards are reflected in the glowing reviews and commendable reputation they hold in the industry.


  1. What’s the best way to prepare my car for shipping?

Ensure your car is in good working condition, remove personal items, deactivate any toll tags or parking passes, and keep the gas tank about a quarter full.

  1. How can I verify if a car shipping company is legitimate?

Check the company’s USDOT and MC numbers and review their safety record and complaint history on the FMCSA’s website.

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