A-1 Auto Transport offers several options to handle your personal, dealer, military or corporate automobile move. We feature open air, enclosed transport, door to door and terminal to terminal car transportation services. Additionally, we provide high end and luxury car transport services for vehicles that require careful handling and extra attention to detail.
The standard car shipping services include:
- Open Air
- Enclosed Transport
- Terminal to Terminal
- Door to Door
- Luxury, Exotic and High End
- Electric Vehicle Shipping
Understanding the differences between the available car transport services is important to ensure that you get exactly what you need at the best price possible.
Open Air Car Shipping
Open air transport typically means that your auto is loaded onto a multi-car carrier along with other vehicles before being moved. Think of what you might see on the highway, moving several new cars to an auto dealership-this is an open air transport carrier. A flatbed truck can also transport a single vehicle, though this is more costly and generally used for door to door shipping.
While open air shipping is one of the more popular and cost-effective ways to move your vehicle, customers who are concerned about weather and road debris during transit may prefer the complete protection offered by enclosed auto transport.
Enclosed Auto Transport Services
Enclosed transport shields your vehicle from the elements, offering the best protection at the best price. There are two types of enclosed shipping options used in the industry: soft-sided and hard-sided.
Soft-sided enclosed transport uses a transport carrier that is covered in canvas or vinyl, offering limited protection against weather and road conditions, but more than open air transport. Soft-sided carriers can prevent most damage from small rocks, wind and rain.
For an extra level of protection from weather and road hazards, hard-sided enclosed transport is recommended. As one of the best car transport options available, hard-sided enclosed transport completely protects your car from travel conditions and weather, keeping it sealed off from the outdoors.
An added benefit of hard-sided enclosed transport is that it also prevents prying eyes from seeing your auto while it’s being transported; clearly a good precaution to take when moving high end vehicles.
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Terminal to Terminal Shipping
Terminal to terminal shipping is the industry standard for transporting autos. It requires the customer to both drop off and pick up their car from a depot or terminal.
Open air terminal to terminal shipping is the most affordable service currently available.
To offer our customers the very best, A-1 Auto Transport maintains terminals in nearly every major city in the United States. In the event that a terminal is not conveniently located, door to door transport is always an option.
Door to Door Auto Transport
Door to door shipping costs more than terminal to terminal shipping, but can save considerable time in transporting your vehicle when moving cross country.
The advantage of door to door transport is that there’s no need to drop off or pick up your vehicle at a terminal, we pick it up for you and drop it off at the location you specify.
There are instances in which our transport carriers are unable to maneuver in certain locations, such as some apartment complexes or streets with low hanging tree branches. In these situations, our drivers will arrange to meet you at the nearest convenient location.
Exotic and Luxury Cars
When transporting an exotic, classic or luxury car, you want to be certain that your vehicle will be handled with the utmost care to ensure that it arrives in the same condition it left in.
Upon request, we can even load your automobile into the first position in the trailer so it does not undergo loading and unloading as other cars are added and removed.
Though insurance and satellite tracking come standard with every quote we offer, it is important to consider additional insurance if your auto is particularly valuable. This type of insurance can be offered through your existing auto insurance plan or can be purchased through a third party carrier.
Here are some of the services we offer for high end vehicles:
- Air ride suspension prevents “chucking” for a smoother ride
- Wall and floor mounted brackets are used for a more secure fit
- Covered interior and exterior, even with enclosed transport
- Hydraulic lift gate used for the safest loading and unloading possible
- Drip guards to prevent potential leaks during transport
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Far in Advance Should I Book My Car Shipment?
In general, the earlier you can schedule pick-up or delivery, the better. The more advanced notice you can give us, the more likely it is that we’ll be able to match each step of the progress to your exact needs.
However, it is also usually possible to arrange car shipping on short notice, as well. If you’re in or near a big city, we can often arrange pick-up on the same day, often without any extra cost to you. Otherwise, we’re usually able to arrange your auto transport within two to three days.
Will A-1 Auto Transport Ship My Car from a Dealer?
Sure! Any time you buy a car, whether it’s from a private seller or a dealership that isn’t local, you have to figure out how to get your car home. It’s time-consuming to travel to pick up your car yourself and drive it home, and it often adds unnecessary mileage to your car.
Dealerships can set up shipping for you, but that tends to add extra fees to your purchase price. Instead, you can work with A-1 Auto Transport directly, and we’ll provide you with affordable, reliable options to get your car.
Our car transportation services are especially useful for online car buyers, since traditional shipping through these platforms can be expensive.
How Long Will It Take to Ship My Car?
While we try to make auto shipping as efficient as possible, there’s no set formula to determine how long it will take your car to arrive at your final destination, especially for long-distance or state-to-state transfers.
Federal regulations limit truck drivers to only 500 miles per day, including any stops they make to drop cars at homes or terminals. Additionally, drivers can only work six days each week. Every two weeks, they are required to take a longer break.
We arrange our routes to maximize efficiency, but unexpected circumstances, like severe weather and mechanical problems, can arise.
However, we will provide you an estimated date of delivery and keep you informed of any changes to those dates as the information becomes available.
How Much Should I Expect to Spend on Shipping My Car?
It depends. There are several factors that go into how much it will cost to ship a car. Here are some of the factors you should consider:
- Shipping Distance
The general rule is the further you’re sending a car, the more the trip will cost. There are some exceptions, but longer hauls usually come with bigger price tags.
- Make and Model
When we’re putting together your quote, we’ll ask you for your make and model mainly for one reason: To know how large your vehicle is. Bigger cars take up more room and tend to weigh more, which may increase costs.
- Type of Shipping Service
A-1 Auto Transport offers various types of car transport services, including open-air shipping and both soft- and hard-sided enclosed transportation. While enclosed transportation offers more protection, it also comes with higher costs.
- Pick-Up and Drop-Off Options
Most times, auto transport companies offer terminal-to-terminal shipping. This means that you drop off your car at the nearest company terminal, then pick your car up at another terminal near your final destination.
Most times, you can also get door-to-door service, as well. However, this service usually costs about $50 more on each end.
In order to know how much it will cost to ship your car, you can get free auto transport quotes on A-1 Auto Transport’s website.
How Do I Decide Whether I Need Open-Air or Enclosed Shipping?
For many drivers, the most important factor in deciding between open or enclosed shipping is price. If you’re looking to maximize value, then open shipping is the right answer. If you want more protection for your car, then you’ll want enclosed shipping.
- Open-Air Shipping
Open-air shipping saves you money, but leaves your car exposed to the elements, like wind, rain, and potentially hail, as well as road debris and dust.
- Soft-Sided Enclosed Shipping
In this car transport method, the transport carrier is covered by a vinyl or canvas material, offering your car limited protection.
- Hard-Sided Enclosed Shipping
Hard-sided enclosed shipping offers the highest level of protection in car transportation. Your car will be completely enclosed in a hard-sided box, preventing weather and debris from reaching your car. Even better? No one can see your car—an added benefit if you’re moving vintage, classic, or exotic cars.
What Can I Leave in My Car While It is Being Shipped?
The short answer? Nothing. The Department of Transportation (DOT) prohibits auto transport companies from moving cars that contain personal belongings, and if these items are discovered during an inspection, the carrier can be assessed a $10,000 fine.
There are other reasons, too. These extra items are not covered under the carrier’s insurance policy, creating a liability question. Car transportation trucks can only carry so much weight. Added household items can end up overloading the carrier, which can lead to fines and delays.
What Do I Need to Do to Prepare a Car for Shipping?
The first step to prepare your car for shipment is to remove any personal items from your car. This not only ensures you’re complying with federal law, but it also limits the chance that any items will become lost during transportation.
Next, you need to make sure your car has ¼ of a tank of gas or less. Any extra fuel can pose a greater than necessary fire risk and adds additional weight that can affect the overall weight of the car carrier. You should also be sure you don’t have any fluid leaks, which could pose a hazard to other vehicles.
Finally, you should remove any external parts from your car that could potentially fly off, including non-retractable antennas, bike racks, and bed liners that are not bolted to your vehicle.
Will Your Insurance Cover My Car During Shipping?
All vehicle transportation companies are required to carry insurance to cover the cars they ship. At A-1 Auto Transport, our cargo insurance policy will cover your vehicle in the event of damage, up to the cost of full replacement during the entire time it’s in our possession.
What Kind of Paperwork Will I Need?
When it comes to paperwork, you will always receive a copy of your bill of lading and the terms and conditions for your insurance coverage. Other documents may be required.
Your bill of lading is essentially a contract that acknowledges the condition of your vehicle at pick-up. It describes in writing where your car will be delivered to. The insurance terms spell out what level of coverage A-1 Auto Transport has and lays out the terms of that coverage.
Other documents that may be required include authorizations for lienholders or absent owners. Some states require documents like title and registration, photo IDs, and proof of personal insurance, as well.
Who Will Be Transporting My Car?
A-1 Auto Transport started with a single tow truck in 1988. Since then, it has grown into one of the largest auto shipping companies in the U.S., handling local, interstate, and international vehicle shipping. With our many years of experience, we know how to get your car delivered safely and efficiently—and affordably.
We ensure that all members of our team embrace our mission: To get the job done right without ever cutting corners. Our core values are authority, expertise, and transparency. Our drivers embody all three of these traits.
Where Will My Car Be Picked Up/Dropped Off?
In most cases, your car will be picked up and dropped off at our terminals, which we maintain in almost every major city in the United States.
You simply arrive at our terminal, sign your bill of lading, and then rest easy knowing your car is in expert hands. Pick-up is just as easy: Bring your bill of lading and an ID, and you can get your car and quickly be on your way.
However, you can also arrange door-to-door service for an extra fee. One of our car carriers will arrive at your home, have you sign your bill of lading, then load your car onto the carrier. When the truck arrives at your new destination, your transport professional will unload the car with no fuss.
However, you should be aware that some areas are too tight for our carriers, and arrangements might need to be made to meet somewhere nearby so that the carrier is able to maneuver.
How Will I Know When My Car is Being Delivered?
You should hear from one of our team members 12 to 24 hours before your car is ready to be delivered in order to set up a convenient delivery time that works for you.
While we can’t give you an exact time when your car will be ready to be delivered due to traffic, weather, and other variables, we can certainly give you a window. If a conflict comes up, we’ll contact you to update your pick-up window.
Do I Need to Be There When My Car is Picked Up or Delivered?
Either you or a designated representative will need to be there in order to pick up or drop off your vehicle. Because you will need to sign a bill of lading once your car is loaded or unloaded, a responsible party needs to be there to complete the transaction.
If you aren’t able to be present yourself, you will need to contact A-1 Auto Transport beforehand to let us know who you are designating to act on your behalf. That way, both you and the carrier will be protected.
Be aware, though, that if you need to change where the vehicle is being picked up or delivered after the initial order, you may be assessed additional fees.
What Kind of Tracking Services Do You Offer?
With A-1 Auto Transport, satellite tracking is included in every quote. We know that delivering your vehicle can be stressful, even if it’s a relatively short distance. That’s why we make it as easy as possible for you to keep track of where your car is.
With satellite tracking, you can keep tabs on the progress of your vehicle as it makes its way to its final destination. While the tracking may experience disruptions due to low signal or other issues, you can rely on it to give you a general sense of where your car is along its journey.
How Long is My Quote Good For?
In most cases, your quote is good until the end of the business day. Car shipping rates can be extremely variable, due to demand, fuel prices, and other factors beyond our control. We will do our best to honor your quote on the day you receive it. However, A-1 Auto Transport reserves the right to make adjustments to your quote if we feel it is necessary.
Is My Pick-Up or Delivery Date Guaranteed?
As much as we would like to, we can’t guarantee any pick-up or delivery date for your vehicle, although we will do whatever we can to accommodate your needs.
If you request a specific date, we will try our best to be there without charging you an extra fee. However, we may not be able to meet that exact date, based on volume, logistics, and variables we can’t control.
If we are not able to pick up or deliver your car on the specified date, we will make every effort to arrive within 2 or 3 days to minimize any inconvenience. We will ensure that your car takes the most efficient route possible, and we’ll provide you an estimated arrival time to allow you to make plans.
What Are the Benefits of Shipping My Car Versus Driving It?
First and foremost, using car shipping companies to transport your vehicle is about convenience. There are many cases when you simply don’t have the time to drive your car as far as your final destination, such as when you start a new job on short notice.
Here are some other advantages to shipping your car:
- Less physical stress from long hours of driving
- Lower risk of getting into a car accident, especially on long trips
- Put less mileage on your car
Shipping a car also allows you to avoid the logistics and complications of a long drive.
My Car Still Hasn’t Arrived. Should I Be Worried?
No! If your expected delivery date has come and gone and your car still hasn’t been delivered, contact our customer service department and we’ll look into the situation. Any number of factors could have led to a delay, from mechanical problems with our car carrier to weather-related issues, including snow, hail, high winds, and flooding.
Any time our carrier experiences a delay, we will do our best to let you know so we can set up an updated delivery window. Our goal is to make transporting your vehicle as easy and stress-free as possible.
Will My Exotic/Luxury Car Be Safe?
We pride ourselves on ensuring that vehicles make it from their origin to their destination in the best shape possible. However, with more expensive cars, there are some steps that we can take to keep your car in pristine condition.
First, you should consider a hard-sided enclosed carrier. This provides your car the highest levels of protection against the debris and weather that could cause damage to your vehicle.
These carriers also prevent curious parties from seeing your vehicle, helping to keep your car safe. We will also cover the inside and outside of your car, even when inside an enclosed carrier, to offer you maximum protection.
Secondly, we can adjust how your car is loaded onto the carrier. Our carriers have hydraulic lift gates for easy loading and unloading, and we can put your car at the front of the carrier to minimize the number of times it is loaded and unloaded before reaching its final destination.
While your car is covered under our insurance policy, it might be a good idea to secure additional insurance on your high-end vehicle if it is especially valuable. For instance, many classic cars are worth a great deal of money, but replacement costs are difficult to gauge from an insurance company perspective, and you may want the additional protection just in case.
How Do I Pay for Shipping My Car?
A-1 Auto Transport is happy to accept numerous forms of payment—we pride ourselves on being flexible. If you’re not sure about your payment method, give us a call with any questions you might have.
Will You Pick Up Cars that Don’t Run?
Yes, although these cars require specialized equipment and usually require additional fees, usually around $50-100. Even if your car’s engine starts, your car will be considered non-running if it can’t be driven effectively. Examples would be a car with bad brakes, steering problems, or other issues.
There are several reasons why you might want to transport a car that doesn’t run. Most of the time, these cars have either financial or sentimental value, and owners want to transport them so they can repair them to running condition.
Whatever the reason, be sure to let A-1 Auto Transport know your car is non-running when you make your arrangements to ensure we send the right equipment and provide you with an accurate quote.
Do You Ship Cars Internationally?
Yes, we do! We’ve been shipping cars internationally for more than 20 years, so we know the process. Every country has its own process for importing cars to the country, and our team of professionals will make sure you get through the process with as little stress as possible.
Should I Expect Any Extra Charges Once My Car is Delivered?
At A-1 Auto Transport, you won’t find any surprise charges tacked on to your bill once your car arrives. We believe in only charging you for the services that you want, and we won’t try to upsell you on extra packages and protections. You know what you need for your vehicle, and we’re here to make sure you get the services you want.
Who is Vehicle Shipping Intended For?
Everyone! Shipping your car is safe, convenient, and affordable. It is available to anyone who’s interested.
Here are some of the common reasons that people choose to hire car shipping companies:
- Relocation for a new job
- Bought a car online from a distant seller or at a car auction
- Moving due to military orders
- A single person trying to move multiple cars to a new home
- Avoiding a long, tiring trip
- Transporting classic cars
- Starting college
- Going on vacation
If you’re not sure whether shipping your vehicle is right for your situation, contact one of our experts. We will help you to decide if auto transportation services will work well for you.
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