Hazards of Towing Your Car Vs Safety of Shipping

Deliver Your Vehicle Stress Free

Compare our rates to or from: any location in the world

  • Deliver Your Car Stress Free and Have Peace of Mind
  • Licensed, Bonded and Insured Carriers Near You
  • Award Winning Service, Always on Time

Trusted By:Trusted By FMCSA, Inc. 500, AMSA, BBB

Auto Shipping Free Quote Calculator

Or Call Us:
Hazards of Towing Your Car Vs Safety of Shipping
Hazards of Towing Your Car Vs Safety of Shipping

Unless you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or are an RV aficionado, driving a rented moving truck for a long-distance move is likely to be the biggest vehicle you will ever command. But what about your car? Is it better to tow your vehicle behind the moving truck or use a reputable, licensed, and bonded auto transport specialist?

If you just look at the base numbers, it is usually cheaper to tow your car behind the moving truck as you move across country, but that does not take into account the cost of repairing damage to your vehicle that can happen when towing. Yes – if done incorrectly you can cause serious damage to your car.

The good news about towing a vehicle is that generally the mileage doesn’t go up when the motor is off, as is the case with towing.  But then again, when using an auto transport specialist, your car’s mileage will not go up either.

Towing Options

Options for towing your vehicle include using a dolly or using a trailer. 

A tow dolly is a low-cost option for towing a front wheel drive vehicle. The front wheels are lifted off the ground, and the real wheels are engaged with the road. U-Haul, Budget, and Penske all offer tow dollies. However, tow dollies are typically not advised for long distance moves.

Car trailers are easier to use than dollies, offer less chance of damage, and are preferable for long distances and heavier cars or trucks. With trailers, all four wheels of the towed vehicle are off the ground.

Hazards Of Towing Your Car Vs Safety Of Shipping

Protect your Transmission

One of the most common ways automobiles are damaged when towed involves the transmission. When a vehicle is towed with a dolly and the two non-drive wheels are on the ground, there is less chance of damage – but the risks are still there. To tow a four-wheel drive vehicle with a dolly, you would need to remove the rear drive shaft and tow with the back wheels on the ground.

According to an article “Towing and Transmission Damage: What You Need to Know” hosted by American & Foreign Transmission Service at aftranny.com, a vehicle’s gear position during towing can factor into if damage will occur.  There are three gear positions to take into consideration: Emergency, Park, and Neutral.

Having your towed vehicle in neutral is the safest and most secure way to prevent transmission damage during the journey. Having the vehicle in park or with the emergency brake on will prevent the wheels from turning, which will damage both the tires and the transmission. 

Even with your vehicle in neutral, damage still can occur when towing. Having your car in neutral disengages the engine, however it does not disengage the transmission. If you are towing your car over a long distance the transmission can still overheat, leading to serious and expensive damage.

Sticks and Stones

When you tow your car across country behind a moving truck, it is in a direct trajectory for road debris that can get kicked up and dent car panels, scratch paint, crack windows, or break headlights. One way to minimize the chance of significant damage from road debris is to use a “Tow Car Shield”.  This is a piece of safety equipment that is placed on the front of the car being towed. As the name suggests, it is a protective shield that will decrease the chance of damage to the car.

In the case of towing a vehicle behind an RV, there is another step that can be taken for your car’s safety. Similar to mud flaps on a truck, tow guard rock deflectors are devices that can be affixed to the rear of the RV that is doing the towing. The low hanging rock deflector will diminish the amount of debris getting kicked up.

Avoid the Damage 

The safest way to transport your car when moving is to use an expert. A-1 Auto Transport, for example, offers both open air and enclosed transport options for your vehicle.

Open-air carriers can transport six to 12 cars at once, sometimes more. Since there are more vehicles being transported on an open-air carrier, the cost is split among the various automobile owners which results in a lower overall cost per car.

Unlike open-air carriers, enclosed carriers offer space for only a few cars. But they offer protection on all sides. This protection can be either soft-sided or hard-sided. 

Soft-side enclosed transport does a good job of protecting your car. It can often prevent damage from small rocks, wind, and rain. Hard-sided enclosed auto transportation is the option that will offer the most protection. Your car is completely protected on all sides.

Enclosed carriers are also typically equipped with a hydraulic lift for loading and unloading. This can be important when loading vehicles with low ground clearance. Open-air carriers do not have hydraulic lifts.

With less vehicles on board, enclosed carriers are more expensive than open-air carriers, but sometimes that added cost is worth the peace of mind knowing your car will safely reach your destination.

Get a Free Estimate

Renting a dolly cost approximately $50 per day. Renting a trailer can cost about double that. If you are engaged in a local move under 500 miles, you may get away with towing your car – but for a long-distance move, is the risk of damage to your vehicle really worth it?

Professional auto transport companies specialize in getting your car where you need it, when you need it, and without damage. 

A-1 Auto Transport offers free estimates for open-air and enclosed carrier car shipping. Do your due diligence and see which option is best for you. 

Joe WebsterWritten By:Joe WebsterConnect with Joe Webster on facebookConnect with Joe Webster on linkedin

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

Email me - info@a1autotransport.com

Satisfied Customers

“I am meticulous when it comes to everything. At first, I was thinking of just driving all the way to Illinois from New Jersey. A friend recommended me to go to A1 Auto Transport and told me a lot of good things about them. I refused initially because I had filed a 4 day leave just to drive and visit my mother. But things did not go well. My boss asked me to cancel my leave because a very important client asked for an urgent meeting, and the manager could not attend to it. I was hopeless and took the risk of asking help from A1. The notice was short and I forgot I needed to inform them in advance. After a couple of hours, I received a call and they told me they found a way to book me with no extra fees. I am so thankful I got to attend to my work matters. I did not get to see my mother, but the vehicle and items inside it were in perfect condition as if it was me who took care of it. I owe you guys big time! I got one huge deal from our client.”

“The plan was to ship my car from California to Utah. I went through nearly 20 quotes after using an auto shipping site which linked to a bunch of brokers. Finally, I found A1 Auto Transport, a company with its own trucks with great reviews. I was sold. Joe was very competent, gave off the impression he’d done this a million times, and it really showed throughout the transport. He listened to my request carefully, offered me several options, stayed in touch during the transport, and made sure I was happy with everything. Overall, a great company which I would definitely recommend to others!”

“I’m so glad I met you Joe!! A truly fortunate experience. Having to transport a car to Minnesota, I was stunned to see the company, who was supposed to take care of it, just vanish. I couldn’t reach them anymore, like they went bankrupt overnight. However, I was lucky enough to not pay anything, so I simply researched some more until I found A1 Auto Transport. Joe answered my call the first time and we soon agreed on a date and a quote. Unfortunately, I got caught up in work and forgot about it. The order was not confirmed, so Joe must’ve thought I changed my mind. I called him the next day and arranged for a new date. This time, I made a note on my phone and it went well. I replied to his email this time, and the driver arrived at a parking lot down the street on time, as promised. The driver was nice enough to not mention my previous mistake. He delivered my car in just 3 days. Upon careful inspection, there were no scratches or damage done to it during transport. Joe was there along with the driver and they both waited patiently until I was satisfied. Thanks!”

“A1 Auto is kind of like your favourite mom and pop pizza parlour, the one you can’t get enough of despite all the new, expensive avant-garde pizza shops that have mushroomed conspicuously across the entire neighbourhood and seem to have taken over the whole world...but not you. Because you value quality and genuine customer service, and know this business understands and works doubly hard to give you your money’s worth. I’ve been using A1 Auto Transport whenever I left California for business: they may not be the cheapest car transporters around, but the sheer professionalism, dedication, and heart they put into their work is just amazing and worth my every dime. I’m probably one of the most sceptical people you would ever meet. I’m rarely convinced when bombarded with dubious, self-congratulating ads of companies that look like they’ve spent tons of money on marketing materials just to lure your average guy in. A1 Auto Transport is the complete opposite of these companies. My car always arrived promptly on schedule, never with a hint of scratch or dirt or damage, and they keep me updated every step of the process. When you’ve found a company whose genuine care for their customers comes naturally, you stand by them no matter what. It’s the most logical thing to do.”

“A1 Auto Transport helped me move a vehicle to Iowa from Houston. I was a bit nervous, no knowing much about such services. Thanks to Joe, I was able to clear the fog a little. He answered all my questions and explained everything in a way that left no room for interpretation. The details were straightforward. I picked Sunday as the pickup date, since I wasn’t at work, and they accommodated me. The truck arrived an hour early, yet the driver patiently waited for me to arrive. He thoroughly checked my car for scratches or anything that might affect the transport then drove it onto the truck. I was given a 2 day time window during which the car was supposed to arrive in, and it got to Iowa in the evening of the first day. The trip didn’t damage it at all. Next time a friend wants to move, I’ll surely recommend A1 Auto Transport.”

Ship Your Vehicle With A-1 Auto Today
Get an Instant Quote

Or Call Us Today and Speak to Directly to Our Sales Team:

Our Partners:

Better Business Bureau Accredited
FMCSA Member
INC. 500 Member
VeriSign Secured
AMSA Member

A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
Copyright © 1988-2021, A-1 Auto Transport - All Rights Reserved.