How To Ship a Vehicle: Full Transport Process Explained

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Who needs to transport vehicles?

Auto transport companies specialize in shipping vehicles quickly and safely across the United States and elsewhere. Anyone who needs a safe, reliable and affordable method of transporting their automobile can benefit from a car transport company.This can include individuals who are moving, military personnel, private corporations, moving and relocation companies, as well as numerous car dealerships nationwide.

  1. Planning ahead and scheduling in advance - To ensure delivery in your desired time frame, schedule the shipping as far in advance as possible.
  2. Cleaning out the car - You vehicle needs to be free of any personal items during transport. Transport trucks must meet strict weight requirements and insurance will not cover personal items in the vehicle. Failure to remove all your belongings could result in an extra charge or cause a delay in the transport of your vehicle or both.
  3. Inspecting your vehicle and making a checklist - An important step in the automobile transportation process is to do a thorough inspection of the vehicle and present it to the auto transit company for acknowledgment before they take possession of the vehicle.
  4. Ensuring low fuel and removing antennae - Make sure that you have no more than a quarter tank of gas in your vehicle for the transport.More fuel than this can provide an unnecessary safety hazard. Remove any loose parts from the vehicle such as bed liners that are not bolted down, so that they do not get blown off during transport. Any non-retractable antennas must also be removed so that they do not get damaged while in transport.
  5. Delivering the vehicle or having it picked up - The door-to-door delivery which allows for your vehicle to be picked up from its current location and delivered directly to the location of your choosing. If you live in an area that is not safely accessible to our transport trucks, you may be required to meet the transport driver at a nearby location that can accommodate the truck. You can drop off or pick-up your vehicle at a terminal in most major U.S cities. This is a great option for anyone looking for immediate delivery of their vehicle. You’ll save around $50 off the standard car shipping price when you drop it off or pick it up yourself. This request must be prearranged when placing your order. Either yourself or another designated party must be present upon pick-up of your vehicle. A contract is known as the “bill of loading” will need to be signed by you once the vehicle has been loaded for shipment.
  6. Securing the vehicle - Your vehicle is carefully loaded and secured on the transport truck for transport across the country.
  7. Transporting the vehicle - To any of the 50 states or internationally as well! The Department of Transportation limits drivers to 500 miles a day for important safety reasons.
  8. Picking up the vehicle or letting it be delivered - You can pick up your vehicle from a transport station or have it delivered right to your home, usually for an additional fee. Rural areas can sometimes present hazardous road conditions for the large transport trucks, which are typically 80 ft. long, weigh 80,000 lbs. and are built low to the ground. This can limit their ability to maneuver in tight places.Transport trucks must also avoid any roads that might have overhanging trees because the tree branches could damage the vehicles being transported. For the safety of your vehicle, the truck driver may choose a parking lot or interstate turnout that is as close as possible to the vehicle’s destination. This allows the driver to safely load or unload your vehicle. We leave this decision up to the discretion of our drivers since the driver is responsible for both the safety of the transport truck and the transported vehicles. Occasionally the delivery process can be held up for various reasons. The Department of Transportation regulates drivers and limits them to a total of 500 miles in a day, which has the potential to affect delivery time. Uncontrollable factors such as mechanical breakdowns, bad weather conditions, and unexpected traffic scenarios can also cause a delay. Planning in advance is the best way to ensure prompt delivery of your vehicle.
A-1 Auto Transport ships worldwide. Click Here or call to get a free, no obligation to buy, price quote for your shipment.

Below Are Approximate prices for shipping to and from various cities in the United States:

The data in the table assumes the following: 
From: San Francisco, CA 
Type of Vehicle: Acura CL 
Operating Condition: Running (Rolls, Steers, and Brakes) 
Type of Trailer: Open 
Type of Service: Door-to-Door Service* 
Cargo Insurance:  Included*

Shipping From:           San Francisco, CA Shipping To:               Little Rock, AR Distance:               1,963 mi The total price is:        $ 1,139Shipping From:          San Francisco, CA Shipping To:               Detroit, MI Distance:                     2,087 mi The total price is:        $ 1,019
Shipping From:            San Francisco, CA Shipping To:                 Portland, OR Distance:                 636 mi The total price is:          $ 539Shipping From:             San Francisco, CA Shipping To:                 Charleston, WV Distance:                 2,558 mi The total price is:          $ 1,139
Shipping From:             San Francisco, CA Shipping To:                 Miami, FL Distance:                 3,110 mi The total price is:          $ 1,099Shipping From:            San Francisco, CA Shipping To:                Los Angeles, CA Distance:                382 mi The total price is:          $ 379

Check out our infographic which visualizes the above information. Feel free to save it for yourself or share it with friends. If you would like to post this on your website, just be sure to leave a link back to us.

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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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.

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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
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