One of the main questions you will be asked when requesting a quote for auto transport is related to the weight of your car. How much your car weighs is crucial as this aspect will influence other variables, like the cost and duration.
A lot of car owners just give an estimate, not aware of the impact this number will have not only on the final bill, but the success of the entire process to
We will further explain why the weight of your car should be measured correctly and how the result will impact the auto transport.
How to Prepare Your Car for Transport
Auto transport companies have certain requirements for their customers before picking up their cars for transport. The cars that they load on the truck on the day of the trip must have the communicated weight and size. If you reported something to the carrier, but the reality is different, you might cause them a lot of trouble, and get your belongings seized or even your transport denied.
Most auto transport carriers require you to give the car empty of any belongings, and with a quarter-filled fuel tank. This is done to decrease the weight of your vehicle, which will decrease the costs, as well as eliminate certain risks of having personal items inside the vehicle.
One of the main ways the weight of your car will impact its transportation is going to be the cost. Fuel consumption is the main reason why transporting a heavier car will be more costly.
Carrying more weight means that the auto transport truck will have to work harder, which uses more fuel. Heavy trucks have more inertia and greater rolling resistance, and the engine has to have more power in order to control the truck’s movement and keep it going at the desired speed. More fuel means that the transport will be more expensive.
If your car weighs more than agreed before the transport, you will have to pay additional charges when you pick up your car.
The Different Weight Ratings of Your Car: Which One to Use?
In order to correctly estimate your car’s weight before transportation, it’s important to differentiate between a few specific terms.
The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and the gross combined weight rating (GCWR) are two variables that indicate the weight of a vehicle that’s being used. The first rating includes the driver, the passengers, cargo, and fuel. The latter also included trailers in the calculation.
When you need to transport your car from point A to point B, the auto transport carrier needs to know your vehicle’s curb weight: a vehicle’s weight that excludes any occupants or cargo. When you also subtract the weight of the car’s fluids (like oil and fuel), you get its dry weight, but since the car is functional in most cases, this variable is not relevant.
To find out the curb weight of your car, look for a “Tire and Information” plate inside the driver’s door frame. Some vehicles will have this plate on the engine plate, so you have to look under the hood. If you can’t find the information in any of these places, you can check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for it.
Weight Rules for Auto Transport Companies
First of all, any transport company truck must comply with the weight rules of the US Department of Transportation. Very heavy trucks are only allowed to use certain roads, for example. The trucks will stop at weigh stations along the way, and if they exceed the weight limits, they will be required to unload all the vehicles, which will be thoroughly checked. Your personal items could be seized, the transport would be delayed and you would pay more for the transport.
Carrying Personal Belongings in the Transported Vehicles
Another issue related to hauling your personal belongings in the car that needs to be transported is that your items will not be covered by any insurance - not the company’s, not yours. The risks of damage and theft are quite high, which is why many auto transport companies just don’t accept any personal items to be in the car while it’s transported.
Auto transport carriers are simply not licensed to transport other items. If they are found to carry anything other than vehicles, they risk being fined.
One Suitcase of Personal Belongings Allowed
This being said, some carriers are more flexible and will allow an extra weight of up to 100 lb in the form of personal belongings. Some customers need their car to be transported for when they go on a vacation, for example, and will need some personal items as well.
However, the auto transport company will be strict about where you can put your items, allowing you to haul them in the trunk, or even in the inside of the car, as long as they are placed below the window line. Make sure to pack fluffy and lightweight items such as clothes, linens, etc. Fragile items are likely to be damaged and heavy items can exceed the allowed weight.
As auto transport trucks regularly have to stop for the driver to rest, add fuel or get their truck checked, the risk of theft can be quite high if there are personal items visible from the outside of the cars.
How to Transport Your Vehicle
If you need your car to be transported within the US or even internationally, get a free quote by contacting A-1 Auto Transport through our online form or on the phone. We make sure to give you realistic estimates about the cost of shipping your car, and to get it to you in the same condition you left it, and within your desired timeframe.
A-1 Auto Transport can help to deliver your car door-to-door, but you can also save money by bringing it yourself to one of our 40 nationwide terminals. We transport any kind of vehicle, from average-sized cars to RVs, SUVs, and even heavy construction vehicles.
Written By:Joe Webster
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.