There are a few necessary measures one must take in order to ensure that their car shipping experience goes as smoothly as possible. These practices are standard among auto shippers and can be expected whenever dealing with any auto transport companies.
1. Remove any personal items from your vehicle
Department of Transportation Code mandates that no auto shipper carry anything defined as "Household Goods". This means that by law, auto shipping companies are not allowed to transport vehicles containing personal items. You will also want to remove any aftermarket parts that are in your vehicle. For instance, DVD players, GPS navigating systems, or external speaker units should be removed from the vehicle to secure them from damage or theft. Do not forget to clear anything out of your trunk as well. Also, if your vehicle exceeds its' standard gross vehicle weight during shipment, you could be charged a fee for overweight cargo, starting at a minimum of $250. It is also good to note that many auto shipping companies do not insure items within the vehicle, so the solution is simple...clear your car. You can always consult with your shipping provider to find out what other options are available.
2. Leave about a quarter of a tank of gas in your vehicle
Your car will not be driven very much at all during the shipping process, but it might be necessary for the loading and unloading process. In this case, you'll want to have enough gas in the car to safely run the car for the time it will take to be loaded. Conversely, having a full tank of gas is not recommended. Gas can add a significant amount of weight to your vehicle which can add complications to your auto transport.
3. Take note of the condition of your car
Shortly before your vehicle is picked up, you will want to wash it clean of any dirt and dust. This will allow you to clearly see any dings, dents, or scratches that are already on your vehicle. you will want to either take note of these damages or document them with photographs. We recommend that you do both in order to fully ensure that there is no confusion upon delivery.
4. Bill of Lading
When your transport driver arrives to pick up your vehicle, they should present you with a Bill of Lading. This document is used to show any existing damages on your vehicle at the time of pick up. Both you and the driver should inspect the vehicle together in order to ensure that both parties agree on the existing damages. After inspection, all current damages should be noted on the document, which should then be signed by both parties. Upon the delivery of your vehicle, you should once again be presented with a Bill of Lading which you can use to check for any new damages. If there are any problems, you will have legal evidence to back up any claims you may wish to make through your shipping companies insurance provider.
Note: If you are having your vehicle picked up from a dealership or third-party seller, make sure that they are fully informed about the details of your shipment. It is very important that you make them fully aware of the Bill of Lading process, in order to ensure the safety of your vehicle. Otherwise, some shipping companies might try to claim no fault on new damages, because they will claim that the damages already existed at the time of pick up. The Bill of Lading is a security measure put in place both to protect the shipper and the shipping company from being cheated in any way, so it is important that you take full advantage of this process.
5. Disable Your Alarm
If your vehicle has an alarm on it, it is important that you disable it before shipment. If you do not do this and your alarm is triggered during transport, the driver will not be able to disarm it. If there are complications with your alarm system, you will want to make sure that your shipping provider is fully aware of the matter, so that in the event that it does go off, they will be able to disarm it.
6. Confirm Contact Information
Most transport drivers, depending on the company, should have a cell phone on their person while on route with your shipment. Before your drivers start out, you will want to make sure that you have the correct contact information in order to stay updated on your shipment. If your driver does not have a direct contact, the company that they are working for should have some way of tracking your shipment, either by GPS satellite tracking or e-mail correspondence with the driver. Make sure that you have this information so that in the event of a delay, you will be able to contact your shipping provider and get an accurate update as to what is going on with your shipment.
When shipping a vehicle, it is incredibly important that you contact your shipping provider and ask about all necessary preparations/shipping requirements, to ensure that your delivery goes through without any hassles!
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.