1. It is always risky depending on your preferred shipment method
You can ship your vehicle in an open or an enclosed trailer. Open trailers are usually cheaper but are prone to damage, theft, and also the weather. Vehicles on open trailers are often secured with chains, while reputable enclosed vehicle transport companies use nylon straps or wheel nets to ensure no damage to the vehicle. Be wary of companies that make use of chains to secure their cars. Chains are usually put over a vehicle’s axle, which can put a lot of strain on that car especially if they are over tightened. If the chains loosen, they will bang against the vehicle for the remainder of the journey- over every pothole and bump. Enclosed trailers have lift gates for low clearance vehicles and have a lesser chance of damage or theft. At Intercity Lines, we only have top of the line enclosed carriers that use nylon straps to be sure your car is transported safely.
2. Read reviews
When shipping a vehicle you are risking thousands of dollars. You have to use a transport company you can trust. Visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website to look up a company’s safety record. Also ask friends, family, and local dealerships for recommendations.
3. Beware of auto transport brokers
Car transport brokers are something that most people are not aware of when they ship their first vehicle. So what exactly is an auto transport broker? They are companies that bid your shipment to a group of other shipping companies. When doing business with an auto transport broker, you do not know what vehicle carrier or driver they are going to broker your order to. Unfortunately, customers often suffer at the hands of these tricksters because the vehicle is shipped with sub-par drivers that lack customer service and transport skills. The equipment used can differ significantly in quality depending on the company the order is brokered too. The trailer may use ramps instead of hydraulic lift gates, which may damage low clearance car. They may equally lack engine oil drip pans, vehicle covers, floor mats, etc. If you have a problem with your vehicle you will be going through two separate companies just to get help. Get to know the driver you trust your vehicle with. Do not be fooled by these companies!
4. Do not give a deposit
Red flags should fly high if a company asks for a deposit! Exclusive and reputable car carriers often do not need a deposit, but rather, ask for a payment when the vehicle is picked up or dropped off. This assures you are getting the service you want and gives you a way to back out if they don’t live up to your expectations.
5. Do not base your decision on price alone
You will discover that the old expression ‘quality over quantity’ is relevant in the Vehicle shipping industry. The cheapest is often not the best or safest choice. Transport pricing reflects the price of the equipment. A new enclosed shipping rig with the highest quality safety equipment can cost about $500,000 new. When a price is low you are very likely dealing with an auto transport broker or an open carrier that has sub-par equipment. A low price should raise red flags!
6. Get aware of insurance policies
It is usually best to have your transporter provide a Certificate of Insurance. This certificate should include coverage amounts for liability, workers comp, cargo limits, and deductible if applicable. Typically broker companies do not convey their own insurances; only the brokerage bond. At Intercity Lines, we have $2,000,000 worth of cargo insurance.
7. Make your scheduling needs clearly known
If the delivery of your vehicle needs to coincide with a particular timed event such as a birthday or a car show you have to emphasize this to the company and your driver. Trucking is extremely hard to predict. Most auto transport companies need a certain window of time for a pickup and delivery. Often at least 5-7 days since trucking is not like the airlines the situation changes every day!
8. Preparing your vehicle for transport
Once you have selected an auto transport company, you feel comfortable with; it is time to get your car ready for shipping. Vehicle carriers typically charge a non-run fee if the car cannot be driven on and off the trailer. Making sure there is gas in the tank and that your battery is fully charged helps prevent being charged with this fee. Also, inspect the antifreeze level to be sure that it is adequate for the climates the vehicle will endure during transport to prevent a cracked engine block or other problems. It is equally not recommended to ship additional items in the vehicle because if not properly secured these items can cause damage. Additionally remove your EZ Pass! It is possible for the transponder to be read even inside of an enclosed trailer.
9. Explain the oddities of your vehicle
Explain those important things about your vehicle to the driver such as kill switches, alarms, cut-off switches, and brakes only work with the motor running. The more detailed information your driver has, the easier it will be for him to ship your vehicle safely across the country and keep you from getting charged an unnecessary non-run fee. Written instructions are very equally helpful!
10. Give your car thorough inspection
When your vehicle is picked up, the truck driver should inspect it thoroughly, and take note of any pre-existing damage, scratches, or marks. After delivery you or a trusted representative should inspect your classic vehicle and note any damage caused during the auto transportation before signing. If any damage is observed you should submit a claim with the auto transport company immediately.