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Moving a car across the country

Moving a car across the country

Auto shipping is a serious business in the US and it is expected to become even more important during the coming years.

According to a research report by IBIS World, entitled Vehicle Shipping Services in the US: Market Research Report, “the Vehicle Shipping Services industry’s strong performance largely reflects a rebound from a very low recessionary base in 2009. Over the five years to 2014, as pent-up demand was satisfied and interest rates began to increase, car sales slowed and vehicle freight volume growth declined. However, demand for industry services has begun to normalize, and industry revenue is expected to increase over the five years to 2019 […].”

I know that most of you probably think that moving a car across the country is pretty hard. Well, it can be sometimes, depends on who you are dealing with. If there are people who have managed to move their vehicle(s) across the ocean, there is no way of moving a car across the country can be harder.

With the right attitude, will, and the right auto transport company, anything can be accomplished. Of course, there will be some obstacles you will need to avoid, such as scams or lowball prices, but as long as you do your homework you can put your mind at ease.


Moving a car across the country guide


I don’t know about you but in general, I personally prefer to look at the big picture before focusing on details; meaning that if I had to ship any vehicle across the country, the very first thing I would do is research a lot and get as much information about the process as possible.

Research does not mean only typing something in Google and go with the very first results, meaning the first few companies that show up on the first page. It means going deeper, looking further and not being superficial about it. We are talking about your vehicle here. You would not want anything bad to happen to it right? So there you go. Take the time to do the necessary research, you won’t regret it.  Your car we’ll be proud of its owner too, that’s for sure.


While researching maybe take notes or simply bookmark the websites of the companies you’ve decided to call. Once you finish doing that, and you are pretty sure you don’t need to research anymore, (though research can sometimes become a never-ending process) start comparing among the companies of your choice.

Read customer reviews online

The first thing people usually do is read reviews online to see what other customers say about the company. They want to know that they are dealing with a five-star auto transport company. This is the trickiest part of the whole research process.

The thing is that many big companies usually show up as five stars simply because of the large influx of five-star reviews drowns the bad reviews. Many big companies will never provide the personalized service a small company will and so you have to really dig for the dirt because they work hard to cover it. Thus, when a company seems like a five star, at a glance in Google, it is a good idea to really check the review sites and read more reviews.

Request a quote

The price is also an important factor. We can see the extremes when it comes to pricing – you can get either a really low price or a really high price. Unfortunately, this is often done by both small and big companies. That is why you have to get multiple auto transport quotes and compare. Avoid accepting the lowest price, or the highest for that matter. You need a realistic, current market price that will ship your car in a timely manner.

If you want to understand more about pricing you have to learn about car shipping quote calculator versus manual pricing. In order to find this realistic price, and hire a  responsible and trustworthy company, and in the same time avoid scams, you have to get in touch with the companies you have chosen. To call them and talk to a logistics expert is the best thing to do.


When you’re done researching and comparing, it is time to pick one company and book your auto transport service. To do that you have to know that they will take good care of your vehicle and you have piece of mind. If you would like some more details please check how to choose an auto transport company guide.

Now comes another tricky part. Just because you have gone so far, it does not mean your job is done and the company will now take care of everything. Yes, they will take care of shipping your vehicle, but it is your job to understand how the auto transport process works, which brings us to the next part.


Understand the car shipping process

Try to look at the car shipping process as an exam you need to take. You know you have to spend time understanding what you have to learn in order to pass that test satisfactorily. Moving a car across the country requires almost the same energy and state of mind as an exam. Create a checklist of the things that you must expect once you decide to go with a certain company.

Here are some steps that will help you.

  1. First, as mentioned, you should request a car shipping quote online or by phone.
  2. The second step is to disclose details about the vehicle – make, model and modifications.
  3. Third, a logistics expert will schedule your shipment based on your desired shipping dates.
  4. After the administrative part, a carrier picks up your car one to a few days from your first available date.
  5. Important to remember is that the carrier must inspect your car before loading it and fill out an inspection report.
  6. The transit time depends on the distance – your agent will inform you of the estimated delivery time.
  7. At delivery, the carrier must inspect the vehicle again and unload it at your door.


A little tip here – cross out things you’ve already taken care of on your checklist. It will help you continue forward with completing all of the tasks and save time in the long run by knowing what is left for you to do and remind yourself about what’s coming next.


Prepare your car for shipping

The process of preparing your car for shipping requires some upfront work as well.

If you need to transport your car, but it needs some fixing, you have to take care of any this before you look for an auto transport company. In case your car is not running for some reason this will raise your cost and also slow down the shipping process. If you can fix it that is what you should do before booking your auto transport service.

Even if you know your car is fine it is a good idea to have it checked by a mechanic. It is an important aspect when it comes to inspection. Now, more to add to your checklist.

Empty your car

Do not leave any personal items, especially expensive ones, and important documents inside the car. Transport insurance does not cover the interior of the car and anything left inside the car.  Actually very often you will have to pay extra if you want to load the car with personal items because this will add weight to the carrier.

Time for some cleaning

It is important to have your car washed before shipping and inspection so any existing dents and scratches are obvious and can be marked on the inspection report.

Don’t fill up your tank

It is a requirement, to leave just a quarter of a tank of gas in your vehicle. Full tank of gasoline during transport can be a hazard.

Inspect your car

At loading and unloading of your vehicle, an inspection is a must do. The company must fill in an inspection report, but you have to be present and work alongside the carrier. This is the best way to ensure existing damages are marked on the report and then at delivery if there are any new dents you can mark them on the report before signing.

Extra things

Disconnecting the car alarm systems and making a copy of your car keys are also advisable.

Also, keep in mind that different companies have different terms and conditions and you should read them. In this industry, the terms and conditions posted online and directed to from emails are your binding contract.

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