A Comprehensive Guide on How to Ship a Car: Step-by-Step Instructions

How to Ship a Car

Shipping a car you just bought can be made convenient and stress-free with various available options. This article will guide you through the necessary steps to ensure the safe and secure arrival of your vehicle at its desired location.

Research and choose a reliable auto transport company, decide on the shipping method, prepare your car by cleaning and documenting its condition, and remove personal belongings. Consider additional insurance coverage and obtain multiple quotes. Schedule the shipping date, review the contract and terms, make the payment, and track your shipment. Upon delivery, inspect your car and notify the transport company of any issues. With these steps, you can successfully ship your newly purchased car.

Here is a list of our steps on how to ship a car:

  • Select an automobile transportation company.
  • Choose a method for shipping your vehicle.
  • Arrange communication with the seller or dealership.
  • Verify the details on your bill of lading.

How to ship a car you recently purchased

Select an automobile transportation company.

To begin, it is important to find an automobile transportation company that can safely deliver your vehicle at a reasonable cost. We suggest starting your search by referring to our comprehensive guide on the top car shipping companies. We have diligently researched and verified each company on the list to ensure their trustworthiness and reliability.

However, it’s worth noting that these companies may have distinct features. For instance,  AutoStar Transport provides a damage-free guarantee, while Montway offers a price-matching policy. These unique offerings might be more suitable for your specific requirements or budget. Therefore, we recommend exploring all options and obtaining multiple car shipping quotes.

Choose a method for shipping your vehicle.

There are many methods for shipping cars that come with every move and auto transport business. It can be difficult to choose which one is ideal for you, though. Find some of the newest car transport techniques and how they might apply to you below.:

Open Transportation

The practise of loading numerous vehicles onto a multi-car car carrier that is left outside and exposed to the elements is known as open car transport and is said to be the most affordable way to convey a car. Due to the lack of security, some people view open transit as being riskier, yet there is little chance that your car will be damaged.

Enclosed Tranportaion

Cars will be transported in an airtight, weatherproof car trailer using enclosed transport, which is the more expensive of the two choices. Since enclosed transport provides the maximum weather protection, it is a secure method of moving expensive vehicles.

Arrange communication with the seller or dealership

To coordinate with the person or dealership that sold you the vehicle for car delivery, follow these steps. Inform the dealer about the scheduled pickup time provided by the car transport company. Ensure that the dealer is available during that time to hand over the necessary items to the delivery driver.

These items include the car keys, a copy of your driver’s license, the car’s registration and title, and proof of car insurance. Communicate these requirements clearly to the dealer, emphasizing the importance of their presence during the pickup. Confirm all the details with the dealer in advance to ensure a smooth and successful car delivery process.

Verify the details on your bill of lading.

When the driver arrives, ensure the car dealer doesn’t hand over the keys without receiving a bill of lading. This legal contract details the shipment destination and car condition at pickup. If the driver doesn’t ask for a bill of lading, it may indicate a scam.

Ask the dealer to contact you before signing, ensuring the document’s accuracy. Once confirmed, allow the dealer to sign and release the car. The driver will load it onto the truck, and request a copy of the bill of lading for your records. These steps provide legal protection and maintain a reliable record of the delivery.

Why you should ship your car instead of driving it

Shipping your car instead of driving it offers several advantages. First, it saves you time and energy by eliminating the need for a long road trip. Second, it reduces wear and tear on your vehicle, preventing potential damage and decreasing maintenance costs. Third, it eliminates the risk of accidents or breakdowns during the journey.

Additionally, shipping your car allows you to focus on other important matters while professionals handle the transportation. Finally, it can be more cost-effective, considering expenses such as fuel, accommodations, and meals during a long drive. Shipping your car provides convenience, safety, and savings, making it a wise choice.

Best Practices For Shipping a Car

To ensure successful car shipping:

  • Get multiple bids or quotes.

  • Schedule a mechanical check-up before and after delivery.

  • Thoroughly inspect your car’s condition before and after delivery.

  • Confirm insurance coverage for your chosen transportation method.

Following these steps will help you ship your car safely and efficiently without having to drive it yourself.


How long does it take to ship a car?

The transit time for shipping a car can vary depending on several factors, such as the distance, the shipping method, and any unforeseen circumstances. On average, domestic car shipments can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Can I ship personal items in my car during transport?

It’s generally recommended to remove all personal belongings from your car before shipping. Carriers are not responsible for any items left inside the vehicle, and their presence can potentially cause damage or violate regulations.

Is my car insured during shipping?

Most car shipping companies provide insurance coverage for your vehicle during transit. However, the extent of coverage may vary, so it’s important to review the insurance policy and consider additional coverage if needed.

Should I choose open transport or enclosed transport for my car?

The choice between open and enclosed transport depends on your preferences and the level of protection you desire for your vehicle. Open transport is the more common and cost-effective option, while enclosed transport provides additional protection from weather conditions and road debris.

How do I prepare my car for shipping?

To prepare your car for shipping, clean it thoroughly, remove personal items, and take pictures of its current condition. It’s also recommended to disable the car alarm, ensure the tires are properly inflated, and remove any toll tags.

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