Common Problems with Car Transport for Consumers

Car transport services have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more people look for ways to safely and efficiently transport their vehicles across long distances. However, despite the many benefits of car shipping, there are also a number of challenges that consumers may face when using these services.

In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the biggest problems with car transport services and explore potential solutions.

One of the Biggest Problems with Car Transport by Far – Cost!

A surprising, high cost is likely to be one of the biggest challenges you’ll face when using car shipping services.

Car transport costs can be high for a variety of reasons. Some of the main factors that contribute to the cost of car transport include:


The further you need your car transported, the more it will cost. Long-distance transport will require more fuel and more time, which drives up the cost.

Mode of Transport

There are different ways to transport a car, such as open or enclosed transport. Enclosed transport is more expensive as it offers more protection to the vehicle during transport.

Time of Year

The demand for car transport can vary depending on the time of year. During peak times, such as during a move or before a car show, prices may be higher due to increased demand.

Insurance and Liability

Car transport companies need insurance too and the cost of insurance is passed onto you, the customer. As well as, Car transport companies typically offer liability coverage in case of damages to the vehicle during transport.

Equipment and Labor

The cost of maintaining and operating the equipment used for transport, as well as the wages of the drivers and other staff, also contribute to the overall cost of the service.

Fuel Costs

The cost of fuel is a significant component of the cost of car transport. The cost of fuel can fluctuate widely over time, which can have a significant impact on the cost of transport.

It’s important to note that car transport companies must comply with state and federal regulations, which also add to the cost. These regulations include compliance with safety standards and requirements for drivers, as well as insurance and liability coverage. All these factors together contribute to the final cost of car transport.

Additionally, many car transport companies charge additional fees for services such as door-to-door delivery or enclosed transport, which can further increase the cost of the shipment.

Why is Car Transport so Often Delayed?

Another common problem consumers face with car shipping is delays and there can be several reasons for those delays.


Inclement weather can cause delays in car shipping. Storms, floods, snow, and other extreme conditions can make it difficult or impossible to transport a car.

Road Conditions

Poor road conditions, such as heavy traffic or road closures, can cause delays in car shipping. This can be especially true in rural areas or during peak travel times.

Mechanical Issues

Mechanical issues with the transport vehicle can cause delays in car shipping. This can include breakdowns, maintenance issues, or unexpected repairs.

Staffing Issues

Car shipping companies may experience staffing issues, such as driver shortages or other personnel issues, which can cause delays in the shipping process.


Delays can occur due to logistics issues such as, lack of capacity on a ship, lack of equipment or carrier availability, or even a shortage of drivers.

Human Error

Delays can occur due to human error such as, miscommunication between the carrier and the customer, mistakes in scheduling, or inaccurate information provided.

There are a number of factors that can cause delays when shipping a car, such as poor weather, mechanical issues with the transport vehicles, or traffic congestion. Many of these factors are outside of the control of the car transport company and they will do their best to minimise delays but sometimes they are inevitable.

Delays however can be frustrating and can make it difficult to plan for the arrival of your vehicle. You may also experience unexpected delays due to factors outside of the shipping company’s control, such as road closures or accidents.

Damaged Vehicles During Transport

Damage is another major concern when using car shipping services. Cars can be expensive assets, and you can be justifiably worried about the potential for damage to your vehicle during transport. This can include scratches, dents, or more serious damage.

You might also be concerned about the potential for vandalism or theft while the car is in transit or in the care of the car transport company. This can lead to several significant issues including:

Financial Loss

Damage to a vehicle can result in significant financial loss for the owner. The cost of repairs can be substantial, and in some cases, the vehicle may be deemed a total loss. This can be especially difficult for consumers who are already dealing with the high costs associated with car shipping.

Safety Concerns

Damage to a vehicle can also raise safety concerns. If a vehicle is not properly repaired, it may not be safe to drive. This can put the driver, passengers, and other drivers on the road at risk.


Existing damage to the vehicle can cause delays in the shipping process. Your vehicle will generally need to be running and with working brakes. If it isn’t then chances are, the carrier won’t pick it up.

Loss of Value

Damage to a vehicle can also result in a loss of value. If your vehicle has been damaged, it may not be worth as much. This can be a significant concern if you’re looking to sell or trade in the vehicle.

Loss of Trust

Damage to a vehicle can also lead to loss of trust between the customer and the shipping company. Consumers may be less likely to use the company’s services again in the future if they are not satisfied with how their claim was handled or if they feel their vehicle was not properly protected during transport.

Transport companies should have trained staff to properly secure and protect vehicles during transport and have a robust inspection process before and after the transport to minimise damages.

To mitigate these problems, you want to make sure the shipping company has proper insurance and liability coverage to cover damages during transport and that they have a clear and transparent claims process for you to follow if damages occur.

General Lack of Transparency & Communication

Lack of transparency is another of the problems with car transport experienced by consumers. You may find it difficult to get accurate and up-to-date information about the status of a shipment, or to understand the terms and conditions of the shipping service. This can make it difficult for consumers to plan for the arrival of their vehicle or to address any issues that may arise during the shipment.

Poor or Inadequate Customer Service

Inadequate customer service is another major concern for consumers when using car shipping services. Consumers may have trouble getting in touch with the shipping company or may find that the company is unresponsive to their concerns. This can be particularly frustrating for consumers who are dealing with a delay or other problem with their shipment.

Protecting Yourself from the Most Common Car Transport Problems

There are ways to mitigate many of the most common problems with car transport and that is to shop around for the best deal. Compare prices and services from different car shipping companies and look for discounts or promotions that may be available.

For delays, plan ahead and allow extra time for the shipment to arrive. Also, consider shipping during off-peak times to avoid delays caused by high demand.

Protect yourself against damage that may occur by taking photos of the vehicle before it is shipped. If possible, ensure that the car is properly secured and protected during transit. Ask the shipping company for detailed information about the shipment and read the terms and conditions carefully.

And, of course, prior to booking, research the shipping company’s customer service record, read online reviews, and ask for references.

While car shipping services can be convenient and efficient, consumers can face a number of challenges when using them.

By being aware of potential problems that can occur with car transport, and taking steps to mitigate them, you’ll have a better experience shipping your car.

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Customer Success Story

Why Car Transport Services Exists Today!

When I had to move my car from Melbourne to Perth, the journey of finding the right transportation service felt almost as daunting as the 3,400 km drive itself. Through trial and error, a bit of luck, and a few missteps, I learned a great deal about how to select the best service for such a task. Here’s my experience, and I hope it can guide you smoothly through your own process.

Start with Research

The first thing I learned was the importance of research. Initially, I made the rookie mistake of choosing the first service that popped up in my Google search results. Big mistake. The company had hidden fees I hadn’t anticipated, and the service was far from satisfactory. What I learned was to dig deeper. Read reviews on multiple platforms, ask for recommendations from friends or family who’ve undertaken similar moves, and don’t skip on checking the forums where real customers discuss their experiences.

Check for Licensing and Insurance

One good decision I made was ensuring the company was licensed and insured. Insurance is important. Transporting a vehicle across such a long distance has its risks, and you want to ensure that your car is covered in case of any mishaps. Verify the transporter's accreditation with transport authorities and ensure they have valid insurance that covers your vehicle during the transit. This gave me peace of mind, knowing my car was in safe hands.

Compare Quotes

Getting multiple quotes was another area where I initially faltered. I assumed all prices would be roughly the same and didn’t bother shopping around. However, after a pricey quote from the first company, I decided to get several more. The price differences were significant, and some companies offered more comprehensive services at lower costs. Always compare quotes from at least three to five companies. This not only gives you a better idea of the price range but also allows you to negotiate better terms.

Understand the Service Types

I wasn’t aware initially, but there are different types of car transport services: door-to-door, terminal-to-terminal, open carrier, and enclosed carrier. Each has its pros and cons. I chose an open carrier for its cost-effectiveness, but in retrospect, considering the long journey across Australia, an enclosed carrier would have been better to protect my car from the elements. Understanding these options beforehand helps in making a more informed decision based on your needs and budget.

Communication is Key

One of the best decisions I made was selecting a company that had excellent communication practices. They provided updates at every major juncture of the journey, which eased my anxiety. Ensure that the company you choose has a point of contact who is reachable and willing to update you throughout the process. This is vital for peace of mind and to ensure that any issues are quickly addressed.

Timing and Flexibility

I learned the hard way that flexibility is key when transporting a car such a long distance. The initial service I chose promised a delivery within a week, but it ended up taking more than two weeks, which disrupted my plans significantly. Ask about the expected delivery times and check if the company can offer guarantees or compensation if they exceed the estimated delivery times.

Avoid Rush Decisions

A bad decision I made was rushing into booking without fully understanding the terms and conditions. This led to unexpected charges for additional services I wasn’t aware I had agreed to. Take your time to read the fine print or have someone else review it. Make sure you understand every aspect of the service contract.

What I Wish I Knew

If I knew then what I know now, I would have placed more emphasis on checking customer feedback about their post-service experience, especially regarding how companies handle damage claims and disputes. Knowing a company's track record in these areas can save you from potential headaches if something goes wrong.

Open vs Enclosed Car Transport

Open car carrier with new vehicles

Open Car Transport

Open car transport involves shipping vehicles in an open-air trailer, exposing them to weather and road conditions.

This method is cost-effective and widely available, making it a popular choice for transporting vehicles quickly and economically.

The main benefits include lower costs due to multiple vehicles being transported simultaneously and quicker delivery times. However, the downside is the potential risk of damage from environmental elements and road debris.

moving cars in an enclosed car carrier

Enclosed Car Transport

Enclosed car transport uses fully enclosed trailers to provide maximum protection for vehicles against weather, theft, and damage during transit.

This method is preferable for high-value, classic, or luxury vehicles requiring extra security. Enclosed transport is more expensive and less readily available but offers higher insurance coverage and peace of mind.

Specialised services include GPS tracking and expert handling, ensuring vehicles are delivered safely and discretely.

Find out more