Common Terms Used in Car Transport That You Should be Familiar With

Car Transport Company

This is a company that aids people in moving their cars from one location to another. They have special, open, or closed-air trucks designed to ship different types of automobiles. They can be a carrier or a broker.

Car Transport Broker

These are companies or individuals that coordinate shipments using a network of auto transport companies. Usually, brokers don’t have their own fleet of car-carrying trailers. They coordinate with carrier companies to fulfil car shipment orders .

Car Carrier

Also known as a car hauler or car-carrying trailer, the auto transport carrier is an open or enclosed trailer. They are specially designed to transport vehicles. An auto carrier has built-in hydraulic ramps or lift for loading and offloading vehicles.

Door-To-Door Service

This is a service offered by most car shipping companies, allowing your car to be picked and dropped from/to your preferred location. Door to door service is not more expensive, and usually preferred.

Depot-To-Depot Service

Unlike the door-to-door service, depot-to-depot service was a cheaper option. It’s a lot harder to find. With the evolution of auto shipping, terminals have gone away. Nowadays ,terminal shipping can cost more because the carrier has to find a storage facility for you. That location will charge their own fees.

Drop-Off Window

This is the period you are expected to drop off your car for hauling.

Open Multi-Car Hauler

This is the most common, budget-friendly option for vehicle transportation that allows for multi-vehicle transportation from state to state. While vehicles are loaded on an open carrier and are exposed to weather elements. This includes rain, hail, and snow. However a professional auto transport company takes measures to protect your car from damage.

Enclosed Car Carrier

If you have an exotic, prestige vehicle, or rare car that needs extra care, and attention a “white-glove-level” service is the answer. The enclosed car carrier service is your best bet. This is a safer option that protects your car from dust, dust, grime, and other road elements.

Enclosed car carriers cater to a smaller market for rare and exotic vehicles and come at premium rates of up to 40-60% or more than the cost of an open carrier – depending on availability.

Bill of Landing

Also known as the BOL. The bill of lading is the documentation issued by the car auto transport company. It’s purpose is outlining the condition of the vehicle as well as proof of both pickup and delivery..


This is the most common and cost-effective mode of car transport. Co-loading allows car transport companies to load more than one automobile in a single carrier, hence cutting the total transportation cost significantly.

Cut-off time

This is the latest date that the hauling company needs to have delivered your car.


This is a term used to signify the changing of a route for a shipment in transit.

In Transit

This is a term used to show that your shipment is on the road to your preferred pick-up point.

Car transport can sometimes be overwhelming and complicated. By being familiar with these terms, you’ll be able to understand what you’re dealing with. Your preferred auto transport company should provide you with these details to help you make an informed decision.