Importance of Vehicle Condition Reports

The Transport Contract and Vehicle Condition Report you sign with your car carrier is a very important document because it is where you agree to the condition of your vehicle before it is transported. 

The agreement is generally a two-part process:

Part 1. Before Leaving Your Vehicle with a Car Transport Company

Before accepting the vehicle, the transport driver or customer service agent:

  • Completes a Transport Contract and Vehicle Condition Report detailing the condition of your vehicle
  • You sign the document acknowledging your agreement with their assessment and some standard Vehicle Transport Service Conditions
  • The condition of your vehicle will be recorded and they will confirm with you that your vehicle contains no unsecured items or personal effects
  • A copy of the documentation is provided to you for safe keeping, or for you to provide to your agent who will be receiving the vehicle on your behalf

Your Vehicle Condition Checks Before Departure

Before leaving your vehicle with the carrier, the following checks will be performed:

  • All tyres are in place, have no obvious damage and appear to be adequately inflated
  • Visual check of vehicle for damage – (internal and external, any damage noted)
  • The windscreen is clean
  • The horn is working
  • Driver‘s seat is adjusted to your seating position
  • Water Level checked
  • Oil Level checked
  • Operation of indicators, lights and wipers checked
  • Location vehicle equipment eg: Fire Extinguisher, First Aid Kit
  • Log Book located and filled out (if applicable)
  • All relevant paperwork is completed

Find more information in our Ultimate Guide to Vehicle Transport Condition Reports

Part 2. When Collecting Your Vehicle

When the vehicle arrives at the destination, the driver or customer service agent should have a copy of the original Transport Contract and Vehicle Condition Report.

You, or the recipient of the vehicle will most likely be required to provide identification and sign for the vehicle and the condition of the vehicle prior to hand over

Your Vehicle Condition Checks After Collection

When you collect your vehicle, it is also a good idea to check the following:

  • All tyres are in place, have no obvious damage and appear to be adequately inflated
  • Visual check of vehicle for damage – (internal and external, any damage noted)
  • The windscreen is clean
  • The horn is working
  • Water Level checked
  • Oil Level checked
  • Operation of indicators, lights and wipers checked
  • Has the Fire Extinguisher been used?
  • Has the First Aid Kit been used?
  • All required paperwork and log book is complete

The Vehicle Condition Report is extremely important although it should only used to record the physical condition of the vehicle and not be an assessment of mechanical function.

See also: What to do if Your Car is Damaged During Transport

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