How to Make Interstate Car Shipping Work for You

Whether shipping a car interstate again or looking at car transport for the first time, everyone wants ways save time, money and headaches.

Follow these steps and make your vehicle transport simple and memorable for the right reasons. 

In this guide, we include a summary of our top car transport tips to prepare and help you with shipping a vehicle interstate and across the country.

Request Quotes from Reputable Companies 

When you’re searching online for “shipping cars”, you will find an abundance of auto shipping companies. With this growing number of vehicle shipping companies, the risk of fraud has increased.

You could end up receiving inappropriate emails and phone calls from a number of websites where you’ve entered your information.

It’s unfortunate but some companies do act fraudulently.

They focus on presenting a very low price for the auto transport so that you give them an upfront non-refundable deposit. Once you pay the price, there is no chance of getting it back.

Moreover, it could be that you don’t get any quotes and there isn’t even a transport company behind it. It is just a scam to get your email address.

Don’t Just Choose the Cheapest Shipping Price 

It may be tempting to go for the cheapest car hauling price. In fact, the first question that comes in their mind is what is the cheapest way to ship a car?

You can find many companies offering cheap car transport services but the services they provide may not always be suitable. In fact, the lower the price, the poorer the auto shipping service.

With many companies asking for an upfront payment, once you have paid for your car hauling, you may end up paying the price for poor car transport and there is little chance of getting a refund. 

Choose the Right Car Transport Company

Not all carriers are alike. Make sure that you choose an auto transport company that works for you.

Get all the necessary details for the shipment by reading their terms and conditions before deciding on the right car transport company.

Choose a single auto transport company and stick with it. Avoid booking with multiple car transport companies.

Sometimes, two auto transport companies may work together to move the same vehicle but managing this process logistically will be very difficult if you were to take on the responsibility yourself because it will be You who’ll be taking on all of the risk for any damages and delays that may occur to the vehicle.

Check the Reviews and Feedback

Reviews and feedback will clearly show the real face of a car transport company and will often reveal how well the company works with its customers (if at all).

Reviews represent genuine emotions and feelings.

Positive feedback usually means the service was welcomed. In the case of negative feedback, it potentially means there are factors you, as a customer, may need to be aware of.

Remove All the Unnecessary Items 

Before handing over your vehicle, make sure that it is fully prepared for shipment.

There are certain things to keep in mind when preparing your vehicle for shipment.

Unless pre-arranged with the car transport company, remove all your personal belongings from the vehicle and inspect the vehicle thoroughly before auto transport. 

Fuel Levels in the Tank 

A good guide is to leave a quarter tank of fuel.

This not only helps the shippers in loading and unloading the vehicle, it also decreases the weight of the vehicle and the car transport company will appreciate it.

The lower the weight on a carrier, the better the fuel economy for the carrier and this is what is going to keep car shipping prices lower in the long term.

Make Sure the Shipping Company Properly Inspects the Vehicle

Start with inspecting the vehicle on your own and then make sure that the car shipping service provider also inspects the vehicle.

They will inspect the vehicle and will make a vehicle condition report. The car transport company will then ask you to sign it and will hand over a copy of the report for your records.

Keep a copy of the record with you so that in the event of any mishap, you will have proof to show to the auto transport company. 

Safety is the main concern for both the shipper and the carrier and, like washing hands, vehicle inspection should be done thoroughly and frequently.

Inspect your vehicle on Arrival

Also, when the vehicle arrives, inspect it.

Ensure that the car is in the same condition as it was before the shipment.

The vehicle will likely be somewhat dirty, especially if it has travelled long distances on an open carrier. Wash the car and make sure there are no new dents or scratches.

This step is especially important when it comes to prestige vehicle transport as the vehicles are expensive and a single scratch during the shipment can cost a lot to repair. So make sure that the shipping company inspects the vehicle (with you present) at the time of pickup and delivery.

Vehicle Transport Scams

With the growing number of auto shipping companies has made it difficult for customers to find the right one because of the equally growing number of scams.

Less reputable car transport shippers will make false statements like “We can ship your car instantly as we have the carrier in your area”.

The reality is quite different and they’re just looking get an upfront, non-refundable payment or deposit. 

While the video relates to a US case, we are aware of at least one similar, unscrupulous practice currently under investigation with the ACCC (June 2020).

Moreover, these companies will tell you that the shipment is possible and that, after payment, they will ship your vehicle within just a few days.

The reality can be quite different.

Remember: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Always Pay Using the Safest Method 

Many, if not most, car transport companies will ask you to pay in advance of the shipment. The payment methods that they usually ask for are credit card or direct debit and sometimes cash or cheque.

If you pay through other online methods that are not safe, the chances of getting your money back are minimal.

Less reputable auto transport companies might only offer PayPal. The reason for this could be because they don’t qualify for a merchant account due to a high number of disputed charges from customers or have violated their agreement with one of the main payment providers. 

Make A Schedule For Your Shipment 

When it comes to auto transport, “planning is everything” because you want the car picked up and delivered efficiently.

Schedule your shipment ahead of time.

It becomes difficult if you have not planned or scheduled everything before your shipment or you’re planning around the transportation of your vehicle. Auto shipping works quite differently from other online delivery methods.

Vehicle safety and the availability of the drivers are the top priorities for many companies, so it is important to be realistic with your schedule.  

Check the Insurance Policy

Many car transport companies offer insurance or warranty coverage. It is important to look for the insurance coverage of the company you are choosing.

Check what services they are offering in their policy. If the auto shipping company is providing adequate insurance coverage, then there is no need to go for any additional insurance.

If not, you may need to defer to your own car insurance policy and making sure you’re covered.

Make Pre-Booking

Shipping the vehicle through auto transport can take anywhere from a few days to weeks in some cases.

It depends on the shipping method, location, and services you choose.

In fact, there are can be delays during the shipment that are outside of your and the carriers’ control.

If you need your car at a desired time, make sure to book it ahead of time and seek to understand any likelihood of delays. 

Make use of GPS Tracking if Available

It is better to use GPS tracking if the auto transport company is offering such a tracking service.

This system will allow you to track the location of your vehicle when the car is on its route. This will give you peace of mind.

However, you can also contact the company in case of any query. 

Your Location Could be a Problem 

Location can sometimes create hindrance during the auto shipping and you may need to confirm whether your location can be accessed by a car carrier.

Will the carrier be able to reach your area easily?

Can loading/unloading of your vehicle be done easily?

Steep inclines and winding roads can make it difficult for the service provider to reach your desired spot so you may want to consider either dropping off or picking up from the car transport company’s depot location. 

Plan Ahead 

Always plan ahead and make a timetable for your shipment journey.

Your pickup and delivery locations will determine your auto transportation.

Where possible, look to transport your vehicle at the best time of the year.

Be aware of the car transport trends. The auto transport industry as a whole is busier during the summer. Transit days and costs will go up too.

Therefore, planning is the key to removing headaches during shipping. 

Thoroughly Review the Transport Terms and Conditions 

Before you select the auto transport company, it’s a good idea to check their license and review their agreement.

Go through all the policies and never sign to any contract, agreement, or any document before reading it.

You could find yourself in trouble if you sign the contract or agreement without understanding it as different companies have different policies, the terms and conditions can differ.

If you have any concerns regarding the policies, do not be afraid to ask the auto shipping service provider.

Sit Back. Relax and Enjoy

After all, auto transport companies are in business to make your life easier.

Indeed, shipping a vehicle is stress-free, reliable, safe and affordable if you work with the right company.

The aim of a good transport company is to give, you, its customer, complete peace of mind.

You can get instant online quotes, validate and compare them and, when you’re ready book directly with the carrier of your choice.

Start your car shipping journey here. 

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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