How The Auto Transport Process Works

The auto transport process might seem confusing, intimidating, and stressful, especially for individuals who have never used this type of service in the past. This guide will provide everyone with an opportunity to learn the in-depth details that relate to a traditional auto transport service package.

Many different topics will be covered within this guide. You can expect to learn about some of the reasons that you might need to use an auto transport service. You will also learn about how the vehicles are transported to their destination in a timely manner.

In addition to these important factors, you will also have the chance to learn about delivery options, average pricing, and other similar concepts that will play a role in the auto transport process. You probably have a lot of questions, but you will receive thorough answers to each of them as you prepare for the auto transport process.

Table of Contents

Why You Would Use Auto Transport

There are a large number of different reasons that you might want to invest in an auto transport service to relocate your vehicle. Some of these reasons may not apply to your needs specifically, but they will be included so you can gain a clearer understanding of why some other people might use an auto transport service.

Vehicle Relocation

With that being said, the most common reason that you might want to use an auto transport service is that you need your vehicle at another destination. Maybe you are planning on flying across the country for an extended vacation, but you don’t want to rent a car for that period of time. In that case, using an auto transport service to deliver your car can be a fantastic compromise.

This isn’t the only reason that you might be interested in using an auto transport service. Sometimes it is just more convenient to let a professional auto transport company relocate your vehicle. This process can be convenient, efficient, and safe for everyone involved.

In many cases, having your vehicle picked up and delivered to your desired destination can save you a lot of stress and anxiety. The process is extremely straightforward. All you have to do is schedule a time for your vehicle to be picked up, mark down your desired destination, and then arrive to reacquire your delivered vehicle from the destination point. It’s as simple as that and the entire process is safe and efficient.

Fast Delivery Times

how auto transport works

You might think that it would take weeks to have your vehicle relocated to your destination. In most cases, your vehicle can be delivered fairly quickly. Some cross-country deliveries could only take days to complete with an auto transport service, even though you might expect it to take significantly longer.

Every auto transport provider has different delivery times. Most providers will provide you with all of the information that you need relating to costs, delivery times, and other similar topics that relate to your vehicle delivery.

Safety Reasons

A lot of people don’t like the idea of driving their vehicle across long distances in regions that they have never been to before. Driving your vehicle can be dangerous in unfamiliar areas, especially at night. You could also risk your vehicle breaking down in the middle of your trip, opening up the potential for getting stranded on the side of the road.

That possibility is especially scary for longer drives into unfamiliar areas of the country. By investing in an auto transport service, you take that possibility off the table. It might cost a little bit more to have your vehicle relocated for you, but it definitely could save you a lot of anxiety and stress while worrying about whether your vehicle is capable of getting to its destination.

In addition to that aspect, you also don’t want to put yourself into a situation where you might be vulnerable to safety hazards. Long drives can be tough for some people. You wouldn’t want to get sleepy in the middle of your lengthy drive and put yourself at risk of a crash or some other dangerous accident.

Again, many of these problems can be solved with a traditional car shipping service from an auto transport provider. You will get all of the imperative details from your provider from start to finish. These are only a few of the safety reasons that might convince you to consider auto transport services. There are many additional reasons that might solidify your decision to use an auto transport service in the future.

Out of Town Vehicle Purchases

how does auto transport work?

One of the rarer scenarios that pop up from time to time is when a person is out of town and decides to buy a vehicle. This is more common with used vehicles, but there are some situations where new vehicles might also fall into this scenario.

In most situations, you probably don’t want to drive the vehicle back to your neighborhood by yourself, especially if you just bought it and haven’t had a chance to ensure that it is capable of getting there.

When this scenario occurs, one of the only options to consider is to hire an auto transport provider to come to pick up your vehicle and deliver it to its new home. This is the safest option for all parties because it isn’t exactly ideal to plan on driving a newly-owned used vehicle for a long distance right after you purchase it from a stranger.

The auto transport process is perfect for this situation because it eliminates all safety hazards and allows you to relocate your vehicle without any personal risk. If the seller of the vehicle is aware that you have to relocate your vehicle with an auto transport service, they might even help cover the costs of the auto transport service, or simply drop the price of the vehicle sale.

Different Types of Auto Transport Vehicles

If you’ve never used an auto transport service before, then you probably are slightly unsure about what different types of auto transport vehicles are used to transport your individual car. The truth is that different auto transport service providers have many different auto transport vehicles that can be used, depending on the customer’s specific needs.

You will have the chance to learn about these different auto transport vehicles and how to determine which delivery vehicle might be right for your situation. The type of auto transport vehicle that you choose for your relocation service could impact the delivery time, delivery cost, and overall efficiency of your delivery.

Open Auto Transport Vehicles

Some people might argue that open auto transport vehicles are more common than enclosed transport vehicles, but that isn’t necessarily true. You might see more open auto transport vehicles out on the road carrying vehicles because they are exactly as described, open.

You would never really know that an enclosed transport vehicle or hauler is transporting cars unless there was a logo or name on the auto transport vehicle. With that being said, most customers don’t have any issue relocating their vehicle through an auto transport service that uses open auto transport vehicles.

If you have an average vehicle, then there is a good chance that an open auto transport vehicle will be fine for the delivery journey. While these transport vehicles are exposed to hazardous weather conditions like rain, hail, and thunderstorms, they still provide quite a bit of protection to your vehicle.

If you have a luxury car, race car, stock car, or some other expensive vehicle that you need to relocate to, then it might not be a smart idea to use an open auto transport vehicle. The biggest risk is having other people see your vehicle on an open auto transport vehicle and anything can happen in that scenario. It can be a little bit more dangerous to use an exposed transport vehicle if you plan on shipping a rare luxury car that costs more than the average vehicle.

Pros of Exposed Carriers 

  • Slightly More Affordable than Enclosed Transport Vehicles
  • Ideal for Average Commercial Cars and Trucks
  • Exposed Transport Vehicles are Safe and Efficient

Cons of Exposed Carriers

  • Your Vehicle May be Exposed to the Environment (Weather)

Now that you have a reasonable understanding of the pros and cons that come along with an exposed transport vehicle, it might be a good idea to shift focus towards enclosed transport vehicles.

Enclosed Auto Transport Vehicles

Which auto transport method should I use?

Enclosed transport vehicles are a little bit safer, especially for rare luxury vehicles, race cars, and other expensive cars that you wouldn’t exactly want to have exposed on the back of a traditional exposed transport hauler.

Let’s imagine that some stock car racers are attending an out-of-town race event for the weekend. In this scenario, the stock car racers own a small race team and a standard stock car that can be used at the out-of-town race track. The problem is that they don’t have a hauler to transport their stock car themselves.

This is where hiring an enclosed transport vehicle to ship the stock car to the track through an auto transport provider could be especially useful. You wouldn’t want to place a rare stock car on the back of an exposed transport vehicle where everybody could see it. It would certainly be safer to hire an enclosed transport hauler to safely transport your stock car to its destination without anyone else even knowing about it.

There are a couple of different enclosed transport vehicle variations that you might not be familiar with. Let’s start with the most common type of enclosed trailer, also known as an enclosed transport hauler. These types of haulers can be designed to transport individual cars, but there are some designs that allow for transporting more at once.

The alternative hauler selection offers multiple levels of vehicle storage. These are absolutely massive and they can transport up to eight cars at once, while still remaining completely enclosed during their journey.

Which Transport Vehicle is Faster for Car Delivery?

A traditional exposed transport vehicle is likely going to be faster for car shipping services. The reason that these types of transport vehicles can be faster is because they are generally more common and more of these types of transport vehicles are typically used within the vehicle shipping industry.

Enclosed transport vehicles can have the same delivery time, but you might expect to be charged an additional service fee for having an expedited vehicle delivery while still retaining an enclosed transport vehicle.

Which Transport Vehicle is Cheaper for Car Shipping?

In terms of which transport vehicle provides a better value to customers, you might expect them to be pretty equal from a general perspective. As mentioned with the delivery times, the same principles pretty much apply to the value and price as well.

Because of the fact that exposed transport vehicles and haulers are more common, they are a little bit cheaper than the enclosed transport haulers. The overall cost starts to go up when you ask auto transport providers to provide expedited car shipping with an enclosed vehicle hauler.

The shipping price can depend on the specific type of auto transport vehicle in some circumstances, but most of the value comes down to fuel costs and driving distance. There may be some additional service charades for selecting a certain type of transport vehicle, but it really depends on the auto transport provider.

Summary of Transport Vehicles

Before you commit to having your car shipped, you should have a general understanding of the type of transport vehicle that you want your vehicle shipped within. If you are still unsure of which auto transport vehicle is right for you, then it might be a good idea to take another look at the pros and cons of each option above.

A general rule is that average vehicles can be transported on an exposed transport vehicle, while luxury cars, high-end, and race cars should only be transported on an enclosed and protected hauler.

How an Auto Transport Broker Can Get You the Best Deal

You might be wondering about how an auto transport broker can help you to get the best deals on vehicle shipping. The reason that a broker might be able to help you snatch the best deal is that they typically have connections with a wide collection of vehicle shipping agencies and carriers.

Information about Auto Transport Brokers

An auto transport broker has all of the knowledge regarding each of their associated carriers, allowing them to make an affordable and cost-effective selection for your vehicle delivery requirement.

Auto transport brokers usually cover large regions and have contacts with multiple shipping agencies and carriers. With that being said, you should only work with a reputable and honest broker to ensure that they are giving you all of the important information that you need to know about.

If you work with an honest auto transport broker, then there is a good chance that they will fill you in on all of the details about pricing, delivery time, and transport vehicle recommendations. They will also provide you with any other details that might be related to your vehicle shipping order.

Communication is an extremely important attribute to look for when working with an auto transport broker. You want an honest person that will be transparent, honest, and work in good faith to provide you with the cost-effective vehicle shipping services that you are looking for.

Options for Delivery

Now that you have had the opportunity to learn about auto transport brokers, transport vehicles, transport haulers, and other reasons that you might need to ship your car, it is time to discuss the various delivery methods that are going to be available to you.

Your auto transport broker will also be able to provide you with this information. It is important to work with them to get the delivery method that you are looking for. The two most common delivery types include home delivery, also known as door-to-door vehicle shipping. The alternative is terminal delivery, which typically involves traveling to a certified vehicle delivery terminal to drop off and pick up your car.

There are a lot of additional details that you are going to need to know about before you are in a position to make a decision regarding your preferred delivery method. So, let’s shift focus towards the two primary delivery methods and compare them against each other.

Check out this helpful FAQ section that might help to answer your question and deliver some valuable information that you might be looking for.

Home Delivery (Door-to-Door)

How the auto transport process works

Home delivery can be a little bit more expensive, although it is starting to get more and more popular as auto transport carriers and providers find new ways to cut costs and make this process more efficient. There is a reasonably good chance that this delivery method overcomes the terminal delivery process at some point in the near future.

The really nice thing about door-to-door car shipping services is that you can have your vehicle picked up from your home. You can then have it delivered to the exact location that you plan on being when it arrives.

Door to Door delivery can be an ultra-convenient option for some people, although as mentioned, it can be a little bit more expensive than terminal delivery services. A lot of people prefer door-to-door delivery because it is safer than terminal delivery.

One reason that home delivery is safer than terminal delivery is that car terminals aren’t always secure and safe. This means that your vehicle may be vulnerable and exposed with very little security for an extended period of time. This is especially worrisome if you aren’t planning on being at the delivery terminal immediately after your vehicle is delivered.

Terminal Delivery

The process of auto transport and how it works

Terminal delivery is still slightly more affordable than door-to-door vehicle shipping. The reason that terminal delivery remains popular is that people typically don’t have the time to stick around and wait for their vehicle to be picked up. In many cases, they simply prefer to work with their auto transport carrier and drop it off at a local car terminal.

This is ultra-convenient for the auto transport carrier, which is why it is typically a little bit cheaper than home delivery. With that being said, there are some security risks that come into play. As mentioned above, you might run the risk of exposing your vehicle to a hazardous environment by allowing it to sit at the vehicle terminal for an extended period of time.

Many car terminals offer very little security, which opens up the potential for theft, vandalism, and other similar situations. If you are shipping an average vehicle that isn’t in the best of shape, it might be less dangerous for you to ship your vehicle through terminal delivery services.

On the other hand, if you are planning on transporting a luxury car, then you probably won’t want your car exposed to a terminal delivery lot. The same concept comes into play when discussing exposed and enclosed vehicle haulers. However, you can also work with your broker to find a terminal with high-level security measures if convenience is a priority.

Inspecting the Vehicle

Auto transport typically involves a thorough vehicle inspection before and after the vehicle is transported. You will typically need to be present for this process, but there are some exclusions depending on the exact situation.

The vehicle inspection is an important factor for both the vehicle owner, as well as the shipping carrier. If any damage occurs during the vehicle transport process, the shipping carrier’s insurance may have to step in and cover the costs.

Some people aren’t capable of being present for their vehicle delivery at a vehicle terminal. When this is the case, the vehicle owner typically has to sign off on an acceptable replacement individual to step in for this requirement.

Your auto transport broker and shipping carrier can work with you to get through this inspection process.


Now that you’ve learned all about the auto transport process, you should have some confidence in this type of service for the future. If you ever need to have your vehicle shipped in the future, you can be confident that an auto transport service can get the job done.

Auto transport is an ultra-convenient way to get your vehicle from one location to another. A vehicle shipping service can be ideal for a lot of different purposes.

All of these topics are extremely important to understand before you have your vehicle shipped. You should have a clear understanding of all of the different delivery options and service variations before you get started.


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