After their home, a vehicle is most likely the second-largest purchase for most Americans. According to Kelly Blue Book valuation experts, the average price of a new car in January 2020  was $37,851. Whether you’re a car enthusiast or merely view your automobile as a means of transportation, that’s a significant investment. So, entrusting your vehicle to someone else’s care can be a bit traumatic, particularly if you’re transporting your vehicle across the country or the state.

To help reduce your anxiety, especially if you’re a first-time shipper, we’ve prepared this article to provide a comprehensive list of actions you should take before, and after, transporting your vehicle. Follow these steps for peace of mind and to ensure a safe and damage-free experience.

Preparing Your Vehicle for the Transport Process

We understand that you may feel some of these actions are tedious; however, we consider them prudent to ensure your vehicle is delivered safely and in the same pristine condition as when you handed the keys to the carrier. Follow these steps to reduce any risk of mayhem significantly.

Keys – Rule #1 – never give the carrier your only set of keys!

Yes, you must provide the selected carrier with keys to the ignition, trunk, gas cap, and any locked compartment. The driver obviously requires keys to drive your vehicle on and off the carrier. However, please take the time and the initiative to have a duplicate set of keys made and leave only the copies with the driver. Important note: verify that the copies fit all devices and compartments in advance. Then keep your original set of keys in your possession.

How Much Fuel Should You Leave in the Tank Before Transport

There is no need to fill your gas tank. In fact, we highly recommend that your gas tank is at one-quarter tank or less, the more fuel, the more unnecessary weight for the carrier. Your car will only be driven on and off the carrier, so any additional fuel is redundant. The Department of Transportation has weight regulations, so please be sure there is no more than a quarter tank at pickup.

Make a note of the current mileage before shipping and be sure it is indicated on the carrier’s shipping documents.

Packing Your Vehicle for Transport

Speaking of weight restrictions – don’t overpack things in your vehicle. Every vehicle has a weight limit based on its make and model. Going over these limits by a significant amount can increase charges or even cause the shipment to be rejected. Relatively light personal items may be packed in the trunk as well as luggage or small boxes; however, we recommend no more than 50 pounds maximum.

An infant car seat, spare tire, and jack are considered integral parts of the vehicle. Hence, they may be included.

Remove any aftermarket or custom items such as racks or spoilers prior to shipping. Likewise, if you have any loose parts on the exterior of your vehicle, be sure to secure them or remove them. We suggest you also remove your antenna and place it in your trunk. If your car has the feature, be sure to turn-in your side-view mirrors.

Remove all personal belongings from the vehicle to protect your privacy and proprietary information. Don’t forget to remove all your electronics and digital accessories, as well as any valuables.

One last point on packing, do not allow anything to obstruct the views out of the windows. This item is mandatory and is for the safety of the carrier’s crew. The driver often loads these vehicles onto the trailer with the mirrors folded in, using only the windows. If the driver’s view is obstructed, the potential for damage and injury increases exponentially.

Items not Permissable / Illegal During Shipping

Firearms, ammunition of any type, and fire extinguishers cannot legally be transported in a vehicle on a car carrier in certain municipalities. Be safe and transport these items in another manner. These items may be carried in your personal vehicle, provided they are locked and secured and out of reach of the driver and passengers.

Alarm Systems

If there is an alarm system, disconnect it before shipping, and provide the alarm remote to the transport driver. Don’t inconvenience the driver during transport.

How to Prepare Your Car for Shipment if it is Disabled or Inoperable

If your vehicle is currently inoperable, you must disclose this to your broker in advance. Once a carrier is assigned, the car must be parked in a safe location for pickup, with easy access to the driver, inflated tires, and fully operational brakes and steering.

Can I Ship an Over-Sized or Modified Vehicle

Unless otherwise previously disclosed to the broker’s dispatch department, vehicles that are factory stock cannot exceed certain height restrictions or minimum clearance. Vehicles being transported must have at least six and a half inches of ground clearance. The maximum height is seven-feet high; otherwise, the broker may be unable to accept your vehicle for a regular auto trailer. Understand, failure to meet these criteria may increase your estimated rate.

Wash Your Vehicle Before Shipping

Cleaning your vehicle prior to pick-up will enable an accurate vehicle inspection report and speed up the “walk-around” at pick up and again at the destination. Make a note of any existing damage such as dents, scratches, or paint chips, and take photos for your records. Be sure all existing items are noted on the carrier’s Bill of Lading.

Rarely do vehicles get damaged in the shipping process; however, better to be prepared to recognize any possible new issues.

Final Inspection at Your Destination

Upon delivery, you must do a proper inspection with the trucker. This “walk-around” inspection is a relatively simple process that takes about ten minutes. Be sure to conduct this exercise during the day to ensure you and the driver have excellent visibility of the vehicle. If any new damage has occurred during transit, you will need the damage documented on the Bill of Lading and signed by both you and the trucker to submit an insurance claim.

Remember, it is your right, your responsibility, to inspect your vehicle at the time of delivery. It is also your right to mark on the Bill of Lading any issues you might find with your vehicle. And, be sure to compare the mileage at delivery to the pre-shipment mileage on the Bill of Lading.

After the inspection, you are still legally bound to pay the trucker the transport fare, even if there is an issue with the vehicle. If there should be an issue, your transport broker is available to provide guidance and assistance.

Mercury Auto Transport

Mercury is a leading auto transport broker, in business since 2007, with over 218,000 satisfied customers. We have access to more than 13,000 licensed and insured carriers covering the United States. We provide best-in-class systems and processes for door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal deliveries, on open, enclosed, or flatbed transports.

As stated in our introduction, we provide these helpful tips to help ease your mind and ensure a safe and damage-free experience. You may also want to check out our Procedure Checklist page for more information and free downloads to print and keep for your records.

Once you do your research, you will see that choosing the right auto transport broker can make all the difference. Feel free to check out Mercury Auto Transport with the Better Business Bureau to see our ratings, and view our website for customer reviews.

We’re sure once you do your due diligence, Mercury Auto Transport will be the obvious choice.

Feel free to call us today at 800-553-1828 or visit our website at https://mercuryautotransport.com/

for a free quote or to discuss your next move.

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FAQs

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determined your quote. Quotes are based on what the market demands for cars to be moved at a given time. Each quote is compared with the current rates on the National Load Board before being sent to our customers and will be reviewed periodically through the process.

Other companies might offer you a lower price to obtain your business. This method is ineffective because if the car does not pay the correct amount of money, it will run the probability of not getting loaded or transported on time. You will not get this information from our competitors. Truck drivers always take the loads that pay the most first, leaving the loads that are mispriced to be moved last or not at all. We try very hard to avoid this with our customers by quoting a fair but realistic quote up front. Visit our How we determine your quote page for more information.

Understanding auto transport insurance is important and we think it’s valuable to explain how it works. As part of providing a great car transport service, it is our job to guarantee that the carrier we assign to pickup your vehicle is licensed and insured. Click here to check out our license.

When you go with Mercury to ship your vehicle, you can rest assured that the carrier assigned to move your car is fully insured and licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Saftey Administration).

Your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s insurance policy that is doing the shipping. Depending on the type and size of the truck/trailer that is shipping your car, the insurance policy can cover from $100,000 to $1,000,000 of damage.

We have also provided a checklist to explain what you need to do at both pickup and delivery in case there are any issues so, you can file a claim and know that everything will be taken care of.

It is rare but, time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit and it is good to know that your carrier’s insurance will protect your auto shipment in that event.

To view a sample BOL (Bill of Lading) and learn what to do in case of accidental damage, please check out our Condition Report and Procedure checklist.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible.  

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determine your quote.

When you’re looking for a car shipping rate, you want to understand how auto transport works. Prices are based on seasonal market demands for cars to be moved at any given time. Each quote is prepared based on the season and the current national rates.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible. Not all brokers are created equal in this talent.

Mercury does a thorough background check with each carrier for every shipment. We verify their ratings, references, and in addition, we obtain a certified copy of their insurance certificate, directly from the government agency that it is on file with.

You can have peace of mind knowing that the carrier shipping your vehicle is the very best and that there are no surprises guaranteed.

Mercury Auto Transport is licensed, Bonded and Insured. Our FMSCA Motor Carrier Number is MC647319.

While we do our best match your auto shipping needs with the most responsible carriers with the best track records, from time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit, it is good to know that the insurance of the carrier we locate for you will protect your auto shipment in that event.

Shipping a vehicle can be stressful if you don’t know what to do.  This is why we believe it is paramount to have our highly trained agents be your main point of contact from start to finish.

They will go over everything you need to know so you can relax.  In the meanwhile, we prepared this checklist.  This includes everything from pickup to delivery and how to make sure your car is ready for pickup.

When it comes to car moving, we want you to be ahead of the game!  For any questions and further assistance our agents are standing by, (800) 553-1828.  Please read our checklist to prepare your vehicle to learn more.

There are several ways you can ship a car.  The options include enclosed trailer, open carrier transport, flatbed truck, door-to-door shipping services, and to or from a terminal as well.  The most popular of the options is a 7 to 10 car open carrier.  These large trucks can accommodate almost any size vehicle including carsSUVstrucksjeeps, and vans.

Open car transport, door to door is also the best way to get the cheapest auto transport rate possible.  To learn more and see what transport method is best for you, please fill out our free quote form and one of our representatives will respond to you within minutes.  You can also call us at (800) 553-1828.

We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service, and 100% bumper-to-bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.