Is shipping a truck different than shipping a car?

If you have never shipped a vehicle before or you have only shipped cars, you might not be familiar with the process of shipping a truck as compared to another kind of vehicle. There are some differences in the process for shipping trucks, and if you own this kind of vehicle, you need to be aware of these differences before you start shopping for quotes. The size and weight of truck-style vehicles can impact the process of shipping them in a few key ways.

When you know more about the process of shipping a truck, you will be better prepared to shop for the best shipping arrangement for this need. Shipping a truck can be simple if you know more about how the process should work and what to look for when you are seeking quotes for this kind of job.

If you are ready to learn more about how shipping a truck is different than shipping a car, you need to keep reading.

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Why is Shipping a Truck Different Than Shipping a Car?

The primary difference between shipping cars and trucks is the weight and size of the vehicle. Car trailers are made for cars and are not always designed for the shipping of larger vehicles like trucks. Some trucks are too wide to even fit onto these kinds of trailers or might be too heavy to be safely towed on these trailers.

Truck shipping jobs are often longer, require that specific highways are used so that the weight and size of the trailer do not cause problems for the driver, and they might only be offered as terminal-to-terminal jobs. You will need to accept that your truck shipping options will be much more limited than the options that you would have to ship a car. This knowledge will make the process of finding the right shipping company much less complicated or painful.

These factors can make finding a shipping arrangement a bit more complex, and you might have to pay more due to the way that the shipping company will have to handle this job. This should not discourage you from shipping your truck instead of driving it yourself, but you will be better prepared to arrange this kind of shipping job if you know what to expect.

1. Trucks are Bigger Than the Cars

Trucks are often too wide to fit on standard car trailers, or they might be too tall to fit on the stacking kind of trailer. This means that you will be limited to specialty trailers or single-car trailers that are wide enough for a truck to fit on. Many companies do offer truck-specific shipping at fair rates, but you will want to be aware that looking at the general rate quote information on a company’s site will likely not tell you much about the cost of your shipping job for a truck.

You will need to lead with the information that you are shipping a truck when you call around for quotes. The other information that you need to keep in mind is that dually trucks or very large trucks like 450 or 4500 series vehicles might be even more complicated to ship due to their increased size and weight. Trucks are big, and shipping them is more complicated than shipping a small commuter sedan.

Shipping trucks

2. Trucks are Often Modified

One of the other reasons that your shipping process could be different for your truck versus a car is that trucks are often modified in some way. This can make them wider than average, taller than average, or it might create logistical issues for loading and unloading the vehicle from a trailer. When a truck is lifted, for example, there might not be any option that will work to have it shipped by a shipping company.

Common modifications to trucks that cause issues for shipping services are lifted suspensions, lowered suspensions, oversize tires, diesel additions, long box additions, custom flatbed additions, dual tires, extended roof toppers, and things like snow plows or large brush guards. You will need to mention all of these things to the shipping companies that you contact from the beginning so that you don’t waste time getting a quote only to find out they cannot work around these add-ons.

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3. Trucks are Heavy

Trucks are often much heavier than cars which can lead to many issues to do with car trailers that are made for much smaller vehicles. This is one of the most common reasons that shipping services cannot be used to move trucks. The very large trucks that are made to haul very heavy loads are often just too heavy for regular car trailers to carry them safely.

You will want to give the shipping company an idea of what the weight of your truck will be by giving them the make, model, and all the modification information to do with your truck. This will help the company to have a better idea about what to expect from shipping your truck. They might be able to tell you right away that they cannot move your truck for you, which can save you time as you are shopping around.

Shipping a truck

4. Shipping Destination Concerns

Trucks are harder to load onto trailers and harder to remove from trailers. This can lead to limitations on the delivery location that you can use for your truck shipping job. You might have to send your truck to a terminal location for the shipping company so that the company can be sure they can load and unload your truck safely. This can lead to a need to drive a little way to a drop-off and pick-up location, but you will also usually save some money on the trip since terminal-to-terminal jobs are often cheaper.

Make sure that you are prepared to get a ride to and from the pick-up location if this is how your shipping trip will be handled. You will not be able to convince the shipping company to come to your home if they have already told you that the job has to be terminal-to-terminal.

5. Trucks are Shipped on Different Trailers Than the Cars

One of the main reasons for cost differences when shipping a truck and a car is that trucks have to be shipped on trailers that cannot hold as many vehicles. This means that you will be splitting the cost of the trip with fewer customers, which drives the price up. You will want to be aware of this limitation when shipping a truck since you might have experienced a much cheaper shipping process when shipping a car on a stacker trailer in the past.

Very large trucks might have to be shipped all alone, which means that you will pay for all the costs of the trip alone. This can add up in some areas, particularly if the trip is cross-country, so you will need to be ready for this added cost. There might also be lock-out dates where you cannot ship your truck due to the limitations of the available trailers that a company owns. You will want to make sure that the dates you are thinking of are available before you bother with getting a quote.

6. Weather and Road Conditions

The tolerances that companies have in place for acceptable traveling weather are not the same when shipping trucks. You will find that the weight and the higher center of gravity of trucks on a trailer will lead to some increased limitations on travel for this kind of shipping job. Your shipping company will be much less likely to want to tackle icy or snowy weather, and there will be roads that are not approved for this kind of load to pass over them.

The limited travel parameters of truck shipping can lead to longer routes, more days in the trip, and slowdowns to do with waiting out the weather. You will usually be better off shipping your truck during the times of year that have better weather, and you will need to be willing to accept that slowdowns and delays can happen more often with this kind of trip. Your delivery date expectation might have to be pushed back a few times when shipping a truck due to the difficulties of moving this kind of heavy load in tough weather or on specific highways.

Planning to ship your vehicle in winter? Don’t miss out on our article about “3 Tips for Shipping a Vehicle in the Winter” to ensure a safe and protected auto transport process.

Transporting a truck

Trailer Options for Shipping a Truck

Another place where your shipping experience will be different than planning a shipping job for a car is in the kind of trailers that you are offered a ride with. Most trucks will be shipped using open-air transport due to their size and weight. This is often more affordable, but it does bring with it the risk that your vehicle’s paint and parts will be damaged by road debris and grime during the trip. Drivers will inspect the load more often with this kind of transport trailer, however.

Some companies do offer enclosed transport for trucks, but this can come at a high premium in price. This shipping option might not be accessible for very large trucks either due to the limitations of the max width of enclosed trailers on the road. You will pay more for this option, but it will protect your car’s paint and parts and limit chances for theft or damage when the car trailer is parked at nightly stops along the route.

You will rarely be offered a ride for a truck on a stacking kind of trailer, so the most affordable shipping option of all will not be offered to you for a truck shipping job. This is not what those kinds of trailers are made to do, and the risk for loading and unloading, as well as the weight of the truck itself, make it very unlikely you will be offered this option. Make sure that you are aware of the different trailer options that companies offer when you call them. Asking about different types of trailers can change the amount of your quote significantly.

The logistics to do with shopping for a truck transport job can make the overall process take a little longer, but companies who do this job all the time will be able to help you out. You might have to wait longer to get a ride for your truck than you would if you were shipping a car due to the limited number of trucks that can be sent in one shipment from place to place. Being aware of these limitations can help you to plan better when you choose a shipping date as well.

Shipping a Truck Can be a Simple Process

If you have been worried that shipping your truck will be too expensive for you, or you are concerned that you will not find a company that can handle this kind of job, this guide should put your mind at ease. Knowing what to look for in a car shipping company can be very helpful when you are looking for transport for your truck. Trucks can be more expensive to ship, and you will have to deal with some more logistics during the shipping process, but this can still be the best way to move your truck to a new location.

If you lead with the information that your truck is large, modified or a dually, you will also be able to rule out companies that cannot help you with this kind of job. Remember to always get a detailed quote from any company that you are thinking about working with so that you can easily compare the options that you have before you. The more you know about the shipping process for a truck, the easier it will be to arrange the shipping job that works best for your needs.

Let Us Take Care of Your Auto Transport Needs

Mercury Auto Transport is an auto transport broker that presents offers from FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration) licensed and insured carriers. We have access to a wide range of car transporters through National Dispatch Boards, and together with you, we can often strategize and negotiate far better rates.

Get in touch with Mercury Auto Transport to receive your personalized quote or speak with one of our professional auto transport representatives and experience seamless and reliable auto transport services.


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