6 Tips for Achieving the Best Car Shipping Outcomes

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Shipping your car doesn’t have to be challenging if you follow a few tips to get the most from your carrier

Key Takeaways

  • Shipping a car can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be
  • Clean your car beforehand
  • Don’t sneak additional items into the vehicle
  • Prepare the vehicle for shipment
  • Get everything in writing
  • Select the right type of transport
  • Find a reputable carrier
  • A brokerage like Mercury Auto Transport can make the process easy


Transporting a vehicle is a relatively straightforward process that involves paying an auto shipping company to deliver your car to another part of the country or even overseas. Many of these shipping vendors are experienced and handle the job without any problems whatsoever. However, things can occasionally go wrong during shipment that lead to your car arriving at its destination in less-than-optimal condition.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize potential issues. The better you prepare your car and gather the necessary paperwork, the fewer problems you’ll encounter.

Here are six steps you can take to make sure shipping your vehicle goes smoothly.

1. Clean it beforehand

It sounds simple but washing and cleaning your car’s exterior and interior before shipment goes a long way toward protecting it.

Washing the outside of the vehicle ensures that you can see any dents or scratches that appear during shipping, giving you recourse through your shipping insurance policy. Dirt can cover this damage, so you might not see it until it’s too late.

Cleaning the vehicle’s interior should include removing any loose items that could shift during transport. Loose items could fly around during the shipping process and damage windows or interior components. Keep in mind that most insurance policies won’t cover damage to the inside of the car.

2. Don’t sneak additional items into the car

It might be tempting to put a set of golf clubs or even some luggage in the trunk of your car during shipping. After all, you might save on airline baggage fees and other transportation costs by doing so.

This practice isn’t advisable, though, for a couple reasons.

First, insurance won’t cover damage to items you put in the trunk. If you have an expensive set of golf clubs, you’re better off paying to transport them on a plane because at least they’ll have coverage if they’re damaged.

Also, the items you’re shipping in the vehicle could damage the car’s interior components. You don’t want to end up with dents or broken pieces inside your trunk when your car finally arrives.

You can avoid damaging your car and personal items by keeping these goods away from your vehicle during shipping.

3. Prepare the vehicle for shipment

It’s essential that you prepare your vehicle as well as possible for transport to avoid potential problems. 

For example, some simple maintenance like checking the tire pressure and inspecting the vehicle for leaks before loading it onto the truck makes it more likely the car will arrive in drivable condition.

You’ll also want to disable the alarm, lock the doors, and keep the gas below a quarter of a tank. Locking the doors and disabling the alarm are self-explanatory, as the driver will have no way to disable the alarm and leaving a car unlocked could invite theft. A full gas tank adds weight to the vehicle, which could make the shipment riskier.

Following these tips leads to an overall smoother shipping process.

4. Get everything in writing

How much will it cost to ship my car?

What does the insurance cover?

Are there any hidden charges?

Make sure you ask these questions and get all the answers in writing from your shipping provider, so there aren’t any surprises later on.

Getting a bill of lading is also a good idea because it’s a legally binding document proving that the shipping company received the vehicle and noting its condition.

Without documentation, you might not have recourse if your shipment goes awry.

5. Select the right type of transport

As you go through shipping quotes, you’ll see a few different transport types available. Choosing the ideal one for your circumstances will lead to better outcomes.

The most common way to ship your car is on an open transport carrier. These trucks are responsible for about 90% of auto shipments because they’re cost-efficient and can move high vehicle volumes at once. There’s a good chance an open carrier will be your transportation method when sending your car to another part of the country.

Another option you might consider is enclosed auto transport. Your vehicle will sit in a trailer throughout the shipment with this method, protecting it from road debris and most weather-related issues. Enclosed transport is more expensive, but it can limit damage when shipping a rare vehicle.

A final shipping type is on a flatbed truck. Sending your car on a flatbed is more expensive than the other options and is the least common shipping method. Still, there’s a chance you might use this form of transport if your vehicle won’t fit on a standard car hauler. 

Carefully go over your shipping options to ensure you select the transport type that meets your car’s needs.

6. Find a reputable carrier

Selecting a reputable carrier is perhaps the most crucial aspect to consider when shipping a car. By going with an experienced vendor who provides realistic timelines and takes proper care of your vehicle, you can count on the vehicle reaching its destination in the same condition it left.

Reputable carriers will also offer comprehensive insurance policies and guarantee your pricing before the vehicle ships, providing peace of mind throughout the process.

Auto transport you can trust

Mercury Auto Transport is a car shipping broker that presents offers from FMCSA licensed and insured carriers. Accepting one of these offers provides you with a guaranteed price, bumper-to-bumper insurance, and door-to-door service you can trust. There are never any hidden fees.

Contact Mercury Auto Transport to receive your quote or to speak with a professional car shipping representative.


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What Our Customrs Are Saying


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.