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Be thorough when shipping your vehicle

Don’t make these common mistakes

The best way to avoid these mistakes



Be thorough when shipping your vehicle

When you ship your car with any auto transport company you want to be absolutely sure that you are being as thorough as humanly possible. You definitely don’t want to make any mistakes in your preparation that end up costing you extra. “Success is the product of preparation” and shipping your car is no different. If you are unsure of where to start with your preparation for your car shipment, be sure check out our auto transport checklist.

Don’t make these common mistakes

  1. Not having the right documents ready when your driver arrives
    This is, quite simply, a waste of your own time and a waste of your driver’s time. When your driver arrives for the pickup, make sure you already have photo identification (valid license or passport). If someone else will be there in your place when your car is being picked up, they will need their own valid (unexpired) ID ready and with them.
  2. drivers-license

  3. Not looking into your shipping company
    This can be a critical error. You should research your potential auto shipping company the same way you would for any other service you might use such as landscaping or pet care.

    Use online review sites like Google to compare your options and choose whichever one is best for you. For auto transport, you should only trust a company that has over a hundred reviews. That way, you know that they’ve been doing business for quite a while.

    There are actually companies out there with well over a thousand reviews. So, as long as their ratings are good, we advise that you use those companies.

  4. man-researching-his-auto-transport-company

  5. Trusting a car shipping company who is guaranteeing a certain delivery date
    The auto transport industry has too many moving parts to be able to guarantee any specific date of delivery. Companies should be able to give you a window of 3 or 4 days in which they will deliver your vehicle.

    The more distance involved in the shipment the bigger the delivery window will be. If someone says they can transport your vehicle across the country and that they know for certain the exact date it will be delivered to you – run in the other direction. There are too many variables which could affect your delivery date such as traffic and weather for example.

  6. guaranteed-dates-are-asign-of-scams-in-the-auto-transport-industry

  7. Thinking that someone can ship your car across the country for only a couple hundred bucks
    In general, shipping an average sized car coast-to-coast will always cost at least $800. The vast majority of the time it will cost more than that.

    If someone says they can do it for $400, we guarantee they will ask for a full payment up front then proceed to not deliver your car anywhere close to on-time or even at all.

  8. car-shipping-scams-are-often-characterized-by-extremely-low-prices

  9. Leaving personal items in your vehicle
    If you leave personal items in your vehicle such as jewelry, electronics, clothing etc. you are leaving yourself at risk of having those items damaged or stolen.

    Now, you might ask “Shouldn’t I be able to trust a car shipping company to ship my car without stealing my stuff?” Of course, you should. That is not what we’re referring to though.

    During the long trips these drivers must routinely make, they inevitably must make rest stops and that’s when a passerby could see said personal items in your vehicle and potentially steal them. It hasn’t happened often at all, but it has rarely occurred.

    If you do leave your personal items in your car during shipment and this does happen to you, your items will not be covered by any sort of insurance policy that is tied to your shipment. This is the main reason that many companies do not allow people to ship anything else in their car.

  10. personal-item-left-in-a-car-while-the-car-ships

  11. Waiting too long to schedule your car shipment
    You should book your auto transport as far in advanced as you can. Generally, you should give your car shipping company at least a month’s notice.

    Think of it this way, there are a limited number of carriers out there who can take your car to its destination. When you wait too long, many of the spots on those carriers have probably already been booked. At this point it is more difficult to find a carrier to take your car. You will still get your car shipped but it could take longer or cost more than if you booked in advance.

  12. man-putting-off-booking-his-car-shipment

  13. Not taking note of damage at delivery on the Bill of Lading
    This is one of the worst, yet most frequent, missteps people make during the auto transport process. It’s a costly mistake too. If you don’t make note of damage incurred during transport on the Bill of Lading when the driver first drops your car off, then you will be responsible for paying for the damages in full.

    However, damage occurs very rarely. Do not let the extremely small possibility of damage to your car discourage you from shipping it. In fact, the “damage” being referred to is almost always a small scratch or chip, which could very well be covered by your auto transport insurance so long as you take note of it on the bill of lading. In fact, if it helps you rest easier while you ship your car, you can take photos of the car with timestamps prior to the car being loaded onto the carrier.

  14. taking-notes-on-the-bill-of-lading


The best way to avoid these mistakes

Use the auto shipping checklist. Check it over once you’re finished, then check it again. Once you do that, re-read this list to see if it jogs your memory of anything that you might have forgotten. You can never be too thorough when shipping your car.

You can always consult with someone you know who has shipped their vehicle in the past and ask them about their experience shipping their car. You can use that as a jumping off point to start your preparations. If you do have additional questions you can always call the auto transport experts at RoadRunner Auto Transport at (888) 777-2123.

Jump to:
Myth: It costs more to ship a car than to drive it yourself
Myth: Getting ready for your auto transport is complicated
Myth: Car shipping is not safe
Myth: Car shipping quotes are not very accurate
Myth: You should always pick the lowest priced quote when shipping your vehicle
Myth: You can’t ship cars that aren’t running
Myth: You can’t trust reviews about an auto transport company
Myth: Car shipping companies can only ship cars
Myth: There isn’t much of a difference between auto transport companies

Car shipping can be a confusing and intimidating thing for those who do not really have much personal experience with it. Often, people take opinions and word-of-mouth from friends and colleagues as fact when it comes to something like the decision to ship a car.

The issue with this is that then you end up with at least some information which is not entirely true or even true at all. However, it is always quite difficult to make the distinction between what is true, what’s not and what lies somewhere in between the two.

That is why we decided to debunk the top 9 myths about car shipping. This way, you can be sure that what you know going into the auto transport process is true before you make any decisions about shipping your car.

In general, car shipping is simpler and straight forward than many people tend to claim.

Myth: It costs more to ship a car than to drive it yourself

This is a myth simply because people do not factor in everything that they should be when making these estimates. People forget things like the fact that you will end up needing to sleep several nights in a hotel during your trip. They also forget that driving these long distances puts unusual amounts of mileage on your car which will cause you to need service on your car more often and sooner than expected.

Here is an example of what we mean:

If you are shipping a 2012 Toyota Corolla from New York City to Los Angeles in June 2019 it would have cost you $1,250.

If you drove that same distance in that same car at the same time:

  • Gas would cost you approximately $275.
  • Tolls would cost about $50.
  • If you drove for about ten hours a day you would have had to stay in a hotel for four nights. According to a 2018 finding, the average cost of a hotel overnight was $260 in major cities. Assuming you chose to stop in smaller areas, the hotels likely would have been a little cheaper. So, for our purposes, let’s assume each night cost you $150. That is $600 total.
  • According to AAA, an average Sedan costs 5.06 cents per mile in maintenance. So, the trip to Los Angeles was 2,790 miles. That brings your average maintenance cost for the trip to just over $140.
  • Also according to AAA, tire costs are just under one cent per mile at 0.97 cents. That adds up to $27 for our trip.
  • You will also need to eat during your trip. According to a 2017 study, the average American spends $12.75 per meal when eating away from home. Let’s assume you are a bargain finder and you only pay $10 per meal on your trip. That’s $30 per day times for four and a half days which comes to a total of $135.

So, when you add all of that up, it comes out to $1,227 which is slightly less than the cost of shipping your car there at $1,250. However, this means that driving for almost five days saved you a total of $23. Remember too, our estimates were conservative for the driving trip, so that total cost could easily be higher.

We also didn’t factor in the opportunity cost of not working for five straight days which could easily land in-between $500 and $1000 or more depending on your salary. So, your true final cost to drive to Los Angeles yourself could be as high as $3,000.

Myth: Getting ready for your auto transport is complicated

Preparing for your car shipment is actually quite simple. There are just a few easy things you will need to get done before your driver arrives to pick up your vehicle.

Before your auto carrier arrives to pick-up your car, make sure you do the following:

  1. Get your car checked out by a mechanic – The first step is likely the least convenient which is why it is best to get it out of the way first. You need to be sure that there aren’t any fluid leaks, that the battery is functioning properly, the tire pressure is at the correct levels and that there aren’t any other mechanical issues.
  2. Remove your personal items from the car – Any personal items that you leave in the vehicle during transport will not be covered by the shipping insurance, so if they are lost or damaged during transport you will have to replace them yourself.
  3. Get the exterior of the car cleaned – When your driver comes, they will need to thoroughly inspect your car for pre-existing damage. If your car is dirty, this will take considerably longer to complete.
  4. Have your license ready – You will need to have your non-expired license to show your driver when they arrive to pick-up your car. They will not be able to complete the pickup without this.
  5. Remove any parking or toll tags from your car – You should take these things out of your vehicle so that they do not get lost or damaged during shipping but also because they could be triggered during shipping and you could end up with completely unnecessary toll charges if you don’t.




Myth: Car shipping is not safe

Shipping your car is safe. Each year auto transport companies ship thousands of vehicles without damaging them. RoadRunner Auto Transport is no different.

Yes, there are a few incidents beyond the circumstances of the transporter that very rarely occur when a car will incur slight damage. However, this is why the shipping insurance exists, to protect you and your vehicle in the very rare circumstance in which it gets damaged.

You can also read reviews on individual car shipping companies to see if a high number of people are saying their vehicles were damaged. You can use sites like Google, Consumer Affairs and Transport Reviews.

Myth: Car shipping quotes are not very accurate

When you get a car shipping quote, as long as it is from a reputable company, it will be as accurate as possible. Sometimes your quote will match the final price of your shipment, sometimes it will be off by a few dollars. No matter what, the quote will be completely accurate at the exact time that you receive it.

That is, unfortunately, the nature of the auto transport industry. There are so many fluid variables involved in the calculation of your car shipping cost that from the time you receive your quote to the time of your actual transport, the price can vary slightly.

This is the case with any legitimate car transport company. If a company tells you that their quote prices are 100% guaranteed, they aren’t being honest and will likely try to scam you out of an exuberant amount of additional money at some point later on during your car shipment.

All you need to do to in order to check the validity of a quote is to get quotes from competing companies and see how similar they are. If the quote you received is far different from the others, there is likely something fishy going on with that particular quote.

Myth: You should always pick the lowest priced quote when shipping your vehicle

It is very important that you do not pick a car shipping company just because they are the lowest priced options when you searched for quotes. Unfortunately, in the auto transport industry there are companies that will use “bait and switch” tactics to get customers. Most often, abnormally low prices mean that company will involve you in a bait and switch scam where they will quote you a price and then require a higher price be paid once they gain possession of your car.

Find a company with good online reviews and a price that’s affordable yet still makes sense based on what other companies are quoting. In the end, you do not want to end up saving a few bucks by choosing a company that won’t care for your vehicle or will hit you with a bunch of hidden fees.

Myth: You can’t ship cars that aren’t running

Cars that aren’t running, otherwise known as inoperable vehicles, can absolutely be shipped. It will cost a little bit more and it will likely take more time. However, RoadRunner is fully capable of shipping inoperable cars.

The reason it will cost more and likely take longer to ship is because it does require additional physical work and effort from the carrier. It also requires a special type of auto hauler to be used which are much more difficult to find as fewer of them exist than the regular auto haulers.

Specifically, a driver that has an auto hauler equipped with a winch is needed. Otherwise, a forklift would be needed in addition to the regular auto hauler.

However, this just means there is an additional cost associated with the shipment, not that inoperable cars can’t be shipped.



Myth: You can’t trust reviews about an auto transport company

There are actually several very reputable review sites that you can trust online for car shipping company reviews. In general, Google is one the best of these sites. If you want something more specific to car shipping you can always use Transport Reviews.

Any time that you are checking out reviews for a car shipping company be sure that you read through multiple reviews in order to get the best sense of how that particular company deals with its customers.

Myth: Car shipping companies can only ship cars

Another myth about car shipping companies is that they are only capable of shipping cars. That might actually be true for certain companies. However, Roadrunner can ship cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs, heavy equipment and more. We have a wide variety of carriers at our disposal thus we are able to ship such a wide variety of vehicles.

Myth: There isn’t much of a difference between auto transport companies

People tend to think of competitive services as very similar such as Uber and Lyft. However, car shipping is different because companies can offer different services and have different reputations. Some companies might have the ability to ship oversized vehicles while others might not. Be sure to read reviews on sites like Google to see what others have to say about their own experiences with any car shipping companies that you might be considering.

There are also more subtle differences between car shipping companies as well. For example, some companies offer instant quotes online like RoadRunner, while other companies will e-mail you or call you at a later time with your quote price.

Each auto transport company has its own way of doing things. Go with a company that you feel you comfortable with and that you can trust.


There are many myths and misconceptions about auto transport that can lead you to believe that it is not worth it to ship your car and that simply is not true. You might be thinking that by driving your car directly to its destination yourself that you might be saving time, money or frustration but that is almost never actually the case.

Whether its price that you are concerned about or the safety of your vehicle, you can rest assured that you can always call a company and ask them directly about these things or you can even do your own research to find out more about these things. The auto transport industry is as long running and successful as it is for a reason. Each year, tens of thousands of cars are shipped safe and sound.

If you have decided to ship your car, the car shipping experts at RoadRunner Auto Transport can get your car where it needs to be without issue. Call us today for a free quote at (888) 777-2123.

Jump to:
Shipping your car
Initial preparation
Have your ID ready
Get ready for inspection
Get your car ready for transport
After Shipping
I’m ready to ship my car


You can find a printable checklist here.


Shipping your car

Whether you’re moving or just coming back from a vacation or trip, one of the best things you can do is to ship your car. This will not only save you time but it will practically pay for itself as far as the cost you will save in terms of lodging and gas.

However, shipping your car is a daunting task for some people and many don’t know where to start their preparations. When shipping a car, namely for the first time, it’s easy to get lost in the details. RoadRunner Auto Transport has put together this checklist for you so that your car shipment can go as smoothly as possible.

Initial preparation

  1. First, you will want to make sure you have the proper budget for your auto shipment. You should make sure that you have at least $1000. Depending on your particular shipment, your cost might actually be over a thousand dollars, so, be prepared to have the money to pay the bill. For example, shipping an average car from New York to San Francisco will cost between $1300 and $1500 depending on several variables.
  2. Next, you’ll need to figure out which method of car transportation that you’ll need to use. There are several options to consider: open transport, enclosed transport, and top load are the biggest considerations to mull over.
    • Open transport is the most common type of auto transport. This is the type of transport you will see driving down the highway – a truck with two levels and a bunch of cars on each. Top load is the “upper deck” of the truck carrier. The benefit with the top load is that there are no cars above you which can, potentially, be problematic if one of them has a fluid leak. It also prevents small scratches from rocks on the road.
    • Enclosed auto transport is essentially a regular looking 18-wheeler with a couple of cars in the back rather than a typical load. The benefits for enclosed transport are numerous. It completely circumvents the possibility of any road debris hitting your car during transport. It’s also better because there are less cars in the load which allows for more space for your car during the shipment. These options will, however, cost additional fees.
    • In the end, any method of transport you use will be safe and insured. It’s up to you to decide what your budget is and what your particular car shipping needs are.

  3. Now, you’ll want to carefully research and choose the right auto transport company for your particular shipment. Almost all auto shipping companies will offer a free quote with a minimum requirement such as your e-mail address. You can use these quotes to gauge which auto transport company is the best option for you.
  4. After you pick your provider you will need to review your Bill of Lading as well as your contract. With nearly all vehicle transport companies the contract is the confirmation email that you receive. When the driver arrives to get your car, he will hand you your copy of the Bill of Lading where he will write down the car’s condition as well as various transportation information. It is imperative that you keep a copy of your Bill of Lading for your records, so you can reference it in the future if need be.
  5. Prior to your shipment you will need to verify the pick-up and drop off locations. If you choose door-to-door service, you’ll need to confirm that the auto transport company has the correct address as well as times.
  6. You must also make sure that wherever you choose to have your car picked up and/or dropped off that it is possible for the driver to bring his truck to get or drop-off your car. For example, if you live in a town where trucks over a certain weight are prohibited from driving on your road, it is likely that your driver will not be able to drop your vehicle off at your home. Be sure that yourself or someone over the age of 18 will be wherever you choose to have your car dropped off when your car arrives.


Have your ID ready:

Before your car can be loaded onto the auto carrier, you must provide a photo ID of yourself. You can use your driver’s license or passport and they cannot be expired. This is important in order for drivers in the auto transport industry to verify identities which ensures the safety of all the cars being shipped.



Get ready for inspection:

  1. Make sure that you have a set of working keys for your car. The driver will need a set in order to drive the car on and off of the carrier.
  2. The next step in order to get ready for inspection will be to get your car thoroughly washed. This will enable the driver to conduct their inspection without any difficulty and will benefit you as it will save time. It will also ensure that any damage incurred during transport will be noted as such. Don’t worry about cleaning the interior of your car too much because you will likely need to do so after your car is delivered anyway.
  3. Next you will want to make sure that you conduct your own inspection before the actual inspection takes place. Be sure to take pictures of the car to have as reference after your car ships just in case any damage occurs during the transport. Make sure you have dates imprinted on these photos as well, so the validity of the pictures can not be disputed later on. You should have no issues being able to prove cell phone pictures were taken on a certain date. Be sure that the pictures of the vehicle are of both the exterior and interior.


Get your car ready for transport:

  1. The first thing you will want to do in order to get ready for transport is to check for any fluid leaks from your car. If there are any you should get them fixed as soon as possible in order to avoid having to pay any damages incurred by someone else’s vehicle as a direct result of those leaks.
  2. The next step is to make sure that your battery is fully charged and is in a secure position in the engine where slight bumps in the road won’t be able to jar the battery lose. If the battery isn’t charged make sure you get a new one or else, you run the risk of an additional fee for your vehicle being “inoperable” which can be pretty steep at times.
  3. Next, make sure that your tires are completely inflated and that there aren’t any leaks. Making sure there aren’t any leaks is particularly important because if you are shipping your car a long distance and your car will be on the truck for ten days, the tire could easily flatten in that period causing issues getting your car off the hauler during delivery.
  4. Check and make sure that your emergency brake is working properly. You don’t want even the slightest possibility of your car rolling of the truck.
  5. Next, you will want to remove any removable parts like roof racks. You will also want to retract your antenna if at all possible, otherwise they could be damaged and/or end up broken.
  6. Then, you will want to protect the non-removable exterior parts such as side-view mirrors or spoilers by covering them securely in bubble wrapping. This will help prevent these parts from being damaged from things such as small rocks from the road.
  7. Now, an extremely important step, will be to remove any personal items of value such as jewelry or electronics. If these are lost, stolen or damaged during transport, they will not be covered by the insurance. The longer the transport the higher the risk will be that personal items get damaged or stolen – don’t let it happen and remove them prior to transport.
  8. This goes without saying, but, be sure not to have any hazardous materials inside of your car as well.
  9. You will want to make sure that your alarm system isn’t particularly sensitive. You should disable it if possible. If your alarm starts going off during transport and the driver can’t disable it easily, they will be forced to disconnect your battery.
  10. If your vehicle happens to be a convertible make sure that the top is up and secure. You definitely don’t want the top open during a long-distance transportation as you would be risking damage to your interior.
  11. Make sure any toll tags are deactivated or removed before your car ships. You don’t want the unnecessary charges for tolls being charged to your account.
  12. Make sure that your regular auto insurance will still be current during your shipment just in case your driver is in an accident and your car ends up being damaged.
  13. Make note of your car’s odometer number. This should not increase by more than a mile unless there was an unauthorized joy ride during the shipment. (This is not something you ever really need to worry about but better be safe than sorry.)
  14. If you’re aware of any issues with the car such as a problem shifting gears – make sure you tell the driver about them as well as giving them instructions to be able to navigate around the issue. There shouldn’t be any outlandish things for the driver to do in order to simply get your car on and off of the truck.




After Shipping:

  • Be sure to clean your car thoroughly. During transport, your driver will be in and out of your car a few times. This can end up leaving your car with some dirt in it. You should always remove any dirt from your car as soon as possible, whether shipping your car or not, as a best practice for car up-keep.
  • If you are re-locating to a different state permanently, you will now need to register your vehicle with the new state and get new license plates. You will need to visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles in order to do so.
  • Finally, be sure to take your car in to be serviced. Bumps in the road during your transport could, possibly, knock something loose, like your battery cables for example. You want to make sure everything is in proper working order as soon as your car gets to where it’s going to be.
  • Once you are done celebrating and your car has been successfully shipped you can assess how your experience went. Based on this you can do a few things: You can choose to or not to ship with that same company again in the future, write an online review on sites like Google or Facebook, and/or you can pursue any damage restitution for anything that might have happened to your car during the shipment.


I’m ready to ship my car

Now that you’ve gone through this lengthy auto shipping checklist, you are ready to ship your car. You can get that process going with a free quote from RoadRunner Auto Transport. Once you get your quote, you’ll be able to decide which options are best for you then book your shipment.

Jump to:
Shipping your car for the first time

Auto shipping from start to finish

Tips to ship in 2019



Shipping your car for the first time

Shipping your car for the first time can seem intimidating initially. Sure, you’ve probably shipped small personal items or maybe you’ve even shipped furniture, but your car? You’re likely concerned it might get damaged or be too expensive.

There’s good news though, auto shipping is a huge industry and thousands of personal vehicles are shipped every day. Believe it or not, the auto transport industry does over ten billion dollars a year in business and has been in existence for decades now.

So, you’re probably a little more at ease now but still don’t have much of an idea of how to get started or how to get through the process without any issues. Well, that’s why we created this start-to-finish auto shipping guide, to get you through the car shipping process as effortlessly as possible.

Auto shipping from start to finish


Figure out your shipment details

You obviously know where you want to ship your car but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. You’ll need to figure out what type of transport you want to use, when you want your car to be delivered by, where you want your car picked up and dropped off, what your budget is and any other details that might have a direct impact on your shipment.

Be sure you set a budget that you can afford but also a budget that is realistic. A cross country car shipment from New York to San Francisco for an average car without any special options (expedited shipping, enclosed transport etc.) will cost about $1,200 to $1,500 depending on specifics. The price also depends on how soon you need to ship your vehicle.

After you set your budget, figure out the details. Do you need expedited shipping? Do you want to use enclosed auto transport? Does it matter to you if your car is in the top load or the bottom load? Is your car working? Keep in mind these upgrade options will cost you a little extra.

If your wondering what any of the above terminology meant here’s a quick guide:

  • Enclosed auto transport – this is a special type of auto hauler that has a roof and walls on the trailer so that your vehicle is completely inside and covered during the entire shipment which protects it from weather and road debris. This option will cost an extra several hundred dollars and is generally only recommended for classic or antique vehicles. Only 10% of auto shipments are in enclosed carriers. The rest are shipped on regular auto trailers otherwise known as open air transport.
  • Top load / bottom load – refers to which deck of the auto carrier a car is on. A standard auto trailer has two decks: an upper one (top load) and a lower one (bottom load). The difference is that the cars in the bottom load are more susceptible to being hit with small road debris like pebbles and are also at risk of a car above it having a fluid leak. However, cars in the top load are more exposed to weather elements like snow and rain. Choosing the top load will cost about an extra hundred dollars if you choose to do so.
  • Expedited shipping – this is the option to have “rush delivery” on your vehicle. However, unlike parcel shipping the delivery times are much more approximate. This will also cost an additional fee as well.

When you are figuring out when you need your vehicle delivered keep the following time frames in mind:

  • Shipping from the Midwest to the East Coast usually takes 3-8 days
  • Shipping from the Midwest to the West Coast usually takes 3-8 days
  • Shipping from the East Coast to the West Coast usually takes 1-2 weeks
  • Shipping from the North to the South usually takes 3-8 days

Remember, those time frames are a general approximation with an average car in mind. Extras, like enclosed auto transport, will add time to these.

You’ll also want to see if you qualify for door-to-door auto transport. In most cases, people do qualify but sometimes because of local laws or their street being too narrow, the driver can’t get the auto carrier to their house for pick-up/delivery.

If you do qualify, you’ll want to take this option as it makes the process much easier. If you don’t qualify, you’ll need to find a place nearby that would be suitable for a pick-up/delivery before you book your shipment. Consider stores with large parking lots, such as malls, a possible option.

Get a quote

Next, you’ll want to get accurate quotes from whichever companies you’re now considering. This might seem easy enough but, unfortunately, there are companies out there who will give you a false quote at an extremely low rate in order to get you to book your shipment with them. There are also companies that will promise you multiple quotes from different competing auto transport companies just so they can get your information and sell it to companies that will endlessly spam you.

You will need to go directly to a particular car shipping company’s website to get a legitimate quote. Make sure you do this with at least a few different companies, this way, you can compare the prices yourself.

This isn’t important just so you can get the best price for your shipment, but it will also allow you to see if there are any outliers that are way lower than all the other quotes. For instance, let’s say you get quotes for $800, $850, $775, $350 and $900. The outlier there is $350. You can bet good money it’s a bait and switch quote from a company planning to jack up the price later in the shipping process. Eliminate any of these super low prices from contention.

Research the companies

Once you have your quotes, you’ll have a good idea of what your shipment is going to cost you. Now, you’ll want to carefully research the companies that gave you realistic and reasonable quotes. Read reviews on websites like Google and Consumer Affairs. Make sure that they have a good rating and good feedback from past customers.

You can also contact the company to ask them any questions you might have. Make sure they don’t require a FULL payment up front, ask what their accepted methods of payment are, and ask them for their MC number. You can use their MC number to check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that they have an active license to ship cars.

Be sure, too, that you have access to the terms and conditions as well as the contract BEFORE you book your shipment.

Book your shipment

Now, it’s time to book your shipment. You can simply call the vehicle shipping company that you chose, and a service representative will help you set up your shipment. Shipments being booked are the lifeblood of any auto transport company, so you won’t have any issues here.

Prepare your car for shipment

Next, you’ll want to make sure that you get your car ready for shipment and, more specifically, the inspection. Inspection is when your driver shows up, they will check over your vehicle to make sure that any existing damage is documented. Be sure you take pictures with dates on them, so you can use them as a reference later on if your car gets delivered and has damage on it from the shipment.

In order to properly prepare for the inspection there’s a long list of things you will need to do or make sure of. Thankfully, we have a list for you to use here. This checklist includes things like making sure that your car is running properly, making sure your tires are properly inflated, only having a quarter tank of gas, thoroughly cleaning the exterior of the car and much more.


During pickup

When your driver arrives, they will inspect the car as previously mentioned. Once they do so, you will want to make sure that you go over the bill of lading with them. Make sure any existing damage they documented is accurate and confirm your shipment details with them.

What’s a bill of lading? The bill of lading is proof of the agreement you have with the auto transport company, the title of goods that will obligate the shipper to return the car to your possession once the shipment has been completed, and it’s the receipt that documents all damage that was pre-existing as well as any damage that occurred during shipment.

Also, be sure to let the driver know of any issues with your vehicle that might make it more difficult for them to load and unload the car onto and off of the trailer. For example, if your car’s alignment is off, let them know. Ideally, you would have had this fixed prior to shipping.

After your car is picked up for shipment

Once your car has been picked up for shipment, you’ll be able to track your shipment with most auto transport companies. Typically, you will get a tracking number that you can enter online in order to track the progress of your shipment. Be sure that you get this number before your driver leaves with your car.

Most importantly, make sure that you are ready for your car shipment to end up being off schedule. There are far too many unpredictable variables involved in the auto shipping process for a driver or company to be able to accurately calculate when a long-distance auto shipment will be delivered exactly.

These things include weather delays, traffic, and customer related delays such as someone not being home for their delivery etc. For example, if your delivery window is June 1st through June 3rd, you should be aware and prepared for your delivery to arrive as late as June 5th. These delays don’t happen often, but they do occur occasionally, and they are unfortunately, unavoidable.

Once your car is delivered

Once your driver drops your car off you will want to make sure that you check your car for any damage that might have occurred during the transport. If there is any damage be sure to take pictures, so you can compare them with the pictures you took when your driver picked your car up – make sure that they also have dates/timestamps on them. After this, contact your shipping company to see what can be done based on the insurance you chose.

At that point you should go online and write a review of the auto shipping company you used, good or bad. Both good and bad reviews will help others find a good car shipping company. This also keeps auto transport companies accountable for their employees and business practices.

Tips to ship your car in 2019

Use the following tips to ensure that your car shipping experience goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Some companies might allow you to ship some personal items in the vehicle. Avoid doing this because it does add weight to your vehicle for which you will be charged more. Also as we mentioned earlier, your car insurance or the auto transport company’s insurance will not cover these items if they are damaged or lost.
  • Take off any removable equipment like roof racks so that they will not fall off or get damaged during shipment.
  • Don’t bother with washing the interior of your car prior to shipment. Your car is likely to get some dirt in it and on it during shipment, so you should just wait until after the shipment to clean the inside of the vehicle because you’ll end up needing to do it any.
  • If you aren’t able to get your car picked up at your house because of the size of your street or local restrictions, consider a nearby mall or shopping center parking lot as your pick-up or drop-off location.

Jump to:
What is a snowbird?
Living in two places every year
Plan in advanced



What is a snowbird?

Simply put, snowbirds are retired or semi-retired people who “migrate” from the north to the south each year during the winter months to avoid dealing with cold and snowy weather. The majority of these people are over the age of sixty and have the financial freedom in retirement which allows them to move south for several months each year.

Living in two places every year

When snowbirds move twice a year, every year, they need to become efficient as possible when doing so. They will not want to spend a week or more moving every time they venture either south or north for a season.

So, many of them essentially have two residences. Each of these residences will generally have most things they need, thus eliminating the need to move those things back and forth. Even things such as having two sets of clothing.

However, purchasing an additional car just to have down south with them for a couple months a year usually tends to be an option most people do not have. Even if is financially feasible, who wouldn’t be at least a little nervous about leaving their car hundreds or thousands of miles away for six to eight months a year? Even if you put it into storage, it can get damaged by things like mice or bugs and it can get a little bit pricey too.

This is why many snowbirds will end up shipping their cars south when they move for the winters, then north for the spring.

Plan in advanced

If you are a snowbird you should always plan your moves in advanced. This will help you get lower prices on most things involved with the cost of your trip including things like flights and vehicle shipping.

We recommend that you plan your car shipment at least a month in advanced. This will not only help slightly with price, but it will also help you get a better pick up time and delivery time. It will also give you more time to prepare your vehicle for the shipment.

You will also want to make sure that you make arrangements to have someone check in on your first home up north while you are down south enjoying the weather. Ask a relative like an older child or a neighbor to go over to the house once a week or a couple times a month to make sure that everything is okay and that there are no major issues like flooding.

You will need to get your mail forwarded to your southern address before you move south too. You can temporarily forward your mail for up to a year with the United States Postal Service. You can forward your mail for up to a year temporarily. You can sign up to do so by clicking here.


The whole point of going south for the winter is ease and relaxation. It is about avoiding the stress of dealing with shoveling snow and winterizing your home. So why would you replace that with the stress of two complete moves each year?

If you plan properly the “move” south for the winter will be as easy as getting a plane with a day of preparation before you leave and another once you get to your destination – that is it.

Other details about your move shouldn’t cause you any stress or frustration either. Details like worrying about the well being of your first house up north or shipping your car south for the winter can be easily taken care of as long as you do so in advance.

Enjoy your golden years without the stress and become a snowbird who knows how to prepare for their annual trip south.

Jump to:
Why auto transport costs what it does
Type of vehicle
Fuel prices
Shipping time
Shipping method
Beware of super low prices when shipping your vehicle



Why auto transport costs what it does

When it comes to determining the cost for a product, companies usually just figure out what the product costs them to produce then mark it up, so they can profit. There usually aren’t too many unusual things that factor into the total cost of the product. It’s mainly just the particular company’s overhead cost plus the mark up.

However, vehicle transport is different. There are a bunch of different variables that factor into the cost of your auto shipment. The price you end up paying is carefully calculated using all of these different factors.

What are the “variables” that affect auto transport prices? Well, the primary ones are:

  • Distance
  • Type of vehicle (make and model)
  • Fuel prices
  • Shipping time
  • Shipping method
  • Season



Distance is the most obvious factor in the price of shipping your vehicle. Quite simply, the further you need to ship your car, the more it will cost. Keep in mind though that the other variables mentioned above could make a longer distance car shipment less expensive than a shorter one if they all fall into line together (E.g. time is no issue, it’s during the fall, it’s an average sized car and fuel prices are low).

Type of vehicle

The make and model of the car matters, for the most part, because different vehicles are different sizes. Thus, some cars require additional labor and handling if they’re larger than usual and it will cost extra to ship these larger vehicles.

Fuel prices

As we all know, fuel prices fluctuate throughout the year. As demand increases for fuel in the summer months, the supply decreases. As a result, the price of fuel increases. That is one thing to consider regarding fuel prices.

However, you also need to consider that current global events at any given time can occasionally affect the price of fuel. Remember, about ten years ago, fuel prices in the United States rose to about four dollars and fifty cents during the summer of 2008. This had to do with the turmoil in the middle east at the time as well as the financial crisis the country was facing back then. Car shipping prices rose much higher than normal and it was a direct result of the sky rocketing fuel prices at the time.

Shipping time

We always advise anyone thinking of shipping their car to plan as far in advance as possible. This way you can avoid the additional cost of an expedited car shipment. You should also plan to be without your vehicle for between one and three weeks depending on how far you are shipping it. When you request any sort of expedited option, your cost will increase considerably.

Shipping method

Choosing an expedited shipping option, as mentioned above, can also fall under the umbrella of a shipping method. However, when you talk about shipping method with regards to auto transport, it generally means you are talking about things like enclosed transport, top load versus bottom load or air versus ground.

When you choose anything other than ground transport on an open-air carrier without a preference for top or bottom load, you will incur an additional fee or series of fees (depending on how many extras you choose). Not all of these fees are equal. For example, choosing to ship your vehicle via air will cost you thousands more than if you ship on the ground. However, if you choose top load over bottom load, it will only cost an extra hundred bucks or so.


The time of year in which you choose to transport your vehicle will have a moderate effect on your final price as well. The season during which you ship can affect several things which will then have a direct effect on your cost to ship.

Carrier availability is one such thing. Depending on when you choose to ship, carriers may be in high demand and that would then drive the cost of shipping up. This generally tends to be the case during the summer months. Also, as mentioned earlier, fuel prices are affected by the time of year that you choose to ship. If fuel prices are higher, your price will also end up being higher.

Beware of super low prices when shipping your vehicle

You should also be aware of the bait and switch pricing scams. There are a few “fly by night” auto transport companies that will deliberately under-cut the competition by a wide margin, then when you ship with them, they will inform you of “additional fees” once your car is in transit. If you refuse to pay, they will hold your vehicle. It will take time and money with legal action to get your car back. So, when your looking for an auto transport quote you see most companies have about the same price quoted but then you see that one company has a quote for half the price of the next lowest quote – do not book with that company.


There’s a bunch of different things that will affect the price of shipping a car: Distance of the shipment, the make and model of the car being shipped, the time of the year that you ship it, which method of shipping that you use to ship it, fuel prices during the time at which you ship it, whether or not the car is operable and more.

It can be nearly impossible to try and estimate an auto shipping price yourself with all these different things at play. That’s why when you’re interested in getting an estimate for your car shipment, any reputable auto transport company will give you a free quote. These quotes are pretty accurate as well. Sometimes, circumstances may change, and the quote might end up slightly lower than the final price to ship. However, you’ll know this before you pay or have to hand your car over.

Table of Contents:
Standard Auto Transport
Luxury and Exotic Car Transport
Inoperable Vehicle Transport



Standard Auto Transport

For many people considering shipping their car, a common fear tends to be that their car could possibly fall off the carrier during transport. In reality, this is barely even possible so long as your driver takes the routine steps needed to secure your vehicle to the auto carrier prior to transport.

First, the driver must safely drive the car onto the carrier with exact precision. Yes, it is only matter of driving or backing the car up a few feet, but the wheels of the car must be completely and perfectly lined up with the loading ramp rollers (the two treads). If this is even slightly off the driver won’t be able to properly get the vehicle onto the carrier. Don’t worry though, auto transporters have so much experience doing this that it’s second nature for them.

Next, the vehicles are attached to the auto carrier at four different spots. The driver will use a series of chains and straps to secure the vehicle to the carrier.

The vast majority of vehicles are made with precise tie-down holes in their frame. Chains with specially made hooks to fit these holes are connected tightly in order to secure the cars to the auto carrier. The drivers are even required to mount the angle of the chain a certain amount of degrees from the vehicle to the trailer.

Luxury and Exotic Car Transport

Most Luxury and exotic car manufacturers use less intrusive means to do this, so they don’t alter the actual car or frame at all. So instead, they use extremely high-strength straps which are secured over each tire and strapped to the trailer. Doing it this way also eliminates any potential scratches or dents to the vehicle frame during shipping as well.

Either method is extremely secure. Auto Carriers have (very rarely) tipped over in accidents in the past and not a single vehicle has fallen off in some cases. That’s how securely fastened these cars are to the carrier.

Inoperable Vehicle Transport

Inoperable vehicles are a different story. It’s much less frequent that someone will ship an inoperable vehicle but when they do there’s much more that goes into it.

When you ship a non-running vehicle, the auto transporter will need to have a winch on the carrier. A winch hooks to your vehicle and can slowly pull it onto the carrier. Sometimes, a fork lift will be needed to move your car close enough to the trailer, so the winch can be connected.

These shipments of inoperable vehicles are much more costly than regular car shipping because of all the extra work that goes into it as well as the low availability of carriers equipped with winches.

Shopping for a new or pre-owned vehicle? Dealerships nation wide start gearing up for a new years worth of inventory beginning as early as October. These late in the year months have consistently proven that fall is the best time to buy a car. Better deals and cooler temperatures while shopping make a world of difference when shopping for your next big purchase or lease. Finding a vehicle from 2018, when there are only a few weeks left in the year and 2019 models have hit the floor can make a huge difference in your wallet. Aside from some major re designs, such as Chevrolet’s body overhaul of the Equinox in 2018,  most models are identical year to year apart from minor details. When buying the current years model after next years inventory has already arrived could translate into a huge savings and a lower lease rate. We like what Kelly Blue Book has to say about these model changeovers, that ” Cars and old bread have one thing in common: Prices are discounted when the new, fresh stuff appears.” This applies to used cars as well during these upcoming months, which are historically better than the spring and summer months.
Fall is the best time to buy a car
New models are typically released over the summer during annual events, surrounding the 4th of July holiday.  The timing of these new car roll outs prove that fall is the best time to buy a car,  simply because shopping for this years model while new inventory floods frantic dealers lots can help you get into a new vehicle at a much lower rate than summer shoppers. Winter time and year end sales are highly discounted as well but be warned that when inventory runs low during this time, if you wait too long stock will eventually run out and these deals will be missed. Or you may end up with a vehicle outside of your preferred model color or trim.
     Getting your first choice of vehicle with the best deals of the year is ideal so some inventory research is highly suggested at the very beginning of fall, we suggest as early as mid October. Also keep in mind that the radius of your search for the perfect car is no longer limited to vehicles in your immediate area when you can ship your car.  Most recent car sales actually start online in the from of research about specs different models and available options. According to “Many people are perfectly happy with cars they have purchased virtually sight unseen. The key is to use an array of Internet tools and buying, inspecting and shipping services. By using them, you can shop from a much larger pool of vehicles and can often find a better bargain.”
     When Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving come around it will officially signify the scramble of the approaching holiday season, and for many the opportunity to get into a new vehicle or give an impressive gift to a well deserving loved one. Gifting a vehicle to a new driver, spouse or anyone for that matter, wherever in the country they may be is surely a present they will be overjoyed with. Luckily this is made possible when you ship your car with Road Runner Auto Transport. Private sellers who maybe also looking to trade in or buy a car in a newer model during this time make up a large portion of newly available inventory. These private sellers take advantage of year end sales themselves, and as a result can be that much more eager to compromise on prices in order to close the deal in time to finance their next big purchase. Its just as important to be informed of these buying trends in order to get the best deal you possibly can, as well as taking the time to know your credit score or get a pre approved financing deal in place prior to shopping for your next dream vehicle. When you are ready to buy a car keep Road Runner Auto Transport in mind!
Fall Car Shows
During these upcoming Autumn months when the days appear to be shorter and the nights become cooler, car enthusiasts across the country are celebrating fall festivities in style. Ship your car with us and join car fans of all ages at a variety of automotive events across the country that will be celebrating this season.
    The car show has been a long standing tradition of family fun since the early days of the automobile. Some of these classic vehicles are not only immaculately preserved to remind us of this era, but will be displayed in competition for sport. Other fall car shows boast the creative side of the automotive industry and show the audience insight into the future of transportation, with customized and unique rides.  Some events even offer opportunities to test drive dream cars and chances to win prizes or benefit good causes. Halloween themed events encourage kids to participate in the festivities and show off their costumes in competition right along side the best in show cars.
    Whether looking for family entertainment or a place to show off your hot rod, check out these upcoming events in cities near you.
October 28th
Classic Car Show
Hotel Indigo, Riverhead
October 28th
NY Auto Fest 10th Annual Halloween Car Show
Chelsea Mansion, East Norwich
November 3rd
Drive Your Dreams Car Show
Meadowlands Expo Center
October 21st
CARS And Canvas by Car Guy of the West In The Arts District
2143 Violet St, Los Angeles
October 28th (last Sunday of every month)
2725 Hyperion Avenue Los Angeles
November 30th- Dec9th
2018 LA Auto Show
LA Convention Center
1201 S. Figueroa, LA
October 13th
St. Pascal’s Fall Car Show Fundraiser
6143 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago
October 20th
The Rockwell Rendezvous
4030 N ROCKWELL ST chicago
 November 17th&18th
10th Annual Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
5555 North River Road, Rosemont
October 27
Gateway Classic Cars every last Saturday of the month for Cars & Coffee: Presented by Grundy Insurance!
Gateway Classic Cars of Houston
1910 Cypress Station Drive, #Suite 200
November 10th
Houston NW Church: 19911 State Highway 249
November 11th
36th Annual Los Magnificos Car Show & Concert
Pasadena Convention Center and Municipal Fairgrounds
7902 Fairmont Parkway
Pasadena, TX 77505
October 13th
St. Anselms Oktoberfest Car Show
12670 Dunksferry Road Phila. Pa
October 20th
DVRR (Delaware Valley Road Runners) Halloween Car Show
Falls township Community Park 9125 Mill Creek Road
Levittown, PA, 19054
October 20th
October 27th
Cars and Customs
7701 Martin’s Creek Belvedere Highway
Bangor, PA, 18013
November 10th
2nd Annual Walk in the Park & Classic Car Show
The Village at Mayo Clinic Hospital 5811 E. Mayo Blvd, Phoenix AZ
November 16th-18th
Goodguys 21st Southwest Nationals
WestWorld of Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ, 85260
November 22nd-25th
Arizona Int’l Auto Show Thanksgiving Weekend
Phoenix Convention Center
100 N 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004

apps for driving


Moving to another state? With that comes a new town, new home, new job, new roads, and a new community. While many things may be unfamiliar to you, your smartphone can become your lifeline to learning your new town. Check out the best apps for driving that can accompany you while exploring.



Waze is one of the best apps for driving in regards to traffic. It will notify you if there is an accident, construction, or police activity. It will provide you with an alternative route. However, this alternative route is sometimes off the beaten path. The plus side to this is you can explore your new area while taking a detour to your new destination.



Considering driving from one coast of Alaska to another? Then Roadtrippers is for you. Roadtrippers is great for an extended road trip and driving. In addition to giving you the best route, it will provide you with vacation tools such as hotel reviews, campgrounds, points of interest, and restaurants. In need of gas? The app will provide you with nearby gas stations and even give you an estimate amount on how much you are going to spend.



As you’re driving and exploring your new area and neighborhood, you may come across a town that you would like to get out and explore. But what about parking? SpotHero allows you to easily book in any participating and available garage, lot, or valet. You can even prepay to reserve a spot if you knew ahead of time where you are going to be.


Are you moving? You worry about downloading some of these best apps for driving and let us worry about shipping your car.


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