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How to best ship a car a long distance

i am planning on moving a long distance and not driving. what it’s he safest way for my car to be transported? how do i locate companies that do this? many moving companies offer this service. should i have it done by a car mover and not a moving company?


Well known national moving companies will move/ship your car just about anywhere in the world. Best is to contact several of them and ask for quotes, references and details

i am told i need a flat bed not a tow since it is an all wheel drive
car. are there specific companies that do this?

Uship is a website where you place a ad and shippers will bid for your business. If there is a partial truck going the direction you need and they have room, they might do it quite cheap. Or maybe that shipper has a deadhead back that they would otherwise earn $0 they can get something to offset their fuel cost.

I recently used it to ship a shuttlebus that I bought. I got it shipped for a really reasonable rate of about $1.67/mile.

Things to watch out for with any person or company. Make sure they are properly insured and have references.

Well you need it to be on a trailer or a rollback type or tow truck. It should not be flat towed (i.e. tow bar behind a RV) or should not be towed on a tow dolly (front wheels only on the trailer).

How many miles is a long distance?

For very long distance many moving companies use a car carrier just like you see them delivering new cars to the dealership. If you’re not too time sensitive, you can get a better deal if you wait until they have a fully loaded carrier going your way. When I moved for work and they paid for it, I chose an enclosed transporter to avoid weather and road debris possibly damaging my cars.

Every vehicle I’ve owned in the past 30 years had section in the owners manual on the proper way to tow your vehicle.

From personal experience, many ads are from ‘booking companies’ that will turn around and find a shipper to take your car.
Some shippers are companies while others are basically the driver of the rig (like the carriers used to deliver new cars).
All seem to be trying to fill spaces as best as possible to earn more $ while traveling the same distance.
Beware of those that want a credit card # in advance.

My car crossed the US on a rig, and it did not warrant being enclosed or wrapped. But you and your car may be different.
And don’t think to use your car to carry additional items to your destination. Car contents are not safeguarded.


what company did you use? were you happy with the results?


The OP does not say what the distance is or the from to wherever is. But if time allows this sounds like a chance to see places they might never be near again.

It is cross country and I am physically unable to drive it.

This was a few years back, going from the east to west coast. Sadly, I don’t have the information anymore, and I’m not sure it would be accurate anyway.

My car was average but only about 2 or 3 years old at the time. The driver and rig showed up on time, took a key from me and drove the car onto the rig. Funny thing was that he was kind of a big guy and the parked position on the rig made it really hard for him to open the door and squeeze out.
This is how I confirmed that the ads I responded to were to shipping agents that find driver/rigs like his.
And he was not going a straight line from E to W. He had more cars to pick up before heading south to drop off and pick up before turning west.

I’m a big Miata fan and one of my fellow fans, a neighbor, just had her NC-generation hardtop Miata shipped home to New England from Florida. It’s a beauty. She had it shipped on an open carrier. When it arrived it was coated in a caked-on and also greasy diesel fuel condensate from the exhaust. It took her days to try to remove it and she could not. She took it to a local detailer for professional help. She was told by the shipper who asked for a five-star review “You should have asked for a closed container if you didn’t want that.” That is the one thing I now know about shipping cars. She also told me there was a soft-top Miata on the same truck with what appeared to be a completely ruined soft top due to the oily deposits.I also bought a car once from a seller in Florida. The seller was the owner of a Toyota dealership and it was his personal car (Lexus IS 350C). It arrived clean (as far as I know) and undamaged. I assume it was shipped inside of a truck or container. I saw it the same day it arrived, but did not see it unloaded.

Sounds like an open carrier rig that would not pass emissions.
It might also depend on where her car was on the carrier.


Exactly why I chose an enclosed transporter. I had people telling me it’s no different than if you drove your car that same distance- same exposure. No, I would not be tailgating the same truck for 1000 miles. Not to mention running through rain/hail storms. You only have to pass one semi to see how much stuff they kick up…


All new cars are shipped to he dealers via open carrier and hardly ever has this been a problem. I think what you are quoting are exceptions, rather then the rules. You will pay more than double the rate for an enclosed carrier. Get the thing shrink wrapped if you are that concerned.

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they also have protective clear adhesive sheets that need to be removed at the dealer.

Comparing to how dealers get new cars is probably misleading. Car makers transport long hauls by ship and train – not by tractor/trailers. IOW, car makers are probably not going to ship new cars coast to coast by a car carrier. That would be too expensive.

Car carriers are used, however, for delivery to dealerships and short hauls, maybe a couple or three hundred miles as the limit before trains are more cost effective.

Back to the OP’s question, here’s something from Edmunds

For the OP, nothing stops @andrea4 from putting plastic wrap or coating on her car before shipping (as long as the doors open and the car is drivable). But as the Edmunds article notes, there is insurance to cover damage.
(And somewhere on the internet is probably info about how airflow goes over and behind a car carrier. My guess is that the lower deck and probably more forward positions have lower risk of damage. )

Couple points from my actual experience.

  1. You don’t get to choose where the car goes on the truck. You don’t even know if it will only be on one truck for the entire trip if it is a long one. I met the truck at pickup and did pre-shipment inspection. Watched them load it up. Fast forward, I met the delivery truck and it was not the same truck. I asked the driver he said it went to a centralized lot where it was unloaded and stored for a few days before being loaded onto a different truck with other cars going the same way.

  2. They damaged two of my cars. The first was a headlamp on a Corvette that was stuck open. The car was loaded in daylight so no need for headlamps. This goes back to #1 above. They re-loaded the car at night the second time. The headlamp mechanism was trashed and the lamp off kilter. Someone obviously hit something with it open. The second car was damaged in front of my eyes during unloading. Thank goodness I was there to see it. The driver tossed a hold down strap over the top and the substantial buckle hit the driver’s side door, denting it and chipping the paint.

I fought with their insurance for 3 months to get appropriate restitution. They wanted to give me $50 for the door damage. That wouldn’t cover the damage to an OEM paint job. This is a candy color with custom graphics.

So in my experience, I’d rather pay a little extra to minimize the potential for damage in the first place.

so how would you have prevented this?