Decoding the Car Shipping Process: A Comprehensive Guide for First-Timers

Confused about the car shipping process? Well, it’s pretty simple, but for first timers it can be an absolute nightmare to traverse.

Below we’ll go into the steps you’ll need to take to ship a car and what to look out for.

Let’s get started.

How to Ship a Vehicle

1. Find a suitable transportation company

First step is to find a real transportation company, not a shell company that is operated illegally. This can be done by first checking if they are licensed by the DOT and FMCSA, to ensure they are operating with the correct authorities in their space.

The second step is to look deep into their online reviews. If you don’t find many or none at all, then steer clear. There are many shady transportation companies that aren’t shy of bait and switching their customers. It is true that many reviews can be faked, but by checking many platforms like Facebook, Google and Yelp, you’ll be able to identify the real from the fly by night transport companies.

It’s also a good idea to check if they work with many types of vehicles, showing off their expertise. Another good way is by looking at user generated websites like Reddit or Quora to see if real people have used their services before.

It’s always important to keep your vehicle safe, and by going through the vetting process of finding a good shipping company, it’ll keep you and your car from having a huge headache. You can always find limited time discounts on car transportation services to ship anywhere in the world.

2. Compare quotes

When working with transport companies, it’s a good idea to get multiple quotes from different carriers. As the consumer, you have leverage with different quotes, allowing you to get a lower price.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate, and always ensure that you are being quoted a final price, and not one that can be altered when the delivery driver comes to pick up your vehicle. Many companies will try to raise the price at the last second, so you’ll need to verify the price before putting down a deposit.

If you feel that you’re being pressured at any time, then you should stop speaking with whomever is trying to close the deal. There are plenty of carriers out there that won’t make you feel that you’re being backed into a corner and would love your business. 

3. Prepare vehicle for shipping

Preparing your vehicle for shipping requires that you first wash the outside. It’s important because you’ll need to drop off your vehicle and they will do an inspection. You don’t want to have any arguments about the condition of the car, so it’s better to have it clean.

Take pictures of the car after it’s been clean and keep them dated, this is so if there is any damage to the vehicle during shipping, you’ll be able to have evidence of it being damaged. You’ll also need to take out any items inside that are loose to avoid damage to the inside of the vehicle.

Do not leave any valuables as those items aren’t going to be covered by insurance. It’s also a great time to reduce your gas tank to 1/4th of the tank or lower depending on the requirements of the transportation service providers.

4. Drop off your vehicle

After your car has been taken care of, all that is left is to drop off your vehicle to the driver. They will inspect your vehicle beforehand, so it’s a good time to double check what the driver has written down for your car.

Keep all records that you receive should you have any discrepancies that you’ll need to take care of later. If for whatever reason you don’t feel comfortable, then you can always back out of the deal at the last minute as long as no contract was signed.

Don’t let anyone pressure you or back you into a corner to pay a bit extra, companies like A-1 Auto Transport always keep it on the up and up and have worked for decades and many more decades to come.


Navigating the world of car shipping can initially seem like a daunting task, especially for those new to the process. However, with the right knowledge and careful planning, it becomes manageable and straightforward. 

By diligently selecting a legitimate and reputable transportation company, comparing various quotes, and preparing your vehicle appropriately, you can ensure a hassle-free experience. Always remember to keep records, trust your instincts, and prioritize your vehicle’s safety throughout the process. transportation journey.

While shipping a vehicle can seem daunting, with the right research beforehand, you shouldn’t run into any problems. Always go with shipping companies that are licensed and have an online presence that you can rely on. 

Avatar photo
About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!