Transportation is something we either use, need, or even say a couple times every single day. In order for us to get places, and accomplish most of our everyday tasks, we need to transport ourselves to wherever is necessary in order to make these things happen. The same happens with your vehicle. Although vehicles are meant to transport us, vehicles also need to be shipped to where we need them. This is where car transport comes in. Hiring a company to ship your car from one place to another is a very common service nowadays and there are many advantages to it if done properly.
Not too long ago, car transport was only done for private companies and dealerships, due to large economy drops and major demands from private owners, the service has opened up to any person that needs to move a car between two locations, from towing a car a couple miles to going coast to coast and even overseas to another country.
There are many factors that play together in order to make this service function properly like price, type of car, locations, type of carrier, driver availability, brokers, and most important small details. Following is a list of the basic factors that make up the whole car shipping experience.
Driven or Carried? Car transport offers diverse options to ship a car in order to accommodate to the customers’ needs. To start with, a customer needs to decide whether he wants his car driven to the location or carried. Car transport not only works by loading a car unto a carrier, but there are also certified drivers that will drive your car from point A to point B. Short distances may not be such a problem for this option, as car will not be driven for too long. Although hiring a driver may be less expensive, this will put miles on your car, it will wear off your tires and expose your car to unfortunate accidents. Driven carriers offer much more protection to your car without adding the extra miles or wearing and tearing your vehicle.
Open Trailer or Enclosed? Carriers offer also many options on how a car can be shipped, depending on customers’ needs and demands, due to this reason there are two types of main carriers: open or enclosed. The most common are open carriers, as these are less expensive to book and less expensive to maintain. Open carriers can haul up to 11 cars in a two floor platform. Each car is stacked in a single line one after the other properly secured onto the carriers platforms by thick chains or tire straps. However, some customers have higher demands and need extra protection for their cars, therefore they book enclosed carriers. These carriers may also have 2 floors and can haul up to 9 cars at once. Cars are securely strapped to platform as well with tire straps or thick chains; only the whole carrier is covered with a canvas to protect cars from outside conditions. Another example of an enclosed carrier are closed containers with metal walls that work as a metal box where car is put inside and safely transported.
RO-RO: Unfortunately not all car transportation is done on a road, sometimes cars need to be shipped to other countries overseas. For this type of transportation, service is done inside containers that are placed on a ship or most commonly on roll on-roll off platforms (RO-RO). As its name states it, cars are rolled on to the platform and stacked in organized lines, one after the other from port to port. When boat arrives to destination port, cars are rolled of one by one to their expecting owners. However, there isn’t always someone available at pick up or delivery locations; therefore the next factor comes into place: terminals and car storage lots.
Door-to-Door or Terminal-to-Terminal: Car transport offers many possibilities for customers in order to accommodate their needs. Many times customers are not available to be present when driver comes in or live in very secluded locations where driver cannot pull in to. For these cases, drivers unload cars into a terminal until owner can come and pick up the car, extra fees will be charged, yet car will be safely stored. There are two main services companies offer when picking up and delivering, either a close door to door service, or a less personal terminal to terminal delivery. A door to door service gives the customer a more convenient service and allows them to provide any address possible. In this case there must be someone present to give the car away and to receive it. Some companies however do not offer this service and require customers to drop off car at a terminal where they load their carriers. Delivery is done at another terminal where customer must go and pick up car as well.
Packing your car up. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has certain regulations that do not allow customers to fill up their cars when transporting them from one place to another using a carrier. This covers the customer and the driver and helps prevent any serious damage, loss, and further inconvenient. Carriers have to pass through certain check points when driving and every car on the hauler is checked, if there is something illegal or that needs further investigation, this will delay deliveries and put the driver under suspicion. Therefore DOT regulations allow up to 75lbs of soft goods to be put in the trunk of the car, however, some companies do not allow any personal belongings at all to prevent any inconvenient. Packing your car will also add pounds to your car and therefore to the carrier, weight limits are very important to be considered as carrier will not be allowed on the road if overweight.
Delivery time. Most of car transports are done for long distances and cars have to be hauled thousands of miles, most of these trips can be done in 1 or 2 days on a regular basis, but drivers have a limit amount of hours they can drive a day. As regulated by the DOT, drivers are not permitted to drive more than 8 hours a day, which is the equivalent for 400 to 500 miles. Some drivers will be able to reach more miles as they have smaller haulers or less weight; however this is the average distance for most drivers. Delivery time is also based on how many loads a driver has. The more loads, the longer delivery times, without counting external factors such as weather conditions, traffic, flat tires or other inconvenient on the way.
Season and weather conditions. Car transport also has its high peaks and low peeks depending on the season. Winter season is one of the highest peaks to ship a car especially on the east coast for customers that move to warmer places during winter. Most drivers move from the west coast into the east as there is high demand during this time. Once winter is over they start going back to the west. However, if winter conditions are very extreme, car transport will be delayed and no driver will move as it is very dangerous to expose a big hauler to such conditions. It may not only cause harm to the driver but the cars that are loaded as well. Also during this time, trucks tend to have more mechanical issues due the cold weather, and require constant maintenance to keep them going.
Cost to ship a car: Car transport is a fast growing business due to the high demand of cars in the past years. Many drivers can be booked for a certain amount of time to deliver cars from manufacturers to dealers, from ports to owners, and so on. This causes them to have very little availability to take cars from private owners. Sometimes they will have space for 1 or 2 private cars, however if prices are not appealing enough for drivers, they will not even bother to make an extra stop to take your car. Therefore one of price tags biggest factors is to make quotes attractive to drivers in order to have a car picked up promptly and securely. The higher the price, the better chances there are of a driver making room for a private owner’s car and picking up right away. When price is not quoted correctly and it is too low, there is a high risk of getting stuck and finding no driver to provide service.
All the previous factors combine to create the car transport experience. Every single factor has to be taken in consideration when hiring a car transport, customers shipping a car must be aware of every single detail in order to have the best experience. To make it easier to understand, car transport is not meant to be a low cost service. If low prices are quoted, there are chances drivers will not grab the run and delay the service needed. Although it is an expensive service, it will not leave you bankrupt, at the end, as most things in life one gets what one pays for, and to avoid any extra bills for fixing damages or accommodating to delays, the cost is worth it.
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