Auto transport is an important service that allows vehicle owners to move their vehicles safely from one location to another. Whether you are relocating to a new city or simply want your car shipped for maintenance and repairs, choosing a reputable auto transport company is essential. Here are some key tips to ensure a safe and smooth auto transport experience with no unwanted surprises.
Tip 1: Research Thoroughly and Choose a Reputable Auto Transport Company
Doing your homework and selecting a reliable auto transport company is the single most important factor in having a safe transport experience. Look for companies that have many years of experience in the industry and positive customer reviews. Check review sites like Google, Facebook and third party sites like the Better Business Bureau for customer feedback and company rating. Look out for red flags like many unresolved complaints or negative reviews about damages, delays or poor communication.
It’s also a good idea to ask the transport company about their insurance policies to ensure your vehicle is adequately covered in case of any accidents or damages during transport. Reputable companies will be transparent about their insurance and have the proper coverage in place to protect your interests. You should also inquire about the type of carriers (open or enclosed) that will be used based on your vehicle type to ensure the safest possible transport method.
Things to look out for in reviews:
- On-time delivery record
- Communication effectiveness during transport
- Care taken while loading/unloading vehicles
- Overall customer satisfaction levels
Tip 2: Get Comprehensive Vehicle Inspection Reports
Before and after the transport, it is important to thoroughly inspect and document the condition of your vehicle. Take photos of your vehicle from all angles, especially any pre-existing flaws or damage. Note down details of dents, scratches or other blemishes already present. Get the transport company to also inspect your vehicle and provide a condition report acknowledging any issues.
Similarly, have your vehicle thoroughly checked at the delivery location as well and note down any new damage. Get the delivery inspection report signed by the driver immediately. This ensures both parties are on the same page about the vehicle condition, and you have proof in case of any post-transport damage claims.
Tip 3: Use Enclosed Auto Transport for Protection
While open carriers allow for cheaper transport rates, they offer lesser protection compared to enclosed car carriers. Opt for enclosed auto transport trailers instead, especially if transporting high-end or classic vehicles. The full enclosure protects against weather damage, flying debris, and potential road hazards or accidents en-route. Enclosed carriers also offer security from theft during transport.
The small premium you pay for enclosed transport is well worth the peace of mind. Make sure your vehicle is properly secured inside with padding, straps or ramps to prevent shifting or additional wear-and-tear during transport.
Tip 4: Pack Your Vehicle Properly for the Journey
Remove or properly secure any loose items inside your vehicle before it gets loaded. Things like loose change, phone mounts etc. could potentially shift during transport. Also remove all valuable electronics or documents for safekeeping. Inflate your tires to the proper pressure specified and top up engine fluids like oil, transmission and brake fluid.
Use protective padding or blankets on areas prone to wear like bumpers and corners. Also consider taping or wrapping exposed chrome trim that could get scratched. These little steps minimize risks of scratches or damages during transport.
Tip 5: Specify Delivery Timeline and Get Estimated Delivery Dates
Get clear details from the auto transport company about projected delivery timeframes based on the pickup/drop off locations. Ask for estimated arrival dates keeping potential delays like traffic or weather in mind. Reputable carriers will provide a delivery date range to set expectations rather than fixed delivery dates.
Following up regularly to reconfirm delivery status helps stay on top of the transport progress. Communication keeps you informed of any unforeseen issues early on so you can plan accordingly at the destination. This reduces unnecessary waiting or stress around uncertain deliveries.
Tip 6: Thoroughly Check Vehicle on Delivery
As mentioned earlier, carefully inspect your vehicle on arrival at the destination location. Have the driver supervise unloading and check for any issues immediately. Note down any new damages observed in the post-delivery inspection report. This ensures claims can be filed promptly in case of damage disputes.
Take clear photos or videos as undeniable proof of vehicle condition on receipt. Immediate claim reporting also establishes that damages observed were likely incurred during transport, and not due to other causes later on.
Tip 7: Hire Certified Professionals Where Possible
Look for transport companies that employ certified staff, especially drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for operating heavy transport equipment safely. Experienced drivers know how to properly secure varying vehicle types for safe, secured road transport.
Certified mechanics on staff ensure your vehicle is handled with care during the loading/unloading process. Their expertise prevents potential operational issues from mishandling of mechanical parts.
Tip 8: Pay Safely Using Traceable Payment Methods
Avoid cash payments which are non-refundable in case of issues. Opt for methods like credit/debit cards or electronic bank transfers instead. Traceable payment records make disputes or refund claims easier if needed down the line.
Do not book through unfamiliar third-party brokers either. Deal directly with reputable transport companies you vetted thoroughly to minimize risks of unreliable intermediaries.
Tip 9: Consider Short to Medium Haul Journeys Under 500 Miles
For shorter distance ground transport under 500 miles, the risks are lower compared to longer multi-day trips. Shorter hauls allow carriers to directly deliver with fewer vehicle transfers en-route. This minimizes risks from additional handling by different drivers or unexpected delays over multiple days.
You also avoid complications from changing weather or road conditions over long long-distance drives. Stick to transport companies specializing in shorter regional routes if possible for the safest experience.
With careful planning following these key tips, you can ensure a comfortable, reliable and damage-free auto transport experience. Taking proactive steps at each stage of the process guarantees no unwanted surprises. Safe travels!