You may find it easier to transport a car from coast to coast with a car shipping service than to drive it yourself. Whether you want to send a car to someone across the country or are planning a move or prolonged stay on the opposite coast, the convenience of hiring a car transporter is tempting, even given that it could make a serious dent in your savings account. Yet add the trouble of driving the car, yourself, to the cost in time and fuel of getting it from one end of the country to another, and the cost of a car transporter may not seem so high after all. Calculate whether it's worth it to hire car shippers. Often coast to coast auto shipping is more than cost effective; something less than driving the car yourself. Then make sure you take the necessary steps to safely transport a car from coast to coast.
Ready the Vehicle for Shipping
1) Hire a car mover that ships automobiles domestically. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration advises that whenever you hire movers, you get a written estimate (not just a quick quote). It's a good idea to apply this principle for car movers, too. Get a written estimate of the cost of coast to coast auto shipping from a vehicle transport company that has the best reputation and fair prices. It is also advisable to use a service that compares the rates of a number of coast to coast auto shipping companies to get you the best rate possible. One such service is Shipping Sidekick.
2) Communicate with the car transport company to clarify what you need to do to prepare your car for the move. Also communicate your wants and make sure all agreed upon terms are listed in the written agreement. Understand what's covered under their cargo and liability insurance, whether the car is to be driven or carried on a transport, whether the car mover will pick up the car and deliver it to a residence (door-to-door car transport) or if you need to bring the car to the terminal and have someone meet it at its destination (terminal-to-terminal).
3) Ready your car for coast to coast auto shipping. Get it into drivable condition if it's not already, put a quarter gallon of gas in the tank, put down the antenna, take off the ski rack or bicycle rack and empty the car of your personal belongings, tools and loose items. The Department of Transportation places strict restrictions on car shippers. They're not allowed to transport a car with any personal belongings in it, from the contents of your glove compartment to fire extinguishers. Generally child car seats and the jack and spare tire are fine.
4) Prepare the car for the destination climate. If you're moving from the west coast to the east coast during the middle of winter, for example, you might want to get snow tires and antifreeze. For a summer New York City-to-San Diego move, some coolant might be in order.
Ship and Receive the Vehicle
1) Pay up front for the move, as most vehicle shippers don't allow payment upon delivery. Allow a few days' leeway in the pickup of your vehicle, depending on the point of origin, when you transport a car from coast to coast.
2) Read the bill of lading, the document that gets shipped with your car to establish its condition in the event of a dispute, carefully and make sure it describes the state of your car accurately. Sign the bill of lading before your car is taken by the transport driver.
3) Meet the car, or have it met, at the destination point. Don't be hasty about signing off on it and releasing the driver, though. Examine the car, or have it inspected, for any damage incurred during transport.