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Tips for Shipping Your Car to Another State (Podcast)

Tips for Shipping Your Car to Another State (Podcast)

Mike Scenna, sales manager at PreOwned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto and logistics transport company located in Massachusetts, discusses tips for shipping your car to another state.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Mike Scenna, sales manager at PreOwned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts, and our topic today is tips for shipping your car to another state. Welcome, Mike.

Mike Scenna: Hey, John.

Do Your Research

John: Mike, this is probably the most common thing, that if you’re just moving your car within your own state, you could probably just drive it, but most people are probably moving their car from state to state or even halfway across the country or all the way across the country. What are some of the tips that you have for consumers in terms of researching different car shipping companies and picking the best one?

Mike: Right. I tell people, as you just said, do your research. It’s important that you take some time to make this decision. Depending on your individual needs, it’s important to find a company that’s going to be able to satisfy those needs, so I always tell people first and foremost, check reviews. Check reviews on different sources: social media, Google, you have places like Yelp, Angie’s List, things like that. I’d check them all because someone could focus on doing a really good job at just keeping their reviews good on one source and you may find that there’s a consistently bad message on the other sources, so I’d definitely check as many sources of reviews that you can.

I also recommend getting on the phone with the companies. Just like anything, I think people will get a sense of who they’re going to be working with by talking to someone and listening to them explain their product and their service and just getting a good feeling from the person that you’re going to work with. I know here, we appreciate that. We try to provide as much information as we can when people call and help educate them on how this process works and I’ve found that people appreciate that, so even if you don’t ship with us, we were able to provide you some good information and we find that people appreciate that.

John: What are some of the questions that I should be asking my auto transport company as I’m doing that research so that I can really make a good comparison between them?

Ensure the Company’s Reputation

Mike: Yeah, first and foremost, you want to make sure they’re a reputable company. Ask basic questions, like, “Are you fully licensed, bonded, and insured?” It’s important to find that out. You can ask them how long they’ve been in business, where they typically move cars to and from, what you should expect in a shipment. I think that’s a good question to ask. You want to make sure you get an honest answer from someone. If you ask what you should expect from your shipment, expect to receive a lot of follow-up questions from there, so if you find that a company is taking the time to understand your move and your needs, that tells you that they’re taking the time to make sure that this move goes right.

You can’t get a quote and expectations off of a couple of questions. There are a lot of factors in moving a car and the right company or a good company should be asking a lot of questions and understanding those. If you get that on the phone, I would say it’s a sign that you’re in good hands, and then you’re going to receive reliable and honest expectations. I think that’s the most important. Being without a car is not easy, so you want to make sure you’re getting accurate expectations, and you’ll know that if the company is asking you a lot of questions.

When to Schedule Car Shipping

John: All right, that’s good advice. How far in advance should I book my car shipping? Is this something that I can give you a call and then expect you to come and pick up my car in a couple of days or should I be booking this a month ahead of time or two months? What’s the timeframe?

Mike: Yeah, so there are a lot of companies out there that can accommodate last-minute moves. There might not be as high of a chance, though, getting it done last minute, but it certainly can happen, so just like anything in life, it’s better to plan ahead of time. It’s better to know what you’re going to be doing, have the move on the books, and give a company time to work on it. As a rule of thumb, I tell people three or four weeks is great. Three or four weeks is plenty of time. You’ve done your due diligence, you’ve given your information to accompany well ahead of time, and there’s a really good chance that they have everything that they need in enough time to make sure that the move goes very smoothly.

Preparing for Car Shipping

John: Okay, and is there anything that I need to do to prepare my car for shipping?

Mike: Yeah, there are a few things. First and foremost, you want to understand the condition of your car. We all pick up little scratches and dents and dings here and there in parking lots and other places that we may not be aware of, so you want to avoid any confusion on the delivery end of damage. I tell people, “Take time to go through your car.” Maybe you haven’t walked around it in a while. Walk around, take some pictures, check it out, really, fully understand the condition your car is in, that’s going to help.

Also, there’s some basic things. You want to keep the gas on the lower side. It helps for weight. Most companies are going to ask that you keep the gas somewhere below half, maybe a quarter of a tank, and then also, you want to be very careful of what’s in your car, that’s very important. We all keep stuff in our cars, stuff that we forget we even have in there, so I’d really take the time to go through and see what’s in your car. You don’t want to really leave anything valuable in there. You’re not shipping valuable items, you’re shipping your car with a company that ships cars, so I wouldn’t want to leave anything too fragile in there, or valuable. A sweater, things like that, a hat, that kind of stuff’s okay, it doesn’t affect weight, it’s something that is of too much value, but yeah, really take the time to go through what’s in there and make sure you understand.

John: Should I remove everything from my car, like go into the glove compartment and take everything out, or are there any differences when, say, I’m shipping my car just to another state within the lower 48 states versus shipping my car overseas? Then, if I’m shipping it overseas, should I really be trying to remove every single thing from the car?

Mike: Yeah, really good questions. Overseas, I would always recommend having the car as empty as possible, and yeah, going through the glove box is important. Make sure there’s no important papers in there, something that you throw in there that you might need during the time that the car is not in your hands. Especially for an overseas shipment, you might not see the car for a month or longer, so I’d really want the car to be pretty much empty for an overseas shipment.

Then as far as cross-country goes to another state, when shipping a car to another state, yeah, you want to not have too much in there as well. You’re leaving some papers in the glove box might be okay, the registration stuff that’s going to be in there, anyway, there’s no need for a driver to go in there and touch anything, and a lot of cars now have the ability to lock the glove box, so that’s usually pretty safe, but yeah, still, again, keeping weight down and keeping valuables and fragile stuff out of the car is very important.

Even other things, understanding that the car, if you go in, like you said, lower states, even if it’s in transit for, say, four or five days, it can get really hot in a car without AC, so you can have issues with heat for things like soaps or lotions or paintings, so that stuff can get ruined from that in there, so you’re better off not chancing it and just leaving that stuff out of the car.

John: Is there anything that I should actually leave in the car? You mentioned the registration. Is that important to leave in the car in case the driver needs to move my car somewhere and it has to have the registration in it or anything like that?

Mike: I mean, there really shouldn’t be there. The drivers fall under different abilities for what they can or can’t do with the car. I mean, they’re moving unregistered cars all the time for dealerships, so it’s not crucial to have it in there. I would say, honestly, it really doesn’t hurt or help to keep the registration in there, but it’s not necessary. I mean, the driver isn’t doing more than taking the car off the truck and moving it to a parking space and then maybe putting it back on, so unless someone plans on doing some joy riding, which wouldn’t be a good thing, yeah.

John: Definitely a sign of a bad company if that happens, right? Yeah.

Mike: … Yeah, yeah. If someone said, “Make sure the registration’s in there,” and they’re really pushing it, I’d ask a few questions about that.

Making the Final Decision

John: Interesting. What about making my decision, again, when I’m looking at different car companies? Should I base my car shipping decision just on the price and what might happen if I do just choose the lowest price?

Mike: Yeah, just like anything in life, you get what you pay for. I think that when choosing a car shipping company, price should be important, just like anything. We all want to get a reasonable price for the things that we’re acquiring, but you want to get a good service as well, so it’s important. It’s going to cost more to get a better understanding of expectations, a more reliable, consistent type of shipment if you’re paying for it.

I wouldn’t go solely off price. I would go off of some of the things we talked about in the beginning here, doing your research, getting on the phone with the company, gauging their level of engagement with how much they care about the shipment. Are they asking the right questions? Are they taking the time to show that they care that this goes well for you? If a company is asking those questions and showing that, I think that’s important and worth paying for.

John: All right. That’s great advice, Mike. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Mike: Yeah. Thanks, John.

John: For more information or to request a quote for your auto-shipping needs, visit the website at or call (877) 542-1955.