How to Transport a Car in a Cross-Country Move

Are you in the midst of a big life change? Click here to learn how to transport a car across the country for your next big move.

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Driving from coast to coast, the US is just over 5000 miles. If you are moving across the country, you need to consider how you will get your possessions there including your cars.

Read on to learn how to transport a car across the country.

How to Transport a Car

When you are facing a big move, one of the big questions is how to transport a car across the country. There are three main options. Here they are.

Drive Your Car

One option is to drive your car to your new location. Note that this option isn’t necessarily the cheapest. You have to consider the miles on the car, the gas, food, and accommodations along the way.

Yet, this option takes the least amount of prep work. You just get in your car and go. However, if you have a moving van, you’ll need someone to drive that and leave someone else in charge of it.

Driving a car across the country also means that you will arrive that much later at your new location. But you can fill your car with boxes if needed.

It also depends on where in the US you are driving. There are some areas that are most dangerous to drive in.

Haul Your Car

Another option is to haul your car behind the moving van. Many moving vans come with auto trailers so you can tow your car behind.

This method doesn’t use any gas or put miles on your car, but it does put wear on your tires. And driving a big moving van with a car attached to it can be tricky. Especially when you have to do turns and drive on side streets.

You can fill your vehicle with boxes if you need to. But, if you have a large family, you won’t all fit in the moving van. And you can’t have passengers in a car when it is being towed.

Ship your Car

The third option is to use an auto transport company to ship your car to your new location.

You can pay to ship your car via an auto train if you are along the East Coast. This way, you can load items in your car before it gets on the train. This is a fast way to get your car to the new location without exposing it to the elements.

Or you can choose between an open-air truck or an enclosed truck. In an open-air truck, your car is susceptible to rocks, dirt and the elements but is usually less expensive. You may have to repair a rock chip or two when you get there.

In an enclosed truck, your car is guaranteed to arrive in the same condition as when you drove it into the truck. But it does cost more than the open-air option.

When shopping for an auto transport company, find out if the company pick up and drops off the car at your home or requires you to pick up your car.

Also, before hiring any company, make sure to verify that they are insured and licensed. It’s a good idea to check online reviews and their profile on the Better Business Bureau website.

Look up a company’s U.S. DOT number on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website to see if that company is licensed.

If you decide to use a company to transport your car across the country, there are a few things you need to know.

Prepping Your Car for Transport 

Once you’ve decided on a company to ship your car, you need to prep your vehicle.

First, take it to the mechanic to make sure that it is in good working order. Mechanical or electrical issues may cause problems for your auto carrier. You don’t want to find out about issues the day of and risk delays.

Your mechanic can top up all your fluids and check the battery. But keep your car under a quarter way full of gas.

For one thing, a full car is heavier and your auto transporter doesn’t want that. Also, a full tank is a safety hazard.

Next, secure any movable parts so they don’t move during the ride. And, if you don’t have an extra set of keys for your car, get some made.

Empty Your Car

Your insurance company won’t likely cover any personal belongings that get left in the car. So take them with you.

Many auto transport companies do not allow you to stow any moving boxes in your car. That’s because extra possessions will add more weight to your car.

The transport company may refuse to transport your car if it is full of items.  So make sure that if you plan to load items in the car that you check with the company first.

Wash Your Car 

Giving your car a good wash before you ship your car is the best way that you can accurately inspect it.

You’ll need to give your car a detailed inspection looking for any dings, scratches, and dents. Take photos and mark the location of each imperfection. That way, if you need to file a claim after transport, you have proof of damage.

Final Thoughts

We hope you found this guide on how to transport a car across the country was helpful.

At the end of the day, the best option is different for everyone. Consider what is most convenient for you, not just the cheapest. That will go a long way in making the move smoother.

Do you have an electric car? Check out these top 4 apps for EV charging stations.


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