Transporting Your Vehicles When Moving

transporting your vehicles when moving

Are you planning a long-distance move? Unless there are multiple drivers in your family willing and skilled enough for the job, you’ll need for transporting your vehicles to your new home.  

There Are Typically Three Options For Transporting Your Vehicles  

Tow the vehicle yourself using an appropriate vehicle/trailer, use add-on services available from your mover, hire a professional automotive transport company. 

Tow the vehicle yourself using a truck/towing trailer 

Did you know that most moving truck rental companies (U-Haul, Penske, etc.) offer car trailers made specifically for this purpose? This is the most affordable option if you’re doing your own move. If you’re using a moving company, we recommend checking with them first. In many cases, their fees to tow or transport your vehicle for the move will be far more affordable than the cost of a car trailer rental, especially when you factor in the extra gas money required for heavy, long-distance towing like that. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when renting a car trailer: 

  • Do you have a vehicle large/powerful enough to tow a loaded trailer? 
  • Do you know how to drive a trailer?  
  • Do you know how to reverse safely, if necessary, with a trailer? 

If you’ve never driven a trailer before, we highly recommend using professional options, rather than trying to learn during the move. Driving a trailer, especially day-in-and-day-out for a longer-distance move, requires an additional skill set and different spatial perception.  

You’ll need to feel comfortable getting in and out of gas stations, restaurants and rest stop parking lots, and should know how to reverse safely (in reverse, trailers require the opposite steering direction than your vehicle does. Click Here to learn more about that).  

If you don’t have trailer experience but want to save money and tow your own vehicle(s), we recommend renting a cheap, flatbed trailer for a day or two and practicing in a large lot until you know you can do it safely and competently.  

Use add-on services offered by moving companies 

Most moving companies offer vehicle transportation as part of their moving package. This service is usually considered an “add-on,” so it’s an additional charge. Homeadvisor.com sites that the average cost to transport a vehicle long-distance runs around $1000.  

Again, you need to keep in mind that if you rent a trailer, which may seem far cheaper, you’ll be paying for the fuel costs, which can easily cost more than $1000 for cross country moves. Also, moving companies are assuming liability for accidents on the road, whereas DIY moves would be assuming those liabilities.  

When you contact your prospective moving services, they should provide a list of the services and extra services they offer. That said, the more thorough you are about your needs, the better they can serve you. Let prospects know right away that you are interested in vehicle transport so they can provide a more accurate quote.  

Hiring an auto transport company for transporting your vehicles 

There are companies that specialize in hauling vehicles short- and long distances. Some of the most well-known are companies such as MontwayUship, and AmeriFreight. When you search online, these larger vehicle transport companies offer online calculators to provide estimates. 

Make sure you read all of the small print. It’s very common for companies to lure you in with seemingly bottom level prices. Then, by the time you’ve put in the car size, mileage, insurance, etc., the price is notably higher than the original, base price provided at the start. Your best bet is to call in person and obtain a written estimate and make sure you’ve read all of the information, so you aren’t surprised by hidden or surprise charges on your final invoice. 

Preparing Your Car For Transport 

There are things you’ll need to do to prepare your vehicle(s) for transport f you choose to use your mover or designated auto transport company: 

  1. Thoroughly wash the interior/exterior of your car. Dirt and dust from the road can hide minor dents, dings, scratches or blemishes that occur along the way, and for which you are not responsible. Clean it well and dry it so it looks pristine when it’s loaded on the truck. This will ensure potential damage is easier to spot when the vehicle arrives at your destination. 
  2. Remove everything from the inside. While cars will be loaded onto a trailer, they are prone to more jostling and vibration than when they’re driven. Removing loose items lessens their chances of being thrown about and potentially damaging interior surfaces or window glass. Also, most companies will not insure the contents of the car, only the stock/market furnishings/fixtures. 
  3. No need to fill the tank. There’s no reason for cars to have a full tank of gas for transport. Ultimately, extra fuel in the car just adds to the total hauling weight and safety risk.  
  4. Photograph the car. Take date-stamped pictures of every surface. This gives you a reference if you claim a scratch or ding occurred en route and you need evidence to file a claim. 
  5. Disable the car alarm. The last thing the drivers need is to hear your car’s alarm set off incessantly from all the unusual bumps, thumps, or the need to readjust or rearrange vehicles along the way. Disable any and all alarms associated with the vehicle. 
  6. Check for and seal any leaks. Look below your car in the garage or driveway to ensure there aren’t any leaks. Or, pay your local mechanic a small once-over fee to verify the car is leak-free. Any leaks should be repaired before they pick up your car. If your car leaks and the transporter notices during their preloading inspection, the company can refuse to haul it. 

Interested in obtaining a quote for transporting your vehicles for your upcoming move? Contact us here at Jays Moves, (415) 999-6795 · (510) 501-5800, and work with Bay Area professionals who promise to treat your vehicle(s) as their own.