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Preparing Your Car For Shipping

For you to really understand the rules about what you can leave in your car before vehicle shipping, you really need to know some of the history behind car shipping.  In the 1950’s, most vehicle transport was don’t by towing companies. They would use their flatbed trucks to haul a single car for long distances. They charged by the mile, doubling the distance so they would be paid for the “deadhead” trip back to home base. It’s pretty easy to see the inefficiency with this plan, and the tow truck owners saw it, too. The towing companies started waiting until they had several cars to be delivered to the same general direction. This saved them a tremendous amount in expenses, and greatly increased their profit margins. It also helped, because by the time they had several cars to deliver, they also had cars to pick up for the return trip, preventing them from having to run empty. The problem with this is that your car may sit in the tow truck yard for a week or more, until the auto transport company has enough cars queued up to make the trip worth it. Since the vehicle transport company has many employees, and since most of the vehicles will be moved from one truck to another, the car transport companies developed a policy which does not allow any personal effects to be left in your vehicle. Why would your car have to travel on more than one truck? If, for instance, your car was traveling from San Diego to Miami, your car would first go to Phoenix with several other cars. It would then be transferred to another vehicle transport for the trip to Dallas and then moved to another vehicle transport for the rest of the trip to Miami. Each time your car is transferred to another truck, it may sit in the yard for a few days with each transfer. This drastically increases the opportunities for your car to be compromised, and items can be taken from it. With the advent of the internet in 1998, many tow companies, now auto transport companies, started coordinating their shipments, grouping cars that were to be shipped together. This helps, now, to reduce the amount of time your car has to wait for a ride. Now, the vehicle transport truck will run a particular route, picking up and delivering cars along this route as they go along. The car carrier will choose which cars he will transport, often going straight to the pick-up point, rather than a tow yard. The car carrier and the company policies will determine what you can ship inside the car. So, when you reserve your car moving date, make sure you go over the auto transport company’s policies to see what they allow. For instance, most auto shipping companies will not ship your car if you leave such things as:

1.    Any kind of food. It can easily attract wild animals when the car carrier is sitting parked. And, the truck is parked about half the time your car is on it.

2.    Any kind of liquid. If they leak, which they probably will with the extremes of temperature your car will experience, the fluid may be suspected as fuel. The fire department will be involved, which delays the trip, and is charged to you.

3.    No fragile items. When the auto transport hits a pothole, or travels through construction, your car gets jolted.

4.    No valuables. Your auto transport company has insurance to cover your car, but not the items stored in it.

5.    No explosives.

6.    No guns.

7.    No ammunition

8.    No money.

9.    No flammable items or chemicals.

10.    No narcotics or prescription medication.

11.    No paperwork. This includes legal or negotiable papers or tax forms or receipts.

12.    No alcohol.

13.    No jewelry.

14.    No furs.

15.    No live pets.

16.    No live plants.

17.    No contraband.