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The Different Ways to Ship Your Vehicle

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Shipping your vehicle to your new home may seem like a daunting task; there are many different shipping methods available to you, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The following guide will highlight these pros and cons. Consider each method carefully, and then select the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Transportation Methods

Self Transport: As its name suggests, this method means you take care of transporting your vehicle on your own. This involves renting a trailer, loading your vehicle onto it, attaching the trailer to another vehicle, and driving it to your new home. The benefit of this method is that you can cut your gas usage down considerably. For example, if you have two cars, you can drive one, while you tow the other behind. The drawback to this method is that you still have to drive to your new home. Also, you must have a vehicle that can handle towing a heavy load.

Driveaway Service: For this transportation method, you hire a company that provides a driver to pilot your vehicle from your old home to your new home. Obviously, this saves you the hassle of driving yourself, but your vehicle is still vulnerable to the elements as well as potential driver error.

Train Transport: You can send your vehicle by train. This is a good option because you can travel on the train along with your vehicle. This is a relatively green way to ship your vehicle and is often cheaper than other transportation methods. One drawback to this method is that you'll have to pick your vehicle up at a train station rather than having the car arrive at your home directly.

Auto-Transport Company: Finally, you can arrange to have a moving company load your vehicle onto a trailer, drive it to your new home, and unload it for you. This is often the best option, because auto transport companies work with your schedule and provide door-to-door service. These companies also have a good deal of experience with shipping vehicles safely and securely.

With an auto-shipping company you have two trailer options: open-air trailer and enclosed trailer.

Open-Air Trailer

These are the big trucks that you've probably seen, loaded with cars, driving down the highway. They are usually between 75 and 80 feet long with two levels for holding cars. The pros of open-air trailers are as follows:
  • Less expensive than enclosed trailers
  • Lighter and more fuel efficient, therefore doing less damage to the environment
  • Offer better visibility for periodic inspection of vehicle during transit

The cons of open-air trailers include:

  • Your vehicle is exposed to weather conditions
  • There is limited protection of your vehicle from road debris
  • Less overall security than enclosed trailers

Enclosed Trailer

Enclosed trailers have four walls and a roof, within which your car sits while in transit. Due to increased security and protection, enclosed trailers are the best option for your treasured antique, luxury, or sport vehicle. The pros of enclosed trailers include:

  • Protection for your vehicle from weather conditions and road debris
  • More durable than open-air trailers
  • Offer better overall security than open-air trailers

The cons of enclosed trailers include:

  • Significantly more expensive than open-air trailers
  • Less visibility for periodic inspections of vehicle during transit
  • Less fuel efficient than open-air trailers

To figure out which method of auto transportation is best for your situation, consider the pricing of the service and the security of your vehicle. If you decide to use an auto-transport company, make sure you research your potential moving companies properly before you make a final decision. Doing so will help ensure that your vehicle arrives safely at your new home.

Sean McClain  Posted by Sean McClain on August 27, 2009

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