VIP Sponsors


Transporting Your Hot Rod: 101

Transporting Your Hot Rod: 101

Words By Justin Fivella

Photos Courtesy Of Reliable Carriers and Enclosed Vehicle Transport

Not long ago, locating hard-to-find vehicles outside your hometown was nearly impossible. Your only resources were auto sales publications or good old word-of-mouth. But now, thanks to the marvels of technology we can buy a vehicle with the click of a button. But therein lies a newfound problem: How do you get that newly acquired prized possession home when it’s located some 2,000 miles away?

Well, you can fly to your destination and drive your new ride back. Or you could trailer your new vehicle back on a rented truck and trailer, or make a round-trip with your truck/trailer from your house, but all three methods can be arduous at best. Instead, why not sit back, relax and let the professionals handle it for less than you might think.

“We have over 300 trucks in our fleet, each with a six-car enclosed trailer that’s tracked by GPS and insured for up to $5,000,000,” says Bob Sellars of Reliable Carriers Inc.

In fact, you’ve probably seen them headed up and down the highways and never realized what was inside.

“We transport vehicles of all shapes, sizes and types and for all different kinds of purposes,” Kevin Dudley of Enclosed Vehicle Transport explains. “We haul cars for selling/buying purposes, when someone is moving, to specific locations likes shows or events, or even for ride and drive events where a group will get together and want to race at different tracks without the hassle of hauling their cars to the various locations,” he adds.

While you may not have considered the possibility of using a professional transport service to haul your prized hot rod, these days it’s a viable option.

Here are some basics considerations for shipping your hot rod with a professional hauling service.

Reasons to use an auto transport service: Despite popular belief that transport services are only for the buying and selling of vehicles, many people use the services for many different reasons. Transport companies can haul your vehicles when you move locations, can haul your car to a faraway show/event for a weekend and even conduct ride and drives where they’ll haul your vehicle around to several different back-to-back events.

Approximate Cost: Although several factors come into play (see below), on average it costs roughly $2,000 to ship a vehicle across the states.

Miles, route and size: It’s not the value of the vehicle being shipped that dictates the cost of shipping but rather the number of miles it must be transported, the size of the vehicle and the route. Bigger vehicles take up more room and thus allow less space available for other vehicles, so it’ll cost you more. The route also dictates the cost since highly traveled routes will increase the chances of the carrier finding another vehicle to haul, thus lowering the cost of the transport. However, if a driver has to take a car to an area or state where no other vehicle can be grabbed it’s deemed a single-purpose run and will usually cost more.

Timeframe: Figure an average travel time across the states of 7-10 days, but that can change depending on the location, weather and other variables.

Driver waiting: In some cases people want their cars transported to and from shows and want the driver waiting for them on Sunday after the event. If you’re insistent that the driver be there when the show is over and the driver can’t accommodate the other scheduled deliveries around your pickup, he’s going to have to wait the weekend out. A per-day waiting free will usually be charged to cover the driver’s down time.

Carrier vs. broker: It’s important to ask if the shipping company you’re considering is a carrier or a broker. A carrier will handle your vehicle from start to finish, where a broker will sell your transport to a carrier and at that point it’s out of their hands. Both Reliable Carriers and Enclosed Vehicle Transport warn of using brokers since your vehicle can be passed off to inadequate hands and can even be passed between multiple transport services along the way. The more times a vehicle is loaded or changes hands increases the chance of damage and the more it extends the transport time.

Door to door vs. terminals: Another trap that some transport services suck people into is shipping via terminals. Door-to-door shipping is just that, your vehicle will travel from one place to another non-stop. On the other hand, if the company uses terminals where the vehicle will be offloaded and passed to another truck, be careful of the types of terminals used. In some cases they’re not secure facilities but rather open parking lots–no good. Reliable Carriers mentioned that all of its terminals are indoor, temperature controlled and guarded units.

Open vs. closed transport: While some might care if the vehicle is transported in an open-air trailer, others prefer their vehicles be insulated from the elements. It’s important to inquire about the trailer type being used.

Cargo insurance vs. liability insurance: Always use a transport company that has cargo insurance since your vehicle will be considered cargo. If the transporter only has liability insurance, in the event of an accident your vehicle may not be fully covered.

Insurance limits and deductibles: Know how much insurance the transport service carries and the deductibles amounts. Also ask if you’re partially responsible for the deductible and if so, how much?

Appraised value: Always have your vehicle appraised by a reputable establishment because in the event of a problem you’ll need proof. Unfortunately even if you paid $50,000 for a car, if it only appraises for $25,000 that’s the amount it’s insured for.

Have flexibility with drop-off times: Oftentimes the driver won’t know the exact drop-off time until at least 24 hours in advance. However, there will be a 2-3 day window set in advance that gives you an idea, but ultimately until they get close they won’t have an exact idea. Be flexible since only leaving one hour on one day open for delivery decreases the chances of getting your vehicle in a timely manner.

Be realistic about the drop-off location: In some cases a six-car carrier can be 100-feet long so be cognizant of the drop-off location. Two-lane, twisty roads are frowned upon for their lack of space while freeway shoulders and busy parking lots are equally difficult. Not for their lack of size, but for their safety or the fact that the contents of the trailers usually draw large crowds, thus slowing the process.

Be upfront: Always be truthful with the transporter about the vehicle, the extras and anything out of the ordinary. Oftentimes the drivers can accommodate extras or special circumstances if notified in advance. But surprising a driver with eight extra wheels upon pick-up isn’t advised.

Hauling extras: It’s all about the size and in some cases if your vehicle is small, like a Porsche, you won’t be up-charged for the shipment of your car and something extra like a set of wheels. However if you’re sending an SUV, a hood, wheels and a roll bar at that point the load is big enough it might prevent a full load of cars from being hauled in the trailer. An empty trailer is an expensive endeavor for a hauler and you’ll be offsetting some of the difference.

Inventory inside the car: An economical way to ship extras without paying more is to put them inside the vehicle. But before thinking you can load the interior to the brim, remember that the driver must be able to load and unload the car without having to crawl over your stuff. Also be sure to inventory all of the extras in the event something pops up missing.

Running vs. non-running: Don’t worry if your vehicle isn’t running, simply notify the transporter in advance so they can make sure their rig has a winch. Be prepared to pay a winching fee of around $100.

GPS tracking: Some companies offer GPS tracking as an option and for others it’s standard equipment, but it’s a good way to keep an eye on your vehicle as it travels across the states.

No-nos: In addition to the ones highlighted above, most transport services are unable to haul barrels of fuel, oil and especially race fuel. All of the above require special permitting and are better left for other modes of transport. When in doubt, give your transport service a call and truthfully ask them, having all of the cards on the table is always better than a last-minute surprise.

Reliable Carriers has over 300 trucks in their fleet each with a six-car enclosed trailer that’s GPS linked for tracking and insured for $5,000,000.

Enclosed Vehicle Transport prides itself on customer service since they’re a smaller company that can really attend to its customer’s needs.They also offer non-stacking transport service in case you prefer that your car is not under another.


Enclosed Vehicle Transport
45 Station Road
Glen Mills, PA 19342

Reliable Carriers
41555 Koppernick Rd.
Canton, MI 48187