Shipping a car is not like shipping packages through services like FedEx or USPS. Most likely your car will share a truck with 8 or 9 other vehicles which are also picked up and delivered along the way. This is true whether the truck is going up and down the coastline or across the country. Car carriers are also regulated by their own specific set of rules under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the Department of Transportation.
The time it takes that truck to deliver your car will depend on how many other pickups and deliveries it has to make, the driver’s service hours, as mandated by the FMCSA, and unforeseen factors like mechanical breakdown, traffic, and weather.
These are problems all transportation companies face. Because of this, pick-up and delivery dates are always estimates. If someone gives you a guarantee, they are either inexperienced or lying; neither is excusable when it relates to your vehicle or your time.
Likewise, brokers promising drastically shorter delivery times are giving best case scenarios. Responsible dispatchers know that they need to get the full scope of what the driver is dealing with in order to set expectations for their customers. Here are some of the questions we ask our owner-operators when we need their help with overflow:
How many cars fit on the truck you are hiring?
If your rep. does not know the answer to this basic question, move on to the next company immediately. A full load on one of our trucks consists of nine cars.
How many stops does the driver have?
Your car will probably arrive faster if the driver is making fewer stops along the way. Unfortunately, during peak seasons (beginning of Winter/Summer), most drivers will have to make several. A reliable transporter will tell you this upfront, or once the truck’s load is finalized.
When does the driver have to take his restart?
Under DoT regulations, drivers must take a rest-break of at least 34 consecutive hours after working for a period of time over the course of each 7 or 8 days, known as a restart. Ask if your driver will need one, and if it will be before or after delivery of your car.
For faster delivery times, look for an owner-operator or a carrier who uses terminals. At these locations, drivers offload several cars at once, and customers can pick them up at their leisure. This will most likely cost a little more, but the driver will be happy to have limited stops and plenty of time to deliver your car while managing their service hours. You’ll be happy too; less stops mean faster deliveries!
Remember: don’t be afraid to ask questions. A reputable carrier or broker knows they’re being charged with handling one of your most valuable pieces of property; they’ll be happy to answer any question you have in order to put your mind at ease. If they can’t show you that respect, you can’t trust them to respect your vehicle.
We hate delays, but we’ll always be upfront to manage your expectations and keep you in the loop if something changes. We’ve been shipping cars for over 20 years, and we understand the value of your vehicle, your time, and your peace of mind. Call us at (631) 269-7300 with any questions, or request a quote online!