Relocating Your Automobile

If you have purchased a new home and are relocating to a new city that is a good distance away you may need to make a decision about how you will move your car.  If you are relocating across country, you may not want to get behind the steering wheel for thousands of miles as well as put the mileage and wear on your vehicle.  Fortunately, there are some differrent options available for you and your vehicle.

Some people who have older cars find that it is easier to sell their cars or donate them to charity for a tax deduction before they move.  However, if you are like most people,you will want to keep your car rather than going to the expense and trouble of purchasing a new vehicle once you reach your new home. 

Many businesses specialize in transporting your vehicle for you.   There are three basic methods of getting your car to your new home if you are not going to drive it yourself:

  • Moving your car in the same van that will haul your household goods
  • Using a professional auto mover
  • Hiring someone to drive your car for you

Moving your car in the same van as your household goods is as easy as driving it up a ramp and into the van, where it is secured in a separate compartment from your furniture and other goods.  A reputable moving company that provides this service will give an accurate estimate and references long before you drive your car on board.  Cars are heavy, though, so this can be an expensive method.  However, it is the method most guaranteed to put you back behind the wheel as soon as the moving van unloads.

Professional auto movers specialize in transporting vehicles on an open or in a closed truck.  Some provide hub-to-hub service (you will have to go to a central location near your new home to pick up your vehicle) while others provide door-to-door service (they pick up your car at your old home and deliver it to your new address).   Professional auto movers are highly expert at getting cars and other vehicles safely from one place to another.   However, unless your car mover coordinates perfectly with your household goods mover, you may find that you reach your destination before your vehicle does.

If you decide to have someone drive your car for you, consider a company that matches drivers with vehicles needing transport.  In this case, the company should screen drivers carefully and assumes all insurance liability for the trip.  Drivers usually pay their own expenses after the first tank of gas, so the cost of transporting this way tends to be reasonable.  However, if you don’t like other people driving your car in general, this is definitely not the method for you.   Coordinating arrival time with your move-in date may also be a little more difficult. 

Before letting any company or person take your car, be sure  that your car will be inspected carefully.  Any pre-existing damage, marks, and wear should be noted.  The company you hire will provide insurance coverage for your car, so this pre-trip inspection is an important step.  It is a good idea to take pictures or shoot a video of your car before the move for your own records.

Here are a few tips for the move:

  • Disclose any mechanical problems your car is having, especially if you are going to work with a company that provides a driver to get behind the wheel for you.
  • Deactivate your car alarm if you are shipping your car in a van or on a truck.  This prevents the draining of your battery if the alarm is triggered while the car is being moved.
  • Make sure there is fuel in your car so you can drive it at your destination.  A quarter of a tank should be plenty.  If you are using a driver, you will probable be expected to deliver your vehicle with a full tank of gas.
  • Roof racks, bicycle racks and other non-permanent accessories should be removed if transporting in a van or on a truck. 
  • Remove valuables from the car.  If you have an automatic pass for commuting on toll roads, take it out of the car too so you do not receive any unintentional charges during the trip.

There are many choices available if you need to move your car that can help to take some of the stress out of relocating. Do your homework and compare costs and always get references and proof of insurance.