How does auto transport work?

Our quick, simple and easy auto transport process in 3 clear steps:


There are several reasons why you might need reliable car transport services. You might have bought your dream car online and need to get it back home. You could be relocating thanks to a new job, or heading south for the winter. Whatever the reason, “How does car shipping work?”, is a question people sometimes ask when moving or relocating. We’ve created this car transport information page to share all the details, and so you know how easy, stress-free, and smooth the process is.

Step 1

Get a quote and book your order


If you want to know “how are cars shipped”, this is the first step in the process. Get in touch to receive your free instant quote. It takes just a couple of minutes if you use our online instant quote calculator. You can also call us at (864) 546-5038, or use Live Chat.  

You have to provide some simple details that includes the city and state where you want your vehicle to be picked up, the delivery city and state, the make, model, and year of the vehicle, whether or not the vehicle is running, preferred transport type, and the first date your car will be ready for pick-up (a.k.a. First Available Shipping Date).

When it comes to choosing the transport type you can choose between open car transport and enclosed auto transport. Open car transport is the most common and economical way to ship your vehicle. Your vehicle is transported using an open trailer and will be exposed to the elements. However, it is still a safe and secure method, used by more than 80% of our customers. Enclosed auto transport, on the other hand, costs about 35% more but your vehicle gets the maximum protection possible. Transported in a covered trailer means your car is protected from the weather, dirt, debris, salt, and moisture. Enclosed auto transport is the service of choice for owners of luxury, antique, custom, classic, and unique vehicles.  

The instant quote you receive includes all taxes, fees, and full insurance coverage. Our prices are transparent and you’re under no obligation to take the process any further. $0 upfront payment is required, and all our services are door-to-door transport.

If the price you get is not what you were expecting we’ll do our best to meet your expectations. If you’ve approached direct competitors of ours and received a better quote, contact us immediately because we’d appreciate the opportunity to match it. 

When you’ve got a price you’re happy with, the next step is to book your auto transport service. There are several ways to do it. The easiest is to click on the link in your emailed quote. This will take you to a page where you can complete your booking. Alternatively, call (864) 546-5028 and schedule your booking directly. You can also book by email or our Live Chat service.

There are two payment options for you to choose from. The first is a Discounted Cash Price. Choose this way and we’ll take a small partial payment from either your credit or debit card. The outstanding balance is payable on delivery of your car. You can make the final payment to the driver in cash, with a cashier's check, or money order. The second option is to pay the Regular Price. We take the whole amount when we confirm your booking. You can pay the full amount by cash, credit or debit card, or PayPal. We require this payment so that your place on the auto transport trailer is secured.   

Once you’ve confirmed your booking, it’s time for us to find the best possible auto transport carrier for your needs. With an extensive network of reliable, trustworthy, and fully vetted carriers to call on, it won’t take very long to find one that meets your needs. When we’ve found one, we’ll get in touch with you to confirm the details, fill you in on the rest of the vehicle delivery process, and confirm your pick-up date. You’ll also receive an email that will contain the carriers contact details. 

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Our quotes are valid for 7 calendar days but you can update your quote or get a new one at any time.

Yes, we're able to offer a guaranteed pick-up date.

First Available Shipping Date is the day your vehicle is ready to be picked up.

Yes, as long as you can provide the correct pick-up and delivery city/ZIP codes we can provide you with a quote.

Yes, vehicles are covered by the motor carrier's cargo insurance and they are subject to the limitations on the policy. Hawaii shipments are subject to the ocean freight liners' insurance limitation.

Step 2

We pick up your vehicle


Your assigned auto transport carrier will contact you a few hours before the scheduled pick-up time to let you know they are on their way. When they contact you, you must confirm that the pick-up location is accessible for large commercial vehicles. You must check beforehand, whether there are any restrictions, low-hanging branches or overhead power cables that might get in the way. 

Don’t stress if you think there might be a problem because an alternative pick-up location is easy to arrange. There might be a wider street nearby where you could meet them. A nearby parking lot might also work, as would a pick-up where you work.

When the carrier arrives you both scrutinize your vehicle for any existing damage. This might include scratches, dents, or dings. These have to be recorded on the Bill of Lading, which you then sign. You get a copy of this important document for safe-keeping. You’ll need it to compare with upon delivery of your vehicle. 

With the documentation duly completed and signed, you can say a fond farewell to your vehicle. The carrier loads it carefully onto the auto transport trailer and they’ll be on their way.

You can check the progress of your shipment at any time. Simply check in with the driver. Regular updates are also available by email, Live Chat, or phone.

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We recommend having your vehicle washed prior to car transport. This will ensure an accurate inspection at the time of the pick-up. We recommend removing your toll transponder as well.

Yes, you can change your First Available Shipping Date via phone, Live Chat or email before or after booking.

The Bill of Lading (BOL) is a required document that serves as receipt of freight services. It's also called the "Condition Report". This is where the pre-loading and delivery inspection for your vehicle will be completed. This document generally is filled out with the pick-up and delivery location details, the year/make/model of the vehicle, as well as the freight amount being paid for the services rendered.

A typical auto transport trailer has 2 levels (a.k.a. decks). Top load is when your vehicle is loaded on the second level for extra protection.

Step 3

You receive your vehicle


Time will pass quickly and before you know it, the carrier will contact you to let you know they’re just a few hours away from the delivery location. This is a courtesy call, but they’re also letting you know so you can make sure you’re available. You can make alternative arrangements if you know you’re going to be busy. For example, you can nominate a third-party to accept delivery of your vehicle on your behalf. The only requirement is that they have to be 18 years of age or older. You can choose a neighbor, friend, relative, or work colleague.

When your vehicle is unloaded, you get the opportunity to compare its condition with the Bill of Lading. Now is the time you make your final payment, if you chose the Discounted Cash Price. You can make the final payment in either cash, money order, or cashiers check.


The tracking is done via phone, email or Live Chat.

Our customers' car transport experiences with SGT Auto Transport

Read why our customers chose us as their reliable auto transport services partner

Scott B
5.0 out of 5
Great service from start to finish with on time delivery and no damage to the car. I would absolutely use them again.
Keaton N.
5.0 out of 5
Great experience shipping with SGT. Not only did they beat the estimated delivery date by two days, but they were great to work with.
Garm B.
5.0 out of 5
I use SGT every time. I received a car today, and it was an exceptional experience.
Alex C
5.0 out of 5
Great service. I had car ship to me from different state. They kept me inform every step of the way. They were easy to get a hold off.
Rafael R.
5.0 out of 5
They responded to all my emails and phone calls in a rapid manner! Very professional! My vehicle arrived on the scheduled day! Thank you!
George Tompson
5.0 out of 5
The guys did a great job! The trucker that was assigned for my shipping order was great! He communicated with me in advance.
Tom Miller
5.0 out of 5
They shipped my brand new vehicle from the dealership to my home door! They gave me a firm price and the carrier arrived on time.
Andrew Johson
5.0 out of 5
Great experience from start to finish without issues. I dealt with rep John who was very professional.
Svetlana N.
5.0 out of 5
I'm very happy with SGT. They kept me informed of what's going on with my car delivery and they were always professional.
Michael D
5.0 out of 5
Extremely responsive and delivered our car three days ahead of schedule so it was waiting for us when we arrived, which was amazing.
Joseph L.
5.0 out of 5
SGT Auto Transport took great care of my van. They kept in contact with me throughout the process.
William Miller
5.0 out of 5
I would highly recommend SGT Auto Transport if you need a vehicle shipped! They assigned very reliable car carrier.
Jeff M.
5.0 out of 5
Fairly priced, professional service, and perfect delivery. Definitely recommended.
5.0 out of 5
A pleasure to deal with. Great communication the entire time. Car arrived early, a bit dusty but in perfect condition.
5.0 out of 5
Great experience! Very professional team always providing clear and accurate information. No surprises. No worries.
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