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 Pick-up 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 Pick-up 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 Pick-up 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.

Customer feedback for our auto transport services

Check out what makes us one of the best car shipping companies

Rachel M.
5.0 out of 5
Found this company through Uship. They had very good communication, were easy to get ahold of, and my car delivered very quickly. Recommend it!
Martha W.
5.0 out of 5
From pick-up to delivery the transport of my vehicle was seamless. Communication and updates from SGT and the driver were outstanding!
Paul H.
5.0 out of 5
Everything went exactly as planned, the cost was as agreed upfront, the pick up and delivery were on time.
Harman Biring
5.0 out of 5
Absolutely amazing service from start to finish. The whole process was extremely easy and efficient. Fastest delivery as well as the best price.
Daniel Weisman
5.0 out of 5
Fantastic. Amazing communication. On time. Early delivery.
Gaetan E
5.0 out of 5
Very good service! Will totally use them again. They shipped my car from LA to Vegas in 1 day.
Jody Rohlederjk
5.0 out of 5
This was my first experience shipping a car and I have to say SGT was excellent. Once the driver was dispatched, great experience there as well.
Brat Delivery
5.0 out of 5
Excellent drivers. Helpful and friendly. Good customer service. Helpful support staff in getting shipment listed. Would definitely use again.
Josh B.
5.0 out of 5
Everything was pretty straightforward and easy. They were extremely thorough in documenting the condition of my car before and after.
Doug Shephard
5.0 out of 5
SGT transport did a great job. They arrived and delivered exactly when they said. It was effortless communication. Highly recommend.
Ian H.
5.0 out of 5
A+ customer service and even better shipping!
Ron Conner
5.0 out of 5
I had a very positive experience with dispatchers John and Ivy. I asked them to beat the best rate I could find on my own, and they did.
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