how to ship a car in winter

How To Effectively Ship A Car In Winter

by Tom

If you’re familiar with the car shipping industry, you’ll find that spring and summer are the peak car shipping seasons.

And for good reason!

The fairer weather and the fact that the school year ends in early summer make spring and summer the ideal time to move or relocate. People also tend to go on vacation during the warmer months. 

But let’s fast forward to winter….

Demand slows down, mostly due to less favorable weather (thanks to the snow gods!). But there are a number of reasons why you still may want to ship a car in winter.

It could be that you found a good deal on a car at a dealership far away from you. Some opportunities don’t come around a second time, after all!

You could also decide to make a move in winter due to reasons best known to you. 

Some people favor car shipping in winter due to a single reason… lower costs.

As demand drops in winter, shipping companies compete for a more limited number of customers. Many offer eye-catching discounts to their customers. You could potentially save hundreds of dollars when you ship a car in winter!

However, shipping a car in winter presents unique challenges.

The unfavorable and sometimes unpredictable weather means delays are more common and your car is at a higher risk of damage depending on the carrier and shipping method you are using. 

Below, you’ll find how to effectively ship a car in winter. But for more information on winter car shipping, see:

Here’s how you ship a car in the colder months:

Preparation Is Key - Get Your Car Ready For Transport

  1. Thoroughly clean both the inside and outside of your car to reveal any scratches, dings, or dents. It’s important you know the current condition of your car to know if any damage occurs during transport. 
  2. Take photographs from different angles for documentation and evidence. Make an extra copy and submit one to the shipping company when they come for your car.
  3. Remove any unsecured items in the interior of your vehicle and limit personal items. Shipping companies have policies on the type and weight of personal items you can put in your car before shipping. So, check with your carrier about what and how much you can put in your car.
  4. Check your antifreeze and ensure it has not deteriorated. Antifreeze is a special type of liquid that prevents the fluids in your car, especially the water in the cooling system, from freezing when temperature plummets.
  5. Ensure the tires are properly inflated, windows are tightly sealed, and lubricate door locks and all hinges with a strip spray to make them easier to open when temperatures get to freezing point. 

Your Carrier Matters - Sign Up With A Reputable Auto Company

Due to the unique challenges that come with shipping a car in winter, the carrier you choose must be experienced and equipped to get your car from point A to point B – without any damage!

Research shipping companies in your area or ask friends and family for recommendations. Check reviews online, especially on independent websites, and see what their past customers have to say about them. 

With a reputable and experienced carrier, you can rest easy knowing your car is in good hands.

Make A Decision - Open Or Enclosed Shipping

The two popular shipping methods available for car shipping are open and enclosed shipping.  In open shipping, your car is loaded with other cars on a flatbed trailer while enclosed shipping loads up your in a four-wall container. 

Open shipping is generally less expensive than enclosed shipping and you can save a significant amount of money by using this method in winter. However, your car is exposed to the elements – snow, rain, storms, road debris – and this poses some risk to your car.

Enclosed shipping provides superior protection and is the recommended shipping option in winter and even more so if you are shipping an expensive, rare, or exotic car. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if enclosed shipping is worth it.

Prepare For Delay - The Weather Can Really Be Unpredictable

Experienced auto shipping companies know how to transport cars in any season. Even when temperatures drop below zero and the weather becomes bitterly cold, you can expect your automobile to arrive in top condition. However, extreme weather conditions like snowstorms or icy roads might cause delays. Drivers may need to pull over and wait for conditions to improve.

Reputable carriers will keep you updated and inform you if there’s going to be a delay. So, while you can still expect your car to arrive in time during winter, have it in mind that delays may happen due to extreme weather conditions.

Decide On Your Delivery Option

Your vehicle can either be delivered to your doorstep or to the shipping company’s warehouse. Door-to-door delivery is more expensive although more convenient. It may also take a bit longer for your vehicle to reach your doorstep and your property needs to be tractor-trailer accessible.

Warehouse delivery tends to be faster as you can go pick up your vehicle as soon as possible after being notified of its arrival at the warehouse.

It’s important your vehicle is in good condition – refer to the part about preparing your vehicle for shipping above – to ensure there’s no issue when driving it home.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully I’ve offered a decent insight into how to ship a car in winter. 

If you have any queries – drop me a message in the comments below. 

Alternatively, head over to our Off-Season Activities section. After all, we all need to keep ourselves occupied until the winter rolls around again!

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Subscribe for discounts AND A Chance to win $50!

Sign up to our newsletter for entry into the annual $50 gift card draw.

Subscribe for discounts AND A Chance to win $50!

Sign up to our newsletter for entry into our annual $50 gift card draw.