How to Ship A Car That Doesn’t Run

Plenty of times, you may find yourself in need to ship a vehicle that does not run. In the transport industry, these vehicles are known as inoperable or “In-Op” vehicles. It could be a barn find, a sweet deal for a vehicle at a car auction, or a classic car in need of restoration. The fact that the location of the vehicle is far away, does not make it impossible or even difficult to get it back home to you or the repair shop of your choice. In fact, there are services specifically made to help you with this task in mind.

When you are trying to relocate a non-running vehicle, you won’t only need to work with a licensed auto shipper, but one that specializes in moving a car that doesn’t run.  A specialized car carrier will come to your door or location of your choice with the equipment needed to move your vehicle on and off the trailer. This is known as auto shipping and is not to be confused with situations where you would hire a towing company. For one, a towing company normally handles short distance travel. Such as engine trouble, running out of gas, and overheating.

Not All Non-Running Vehicles Are Equal

There are generally two types of non-running vehicles: those that roll and steer, and those that don’t. This is an important distinction to be aware of as you can be caught by surprise when the truck shows up to get your car loaded up on the trailer.

Even if a car that is nothing more than a shell can be transported, preparations must be made for more complicated situations.

Vehicles that Roll and Steer

If the vehicle rolls and steers, this is the easiest type of non-running (inoperable) auto transport. The trailer simply meets up with the front of the vehicle, a winch guides it up the ramps, and then it is secured. As long as the wheels move, the vehicle can be pulled up, even when the tires are flat. Although if they can hold air even briefly, it’s recommended that you fill them. This makes the trucker’s job a lot easier.

Make sure the truck has space to get to your vehicle. Many times, the car is sitting face forward in a garage. Take the time to pull the car out with the front-facing the street or put the vehicle on the street so the carrier can get in front of it.  If the truck is on a very small and narrow road or a cul-de-sac, be prepared to push it out to where it’s reachable. You may, at that point, actually need a conventional tow truck to move it for the auto transporter.

Vehicles that DO NOT Roll and Steer

This is where you can get into a little trouble, especially if you aren’t aware of how to prepare. Typically, trucks that move cars that do not run cannot drag or pull them if they do not have wheels or are unable to roll. This is because there is no equipment on board that can pick up or elevates it to the carrier. In these cases, you will need a forklift on-site–at both the pickup and the delivery points.

The truck that is coming must also know that the vehicle is in this condition. This way, they can pre-arrange the vehicles. This is because once the truck has it on board, they cannot move it until it’s time to drop it off.

Do Research

It seems pretty obvious that you can’t trust just anyone to do the job, but it’s actually quite common to end up hiring the first company that shows up online. Remember to vet who you work with since even if it’s a car that does not run, you really do need to make sure they know how to move it safely.

Check on trusted websites like the BBB and Angie’s List. There are plenty of people in your same situation that have shared their experience. If you see a lot of good feedback, chances are you will have a similar result.

Check to see if the company is licensed and bonded. A reputable auto transport company will have their Motor Carrier Number (MC Number), which is their license to ship cars, prominently listed on their website. You can check their license and bond by going to the FMCSA website. There, you can see if they are authorized to ship cars.