Your Guide to San Francisco Car Shipping

Thinking about moving in or out of San Francisco any time soon?  Or maybe you live here and plan to sell your vehicle to someone out of state?  No matter the reason for wanting to ship a car, it’s a good idea to understand the process.  Most of the time it’s pretty simple, but once you’re familiar with it, you’ll also be able to tackle any hiccups that might happen along the way.

Stick around to learn how San Francisco auto shipping works, how you can prepare a vehicle for it, and what you might need to do to help the process go by quickly.  For now, though, let’s dive into the basics of transporting a vehicle and how you can get started.

Your Guide to San Francisco Car Shipping

  • The Basics of Auto Shipping
  • Planning Ahead
  • Decide on the Specifics
  • Start to Prepare

The Basics of Auto Shipping

Let’s start today by defining this process.  As you’ve probably already guessed, car shipping is the process of transporting a vehicle from one spot to another.  Typically, it’s used for long distances, but there are options if you aren’t going very far as well.  

Here in San Francisco, we have a lot of companies around that will handle the transport for us.  That’s the other bit of the definition – it’s when we have this done by a professional shipping company.  The car will end up in a shipping container of sorts and be moved that way.

One of the biggest perks of this type of transit is that it’s a relatively safe way of getting a car to its destination.  This is even more true if you opt for a closed shipping container, but keep in mind that will cost a bit more than an open one.  We’ll discuss that further as we shift our attention to the specifics of car shipping.

Planning Ahead

As you start this process, remember that each step requires planning along the way.  For instance, if you’re selling the vehicle, you’ll definitely want to ensure that the inside of the car is spic-and-span by the time you’re ready to ship it off.  Some pointers on how to achieve that can be found here:  

Obviously, though, that’s not the only thing you’ll need to take into account.  If you’re transporting the car because you’re moving, that’s an entire other can of worms.  Since you’ll likely already have an idea of where you’re headed, that won’t be the biggest factor, but transit times might make a big difference.

Either way, it’s not hard to see why planning ahead can be such a help when it comes to these services.  Although we can’t necessarily predict everything, being ready to face some of the challenges can also be helpful.

Decide on the Specifics

Once you’ve got a plan in place, you’ll probably want to pick a car shipping company to work with.  These days, there are tools available that allow us to directly compare rates, so it might be worth checking something like that out.  As you make that decision, you can also pick whether you want to go for a closed container or an open one.

Closed containers are a tad more expensive but will keep a vehicle better protected.  Open ones are more affordable, but you might notice that the car gets dirtier in transit.  Depending on why you’re shipping in the first place, one might make much more sense for you than the other.  You can also consult with the shipping company to determine risks as well as what will be worthwhile for your particular circumstances.

Start to Prepare

Next, it’s time to get both yourself and the car ready for transport.  As far as that goes, some of the prep will be the same as if you were taking a road trip, especially if you’re moving.  So, pages like this one might be helpful to give you some context here if you’re feeling a bit lost.

Otherwise, make sure that you’ve got your relevant paperwork such as the insurance details for the vehicle, your driver’s license or other photo identification, and any required details on who is receiving the car if you sold it.  This is to help reduce the risk of error and to lower the shipping company’s liability, so it’s generally required.

Finally, you’ll want to prepare the car itself.  This might mean stopping by your local carwash to freshen it up, or deep cleaning it if you haven’t done that in a while.  Ideally, you’ll step away from the wash with a fresh and clean car that’s ready for transit.  This can even reduce the cost of shipping since it’s usually based on weight.

As you can see, there’s really nothing too taxing or difficult here when it comes to transporting a vehicle in or out of San Francisco.   When you know what to expect, the process really becomes a breeze.