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The short answer is "usually, no." As most auto transport carriers physically drive vehicles onto and off of their trailers, having no wheels on a car makes it difficult to drive. That said, it's not impossible to find someone who can ship a car with no wheels - it's just harder.

It will likely require a flatbed truck, and it would help tremendously if you have a forklift to load and unload the vehicle. Carriers don't drive with forklifts on their truck, and they'll be unable to load a vehicle that has no wheels without one.

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Auto Transport Tips: Shipping a Vehicle with No Wheels

Auto Transport Tips: Shipping a Vehicle with No Wheels

Shipping a vehicle without wheels is a daunting task, one that many car transporters probably won’t do. As most auto transporters drive the vehicles they are shipping onto the truck and then secure it into place, shipping a vehicle without any way to roll makes it rather difficult to get it on the truck.

A vehicle without wheels or tires or rims means that the vehicle is either sitting on its rotors or it’s blocked or jacked up to get it off the ground – either way, it’s not moving, either under its own power or by a tow cable or a winch. That means that any auto shipping company moving a vehicle without wheels will have to get creative if they’re going to ship it, and more often than not it’s just not worth their time.

How shipping a vehicle with wheels works

Most auto shipping carriers physically drive vehicles onto and off of their trucks. That’s the standard method of loading and unloading vehicles and is typically the safest and easiest method for loading and unloading vehicles. Drivers are, on the whole, well-versed in how to load and unload vehicles. Even on ten-car carriers, which tend to be more complex, drivers have no issues just driving vehicles on and off.

This is, by far, the cheapest and most cost-effective method of transporting a vehicle. And that’s not just for you, the customer, but also the carrier. It’s a lot easier and more cost-effective for them to drive vehicles on and off their trucks. They don’t require special equipment, they don’t have to rely on a third party to load or unload, and they have much more control over the loading and unloading process.

However, we do understand that not all vehicles run and drive. People also need in-op auto transport services, too. Those vehicles – the ones that roll, brake, and steer, but don’t start – winches are often required. Some carriers can just push the vehicle onto the truck, but that’s rare; most of the time, inop vehicles require a winch to load and unload.

But what about a vehicle that doesn’t roll?

How shipping a vehicle with no wheels works

When you ship a vehicle with no wheels, you can safely say it doesn’t roll. It may brake, it may steer, but those don’t matter because the vehicle just can’t move at all. So, naturally, driving the vehicle onto or off of the truck – or winching it – just isn’t feasible.

So what do carriers do in this situation? Well, most of them simply will not ship a car without wheels on it. They don’t have the ability to load or unload the vehicle safely. They can’t roll it, and none of their equipment will help them even if they have a winch.

As such, a forklift is necessary to load and unload a vehicle with no wheels. Not all shipping companies offer services for vehicles that cannot roll for this reason – many just don’t want to deal with the headache or the hassle that comes with trying to move a vehicle that doesn’t roll. It’s just too difficult to find a carrier that can move it unless you have access to a forklift at both pickup and delivery.

What carriers can ship a vehicle with no wheels?

I’ve been in the auto shipping industry for about 15 years at the time of this writing. In all that time, I’ve never seen an open or enclosed truck that can ship a vehicle with no wheels. Or, at least, any that will do it before a regular vehicle.

There are some open haulers that can do it if they’re desperate, but most will just pass it by. There are almost no enclosed haulers that can transport a vehicle with no wheels just because of how confined the trailer is. They can’t get a forklift to load or unload safely most of the time, so most don’t even try.

In truth, the safest way to ship a vehicle with no wheels will be via a flatbed hauler. Think a flatbed tow truck, but one that travels across state lines instead of just within a certain locality. Flatbeds haul vehicles that most other, standard carriers can’t. This includes heavier-than-standard vehicles, larger-than-standard vehicles, and non-standard vehicles such as heavy equipment.

Flatbed transport trucks are often the best to ship a vehicle with no wheels. But, again, it will almost always require a forklift at both pickup and delivery to get it moved.

What if I don’t have a forklift?

Therein lies the issue. No carrier is going to try to load a vehicle that has no wheels. Even if it has rims, any attempt at loading with a winch is going to cause damage to the vehicle. Carriers work hard to ensure that they don’t damage vehicles that they ship, so naturally, they’re not going to try to drive or winch a vehicle sitting on its rims.

So, what do you do if you don’t have access to a forklift? You’re going to have to figure out how to get it rolling. There’s not much else you can do. Think about it: how would they get the vehicle onto the truck? Even a tow company is going to have a hard time moving a vehicle that doesn’t have any wheels. Some have trucks that can lift vehicles onto their back and get them back to the tow yard, but not all tow companies have that.

If you don’t have access to a forklift, this may be an option. We’d recommend calling different tow companies near you and seeing if they can move a vehicle that cannot roll. If they can, they may have the ability to load a vehicle onto a carrier.

That said, you’d have to find a tow company at the delivery location that can do the same thing, which increases the complexity of the move. But, if you have all of that, most auto shipping companies will be able to help you – including us!

Let American Auto Shipping Help

While we don’t normally advertise as such, we can help you get a vehicle with no wheels moved. However, it’s going to require a bit more work on your end.

As mentioned above, someone at both pickup and delivery will have to be able to load and unload a vehicle. We will do what we can to find a carrier that is willing to take it, but they need to know for sure that it can load and unload.

If you’re shipping from an auction, such as Manheim or Copart, they often will be able to assist with the loading. That helps at the pickup point. For delivery, you need to find someone that will be able to unload it. If not with a forklift, a crane of some kind can work as well. It just depends on the size of the vehicle and the equipment available to them. But, so long as they can load or unload a vehicle with no wheels, we should be able to help you get it moved.

We highly recommend speaking to a representative about it to learn more. You can also fill out our online quote request form to get an accurate quote to ship any kind of vehicle, regardless of condition, right here on our website. But no matter how you get your quote, make sure to speak to a representative about the condition of your vehicle so we can find you the right shipper for your needs.

Dave Armstrong
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