How Auto Transport Trucks Work
Auto transport trucks can typically haul anywhere from 8-10 cars on a single trailer, with some having extended trailers that can haul up to 12. 12-car haulers are rare, as government weight restrictions are pretty stringent and auto shippers can’t go over the maximum weight with their rig and load combined, which limits how many vehicles they can ship at a time.
Auto transport trucks use hydraulically-powered lifts and ramps in order to configure the vehicles for loading and unloading, and it’s been likened to a 3D puzzle in that it can get really complicated really fast for auto transport drivers.
Drivers have the responsibility of loading and unloading the vehicles they haul, so in order to maximize their time and be as efficient as they can they tend to group like-sized vehicles together. On most auto transport trucks, larger vehicles are loaded onto the top rack to account for their larger frame, while smaller vehicles are often loaded onto the bottom tier, again due to size. An experienced driver can load ten sedans of similar size in about 90 minutes; a load that has different vehicles of different sizes can take up to four hours at a time.
Once a vehicle is loaded onto the truck and positioned where the driver wants it, they have to secure it, and there are very specific ways they have to do it. For starters, car manufacturers have to build specific mounts for car transport chains onto the chassis of the vehicles they make specifically for auto transportation services, so there’s that (it’s like when they make those mounts for car seats for kids – same basic principle).
Auto transporters have specific chains that fit into these mounts, and they secure them at four points – usually right by the tires. These straps are incredibly strong and secure, and auto transporters have been known to actually flip their entire rigs (albeit it’s rare) without having a single car fly off. Of course, damage to the top rack of cars was pretty severe, but still, none of them went flying, so that should give you an idea as to how strong those chains really are.
Auto transportation is an expensive industry for a reason, and it takes time for a reason too. However, if you’re ever driving down the road, at least you can rest assured that if you see a trailer with a full load those vehicles won’t be going anywhere.
In addition to getting their basic CDL, auto transport drivers have to have extensive training in how to actually operate their trucks, including the hydraulics, vehicle chains, and much more. It’s an important industry, albeit not a very popular one, and auto transport drivers take their job very seriously.
If you’re interested in getting multiple free quotes to ship your vehicle, you can fill out our free online auto transport quote request form and get a free quote to ship your vehicle right away. You can also call our toll-free number at 800-930-7417 to speak to one of our live agents about your shipment.