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We have Been in the Auto Transport Business Since 1999 and are accredited with an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau!

Many people want to put items in their vehicle when it is being transported. And while it seems simple enough, the truth is that you can only put so many things in your vehicle while it's being shipped. Carriers have strict weight restrictions they have to follow, and too many vehicles with too much weight can push a carrier overweight.

Any items put in a vehicle have to be in the trunk and you cannot have over 100 pounds of items total in the vehicle. If carriers are found to be overweight, delays will happen, so it's important to understand weight restrictions carriers operate under and what you can do to minimize potential problems in that area.

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Tips for Putting Items in Your Car During Transport

Loaded Car 1
Too much stuff in the trunk!

Let’s preface this blog with a simple statement: auto transportation carriers are not licensed to carry household items. Just like how your plumber isn’t licensed to install your cable, auto transporters aren’t licensed to ship any household items, which can make the entire thing problematic if you need to ship a few boxes full of stuff in the back of your car.

There are certain loopholes that one can exploit to get around this, but you have to be careful because additional items in a vehicle being shipped add weight, and too much weight pushes the truck overweight. In the auto transport industry, this is what we call “a problem.”

If the truck is overweight when they weigh in at a weigh station, the entire truck has to be searched for the extra weight and any additional items could be left stranded on the side of the weigh station, for anyone to come to get (or leave to rot). Some carriers will avoid highways with weigh stations to avoid that, but that can increase transit time and cost.

Here are some great tips for avoiding this and keeping your auto transport process smooth if you need to put items in the vehicle.

Items can ONLY be placed in the trunk

You can’t pack anything in the cab of the vehicle, since the cab of the vehicle has windows that you can see through and this includes inspectors at weigh stations. Since you’re not allowed to have anything in the vehicle anyway, putting stuff in the cab is kind of a dumb move, so most auto transporters will tell you to put items in the trunk of the vehicle instead.

This is exploiting the “junk in the trunk” loophole that few auto shippers really care about unless you’re shipping a set of free weights ranging from five to fifty pounds. A few items in the trunk of the vehicle shouldn’t cause anyone concern and you should be just fine shipping it.

We will say that many carriers will take vehicles that have items in the cab. However, as mentioned above, they have to avoid weigh stations in order to do that. Not only that, but they have to try to avoid any stops by transportation officials or law enforcement officers. This puts the driver at risk, so we highly recommend against this practice.

Pay attention to what you’re putting in the trunk

Remember how we said overweight trucks are subject to inspection if they weigh over the maximum limit? Keep that in mind. You want to only ship things that are light and fluffy (so bowling balls, weight sets, TV’s and furniture need not apply). Keep the items you place in your vehicle light and easy to move – if it does need to be removed, you don’t want to sit there trying to pull it out for an hour. You should keep what you place in the trunk restricted to things such as linens, clothes, pillows, and other fluffy, airy things.

If it can break, don’t put it in your car

Items in the trunk of a vehicle being shipped might get around some loopholes, but it doesn’t mean your goods are going to be insured in any way. As far as the carrier’s concerned, that trunk is empty, even if it’s not, and therefore they have no obligation to insure items that aren’t your car because that’s not how insurance works.

Your vehicle is fully insured from the moment the driver takes the keys from you. From there, any damage done to the vehicle is covered at the cost of the carrier’s insurance. But any items in the vehicle won’t be, and if they break that’s on you to get them fixed or replaced. If it can break, don’t put it in your car.

It will likely cost you a bit more money

No carrier will take a vehicle with items in it without first assessing how much is in there and how much it might weigh. Carriers are pretty good at figuring out how much stuff will push their truck overweight, and, on the whole, an extra 50 pounds of stuff in a car isn’t going to make a whole lot of difference. In those situations, so long as you disclose to us ahead of time that there are items in the vehicle, most carriers will be okay with it.

However, once you start getting above the 100-pound limit is when things get tricky. As we said, there are carriers that will take vehicles with more than 100 pounds of items in them. But, also as we said, they’ll have to change their routes to avoid weigh stations.

This means that, if you have a vehicle packed full of stuff, the carrier is going to have to see what all is in it before they make a judgment call on whether they can take it. If they can, they’ll let you know how much more you’ll need to pay on top of the regular price. This is optional for you – if you don’t want to pay extra to have those items moved with your vehicle, just unload them and the carrier will not charge any extra.

You can also send us pictures of the items in the vehicle and we can adjust your price to include those accordingly.

Use American Auto Shipping for all your shipping needs

If you can follow these three simple tips for putting items in your car during transport, you should be just fine. If you’re shipping an SUV or a pickup truck, you’ll want to discuss your options for shipping items with the vehicle with one of our agents, since those don’t have trunks, per se.

If you fill out our free quote form or give us a call toll-free, our agents will be happy to help you. Fill out the instant online quote request form or call us at 800-930-7417 and get a free, custom quote now. If you feel that you have more goods than would fit in the trunk of your vehicle, you can visit this page and get free household moving quotes; from a no-bedroom studio to a ten-bedroom mansion and bigger, we can help you ship your household items any time. 

Dave Armstrong
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