Last Minute Car Shipping: 20 Things You Need to Know

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6 min to read

Sometimes, life doesn’t go as planned. You may find yourself in need of last minute car shipping because you’ve received PCS orders, you’re coping with a family crisis, or you’ve just gotten a job offer in another state that’s too good to refuse. At that point, you’ll likely be wondering how you can make sure that your auto transport experience is successful even though you’re operating on a shortened timeline.   

Your first step will be connecting with a premium auto transport company, like Montway. Like most auto transport companies, Montway offers expedited car shipping. What sets us apart from the competition, however, is that our network of automobile haulers is five thousand carriers strong, and we make sure that we only work with licensed truckers who have the knowledge and the experience to handle last minute car shipping requests.   

Last minute car shipping with Montway

Montway is one of the few auto transport companies that can offer its expedited shipping customers guaranteed priority pick-up dates, door to door service, and the option to ship a limited amount of personal items in a vehicle at no extra charge.  

Here’s what you need to know about how expedited car shipping works and what you can do to make sure your vehicle gets to its destination as quickly as possible.   

What expedited car shipping actually is

Expedited car shipping is all about how fast a vehicle is picked up and when it is placed in the delivery lineup. The miles between pick-up and dropoff points don’t change, but the vehicles of our expedited shipping customers are prioritized. You’ll receive a guaranteed pick-up date that’s much earlier than you’d get if you booked standard service.  

Speedy shipping also depends on shipment type

Your car will typically get where it needs to go faster when it’s transported in an open carrier and moving along routes that are primarily made up of major interstate highways. This means that the car shipping options you choose when you book (e.g., open versus enclosed carrier and the pickup and drop off locations) can make a difference when it comes to when your vehicle arrives.  

You can send a few belongings along for the ride

When you book last minute car shipping with us, you can ship one suitcase or box filled with personal belongings in the trunk of your car at no additional charge as long as the total weight of those belongings is less than 100 lbs. We recommend that you don’t pack anything particularly valuable in your vehicle, just in case.  

The booking process will be the same

Booking auto transport at the last minute is as simple as booking a shipment when you have more lead time. All you need to do to book is use our online calculator to get a quote, and then you can schedule your shipment. It’s that easy! 

It’s the only way to guarantee a pickup date 

As noted above, when you pay for our expedited car shipping service, your vehicle goes into the queue as a priority pickup. Your trucker will actually reschedule other pickups to ensure that there is a spot for your vehicle on a carrier ASAP.  

You can get door-to-door transport 

This is one of the most common misconceptions about last-minute auto transport. While your vehicle may arrive more quickly if you hand it off to your carrier and pick it up in a major metropolitan area, you can still get expedited car shipping if you need door-to-door service. Just make sure you have plenty of room for a truck to park in front of your home and to load and unload your car.   

The shipping process is easy 

At Montway, we move thousands of vehicles from city to city and from state to state each year, and because we know the best routes, we can offer shorter pick-up windows and reliable auto transport for clients who are in a hurry. All you need to do is get your quote and book your shipment.  

Ready to transport your car with Montway?

Our car shipping advisors are available by calling (888) 666-8929 to answer all your questions.

Get an instant quote

There’s no extra paperwork necessary

The main thing that’s different about last minute car shipping is the speed. When your vehicle is picked up, you won’t need to give your assigned trucker any extra paperwork or documentation. In fact, you won’t even have to show them your car’s title or registration. On your pickup date, all you need to hand over is your car and your keys. 

You won’t pay up front for last minute car shipping  

Many people are surprised to discover that they can book expedited auto transport with us without putting any money down. That’s because we trust our customers. You’ll only be charged once a carrier has actually been dispatched to pick up your car.  

You’ll need to wash your car 

When you book expedited shipping with us, you’ll have less time than you would otherwise to prepare your car for its journey. The good news is that the basic prep work will be simple. First, you’ll need to thoroughly clean your car’s exterior. Cleaning the exterior makes inspecting your car easier, and gives you the opportunity to remove components like antennas, bike racks, ski racks, cargo boxes, and anything else not permanently fixed to the car. It’s also an opportunity to determine if there are any aftermarket additions to your vehicle (e.g., a spoiler) that will need extra protection en route.  

Clean the interior

Vacuuming and clearing out your car’s interior is a good way to be sure that you have removed all small personal items (like maps, spare change, phone chargers, and toll transponders) from your vehicle. If you’re tempted to skip this step, keep in mind that insurance rarely covers anything left in the vehicle. 

You should only have a small amount of gas in the tank

A car with a full gas tank is a potential safety hazard. All that gas also makes your car heavier, which can impact the efficiency of your carrier and can put stress on your vehicle during its journey. Before your car ship date, drive your car around town until it has about a quarter of a tank, which will be enough to get you to the nearest gas station after your vehicle is delivered.   

You should check the tires

While your car won’t be on the road during its journey, you should still double-check whether your car’s tires are fully inflated before you hand it over to your hauler. If you’re shipping your vehicle to the far north or the deep south, you should also think about whether those tires will be suitable for the conditions at your destination.   

Confirm that the emergency brake works

Your car’s e-brake must be functional before your ship date, so check with your mechanic if you have any doubt that it’s working properly. Most auto transportation companies, including Montway, require that the vehicles they’re shipping be able to roll, shift, and brake. 

Double check your battery before shipping your car

Your battery should be completely charged up before your ship date. You should also make sure that the battery itself is secure in its brackets because a loose battery can damage your car’s engine if it is jostled during shipping.   

A detailing shop can handle some of the prep for you

If you’re in a major hurry and can’t handle the prep work yourself, an auto detailer or mobile washing service can take on some of the pre-shipment prep work for you. Some retailers even have special packages for customers who are shipping vehicles.  

You’ll need to disable your car’s alarm

To prevent the possibility that your car’s alarm will accidentally go off, disable it before your pickup date. Transport drivers may need to pull over, stop, and waste time figuring out how to stop an alarm that begins randomly sounding while on the road, so it’s best to do what’s necessary to ensure that this doesn’t happen.  

The most expensive car shippers won’t necessarily be the quickest  

When you absolutely need the fastest possible car shipment, you may be tempted to throw money at the problem. What you need to know is that great car shippers will do what they can to keep prices reasonable. At Montway, we do charge extra for expedited car shipping, but we don’t go overboard. Our rates simply reflect the extra work and care that goes into scheduling last minute car shipping and are often quite a bit lower than those of our competitors.  

Reputation matters A LOT when it comes to last-minute transport 

You’re already pressed for time, so you need to be sure that your transporter will show up when they say they will. If you pick a car shipping company that gives you a low price but has a questionable track record when it comes to on-time pickups and deliveries, you run the risk of getting your car days or even weeks later than you expected. Make sure the auto transport company you choose has stellar reviews.  

You’ll need to inspect your vehicle twice

When it comes time to hand off your car, your trucker will inspect your vehicle and make a note of any marks, scratches, dents, and damage. Then, when your car is dropped off at its destination, you and the trucker will perform a second once-over.  

As you can see, last minute car transportation isn’t all that different from standard auto transport. Ultimately, moving your car from one location to another can be a totally worry-free experience — even if you need to do it at the last minute. As we explained above, the key is choosing the right auto transport company.  

At Montway, we understand that sometimes our customers need to get their vehicles en route as quickly as possible, and we help people schedule expedited car shipping year round. Just let us know what you need, and we’ll do everything we can to make your auto transport experience a great one.  

Montway’s carriers move more than 200 vehicles a day — many on short notice — and we hope yours will be next! 

Ready to transport your car with Montway?

Our car shipping advisors are available by calling (888) 666-8929 to answer all your questions.

Get an instant quote
Get an instant quote


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