Car Shipping

Can You Ship a Packed Car


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Whatcha thinking about? 

Bet it wasn’t how much your car weighs. 

Or how much extra weight it can carry. 

These are things few if any of us give much thought. Unless we’re preparing to move a car or take it along on a trip. 

The answer to how much your car weighs depends on what kind of car you have. The average small car weighs 2,600 pounds while the average large car weight 4,400, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  

The answer to how much extra weight car can carry is 400-500 pounds, though you can find a much more precise answer by using a free VIN decoder lookup. 

And the answer to the headline of this article is yes, you can ship a packed car – and possibly should, depending on the circumstances.  

One reason is fuel economy. Every 100 pounds of weight you add to your car when packing it for a trip or move reduces its fuel economy by 1% to 2%, so driving it wherever you’re going may not be the best idea. And because driving a packed car generally isn’t as safe as driving one carrying only you and a passenger or three, because added weight stresses the tires, thee suspension, and  the brakes and makes a car harder to handle. 

When you have your car shipped, all these worries go, um—out the window. Shipping a packed car is legal and totally an option, so long as by packing your car you don’t mean loading it down with ship anchors or pianos – stuff like that. 

Indeed, if you’ve got your eyes open for any opportunity to  more efficiently, reduce costs, and ensure important things make the journey intact, putting some things in your car before having it loaded on the truck for shipping is a good idea. Maybe even a stroke of genius. 

After all, the car is already making the journey. Things in its trunk can make the journey, too.  

Now for more nuanced answers to your questions about shipping a packed car. 

Can You Ship a Packed Car? 

Four factors affect whether you can pack a car before it ships: 

  • Authority 

Will your shipping service accept a packed car? 

  • Fragility 

Will the things you pack survive a bumpy and uncooled journey? 

  • Weight 

Will the packed items significantly add to the weight of your car in shipment? 

  • Safety 

Will the car attract the attention of thieves or invite vandalism? 

Most car-shipping services will permit a certain amount of cargo in the vehicle if the way it’s packed complies with the rules. The items must be secure, out of sight, and unlikely to lose value on a bumpy, hot, or cold car trip.  

But some car-shipping team require that you insure your personal items for the journey, and others will not accept the added responsibility of transporting personal items other than your car, even if they’re inside your car. 

At ShipLux, any personal items that can be safely and obscurely packed into your vehicles= can be shipped with it.  

Packing a Shipped Car for Safe Transport 

How do you pack a car that will be shipped?  

  • Wrap everything tightly in towels, blankets, or even t-shirts and create tightly packed bundles.  
  • Consider  using milk crates. They’re an effective means of organizing and stabilizing things transported in the trunk of your car, so long as those things are wrapped so that nothing moves during transport. 
  • Think about what not to pack, such as: 
  • Dishes or other fragile or delicate items 

Your car’s journey  by truck almost certainly will entail some jostling, to which breakable things tend not to react well. 

  • Electronics 

There will be no AC or heating to regulate its environment. 

  • Chemicals, cleaning products, or batteries 

The transport of hazardous chemicals is governed by certain laws and regulations. Such agents must be stored in a clean, cool, dry space, as some are not safe when subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations or high levels of humidity. A well-ventilated storage area is also recommended.  

  • Musical instruments 

These, too, are vulnerable to extremes in temperature, humidity, and limited ventilation. They also don’t tolerate lots of jostling. 

  • Loose items 

They tend to fly around and do who knows what to who knows what else inside the car. 

  • High-value items 

For many of the reasons already stated. 

  • Plants or animals 

If you’re actually considering shipping an animal inside a car inside a truck, you may want to seek counseling as soon as you get wherever you’re going and your car is unloaded from said truck. Plants, too, are living things and should not be subjected to such conditions.  

  • Perishable food or organics 

These things, too, needed a controlled, consistent environment. 

  • Don’t  tempt evildoers. If your car will be shipped on an open-air trailer, don’t pack valuable or otherwise tempting items inside it. To fully pack a car and keep your valuables hidden, use tightly wrapped blankets in the trunk and in the footwell. Placing a backseat cover over packed items is another option for concealed storage inside a shipped vehicle. 

Secure Insurance 

In case anything is damaged on the trip, secure separate travel insurance for your packed possessions. Your car-shipping service may offer full insurance coverage on vehicles but not on the items inside. 

Prepare for the Added Weight 

Will the items you pack significantly add to the weight of the vehicle? Most car-shipping services can account for an expected weight within 100 pounds. This allows for spare tires, toolkits, and a few personal items, but not a great deal of heavy storage. 

However, if you really, really want to transport a larger weight in the car, simply clear the plan and pricing with your shipping partner first. 

ShipLux can help you adapt your shipping plan to your needs, whether you need to accommodate a custom car or a packed vehicle. 

Shipping a Packed Car with ShipLux 

If you want to ship a car with items packed into it, ShipLux can help with that. Simply let us know how much weight you need to add so we can give you an accurate estimate for transportation. We advise enclosed shipping, favoring only items that can be tightly packed, safe for bumpy rides and extreme temperatures inside the packed car. If you’re not sure how to pack, we’ll work with you to meet all your logistical needs.   

Contact us to make your car shipping plans. We will take care of your car and the items inside every step of the way. 


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