You’ve decided to have your car transported in your big move. You’ve started researching companies and comparing costs. But wait, there is one more thing that you need to think about! One more important detail that you need to know in order to make the best decision.

What is this important detail? You need to understand ground clearance and know how that applies to your vehicle. In addition, it helps to understand the methods the auto transport companies use to load and unload vehicles, especially the service toward lowered cars (if this applies to you).

What is Ground Clearance?

What is the ground clearance of your vehicle, and why does this matter when selecting a car transport company? We are here to explain.

Basically, ground clearance is “the distance between the lowermost point of the car and the road surface in an unladen condition.” (“What is Car Ground Clearance, And Why it Matters”)

Mostly, ground clearance affects performance. A car with a higher ground clearance will give a more comfortable ride on a bumpy or steep road (think sedan). Cars with the highest ground clearance work well as off-road vehicles (trucks or SUVs)—although they are more susceptible to rollovers. A car with a lower ground clearance handles better and is more responsive (think sports car or racing car).

So, what does this matter when it comes to transporting your vehicle? That comes down to how cars are loaded.

How Do Transporters Load Vehicles?

There are basically two ways for cars to be loaded into a transport trailer: ramps or liftgates. Most open transporters use only ramps to load their cars. Enclosed transport trucks often come equipped with more expensive equipment such as liftgates.

There are some risks that come with loading a car with ramps, especially for vehicles with low ground clearance. The ramps are steep and uneven. This means that there is a potential for any vehicle with low ground clearance to bottom out, causing damage to the underside of the vehicle as it scrapes along the ramp.

Transport companies that use enclosed trailers to ship vehicles, usually use hydraulic lift gates to load. These are basically elevators that allow for the safe loading and unloading of cars onto the vehicle. They lower completely to the ground, minimizing risk to all vehicles, but particularly ones with low clearance. The transport driver also has more control when loading and unloading the vehicle, as the lift raises even to the truck bed. This makes it easier to drive a car in and out for loading and unloading.

Hydraulic lifts are the safest method for loading and unloading cars.

How do you Know Which is Best for Your Car?

If your car has below 4 inches of clearance, then the safest option is to go with a company that uses hydraulic lifts as a service for lowered cars. It’s as simple as that.

If you are unsure, ask questions! Transport companies like ShipLux will be happy to help you find the best, safest approach for your vehicle.

Or simply look at this handy chart to explain the difference:

Need a Ramp or A Liftgate

The Decision is Yours

There are a lot of elements to choosing the best transport method for your vehicle. Ground clearance and loading are simply parts of a greater puzzle. Ramp loading does allow for a slightly lower cost, as the equipment is less expensive, but it can put your vehicle at risk.

As always, the best way to make a decision is to reach out to a variety of car transport companies to compare services. Ask lots of questions, including how they load and unload their vehicles, and how they work with lowered cars. Reputable companies, like ShipLux will answer all your questions, as well as provide a clear and reliable shipping quote.

Once you have the answers you need, the next step is to get your car ready and meet it at its destination.