Tips for Transporting a Car That Does NOT Run

KarmenE - June 23, 2021

Shipping a car is a complicated process and one that many people don’t know how to do. If you’re transporting a non-running vehicle, it’ll cost more than shipping a working one. It requires additional steps before your wheels can reach its destination. To help ease your burden, here are some tips on how to ship a car that doesn’t run.

What Counts as a Non-Running Car?

What qualifies as a non-running car? Well, it’s just as it sounds. It’s when a vehicle isn’t driveable for one of myriad of reasons, including a dead battery, a clogged fuel filter, starter failure, or another mechanical malady.

Reasons to Ship a Non-running Vehicle

You may need to ship a non-running car for a variety of reasons. According to, a site with valuable car shipping resources, these reasons include:

Faulty vehicle: You may want to have your car fixed, and certain parts are only available somewhere else.

Personal reasons: It might be an old car of great sentimental value that you can’t afford to let go of as you move to a new place.

Lost keys: This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Like, how can you drive without the keys?

Damage due to collision: Vehicles involved in an accident need towing to the right place for repairs.

Rare models: If you own a classic, rare, or collector’s car that’s only intended for display, shipping is the only way to transport it.

How Much Does It Cost?

Shipping a non-running car is much more expensive than a working one. There’s typically a surcharge of $100 for the equipment and techniques used to transport inoperable vehicles. But, again, expect prices to vary, depending on which shipping company you use, the weight of your car, model type, and the distance to be traveled. In total, you can anticipate paying between $600-$1600 to ship an inoperable vehicle.

Tips for Transporting a Car That Doesn’t Run

Find a Good Auto Transport Company

One of the first things you’ll want to do is find a carrier which can do the job right. As the vehicle won’t move, you’ll likely need to ship it door-to-door. That said, it’s vital that the company knows what truck to use and employs a driver with experience transporting cars in such conditions.

The best way to find a suitable company is by conducting an Internet search. Next, request and compare multiple quotes and select only licensed commercial carriers with several years of experience.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, interview each one about its process for non-running vehicles. Squeeze out every last bit of information before making any commitments or signing contracts. You can never be too careful.

Inform Your Carrier

Providing the carrier with as much information about your car as possible is essential. Let the company know of the issue or even offer a comprehensive vehicle report. Many non-running vehicles require special shipping equipment or transport, so the carrier must know what to expect and how to prepare the automobile for shipment properly.

Choose a Method of Transport

Most experts suggest choosing an enclosed trailer for shipping an inoperable car. This mode of transport ensures that no other vehicles will come into contact with your car, therefore, protecting it from the elements to avoid further damage. However, an open trailer is a riskier yet more affordable option. Weigh the pros and cons of each method carefully.

Book Ahead of Time

Reserving a transport carrier ahead of time will save you the headache and expense of not knowing what to do when you’re ready to ship. Booking in advance can also help ensure that the carrier has room on its schedule for special vehicles like yours and can accommodate any specialized equipment.

Do Plenty of Research Before Attempting to Tow

If you think of giving auto transport companies a pass, know that towing a non-running vehicle is not a task to be taken lightly. Before you even consider the idea, you should do enough research to understand the entire process. Should you use a tow dolly? Or rent a trailer? What are the risks and rewards of each method? Remember that the whole goal is to ensure that the car arrives in one piece so that your mechanic can make the appropriate repair and get the vehicle back on the road.

Preparing Your Car for Transport

Just because the car can’t run doesn’t mean you’re not going to make preparations. Before shipping, the vehicle must be in suitable condition for transport.

Here are some general tips to have your car ready on moving day:

Ensure no fluid is leaking from any of the seams on your automobile.

Empty the inside of all your belongings, and make sure nothing is left in your car.

Wash, vacuum, and wipe down the exterior surface of the vehicle.

Document, photograph, and sign off on any maintenance that has been done. Take photos of existing signs of damage.

Lastly, drain the gas tank and clean out the fuel line. These things add to the weight.


There isn’t much of a difference between shipping a non-running vehicle and a regular one. In the end, it all comes down to how informed you are and what type of carrier you choose. Take your time asking your potential company the right questions, and don’t settle for less.