Our cars mean a lot to us. They take us on adventures, family vacations, and they become a part of our daily life for years. It’s no wonder that people will often name their car or when they’re making a major move, they want to take their trusted vehicle with them. Here’s what you need to know about shipping your car internationally. 


Should I Take My Car with Me? 

Car shipping isn’t your only choice. If you are moving within the same continent, whether it’s North to South, or opposite coasts, you always have the option of driving your car to your new home or having it trucked by a moving company to avoid putting extra mileage on your car. If you are shipping your vehicle over SEA or by Air, this will not be and option and will need to use a shipping company. Another option is selling your car and purchasing a new one when you arrive at your new home.  Before you decide whether you’re going to ship your car determine how much it is worth, how far you’re moving, and how much it will cost you to replace your vehicle. You’ll also want to ensure that it will be easy to get service and parts for your car at your new locale before you ship it. 


Shipping to a different Country

When shipping to another country, it is important to check the destination rules and regulations about importing a vehicle. You may find that your vehicle will not be admissible as a result of many factors, such as, your immigration status to the new country, local safety standards requirements, the age and type of the vehicle, Customs and Ministry of Transport regulations. Do not ship a vehicle to another country before checking with the local authority. Your moving coordinator can help pointing you to the right resources.


Research and Read Reviews 

A car worth shipping will usually have a bluebook value of thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. So, hire a company that you can trust. Plan ahead, ask trusted friends and family for recommendations, get multiple quotes, and take ten minutes to read customer reviews, particularly ones who have had moves like yours, before you decide. If your move is for work and they have a mover they routinely use, find out why. Remember, it’s more important to make your decision on who to move with based on reputation and reviews, not simply price.  


Check Insurance Coverage 

By doing your research and asking to see a certificate of insurance you can rest easy knowing you’ve covered all the bases.  Some companies have two million dollars of insurance to protect you and your car should the worst happen, whereas others have significantly less. The more your car is worth, the more insurance you’re going to want your mover to have for the shipment of your vehicle. 


Find Out About Transport Equipment and Increased Handling 

Enclosed carriers are more expensive than open air ones, so find out what you’re being quoted on for the entirety of your move. This includes the transport truck to your ship (if applicable) as well. Remember, open transport is cheaper, but this is because there is a greater risk of damage from outside elements. Find out before you book whether your car will be shipped terminal to terminal, and how many times, throughout the journey (as this means several drivers, loading and unloading, and more transitions where damage is more likely to happen). 


Find the Schedule and Stick to It 

By booking well in advance you can sort out a schedule that works for you and the moving company to meet the parameters of the route both you and your car will take to your new home. This will also consider the time it takes to ship your car. Moves coast to coast generally take seven to 10 days whereas Midwest to a coast takes closer to a week. Moves from one continent to another can take as much as three to 13 weeks, depending on the location and type of moving services selected. Even longer moves can be expedited through express shipping, however, at a significantly higher cost. Make sure you are present for the inspection of your vehicle during pick-up and delivery to make note of any pre-existing damage, marks, dents, or scratches. 


How Much Will It Cost? 

Cost will depend on a variety of factors including the distance of the move/destination, size and make or model of the vehicle, length of time of the move (regular vs. express shipping) and whether you opt for door-to-door service vs. personal pickup and drop off at a port. Generally, for standard shipping you can expect a cost of anywhere in the range of $1,000 to $10,000 dollars, depending upon the above-mentioned factors. 


The Small Details 

Before you move your car, have a reputable mechanic inspect your car, check your tires, battery, emergency brake, and other vitals to make sure it’s ready for the journey. The last thing you want is to arrive at your new destination with a car that won’t start. Disable your car alarm (so it won’t go off in transport), deactivate or remove any electronic toll passes, and make sure you have a spare key to keep with you!  Some recommend keeping your gas tank at around a quarter to half full. This will give you enough petrol to run errands when you first retrieve your car but keep its weight down for transport. 

If you are shipping your vehicle VIA Air / Ocean, here are some inportant points to consider. 

  • Vehicles MUST be professionally cleaned prior to delivery to Orbit (Clean inside out, Top to Bottom, Engine, wheel wells…)
  • Vehicles to be delivered to our facility on a flatbed tow truck to avoid accumulation of dirt.
  • Vehicles should be empty from any items. No parts, No wheels, No personal possession  – Absolutely nothing.
  • There can be no more than 5% Fuel in the Vehicle.
  • Make sure that the washer fluid contains ONLY Antifreeze liquids.
  • We will be disconnecting the battery of the vehicle. Please advise where the battery if located if not in the standard location
  • To Export from Canada, we require: Keys, Ownership & proof of no financial leans on the vehicle – typically a “Car Fax”
  • For Destination country – Communicate with your move coordinator about documents required and possible applicable taxes, which are excluded from our quote.
  • Unless otherwise quoted, all Vehicles will be handed out at the destination port.

 No Original Documents required for the Export customs – Keep Original documents that may be needed at the destination for clearance at the destination. DO NOT leave them in the vehicle.


Safe travels to you and your trusty car! 


Orbit International Moving Logistics Ltd.: Your International Moving Expert

We have over a decade of experience moving customers around the world. Some of our customers like us so much, they’ve used us more than once. Why did they come back to Orbit? Our customer service is what sets us apart – customer service representatives answer every question, no matter how small, and our moving crew shows up on time with all the materials they need to get the job done correctly the first time. To learn more about Orbit, call us at 416-661-4228.