The Risks to Your Tires When Shipping a Car

Michael James

The Risks to Your Tires When Shipping a Car

Shipping a car is a process that involves several steps and considerations to ensure the vehicle reaches its destination safely and efficiently. Whether you’re relocating across the country or importing a classic car, understanding the logistics of car shipping is crucial. However, amidst the complexities of choosing the right shipping company, selecting the best transportation method, and preparing your car for transit, the risks associated with the journey often go overlooked. One significant risk involves the tires of your vehicle. Tires can be especially susceptible to damage during transport, which can affect the safety and performance of your car upon arrival. This article delves into why it is essential to be aware of these risks and how to mitigate them effectively.

The Risks to Your Tires When Shipping a Car

How Long Does Shipping a Car Take?

Shipping a car involves various factors that determine the time it takes from pickup to delivery. For those shipping a vehicle for the first time, understanding these factors is crucial, not only for logistical planning but also for safeguarding the condition of your vehicle, particularly the tires.

Explanation of Typical Time Frames for Car Shipping

The duration required to ship a car varies significantly depending on the distance involved. On average, domestic car shipping can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks, while international shipments may take several weeks due to the added complexities of international logistics and customs procedures.

Factors Influencing Shipping Duration

The length of time to ship a car is influenced by several key factors:

  • Distance: Naturally, longer distances require more time, especially if crossing international borders.
  • Transportation Method: Whether your car is transported via open-air or enclosed methods affects the duration. Enclosed transport, offering more protection for the vehicle, may not be as readily available as open-air, potentially extending wait times.
  • Operational Factors: These include route planning, traffic conditions, and the availability of transport vehicles and personnel. Seasonal weather conditions can also play a significant role, as poor weather can delay transit times.

Importance of Timely Delivery for Minimizing Risks to Tires

The timeframe of car shipping is directly linked to the risk to your vehicle’s tires. Prolonged periods of storage or transport can lead to tire degradation, such as flat spots or dry rot, especially if the vehicle is not properly prepared or if the transport method exposes the tires to adverse conditions. Timely delivery minimizes these risks by reducing the period your car spends immobile on a transporter, thereby helping maintain tire integrity and vehicle safety.

Hidden Risks to Your Tires When Shipping a Car

Shipping a car requires careful handling and attention to numerous details to ensure that it arrives at its destination safely. However, there are several hidden risks during the transportation process that can specifically affect the tires. By getting to know these risks, you can take steps ahead of time to prevent them.

Improper Handling During Loading and Unloading

One of the primary risks to tires occurs during the loading and unloading phases. Improper handling, such as dragging the car instead of properly rolling it, can cause undue stress on the tires. This stress can lead to sidewall damage or misalignments that may not be immediately noticeable but can cause significant issues later on.

Exposure to Environmental Factors

Tires are particularly vulnerable to environmental factors during transit. Exposure to extreme temperatures, sunlight, or moisture can accelerate the degradation of rubber, leading to dry rot or cracking. In open trailers, tires can also be exposed to road salt, oils, and other harmful chemicals, which can further deteriorate their quality.

Compression and Weight Distribution

During transport, especially over long distances, the constant weight of the vehicle resting on one part of the tire can lead to flat spots. This is particularly true if the vehicle is not moved or repositioned during the journey. Ensuring proper tire pressure and using tire supports can help mitigate this risk.

Contact with Sharp Objects

The risk of tires coming into contact with sharp objects increases significantly during shipping. This can occur if the tires are rolled over debris or exposed nails and metal pieces commonly found in shipping docks and storage areas. Such contact can lead to punctures or cuts, compromising the tire’s integrity and safety.

Preventative Measures

To mitigate the risks associated with shipping your car, particularly those that affect your tires, there are several preventative steps you can take. These measures ensure that your vehicle arrives in the same condition it was in prior to shipping.

Choose a Reputable Shipping Company

The first step in safeguarding your car during transit is selecting a reputable shipping company. It is crucial to conduct thorough research and choose a provider known for reliability and excellent service. A reputable car shipping service will have a strong track record of safety and customer satisfaction. Look for positive reviews and testimonials that highlight their professionalism and the care they take with vehicles.

Additional tips to consider when choosing the right shipping company:

  • Track Record: What’s the company’s history in the business? What is their history of handling claims?
  • Reviews: What do previous customers say about their service? Are there recurring issues mentioned?
  • Safety Protocols: Does the company follow strict safety protocols? How do they handle unexpected situations during transit?
The Risks to Your Tires When Shipping a Car

Properly Prepare Your Vehicle

Proper preparation of your vehicle can significantly reduce the risks to your tires during shipping.

Tips for Preparing Your Car for Shipping to Minimize Tire Risks

  • Tire Inspection and Maintenance: Before shipping, inspect all tires for any signs of wear or damage, such as cracks, bulges, or embedded objects. Make sure each tire is free of defects and adequately inflated according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. This helps prevent the occurrence of flat spots or blowouts during transport.
  • Correct Tire Pressure: Tires with improper pressure are susceptible to damage and can affect the vehicle’s stability during shipping. Check the tire pressure and inflate them to the correct level to support the vehicle’s weight without any load. This is particularly important because temperature changes during transit can affect tire pressure.
  • Use Quality Tire Covers: Consider using high-quality tire covers to protect the tires from environmental elements, such as UV rays, rain, and road debris. These covers can also reduce the risk of scratches or superficial damage during loading and unloading.
  • Wheel Alignment Check: Ensure that your car’s wheel alignment is correct to avoid uneven loading and stress on the tires. Misalignment can lead to uneven wear on tires, which might not be immediately noticeable but can cause problems during and after transport.
  • Secure or Remove Custom Accessories: If your vehicle has any custom accessories, especially those related to wheels and tires (like custom rims), secure them properly or remove them if possible. This reduces the risk of theft or damage during shipping.
  • Document Existing Conditions: Take photos and document the condition of your tires and the entire vehicle before shipping. This will be crucial for insurance purposes and in case any claims need to be made for damages incurred during transit.
  • Consult with the Shipping Company: Ask your shipping company if they have specific recommendations or requirements for preparing your vehicle for transport. They may offer additional guidance based on their experience and the specifics of your shipping route.


While the risks to tires during car shipping are significant, they can be effectively managed through careful planning, thorough preparation, and choosing the right shipping partner. By taking these steps, car owners can ensure that their vehicle remains in excellent condition, safeguarding their investment and maintaining road safety.

Article Last Updated: June 11, 2024.

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