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There are lots of risks when shipping a vehicle - even your tires might take a beating.

When shipping a car, tires face hidden risks like pressure changes or exposure to elements. These issues can lead to wear, blowouts, or other damages.

By The Editors

Mon, Jun 24, 2024 02:57 AM PST

The globalization of America has created a vast number of business opportunities and rapidly growing supply chains around the globe. Dubai, UAE, and Saudi Arabia have grown into industry leaders in the automotive industry due to their ability to ship a variety of cars or trucks from industry giants such as Toyota, Ford, and Ferrari.

The auto transport industry has grown into several segments, including long-distance over-the-road shipping, railroad cars, cargo ships, and local transportation. General guidelines have been developed on “how to prepare a vehicle for shipping,” no matter the distance. Vehicle owners and shipping personnel often overlook the tires, wheels, rotors, and undercarriage.

Common Risks to Tires When Shipping a Car

Tires are always susceptible to considerable risk when shipping. If the vehicle is not prepared correctly, longer periods of shipping time can lead to flat spots and tire degradation. Tires that sit in one spot for too long are prone to loss of air pressure.

Again, depending on distance and location, environmental factors may be the leading cause of risk. Extreme temperatures, such as heat and heavy rain, can occur in open shipping platforms. Therefore, pay close attention to every detail when shipping a vehicle.

Physical Damage During Loading and Unloading

Hidden risks occur during every stage of the shipping process, including the loading and unloading stages. For example, the car may be dragged onto the platform rather than rolled, causing significant damage to the tread by way of flat spots and torn rubber.

Improper handling during loading and off-loading damages the sidewalls by way of punctures, cuts, and cracks. Use a reputable shipping company.

Pressure Changes Due to Temperature Fluctuations

Temperatures play a significant role in the proper inflation of tires. Proper preparation of the tires when shipping a car over long distances and in different climates is vital. A rule of thumb is that when outside air temperatures change by 10°, tire pressures will go up or down by 2%.

The air inside tires is a gas, so it expands when heated and contracts when cold. When setting tire pressures before shipping, PSIs can change by 2% when climates change across America or the globe. A properly inflated tire can be completely flat by the time it reaches its destination. A properly inflated tire of 35 psi that sits in the sun all day may reach a psi of 39 to 41 by the end of the day. When shipping a car, know the climate zones the vehicle will travel through.

Misalignment and Imbalance Issues

Significant misalignments are common with improper handling during shipping. Vehicles are never handled with care. Instead, they are dropped, pushed, and pulled around loading zones and shipping platforms.

Every phase of a vehicle's shipping journey may be cause for alarm. The car bounces around and jostles every step of the way, which may cause the vehicle to be thrown out of alignment or imbalance.

Shipping companies use torque-based tie-downs when securing a vehicle on a transport platform. Tie-downs may be pulled so tight they force the tires and vehicle out of balance. If you feel your vehicle feels different after shipping, contact the company immediately.

Risks Of Not Checking Tires Properly

Once you have chosen the right shipping company, the next stage is vehicle preparation. Concentrate on the destination and number of different climate changes.

Proper inflation mitigates the risk of significant flat spots and sidewall damage if the vehicle must remain in one spot for extended periods of time. Too little tire pressure can cause tires to fail quickly, and too much pressure can cause the vehicle to become unstable.

Preventive Measures To Protect Your Tires

Properly securing a vehicle for changes in tire pressure and extreme heat and cold is vital. Make sure the tires are properly inflated according to the owner's manual recommendation. Compression and weight distribution of the tires are critical factors when shipping.

Depending on the length of time and distance, it may be a good idea to change a new set of tires to an older, worn-out set just for the journey. Quality shipping companies have pre-determined spaces for different vehicle sizes. Check to see if the shipper ties down and secures each tire. Ask if they provide tire covers and mats.

Choosing a Reputable Car Shipping Company

When a car is placed on a truck, railway car, or any shipping container, there are bound to be risks to the vehicle. The most significant risk any owner can take is using a cheap car shipping company. These types of shippers have low safety standards and inexperienced personnel taking care of your vehicle.

Cheap shipping companies use the worst loading ramps and lifts when handling cars and trucks for transport. Tie-downs and securing vehicles are usually never up to international shipping codes.

Inspecting and Documenting Tire Condition Before Shipping

Reputable shipping companies allow owners to fully document the condition of their vehicles prior to loading and after the vehicle is delivered to its destination. Thoroughly inspecting any damage to the tires is accomplished by crystal-clear photographs of each tire prior to loading.

Before loading, make sure to get a clear shot of each tire. Get copies of everything.

- Photograph any flaws and defects already present on each tire.
- On pre-shipment documentation, point out the quality of each tire

Using Tire Covers and Protection Accessories

The first question to ask is: “Is there really a need for tire covers and does the shipping company provide these accessories”? Quality shipping companies generally have tire protection packages and accessories customers can purchase.

- Depending on the distance, a Tire Mat effectively eliminates flat spots. Mats are flexible rubber materials that help distribute weight evenly and provide additional cushioning during transport.

- Transport tire covers are another quality option for owners. UV and heat are fatal to rubber; the best tire covers provide a cooling effect and protection from harsh UV rays.

- Tire and wheel insurance can be invaluable.

What Should I Know Before Shipping My Vehicle

Every good shipping company provides its customers with a checklist for preparing a car for transport. Some companies will send personnel to help with the preparation if asked.

- Never take details for granted, and never assume anything! Ask Questions! There are never enough answers.
- Choose the best shipping company your research decides on; contact reviewers.
- Stay within your budget. Never go cheap!
- What protections does the shipping company provide?
- Make certain you receive everything you contracted for.
- Concentrate on protecting the most vulnerable parts of a car, such as the tires and glass.
- Never rely on anyone else.
- Document and retain every piece of information related to the transaction, no matter how small or trivial it may seem, emails, contracts, text messages, and direct talks.
- Ensure that your car insurance covers any potential damages during transport. Verify this with your insurance provider and consider purchasing additional coverage if necessary.

This article was compiled by the editors of LACar.

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