Skip to main content
photo of suitcases in trunk of car being shipped

What to Consider Before You Put Stuff in Your Car

When shipping a vehicle, you cannot fill it to the brim with personal items and other possessions to save on moving costs. You have essential considerations to consider before vehicle shipping with items in your trunk.

Can You Legally Put Stuff in Your Car When Shipping It?

It is not illegal to put personal items in your vehicle when you’re shipping it, but there are some restrictions. Most auto transport companies have strict guidelines on what you can and cannot put in the car.

Some items, such as hazardous materials, flammable liquids, firearms, explosives, and narcotics, are strictly prohibited. Additionally, too heavy or oversized items can damage the vehicle or cause it to become unbalanced during transit, which can be dangerous.

The Unwritten Rule: 100 lbs or less

There are many things to consider when you plan on transporting your vehicle. If you’re selling your house and planning to move, how you plan to transport yourself and any items you have are significant factors. It’s imperative to remember that most car shippers generally only allow up to 100 pounds of extra weight confined to your car’s trunk. That equates to two large suitcases.

That could be a frustrating part of your moving plan, where many people assume it’s OK to pack their vehicle full of household items. But it’s not. Put too much weight in the car, and the carrier driver might refuse to pick it up unless removed. Remember that auto transporters must be very careful with how much extra weight is on their truck to avoid being fined by the highway patrol. They know how heavy every car model weighs, and they total up their entire load to ensure they can get through the weight scales. That is why there is a limit of 100 pounds confined only to the trunk of your vehicle.

Imagine a car transporter on a long cross-country haul with ten cars. If each vehicle packed 400 lbs of extra weight, that would be 4,000 lbs. total excess weight. That equates to the weight of a vehicle. So instead of ten cars, it’s as if the car transporter has eleven vehicles. That costs more fuel carrying that extra weight, and he runs the risk of not getting through the highway weight scales.

What Should You Put in Your Car When Shipping It?

If you do decide to put items in your car, it’s essential to choose them carefully. Soft, lightweight, easily secured items are the best option. You should also ensure that the items do not obstruct the driver’s view or interfere with the vehicle’s operation.

Remember, the car shipper is not responsible for any personal items you decide to transport with your vehicle. Only the car itself is insured during the transport. Considering that, we advise that if you plan on transporting any items with your vehicle, they are not valuable or sentimental items. How you transport yourself, your children, and your pets is up to you, not the auto transporter. It might be a pain at first knowing you can’t pack your house in your car, but it’s best to know the rules and avoid any surprise charges at the end of the car shipment.

Will The Vehicle Shipper Weigh My Items?

No. The driver is not going to weigh your items physically. He will eyeball it and can tell if you have gone overboard. It is a judgment thing.

Will The Auto Transport Driver Charge Me More?

Possibly. Some car shippers insist on nothing extra in the vehicles they pick up. But the overwhelming majority of car transport drivers allow about 100 lbs. free of charge. If you go over that significantly, the auto transporter may ask for hundreds of dollars more to keep the items in the vehicle. At that point, it is your choice to either remove the items or pay the extra charge.

Is It Safe to Put Stuff in Your Car When Shipping It?

While it is technically safe to put items in your vehicle when shipping it, there are some potential risks. For example, if the things are not adequately secured, they can shift during transit, which can cause damage to your vehicle. Additionally, if the items are valuable, they may be vulnerable to theft or damage during shipping.

How Can You Protect Your Items When Shipping Your Car?

To protect your items and ensure they arrive at your destination safely, you can use straps, bungee cords, or other secure methods to keep them in place. Additionally, you should carefully label and document all your items to quickly identify them when you receive your vehicle.


Shipping your vehicle can be an exciting and convenient way to move, but it’s essential to consider the implications of putting items in your car. By understanding the legal restrictions, safety risks, and best practices for securing items, you can ensure that your vehicle and belongings arrive at your destination in good condition.

The Original Car Shipping Quote Calculator

Direct Express Auto Transport originated the instant car shipping quote calculator in 2004. It is still the best, most sophisticated, reliable tool available anywhere online. We offer three options that we call tiers of car shipping estimates. The standard rate is the cheapest car shipping quote, but it may take longer. Use it if you are patient. The expedited car shipping rate is most recommended, and we have countless satisfied customers because the shipping process tends to go quicker. The rush rate is our highest level of car shipping service, and we have many customers who are glad they went with that method.

auto transport carriers, auto transport tips, car shipment, Items in Trunk