Skip to main content
photo of an old model Ford pickup for non-running car

How to Safely Transport Your Non-Running Car: A Comprehensive Guide

It’s easy to assume auto transport is all the same, regardless of the vehicle’s condition. But if the vehicle is inoperable, car shipping just got a little more interesting. It doesn’t have to be challenging for you. Still, it’s essential to understand the differences and why being upfront about the operational condition of your car can make a big difference. A non-running car is much harder to ship.

Shipping a Non-Running Car

One of the first things to determine when planning to ship a non-running car is why your car is not running or is considered non-operational. After all, if the motor starts, it’s technically “running.” But if the brakes have failed or it has collision damage that prevents the wheels from rolling, it’s still “non-operational.” 

  • Is it inoperable because of a dead battery or flat tires? Those are usually easy fixes that will be cheaper than paying the difference for transport or waiting on a transport truck that can accommodate a non-running car. Consider repairing and restoring the vehicle to operational condition.
  •  Are you missing the key, or is the engine not running, but the wheels still turn? You’ll need a transport carrier with a winch.
  •  If your vehicle is in a collision or cannot be safely rolled onto the transport carrier, a tow truck or forklift may be required.

If you own a non-running car, you know how challenging it can be to transport it safely without causing any further damage. Whether moving to a new location, selling your car, or taking it to a mechanic, you need to ensure that your non-running vehicle arrives at its destination in one piece. 

But how do you go about safely transporting your non-running car? With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the proper method. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you transport your non-running vehicle safely, no matter your situation. From preparing your car for transport to choosing the suitable transport method, we’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure a stress-free and successful transport experience. So, let’s dive in and learn how to transport your non-running car safely!

Reasons why a non-running car needs transported

There are many reasons why you need to transport a non-running car. Perhaps you’re moving to a new home and need to move your vehicle with you, or maybe you’re selling your car to someone who lives out of state. Whatever the reason, it’s essential to transport your non-running vehicle safely to avoid any further damage to your vehicle.

One of the main reasons why a non-running car needs transported is that driving it can cause significant damage to the car’s engine or other components. Attempting to start a non-running vehicle can also cause further damage, as the engine may not be able to handle the stress of starting up after being dormant for a long time. Additionally, non-running cars may not have valid registration or insurance, making driving them on the road illegal.

Transporting your non-running car is also a safer option for you and other drivers on the road. Non-running vehicles can be challenging to control, and it’s easy to lose control of the vehicle if it’s not in good condition. Transporting your car ensures that it arrives at its destination safely without putting yourself or others at risk.

Different methods of non-running car transportation

Several methods of non-running car transportation are available, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The right approach for you will depend on your specific circumstances and needs. Here are some of the most common methods of non-running car transportation:

Flatbed tow truck

A flatbed tow truck is one of the most popular methods of non-running car transportation. This method involves loading the car onto a flatbed truck and securing it with straps or chains. The entire vehicle is lifted off the ground and transported to its destination. That is a safe and secure method of transportation that can accommodate cars of all sizes.

However, flatbed tow trucks can be expensive, especially for long-distance transportation. Additionally, not all flatbed tow trucks are equipped to handle non-running cars, so choosing a reputable company specializing in non-running car transportation is crucial.

Enclosed trailer

An enclosed trailer is another option for non-running car transportation. This method involves loading the car into an enclosed trailer and securing it. The trailer is then hitched to a truck and transported to its destination. This method provides added protection for your car, shielding it from the elements and other environmental factors.

However, enclosed trailers can be expensive, and not all companies offer this service. Additionally, loading and unloading the car can be difficult, especially if it needs to be in better condition.


A dolly is a small trailer attached to another vehicle’s back. This method involves towing the non-running car on the dolly, with the car’s front wheels lifted off the ground. That is a cost-effective method of transportation for short distances.

However, dollies can be challenging to maneuver, and not all cars can be transported using this method. Additionally, the car’s rear wheels will be in contact with the road, making it vulnerable to damage from debris.

Preparing your non-running car for transportation

Before transporting your non-running car, it’s essential to properly prepare it to ensure that it arrives at its destination safely. Here are some steps you should take to prepare your non-running vehicle for transportation:

Clean your car

Before transporting your car, it’s essential to clean it thoroughly. That will help you identify any existing damage and ensure the car is in good condition before transportation.

Remove personal belongings

Make sure to remove all personal belongings from your car before transportation. That includes any loose items in the trunk or glove compartment.

Check the battery

If your car has been sitting for a long time, the battery may be dead. Check the battery and either charge it or replace it if necessary.

Check the tires

Make sure to check the tires and inflate them to the proper pressure. That will prevent any damage to the tires during transportation. It is also far easier to winch or push a non-running car if the tires are inflated. Imagine how difficult if not. 

Disable the alarm

If your car has an alarm system, make sure to disable it before transportation. That will prevent the alarm from going off during transport and causing unnecessary stress.

Choosing the right car transportation company

Choosing the right transportation company is crucial for a safe, successful, non-running car transportation experience. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a transportation company:


Make sure to choose a reputable transportation company with a proven track record of safe and reliable transportation.


Choose a transportation company that has experience transporting non-running cars. That ensures that they have the necessary equipment and expertise to handle your vehicle safely.


Ensure the transportation company has insurance covering your non-running car during transportation. That will protect you in the event of any damage to your vehicle during transport.


Compare prices from different transportation companies to ensure you’re getting a fair price for their services. However, don’t choose a company solely based on price, as this could compromise the safety of your non-running car.

Cost of non-running auto transportation

The cost of non-running car transportation can vary depending on several factors, including the transportation distance, the type of vehicle transported, and the method of transportation. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 for non-running vehicle transportation. Most carriers charge $200 extra. 


The distance of transportation is one of the most significant factors that can affect the cost of non-running car transportation. Longer distances will generally cost more than shorter distances.

Type of vehicle

The type of vehicle transported can also affect the cost of transportation. Larger vehicles will generally cost more than smaller vehicles.

Method of transportation

The method of transportation can also affect the cost of transportation. Flatbed tow trucks and enclosed trailers are generally more expensive than dollies.

Insurance for non-running car transportation

It’s vital to ensure that your non-running car is properly insured during transportation. Most transportation companies will have insurance that covers your car during transport, but it’s essential to confirm this before hiring a company.

Additionally, consider purchasing additional insurance for your non-running car during transportation. That can provide added protection and peace of mind in the event of any damage to your vehicle during transportation.

Safety precautions during non-running car transport

Transporting a non-running car can be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. Here are some safety precautions to keep in mind during non-running car transportation:

Secure the car

Ensure the car is adequately secured during transportation to prevent movement or shift.

Use the right equipment

Ensure that the transportation company uses the right equipment for your specific type of car. That will ensure that your car is transported safely and securely.

Drive carefully

If you’re transporting the car yourself, make sure to drive carefully and follow all traffic laws.

What to do upon arrival of your non-running car

After your non-running car has is transported to its destination, there are a few things you should do to ensure that it’s in good condition:

Inspect the car

Inspect the car for any damage that may have occurred during transportation. Take pictures of any damage for insurance purposes.

Check the battery

Double check the battery and make sure it’s charged and ready to go.

Check the tires

Look at the tires. Are the tires low or even flat? Now isn’t that harder to move? Inflate them to the proper pressure.

Test the brakes

Test the brakes to make sure they’re working correctly.


Transporting a non-running car can be daunting, but with the right preparation and precautions, it can be done safely and successfully. Remember to prepare your vehicle for transportation properly, choose the right transportation company, and take the necessary safety precautions during transportation. By following these tips, you can ensure that your non-running car arrives at its destination safely and in one piece.

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. We recommend the expedited car shipping rate and have countless satisfied customers because the shipping process tends to go quicker. The rush rate is our highest level of car shipping service, and many customers are glad they went with that method.

auto shipping, auto transport for non-running vehicles, auto transport tips, Cost Per Mile, transporting in op vehicles