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Auto Parts Shipping Guide

Shipping auto parts can seem a complicated and time-consuming process. Yes, transporting automotive equipment requires a lot of inventory planning as well as great attention to detail. A huge variety of shapes and sizes of automotive parts are tied to a number of regulations.

As an automotive business worker or owner, you are supposed to follow them while shipping this type of freight. GoShip can help both auto parts sellers and buyers find the perfect match for transporting their vehicle supplies according to all the handling and packaging requirements.

We will offer you a wide variety of professional carriers which meet your shipment needs and help you to get a shipping quote for your successful auto parts transit. 

small business owner pulling inventory for shipping auto parts

How to organize auto parts shipping

If you are planning to ship automotive parts, it is better to map out the process from the very beginning. The specifics of transporting auto parts can seem quite challenging, but it’s just a matter of proper planning. 

First, develop a draft plan for your shipment including the target dates of pickup and dropoff, and the route you'd like to take. You will have to consider the volume of items you want to move and what size truck will be needed for transit.

GoShip will help you to locate a carrier and calculate its cost in a matter of a few clicks. Follow our detailed guide to learn all the essential information about successful auto parts shipping.

Auto parts transport services

The mode of transportation you can use for shipping auto parts mostly depends on the size of your cargo and any time constraints you have. Based on these criteria, the two most prevalent methods for shipping auto parts are :

  • Full truckload (FTL) shipments use the entire truck for your freight only. FTL shipments typically provide a 48-foot trailer and can transport up to 45,000 lbs. This transit type also excludes any additional stops and delivers your cargo straight to the destination point.
  • Less than truckload (LTL) shipments share the truck with other shippers for a reduced expense. Usually, LTL shipments are limited to 20,000 lbs or up to six pallets. LTL freight often takes longer because it includes many stops for delivering other shippers’ goods.

Choosing the right container

Choosing the right container is a crucial point for the safe delivery of your auto parts. If you want them to be transported safely, it is necessary to pay close attention to the packaging. Each auto part will have different needs depending on its size, weight, and technical peculiarities.

For example, you may choose to transport large vehicle parts in firm containers that are less likely to get damaged in any way on the road. Heavy-duty corrugated boxes may be the best choice - they are designed to provide maximum crush resistance.

To set yourself up for particularly smooth shipping, you may also want to use double-wall containers. The main thing to remember is that you have to pick an appropriately sized container - there is no point in leaving extra space for small parts to shift and potentially break. 

When it comes to smaller auto parts, packing gets much easier due to their lightweight and portability. You can smartly condense the auto parts into smaller spaces and avoid using any extraneous packaging; however, this rule doesn't account for fragile items that require additional special in-box fillers to prevent damage in transit.

The volume of items you are shipping also impacts your packaging. If you plan to ship a large number in the same container, it is usually better to pack the auto parts individually (i.e., separate bagging) than placing them all together in a single crate. 

auto parts shipper holding large car part

Protective packaging 

In any case, following the protective package principle is a necessity in terms of successful auto parts shipping, no matter the size and weight of your products. That's why you'll have to decide what protective packaging will go in the box with your auto parts to provide extra security. Depending on the type of auto parts and the materials they are made of, the most popular options are:

  • VCI (Volatile Corrosion Inhibitors): special packaging produced to prevent vehicle details from corrosion and rust processes.
  • Foam: a substance that expands inside the package and adapts to your product's shape in order to dodge damage in transit and keep its original appearance intact.
  • Anti-static packaging: used for transporting electronic elements and blocking possible static charges in the course of transit.  

To reduce the probability of crushed auto parts, you should also take note of reliable external protection. Once the items are firmly fixed inside the truck, they will be less susceptible to external factors, but we highly recommend you palletize the boxes with your automotive parts when available.

Stacking items on pallets will reduce the risk of their movement inside the truck. You may also apply tape or other forms of wrapping for additional protection during transit. If you are concerned with sustainability, we recommend you evaluating eco-friendly packaging

Labeling car parts

Proper labeling plays an important role in the auto parts shipping process - you can streamline your auto parts supply chain by using proper labeling. Labels serve as passports that provide a brief description of the unit such as type, model, particular directions for use, etc. Automotive parts labels perform the function of item identification as well as carrying short operational data.

Labeling becomes crucial when it comes to shipping auto parts containing chemical liquids. These units should be transported much more carefully to reduce the risk of chemicals' interaction with external materials. The shortest way to label an auto part properly is to mark it with a durable sticker that includes all the necessary information.

In regard to package labeling, remember: the more data you provide on the crate sticker, the less likely your load will be considered for reclassification or reweigh. 

business owner finding auto parts for shipment by looking at label

Auto parts shipping cost

The price of your automotive parts shipping depends on a range of factors. It’s important to consider all of them before starting the shipping process in order to avoid any unexpected moments:

  • Distance. The destination is the most influential factor that affects the cost of your shipment. Delivering products to the neighboring state will be much cheaper in comparison to moving cross-country. 
  • Package. Choose the proper containers that best fit your auto parts in accordance with their size, shape, weight, and fragility. Check if all the items are well-protected.
  • Dimensions and weight. Before requesting a suitable truck, you will most likely want to estimate the overall size of your shipment. After packing the vehicle details into boxes, make sure you measure and weigh them. Keeping precise during this stage will save you from any additional charges.
  • Transportation mode. LTL freight usually costs significantly less than FTL, as you are splitting the cost with other shippers. But, if you are in a pinch and your freight could go FTL, you may be able to deliver it faster than LTL.
  • Seasonality. This factor can significantly contribute to the final pricing as it fluctuates throughout the year. You might experience increased costs during the peak season of shipping, or notice lower prices in the off-season. Most industries have their own seasonality layered on top of fluctuations to the overall freight market. Be prepared for abrupt changes during the holiday period. Seasonality also includes matters of weather instability - transporting auto parts in bad weather conditions will considerably raise the expenses. 

Optimizing auto parts shipping expenses is one of our priorities. You can utilize our shipping calculator tool to find pricing the moment you are ready to move a shipment.

man working to ship auto parts on laptop

How long does auto parts shipping take?

Naturally, the duration of auto parts transit heavily depends on the distance the freight is supposed to travel. Moving the load to remote locations can take anywhere from 5 to 14 days or more. When planning a shipment, you can generally get an idea of timing when quoting the shipment. However, there are some other factors to count while preparing to ship. 

  • Pickup and delivery location. In case these places are remote or hard to reach, it can take slightly longer to reach from points A and B. 
  • Shipping mode. If you must deliver the auto parts on a tight timeline, full truckload shipments may be preferable if you are able to make the pricing work. FTL strictly follows the route and makes no additional stops unless required. On the other hand, LTL remains much more financially moderate due to sharing the truck space (and costs) with other shippers. In terms of shipment duration, it will however take more time for the driver to pick up and drop off the other loads, potentially impacting your shipment. 
  • Accessorials. If you need some additional services such as layover, please be aware these operations will extend the duration of the shipment. They may also affect the price, as they are not usually included in the delivery service. We recommend you get in touch with the carrier in advance to arrange any assistance.
  • Seasonality. How does it influence the shipment duration? First, the general delivery time is always conditional on traffic, which fluctuates with peak and off seasons. In addition, weather conditions such as hurricanes or blizzards can sometimes disrupt the entire supply chain.

Shipping auto parts with GoShip

GoShip works with local, regional, and global carriers that provide full truckload and less than truckload shipping. If you are worried about choosing a suitable carrier, we assist you by providing a big range of possible options.

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