Car Transport Dictionary – By AA Car Transport

Review of: Harry S Foreman

Reviewed by:
5 Stars
On April 5, 2012
Last modified:August 30, 2012




Car Transport Dictionary

It is very important for us that customers understand completely the terminology used for the car transport service. This will help them prepare better for the service and know what they are talking about. We believe a car transport dictionary will also help customers know what questions to ask. Here is our car transport dictionary with the most common terms in the industry. We strive to offer the best service for our customers, therefore this car transport dictionary includes as most words as possible, however it will keep growing as days go.

Available date for pick up: This is the first day when car is ready to be picked up by truck. Sometimes customers are buying cars at auctions or dealers and paperwork has to be finalized in order to have it transported. The first available pick up date is the day all paperwork is finalized and car is ready to be taken away.

Available date for delivery: This is the first day when car is ready to be delivered. Sometimes owners are traveling or selling cars to other owners and need to have it delivered at a certain time.

Ballpark price: This is the approximate price range you will be given when requesting a quote. This price is based on distance, miles, gas prices, flexibility of customer and type of car. Once booking is finalized, price will be settled.

Bill of Landing (BOL): This is the invoice you receive when car is delivered. This invoice covers all the details when car is picked up until when car is delivered. If any damage occurs to the vehicle while on the road it will be included in the BOF when delivered. Customer must inspect car before it is picked up and once it is delivered to check for any damages or scratches. Once car is inspected and delivered customer must sign and a copy is given to customer. In case of any damages it is very important to provide the BOL.

Broker: Agent that works as a communication channel between customer and carrier.

Car Carrier: This term may be interpreted in two ways. Car Carrier can be the actual carrier itself, where cars are loaded to and transported, or it may also refer to the car carrier company.

C.O.D. (Cash on Delivery): This is a very common term used to pay drivers upon delivery of vehicle. Usually car transport prices are divided into an initial deposit to secure your spot on a carrier and final delivery payment. Drivers receive cash, money order or cashier checks as a form a payment. These options are called C.O.D.

Deposit: This is the initial payment requested when booking a transport. The initial deposit represents mainly the broker’s fee.

Domestic car transport: This term refers to local car transport, usually done by regular towing trucks.   

D.O.T.: Department of Transportation.

Dispatch: This is the place in a transportation company where loads are sent off and scheduled for drivers. Customer may also call in to the dispatch to get updates and information on the routes and whereabouts of their pick up and/or deliveries.

Docusign: A docusign is an online document that is sent via e-mail to each customer with their order information. Customer must review everything is correct, sign and return. This document is not to be printed, simply signed online. Signature is done online with simple click and automatically sent back to company.

Door-to-door: As its name states it, door to door service is a service where carrier picks up and delivers a car from one to door to another, meaning from one location to another location provided by customer. These can be residential or a business.

Dry run: This is a term used when driver arrives to pickup location and no car is available to transport. This happens due to late cancelations or on the spot cancelations. Basically it means driver was sent to location for nothing.  Dry runs apply extra fees to customer as driver needs to cover for gas and time wasted for nothing.

Enclosed carrier: These carriers are closed either with metal walls or a canvas. It offers more protection for cars while on the road.

Estimate quote: This is only an estimation of what your price will be. Most companies will try to give you the highest and lowest point of what your price may be in order to prepare you.

Flat bed: This a type of carrier used to transport low clearance cars or cars with special modifications that can be damaged on regular carrier. They have a platform where car is loaded on to and safely strapped down.


Household goods: Household goods are the items or objects you can carry inside your car while in transportation. Usually companies do not allow any household goods in cars due to the weight it adds and because in case of any loss or damage these items are not covered by insurance. Also carriers must undergo inspections at certain points of the road and they are not to be held responsible for any item not accepted at these check points.

Heavy equipment: This term refers to heavy-duty vehicles, used mainly for construction, usually related to earthwork operations.

Hauler: This is the truck or carrier on which cars are loaded and transported. Different haulers can carry from 1 car to 11.

Insurance while transit: Many cars are taken from dealers and auctions and have no insurance, and while in transit many things can happen. For this reason, carrier offer full coverage for cars in case of any loss or damage.  

Inop/ Inoperable vehicle: Inop is a common term used in car transport and it refers to cars that are inoperable. There may be many reasons why a car is inoperable, details must be provided when booking to avoid extra fees and to provide proper equipment to load car onto carrier. Inop vehicles can also be transported long distances on big haulers, not necessarily towed for short distances.

International car transport: Cars are not only shipped locally or within the same country. Many times customers ship overseas or cross borders into other countries. This action is referred to as international shipping.



Load: A load is referred as the vehicle that is being shipped.

MC #: This stands for Motor Carrier number. This is a number the D.O.T. provides as an ID to each carrier company/broker to be identified inside the D.O.T. data base. Every company must have an MC#; only carriers have both D.O.T. numbers and MC numbers, unlike brokers who only have MC numbers, as they do not have trucks or provide the actual service.

Minivan: A boxlike shaped van that can take between 5-7 passengers. Usually seats inside are removable to take cargo; this is a very common car for families.


Open carrier: These carriers are opened and are commonly seen on the highways or streets on a regular basis. They can take up to 11 cars at one time and are very common in the car transport.

Pickup truck: This term refers to as a light car with a bed or open-top rear cargo area.

Port-to-port: This is a service offered for transportation done over seas. Cars are picked up in port and delivered to destination port. Customer must arrange pickup and delivery to and from the port dock.

Quote: When a customer calls in to get information about how much it will cost to transport a car from a point A to a point B, he/she is given a quote which is an estimate of how much this transport service will cost.

Rig: Can be any combination of trailers that vehicles are being transported in. They can take from 1 car to 11.

RO-RO (Roll-on Roll-off): These are platforms to transport cars on a boat. Cars are rolled on to platforms and stacked in lines one after the other. Once they arrive to destination port, cars are rolled off; similar to transporting cars in a ferry from one side to the other.

Shipping Order Form: This is a form Companies fill out with all the information necessary to do a booking, such as customers contact information, pickup and delivery locations, contact persons on all locations, tariff totals, breakdowns, and other details. This form is to be signed by a customer after verifying all the information is correct in order to submit this information to the driver.

Special modifications: These are all the extra modifications done to the body of a car to change it from its original factory model.

Soft Goods: These are soft items that are allowed to be carried in the trunk of the car. It can be any soft item such as clothes. D.O.T. regulations only allow up to 75 lbs of soft goods to be added to the car, however these items are not covered by the insurance.

Sedan: This term refers to any closed vehicle that has two or four doors and a front and rear seat.

SUV: “Sports Utility Van”. This car refers to a high-performance four-wheel drive car built on a truck chassis, very common family car.

Truck: This term refers to heavy motor vehicles designed for carrying or pulling loads

Terminal –to-terminal: Some carriers that do not offer the door-to-door service will pick up a car from a designated terminal and deliver to another designated terminal where customer will have to drop off and pick up car.

TWIC Card: Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is an ID that allows drivers into ports with no further supervision. Drivers with this card are allowed access into the port without having to pay someone else to take their loads into the port, avoiding higher costs to him and the customer.

Towing Car: Refers to a truck equipped to hoist and pull wrecked cars (or to remove cars from no-parking zones). Usually these trucks tow cars for short distances or locally.

Up-front deposit: Many car transport companies will breakdown total price for you in an upfront deposit and the remaining balance is to be paid to driver when vehicle is delivered. This up-front deposit usually is brokers fee and your booking fee to save your spot on the carrier.

Van: Refers to an enclosed boxlike motor vehicle having rear or side doors and side panels especially for transporting people. It can be used also for cargo or other objects.






We hope this Car Transport Dictionary  has assisted your car transport needs. If there is any term missing in our car transport dictionary, please let us know so we can complete our car transport dictionary list and better assist your car transport knowledge!

Read also How to ship a car by clicking here.

If you want to see more Fun Stuff, click here.

Ready to ship? Get a free quote on our online calculator or give us a call at (800) 516-3440 to talk with one of our agents.


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