The Risks to Your Tires When Shipping a Car: Mitigating Damage

June 13, 2024

"Poor Doggy. He couldn't read the 'do not back enter, severe tire damage' sign and now he's stuck in the parking lot with nowhere to go." by Malingering is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Shipping a car, whether domestically or internationally, is a process that requires careful consideration, especially concerning the tires. Tires are crucial for vehicle safety and performance; thus, understanding the risks and how to mitigate them is essential.

Shipping Duration

Car shipping durations vary greatly. Domestic shipping typically takes a few days to two weeks, while international shipments can take several weeks due to the complexities of international logistics and customs. The shipping duration is influenced by several factors:

Factors Influencing Shipping Duration

Distance: Longer distances require more time, especially across international borders.

Transportation Method: Open-air versus enclosed transport affects both the duration and the availability of services.

Operational Factors: These include route planning, traffic, availability of transport vehicles, personnel, and seasonal weather conditions.

"Caution: severe tire damage" by LauraElaine is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Importance of Timely Delivery

Prolonged transit times can lead to tire degradation, such as flat spots and dry rot. Ensuring timely delivery helps maintain tire integrity by reducing the period the car remains immobile.

Hidden Risks to Tires During Shipping

During car shipping, tires face several hidden risks:

Improper Handling during Loading/Unloading: This can cause undue stress, leading to sidewall damage or misalignments.

Environmental Exposure: Extreme temperatures, sunlight, moisture, road salt, and oils can degrade the rubber.

Compression and Weight Distribution: Constant weight on one part of the tire can cause flat spots. Proper tire pressure and supports can help mitigate this.

Contact with Sharp Objects: There is a risk of punctures from debris, nails, and metal pieces in shipping docks and storage areas.

Preventative Measures

Choosing a Reputable Shipping Company

Conduct thorough research to find a shipping company with a good track record, positive customer reviews, and stringent safety protocols.

Proper Preparation of the Vehicle

Before shipping, it is essential to perform the following checks and preparations:

Tire Inspection and Maintenance: Check tires for wear, damage, and proper inflation.

Correct Tire Pressure: Ensure tires are properly inflated to prevent damage and maintain stability.

Use Quality Tire Covers: Protect tires from environmental elements and potential scratches.

Wheel Alignment Check: Ensure proper alignment to avoid uneven loading and stress on the tires.

Secure/Remove Custom Accessories: Protect custom rims and related accessories to avoid damage during transport.

Document Existing Conditions: Take photos of the vehicle for insurance purposes and damage claims.

Consult with the Shipping Company: Seek specific recommendations and adhere to any requirements stated by the shipping company.

Effective Management

By planning ahead, properly preparing the vehicle, and choosing a reliable shipping partner, the risks to tires during car shipping can be significantly mitigated. These steps help ensure that the vehicle arrives in excellent condition, thus safeguarding your investment and ensuring road safety.

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