That Big Truck Blog

An American Car Hauler's Blog


"What is a car hauler"?


Mention “truck driver” to the general public and the cartoon image of a burly, half-educated, unshaven, brawny lout is conjured up. Deserved or not, that is the unfortunate stereotype…but what really is a truck driver and particularly a car hauler?

A car hauler is a guy expected to put anywhere between 6 and 12 motor vehicles in a box 75 feet long and 13 and a half feet high. The box is about 3 times the size of a normal house garage, the sides of which the average motorist finds himself scraping from time to time.

On newer equipment types, he places his 195 linear feet of cargo in his 75 foot container by manipulating approximately 23 valves, which activate almost 45 hydraulic cylinders or screws, which in turn place head ramps, cantilevers, stands, and decks in position to complete the loading puzzle. He is working with tolerances which consider 3 inches “all kinds of room,” and he practices his art in all kinds of weather.

When he is through with the loading process, he finds himself with a package which from the standpoints of height and length, is at the fringes of legal limits.

He is the biggest thing on the road with bridges, tree limbs, detours and road construction posing a constant threat. In all types of road conditions, daily commuters see him as an obstacle to be avoided at all costs. Although he may be lost, looking for a dealer he’s never been to before, in bumper to bumper traffic, concerned with overhead objects which may pop up at any time, he receives that amount of sympathy normally reserved for reptiles. He is cut in front of, cut inside of, tailgated and sudden stopped.

With the complexities of loading behind him, possibly terrible weather conditions and maybe even a breakdown or two, he frequently arrives at his destination only to find outrageous unloading conditions and hostile car checkers (if he can find them). Yet he is expected to maintain his composure because public relations are also a big part of his job. And when he finally gets his last unit off, he often proceeds to another terminal to pick up his backhaul and start all over again.

The next time you’re inclined to think of our drivers in those old cartoon images…ask yourself if you could do their job. Not many of us can, and for you to continue your job, he, God bless him, must continue to do his. Being a professional car hauler is not given to many, and one who has made it, is entitled to all your respect and admiration.

Thank You, Drivers, for All Your Hard Work ! We Really Do Appreciate You !


January 7, 2010 - Posted by | General Auto Transport | , , , , ,


  1. Question, I’m a fairly new car hauler (of 2 years) and haven’t ran into this before. Car came from Alaska, I picked it up in Seattle and going to a dealer in Tampa. I used central dispatch, but Total Access inc out of MA faxed over the dispatch sheet. Between Seattle and Florida Total Access went out of business, canceled their bond and insurance, the delivery address in not correct, the delivery is not COD and the MC number is inactive. Any ideas? Anything would help…

    Comment by car hauler | October 7, 2010 | Reply

    • That’s a new one, Car hauler, but I am not surprised at anything I hear nowadays. You’ve got this resolved by now I’m sure…I’m late to seeing this comment. Central Dispatch has records for the companies using their services. For the most part they require documentation on each company, dealer, shipper, individual i.e. insurance, operating authority, etc.

      I’ll make a bet that the company that went out of business was the lead dog on the shipment and received full payment via credit card. Problem for you is what to do with this car? There are multiple ways to locate the owner by getting the authorities involved. As for getting paid for the haul bill…good luck. You’ll probably get a lot of advice telling you to put it into storage, place a lien on the car, etc…the owner of the car is probably innocent to all this and the culprit is the rotten company that brokered the car to you. I would try to work something out with the frustrated (by now) owner of the car. Word to the wise…next time…pay attention to that rating on Central Dispatch. While a 97.2% rating seems close to 100%, it is not. Look at the actual statements for the less-than-positive rating and see if the shipper actually took the time to respond to the negative report. Many times they don’t even bother. If I see even one non-payment issue that goes uncontested for a shipper, I’m clicking off that one. I don’t need the drama or the game that comes with unreliable folks looking to ship for free. A note…Central Dispatch has re-vamped their rating system beginning today (Monday, Oct 31, 2011).

      This industry has a terrible image already and you hardly ever see an honest positive report about a good carrier and there are plenty of guys and gals that deserve the “atta boy” recognition. Let us know how this worked out for you.

      Comment by The Truckist | October 31, 2011 | Reply

  2. I’ve read that many times over the years and it’s never been more true than today. Thank you Car Haulers!

    Comment by Jamey Key | December 2, 2010 | Reply

    • JKat, thanks for the comment. I apologize for the late replies…I’m not sure why I haven’t seen these but I think it’s WordPress thing.

      Either way, I appreciate you dropping by.

      Comment by The Truckist | October 31, 2011 | Reply

  3. An American Car Hauler’s explain car hauler beautifully, i think their is no confusion for customers about “what is car hauler” after reading this article…..;-)

    Comment by john tied | October 31, 2011 | Reply

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