What you Need to Know
RV Transport: Shipping your RV
Shipping an RV might seem like a monstrous task, but it is much like transporting a car – a big car. Whether you are buying, selling, or just need to have it moved, you can make it a lot easier by being prepared and giving yourself plenty of time.
There are several options for RV transport depending on the type of RV. In preparation for shipping, you will need to decide how it will be transported, choose a qualified transporter, properly prepare your RV, and have the insurance information in case something were to go wrong.
How will the RV be transported?
The first decision to make is how you want to transport your RV. If it is motorized, often the cheapest way to get it from point A to point B, is to have someone drive it there. If you cannot get a friend or family member to do it, you can hire a professional to do it. RV transporters can drive it to its destination, which can be much more cost effective than having it hauled.
If your RV is a trailer, or is not in working condition, you will need to have it towed. Depending on the size, some RVs may require a special transporter that is equipped to carry large RVs. For RV trailers that can be easily attached to a trailer hitch, there will be many more options of transporters available.
Choosing a Transporter
Once you have decided on the type of RV transport, it is time to look for a transporter. For RVs you want to have driven, and for small trailers, you should have a wide variety of options. The options for towing a large motorized RV will be much more limited, as it is requires special equipment.
Regardless of what method you choose, you will want to ask any transporters you are considering for their Department of Transportation (DOT) and Motor Carrier (MC) numbers. You can use these numbers to pull up company information and safety records on www.Safersys.org. Using a licensed transporter can help you to ensure that the transporter will have the experience and is up to safety standards, including being properly insured.
Don’t forget to ask them about their experience transporting RVs, their insurance policy, about any additional fees or costs not included in their estimate, as well as any special precautions they may need you to take in preparation for the move.
Preparing your RV
If it is being towed:
- Remove and store personal items or any items that could come loose and get damaged or lost during transport.
- Close any windows, doors, and latches, (in and outside of the RV) and if necessary, tape them closed.
- Ensure that tires and wheels are in good condition.
- Ensure the tow bar and hitch are properly installed, latched, and in good condition.
- Depending on weather conditions, you may need to ensure you fill up the water tank with antifreeze.
- Turn off and disconnect the power supply and gas lines.
- Be sure to read and adhere to your RV manufacturer’s specifications for having the vehicle towed.
If it is being driven:
- Check that all signal lights are functional (parking, turn signals, indicator lights, headlights).
- Check fluid levels (engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering) and also check for leaks.
- Check tires for excessive wear and tear, and check the tire pressure.
- Verify that the breaks and parking brake are working as they should, including the air pressure for air brakes.
Make sure that, regardless of which method you choose, you have a complete set of keys, and a write-up of special operating procedures and emergency procedures that the transporter may need to be aware of. You should also ask the carrier about any special precautions they need you to take. Transporters will not be held responsible for damages that result from improperly prepared vehicles, so make sure you are thorough. Insurance
You may want to contact your insurance company, and inform them of the move. In the rare case that something goes wrong, you need to make sure you are covered. Also make sure to inquire about the transporter’s insurance. Licensed transporters are required to have insurance, and you should know the details. They may have the option to purchase additional insurance if you feel it is necessary. Remember, hope for the best, but plan for the worst!
By putting some time and effort into planning and preparing for your RV transport, you help to ensure that your RV arrives safely, and that you’re back on the road in no time.
Jill Miller is the founder of Your RV Lifestyle. Trading corporate America for the open road, Jill, along with her partner Jose, began their RV journey, making an unconventional start by wintering in New Jersey. A natural adventurer, she was motivated by a desire to explore the USA and beyond, embracing the varied landscapes, communities, and cultures across the country.
For Jill, the allure of RV living was not about material accumulation, but rather the pursuit of an adventurous, fulfilling lifestyle. A lover of golf, bicycling, hiking, and line dancing, she has carried her passions across the country, engaging with them in diverse settings. Jill’s commitment to the RV lifestyle came after years of careful research, numerous consultations with RV owners, and personal trials, including living in a rental RV.