How To Become A Car Hauler?

Semi Truck Driver Start Hauling Autos

After Arriving At The Car Hauling Transport Training Area

You will arrive at your hotel, motel or however that aspect is going to work out.  You will do all the checking in stuff and then at some point, you will go to the Facility of the Company Training you.

Here you will most likely need any documentation that was told to you to bring.  You will fill out a bunch of paperwork.  You may even be given some worksheets on how to put which vehicles where on the Auto Transportation Semi Truck Carrier.

Now some car haulers may disagree with me on this.  I’m going to reference a 10 Car Cottrell setup with 7 positions on the trailer and 3 on the semi-truck.  I only loaded 10 vehicles on a 10 car set up when all 10 vehicles were small to tiny in size.

If 8 were small and 2 were medium I would do it.  If anything else, I would only load 9 vehicles.  Make more money with 10, but with 10 you could have overweight issues, you could have over length issues, you just could have issues.

I don’t like issues, I like safety and spending less money.  I’m not going to teach anything here about how to load 10 vehicles.  Sorry, it can be very advanced at times.  It’s easy to learn once you have the complete hang of everything.

Anyone you see with an Auto Carrier loaded with 10 vehicles would be more than happy to show you this in person.  Maybe later when I put up some video’s I will include this at that time.  So for now, we are going to keep this very basic, very safe, and simple to understand.

This is where some car haulers may start to disagree with me.  I tried to load my first vehicles in order so that the first I loaded would be the last to be delivered.  So far everyone is in agreement.

The picture to the left is for a way to reference to help explain some of this a little bit easier.

The green numbers indicate platform locations that vehicles can be parked on.  I normally only used 1 through 6 and 8 through 10.  The red stars indicate the direction of which the front of the vehicle would “normally” face.  So, for example, *1 means facing the rear of the Auto Transporter.  Whereas 5* means facing towards the front of the Auto Transporter.

However, sometimes things do not always fit in the manner referenced in the picture.  What I have found to be best, is that usually SUV’s and Pickup’s can normally fit in positions referenced as 2, 3, 5, maybe 8 and maybe 10.

Your smallest of vehicles in length were normally placed in positions 4, 6 and 9.  The longest vehicles I would try to place in positions 1 and 3 and sometimes 10 if I could get it to work out that way.  Keep in mind, stacking 2 tall vehicles over top of each other, may cause you to be too tall.  I never ran taller than 13′ 8″ down any roadway or highway regardless of what anyone ever attempted to tell me about a higher possible height.  I just did not do it.

13′ 6″ is the normal average height for most bridges and underpasses and things of this sort where commercial vehicles travel when referencing a map like Ran McNally for example.  As an Auto Transport Truck Driver, you may be on these routes, you may be on other unfamiliar routes.

While being no taller than 13′ 8″ in height.  All my vehicles were secured at 4 points, and all of my vehicles had more than a fist of space between anything that could possibly touch them while secured on my Auto Transport Carrier.

If anyone at any time.  Tells you something about you don’t need to secure a vehicle at 4 points.  Tell them they are crazy because in car hauling this is one of the most dangerous things a car hauler could possibly do.  Also, you can be and will be given a citation if you are caught with anything less than what is required by rules and regulations.  Even a chain or strap that has become loose while in transit, can earn you a citation.

Though when an Auto Transporter rolls over in an accident if all 4 of the points or corners of the autos loaded onto that auto carrier are not secure, do you know what happens?

What happens is, autos will snap those only 2 secured points and fall off the auto transporter and have a field day with traffic or innocent bystanders.  If all 4 points or corners are secured in a proper manner, even in worst-case scenario of a rollover, it is “usually” unlikely any loaded vehicle will move from its secured location.  Unless the platform location is broken off or something.

The picture to the right shows green and orange arrows.  The green is pulling the securing straps or chains away from the vehicle as they are being tightened.  The orange is pulling the securing straps or chains towards the middle of the vehicle as they are being tightened.

Never, never ever, tighten any strap or chain with one end of a vehicle being in green and the opposing end is in orange.  You are only moving the vehicle in which the direction you are tightening from.  You are not securing the vehicle.

Instead, if the vehicle moves just the slightest when you have done this.  It has the capability to move in the direction it was tightened, by twice the length of your securing tool (chain or strap) that is between the bottom of the vehicle to the platform.

So if there are 2 feet of distance between them, it can move 4 feet.  Will, that causes it to fall off the Auto Transport Carrier your driving or smash into another vehicle you have loaded? Absolutely.

So, just stick to the idea of if you’re going to set up securing the vehicle by pulling away from it, do it that way all the way around.  If instead, you’re going to start with the first one pulling towards the center.  Just do it that way all the way around.

How Do You Drive A Car Transport Semi Truck Down The Road?

First of all, you have to take into consideration a few extra things that you may not normally be religiously aware of.  These are in no specific order.  When you turn with an Auto Transport Carrier Semi Truck, you have to take into account, you now have a bunch of extra overhangs.  Also, the possibility that your height is not always the same.  So watching for those height signs on bridges and etc are now very very important.

Both on the back of your semi truck and on the rear of the trailer you have an excessive amount of overhang.  This will most likely always be this way.  On the back of your semi truck, you may have 2 vehicles that are overhanging.  On the front of your trailer, you may have 2 vehicles that are overhanging.

Do you see where I am going with this?  Your ability to make a tight turn is not possible unless you do not mind buying possibly a bunch of new bumpers, maybe a couple of sets of headlights and tail lights and who knows what else.

Also when you turn, the rear overhangs from the vehicles on the rear of your semi truck and on the rear of your semi truck trailer.  Will protrude into the lane next to you slightly, so you have to be aware of this.

Another new thing to you that you will have to be aware of.  Is that the times you paid attention to how close the nose of your semi truck got to the back of the vehicle in front of you when you came to a stop sign, for example, is no longer as important as my next statement.

Now DO NOT CONFUSE THIS.  THE OVERHANG or FRONT BUMPER of the semi truck you are driving.  Whichever is further ahead of you, the truck driver in your driver seat.  Is more important of a reference of distance from the vehicle ahead of you.

Even while traveling down the highway.  You will have to be aware, and you have to understand.  That the only people that are going to be aware of if the vehicle above the hood of your semi truck is hanging over, beyond the length of your semi truck’s hood, are other car haulers in a 10 car setup.

When other travelers merge in front of you.  There will be times you will slam on your brakes because you could have sworn the truck driver that is pulling a 53′ Dry Van just about tore the bumper off the vehicle loaded above your hood.

This is because everyone else is not trained to know this.  Most are trained to watch to see just the front of the semi truck or vehicle.  Before merging over, and some just assume.  You know the ones that assume, your traveling along, someone merges slightly close and then thank you for letting them merge in front you by giving you the old double flashers.  Then you think to yourself, “why are you thanking me, I didn’t even communicate it was okay for you to merge in front of me.”

How much does a new 10 Car Auto Transporter Cost?

For a brand new 10 car auto transporter.  You are looking at a house payment.  Brand new can easily be in the $200,000 to $300,000 range for all the bells and whistles on a 10 car high rail set up.  (High rail is like the picture way above with the platform number positions)

An easy loader is an auto transport trailer, where the upper deck is normally conjoined together instead of being individual platforms with individual multiple levers associated with them.  Also, easy loaders do not have the high bar on both sides of the trailer.

A used 10 car high rail from for example 2016 can easily fetch $150,000 or more in today’s time.  Besides costs to buy, what other costs go into purchasing one of these?

You at times will have to do some extra maintenance to things that your not familiar with or accustomed to.  For example, slip plating rails.  Slip Plate is a product that is a dry film graphite lubricant that is applied to areas where metal slides through metal.

Its purpose is to make sliding the metal rails a smooth gliding transition as they are being moved.  This will help reduce jumping, or excessive friction, which can lead to bending or twisting of the platform and hydraulic pistons and or cylinders.

Sliding side rails, and up and down control arms that also slide on metal beams.  Do NOT ever use on hydraulic pistons or hydraulic piston cylinders.  A gallon of slip plate will set you back roughly $50 – $60 depending on your area and taxes in the area you buy it from. To do an entire auto transporter semi truck and trailer, normally one or two gallons will be sufficient.

Though this is something that may need to be done once a year or maybe even as often as once every 6 months.  Another added expense is hydraulic fluid.  This can set you back about $50 – $90 depending on brand, but for about 5 gallons instead.

Now if you have an electric hydraulic pump, then this could save you on fuel costs if you also have an external generator or APU.  Since there will be no need to idle the semi truck.

Another expense is hydraulic line fittings and hydraulic line.  The hydraulic line comes in a variety of sizes and strengths.  Depending on which line blew out on you, will determine which line you may need and which size of fitting you may need.

What I found to help me out the most. Was purchasing a few “Reusable Hydraulic Line Fittings” of each various sizes in advance.  To take with me on the road.  Along with this, a rechargeable Dremel and a converter that could charge it easily.  With extra cutting tools that are used with the Dremel.

We have to keep in mind, that repairing a blown hydraulic line can be fast if we do it our self, or it will take forever if we are waiting on anyone to come do for us.  Hydraulic line is reinforced with metal mesh, rubber, and more metal mesh and rubber.

Using the safety brackets on your Auto Transporter Semi Truck and Trailer are very important.  They are important because when a hydraulic line pops, you will lose hydraulic fluid pressure.  Which means what goes up can go down.  So having these in place as you move platforms up into the air is essential.

It’s essential to keep anything loaded damage free, and it’s essential to keep you safe.  Other ways to keep yourself safe while loading and unloading vehicles are to invest in reflective jackets, gloves, hats, and this type of safety gear.  At night time, people will not see from which point you may appear from on your Auto Transportation Car Hauler.

By wearing this type of gear, at least you will be seen.  Another great item to have is what is called a “Mechanic’s Belt”.  It’s just like any belt you would use for your pants (speaking of pants, do not wear jeans, the little metal buttons will scratch almost every vehicle you come in contact with.)

The difference with the Mechanic’s Belt when compared to a regular belt that you would use.  Is that it doesn’t expose any metal pieces that could scratch a vehicle as a normal belt will.  As for pants or shirts and etc.  You do not want to wear anything that has metal of any kind on the exterior of what you’re wearing.

This can also include plastic buttons.  These will scratch vehicles.  Not only will they scratch vehicles, but they can get caught on things as your trying to exit a vehicle and before you know it, something little becomes something enormous.

I normally just wore Dickies Work Pants and just regular T-shirts in the summer.  In the winter I would wear a very thick hoodie with a very thick sweater underneath, another T-shirt, or two and an undershirt with a winter beanie to top it off.

How Much Money Can You Make As A Auto Transport Hauler?

When I first started as a company driving being an Auto Transportation Semi Truck Driver.  I netted every week just over $1,800.00.  These numbers are based on running an 8 pack curtain side enclosed auto transport semi truck.  Later when I changed companies,  I went to a different company, where I netted an average of $1,500.00 every week.  These numbers are based on running a 6 car sun valley trailer and doing a lot of extra stops.

Hauling vehicles pay in a few different ways than your conventional dry van company may.  For starters, with most car hauling companies you are either paid per vehicle a per mile basis or a percentage of each vehicle or of an entire load of vehicles.

Later on in time, when I had a bit more experience in car hauling.  I drove for a company where my gross checks per week were $4700.00 each trip as a company driver based on being paid off of a percentage of a load of vehicles.  Keep in mind I said the trip and not week. These numbers are based on running a 10 car auto transport semi truck where I was mostly only using 9 of the 10 positions.

This trip I drove, the route normally took me about 11 to 12 days to complete. During this time I would have loaded a total of 18 to 22 vehicles and I would have delivered each and every one of them within this time frame.  This was all door to door transports with a good mixture of personal vehicles being picked up and auction vehicles and a few insurance claimed vehicles.

With door to door, you have to be a teacher to your customers.  You have to make them understand that at times you are unable to bring the auto transportation semi truck to the driveway of the customer.  You have to explain to them the federal rules and regulations.

You have to explain it in a way that each of your customers will understand, and you have to have a solution prepared prior to making this a topic.  If you do not have a solution prior to this conversation.  There will be times your customer will expect you to be at the end of they’re driveway to pick up they’re vehicle because the broker they used told them they can guarantee it.

There was a time when I was able to finance my own 10 car auto transportation semi truck.  During this time I hauled military loads, mostly for soldiers moving and relocating bases, and for military evasive training of different types.

When I had my own truck, I would gross an average of $23,000 to the truck for every 9 to 10 days out.  Keep in mind, this was 10 years ago maybe.  Rates today are not as great as they use to be.  To many auto hauler truck drivers are too willing to take cheaper rates.

Though that doesn’t mean you can’t make any money still in this area of the trucking industry with car hauling.  You just have to understand that over a period of time things are going to change in some manner.

If you can look at things in this type of manner.  Then you should be able to adapt in some way.  Maybe you will have to do an extra pickup and deliver or two to make up a difference.  Maybe you will push a little harder to get a contract of some sort.

Or maybe you will apply to get a twic card so that you can go to ports and get another avenue of auto’s that also need to be hauled somewhere.

 

Frequently Asked Trucker Question(s):

Can You Take A Semi Truck Through A Fast Food Drive Through?

I’m not sure if there is one at any truck stops as of writing this.  However, at most regular fast food locations that have a drive-through. They have a sign hanging up that is usually less than the actual height of most semi trucks. With this in mind, almost all semi trucks just will not be able to fit without doing some severe damage to the fast food restaurant.

Can Semi Trucks Have Tinted Windows?

So long as the tint being used does not exceed in blocking more than 30% of the light.  It is permitted to tint the windows on your semi truck.  If you allow less than 70% of light transparency, you are in violation of FMSCA Rules and Regulations 393.60.

About Michael : Semi Truck Driver

I have been a semi truck driver for approximately 20 years. Throughout this time I have been taught a lot of different things from a lot of different people through the years. I've also learned a lot of things from my own mistakes. With all of this in mind, allow me to share with you what I have been lucky enough to learn.

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