Military Auto Transport: A Comprehensive PCS Car Shipping Guide

Posted on April 23, 2024

Military life is filled with change, and those Permanent Change of Station orders (PCS) are a prime example.

Beyond the excitement of a new location lies the logistical headache of moving, especially when it comes to your car.

Understanding military car shipping and the process of POV shipping eases those worries.

This guide breaks down your options, regulations, and insider tips to streamline your PCS car shipping experience.


1. Understanding PCS Moves
2. Step-by-Step Guide: Organizing a Smooth Military Auto Transport
3. Rules of the Road: Staying Compliant with POV Shipping Regulations
4. Secrets from the Seasoned: Tips from Military Personnel
5. FAQs

Understanding PCS Moves

Understanding PCS Moves

Military PCS orders bring a whirlwind of planning –  new schools, new housing, and the question of how to get your vehicle to the next duty station. Thankfully, the government recognizes the burden of relocating your POV (Privately Owned Vehicle) and offers some help. 

Here’s a breakdown of the most common shipping methods:

Government-Arranged Shipping: Often the most convenient, the military handles the logistics of transporting your car.  It’s essential to contact your Transportation Office to confirm eligibility and discuss any restrictions on pickup or drop-off locations.
Self-Arranged Shipping: While offering greater flexibility in timing and locations, there’s potential for out-of-pocket costs. The Department of Defense offers guidance on PCS allowances and reimbursement processes.

Deciding Which Route’s Right for You

The best method for your PCS car shipping depends on several factors:

Destination: Some overseas locations have specific restrictions on vehicle types and import regulations.
Budget: Carefully assess any potential costs you might incur with self-arranged shipping.
Timeline: If you have specific scheduling needs, self-arranging might provide more flexibility.

Choosing the right path for your PCS car shipping takes a bit of research, but it ensures your vehicle arrives safely along with the rest of your household.

Step-by-Step Guide: Organizing a Smooth Military Auto Transport

When you receive your PCS orders, among the first tasks to tackle is organizing the shipment of your vehicle, especially if your new duty station is far from your current location or overseas. Here’s a structured guide to help you manage military auto transport efficiently, ensuring a smooth transition to your next assignment.

Step-by-Step Guide: Organizing a Smooth Military Auto Transport

Step 1: Verify Your Eligibility for POV Shipping

Before anything else, confirm whether you are eligible for POV shipping as part of your PCS. The entitlements may vary depending on the destination and specific orders. The official U.S. Transportation Command provides clear guidelines on who qualifies for military car shipping and under what circumstances.

Step 2: Choose a Reliable Military Auto Transport Company

Choose a reliable military car shipping company that has a robust understanding of military requirements and regulations. True Carriers, for example, offers specialized services in military auto transport, ensuring compliance with all military specifications and providing services tailored to meet the needs of service members. Research companies with strong reputations, verified by reviews and ratings on trusted websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Step 3: Schedule Your Transport

Once you’ve chosen your transporter, schedule the pickup and delivery dates. Timing is critical in PCS moves, so coordinate these dates closely with your move-out and move-in schedules. Be sure to communicate any potential changes in your schedule to the transport company as soon as possible.

Step 4: Prepare Your Vehicle

Preparing your vehicle for transport is more than just a wash. Ensure the gas tank is no more than 1/4 full, check for and document any existing damages for insurance purposes, and remove all personal items and external attachments like bike racks. 

Step 5: Understand and Complete Necessary Paperwork

Familiarize yourself with all required documentation for military car shipping. This includes registration, proof of insurance, power of attorney (if someone else will be handling the vehicle pickup or drop-off), and a copy of your orders. Each piece is vital to ensure a smooth transport process.

Step 6: Vehicle Pickup

On the day of pickup, meet with the transport agent, review the transport plan, and double-check that all forms are in order. This meeting is your opportunity to ask last-minute questions and ensure that everything is set according to the agreed-upon plan.

Step 7: Track Your Vehicle’s Transport

Most reputable military auto transport services offer tracking services that allow you to monitor your vehicle’s journey toward its new destination. This feature provides peace of mind and keeps you informed of the transport status.

Step 8: Vehicle Delivery and Inspection

Upon delivery, inspect your vehicle thoroughly. Check for any potential damage that might have occurred during the transport and compare the vehicle’s condition against the pre-shipment inspection report. If there are discrepancies, report them immediately to the transport company.

Remember, starting this process the moment you have those PCS orders in hand minimizes stress and ensures your ride arrives at your new duty station on schedule!

Rules of the Road: Staying Compliant with POV Shipping Regulations

While military auto transport offers convenience, it’s essential to understand the regulations involved.

This guarantees a smooth experience and avoids any unexpected snags during your PCS.

Rules of the Road: Staying Compliant with POV Shipping Regulations
Vehicle Condition: Your POV must be in safe, working order. Any major mechanical issues could disqualify it for transport.
Restricted Items: There are limitations on what can be left inside your vehicle during shipping. Consult your Transportation Office or the chosen auto transport company for the specific list of restrictions.
Insurance: While transport companies carry their own insurance, it’s highly advisable to maintain your personal vehicle insurance coverage throughout the PCS process.
Overseas Shipping: If heading to an international location, additional regulations and import restrictions may apply to your POV. Research requirements well in advance – your Transportation Office is a great starting point.

Pro-Tip: Don’t hesitate to ask questions! Your Transportation Office and chosen shipping company are there to guide you through the regulatory side of your military car shipping experience.

Secrets from the Seasoned: Tips from Military Personnel

Nobody knows the ins and outs of a military PCS move better than those who’ve been there, done that.  Here’s the inside scoop from seasoned service members on streamlining your car shipping:

Secrets from the Seasoned: Tips from Military Personnel
The Early Bird Gets the Spot: Don’t wait until the last minute to book your military auto transport. Popular companies and peak PCS season means spaces fill up fast – get those plans rolling!
Expect the Unexpected: Even the best-laid PCS plans can hit delays. Have a backup plan for getting around in case your car arrives a bit later than anticipated at your new duty station.
Document Everything: Those pre-shipping photos of your car are worth their weight in gold. Do a thorough walk-through and inspection with the transport company at both pickup and delivery.
Military Family Discounts: Many auto transport companies understand the unique stresses of PCS moves. Ask about potential discounts or special offers for military personnel and their families.

Remember, you’re part of a community! Lean on the experience of those who’ve navigated military life before you – it’ll take some of the guesswork out of your move.

PCS moves are a whirlwind, but shipping your car doesn’t have to add to the chaos. By understanding your options, following regulations, and applying some insider tips, you’ll ensure your POV arrives at your new duty station safe and sound.

Companies with proven experience in military auto transport, like True Carriers, offer the expertise and reliability to make this part of your PCS a breeze.

Time to focus on the adventure ahead!


Can I ship more than one car during a PCS move?

Typically, the government sponsors the shipment of only one POV per PCS. However, in certain circumstances, you may be eligible to ship a second vehicle at your own expense. Consult your Transportation Office for specifics.

Is door-to-door military auto transport an option?

Many auto transport companies, including True Carriers, offer door-to-door service for convenience. Always confirm availability for your specific locations.

Can I ship a motorcycle as my POV?

Absolutely! Motorcycles often qualify for POV shipping under PCS orders. Double-check with your Transportation Office to be certain.

Does military auto transport cover the cost of shipping inoperable vehicles?

Generally, your POV needs to be in running condition to qualify for military-funded shipping. If your vehicle is inoperable, you might need to explore alternative transportation options at your own expense.

What if my car is damaged during military auto transport?

Reputable transport companies carry insurance to cover potential damages. It’s crucial to document your car’s condition thoroughly before shipping and to review the insurance coverage with the company.

How much does it cost to ship a car with True Carriers for a military PCS?

Costs vary depending on distance, vehicle size, and any additional services. Contact True Carriers directly for a personalized quote tailored to your specific move.

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