Car Hauling Checklist: What Every Car Hauler Should Know For Safe Deliveries!

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When you’re new to the car hauling industry, there can be a lot of information out there about the “right” and “wrong” way to auto haul. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused, as having a lack of knowledge or experience can feel like you’re losing a competitive edge in the early stages of your career.

The reality of learning the tricks or tips of auto hauling boils down to preference and trial and error, but having a checklist of what every auto-hauler should know or need can help give you that extra leg up in the industry. No matter what you add to your own personal car hauler checklist, one word should be at the forefront of each addition: safety. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a starter checklist of important information and items that every auto-hauler should know or have.

auto hauling


Picture the following scene: While behind a truck transporting cars on a loading ramp, a motorist notices one of the vehicles wobbling and its wheels beginning to roll backward. They change lanes to avoid a head-on collision yet watch as the unoccupied car rolls off the car hauler trailer and begins cutting across lanes of traffic until it swerves into and collides with an oncoming car. 

If this sounds like a scene from an action movie, you’d be surprised to then learn this was a real event that happened in Everett, Washington in August of 2019. According to King 5, one of the largest media companies in Seattle, “a {1967 Chevelle} classic car came loose from the tow-trailer it was on and crashed into another person’s car… Washington State Patrol Trooper Axtman released the video on Twitter to show the importance of people securing their load.”

Though no one was hurt in the crash, the car hauler was fined and cited for their failure to properly secure the vehicle. While the most common accidents you’ll hear about concerning flatbed haulers will revolve around improper weight distribution and trucks which flip over onto their sides, there is a specific and dangerous risk with car haulers involving the loss of a vehicle while on the road, like what happened in Washington a couple of years ago. 

The lack of proper preparations and driving without auto-hauling straps – or without the right type/amount – can lead to very dangerous and preventable roadway accidents.

What’s the best way to safely transport or ship cars? Below we list our ultimate auto hauler checklist for moving a car safely!

Hauling safety


The 1967 Chevelle Crossed Several Lanes Of Traffic Before It Crashed After Coming Loose From Its Car Hauler. (Credit: WSP, King 5)

The Ultimate Beginner Car Hauler Checklist

1. Make Proper Preparations for Hauling with Care

The first step may seem common sense, but having good, prior experience in hauling a car is integral to safely transporting such specific and unique cargo. This experience can range from having towed vehicles like ATVs in the past to researching and knowing what you need for hauling and shipping cars. 

Making preparations like knowing the right car hauler accessories you need, having plenty of car hauling straps or tie-downs available, using the right strap or hook on the vehicle’s wheels or axles, and so forth can make all the difference! 

While doing this research and purchasing the right car hauler trailer accessories may feel tedious, it’s an integral first step to delivering these vehicles with care. 

2. Carry Good-Quality Car Hauling Straps and Wheel Nets

Whether you are a new or experienced car hauler, something that should always be on your car hauler checklist is ensuring you have the right, high-quality car hauling straps for the vehicles you plan on towing. Click here to find the high-standard car tie-down straps for safe cargo securement. 

Securing cars against a movement that could damage the transmissions, axles, body, or tires is what makes car tie-down straps essential car hauler accessories. However, more haulers should place the same amount of importance on wheel nets!

Wheel nets are designed with the toughest jobs in mind, helping to keep the vehicles in place no matter how sharp or sudden a turn or stop is. Their basket-style design secures the vehicle firmly on the platform.

Securing by the tires allows the suspension to do what it’s designed for: absorbing bumps and jerks. You reduce the risk of a hook loosening or popping off at a sudden jolt when you secure a car by the tires instead. Should your car tie-down strap or hook come loose, you can prevent the vehicle from rolling off your trailer or ramp when it’s secured by the tires using wheel nets.

Mytee Products Car Tie-Down Straps

3. Being Skilled with Car Tie-Down Straps

That being said, car hauler trailer accessories beyond wheel nets are still an essential part of a car hauler’s checklist. You will get more skilled with car hauling straps the longer you are in the industry, but knowing the difference between how they secure a vehicle will go a long way!

Two of the most popular methods for tying down a vehicle are securement via the axles or the body. Axle securement is the highest recommended method, as securing to the frame could put pressure on the suspension and possibly damage it. Additionally, it adds stress to your car hauling straps with the consistent tugging and pulling. Using axle tie-down straps requires less equipment and time! The vehicle’s axles are strong enough to keep it secure on a trailer.

Car Tie-Down on Flatbed

Common tire straps you’ll come across will be the lasso, over-the-wheel, and tow dolly straps. We discussed tow dolly straps, otherwise known as wheel nets, above. Side-mount lasso wheel straps are used mainly on flatbed trailers as they come with a variety of end-fitting options that can easily be secured to a flatbed’s rub rail. They tighten horizontally around a car’s wheel, which differs from both over-the-wheel straps and wheel nets. 

Over-the-wheel straps are only compatible with truck beds that have floor anchor points, such as E-tracks. Given this unique trait, you should only purchase over-the-wheel straps if you will be using a specialty car carrier trailer. 

The longer you work and the more vehicles you haul, the higher the chances are that you will need to work with most if not all of these car hauling straps. Your skill level will only improve with each safe delivery!

4. Auto-Hauling Ramps are Necessary for Safe Hauls

Having a reliable car loading ramp may not be first on your car hauler checklist, but it should be included nonetheless. You can make the process of loading expensive or classic vehicles safely onto your trailer much easier and stress-free with these trailer ramps for cars. There are some simple steps you can take when properly using this car hauler trailer accessory:

  1. Double-check that the wheels are aligned as centered as possible with the ramp to avoid the risk of the trailer ramps cracking or the vehicle falling off the edges. 
  2. Drive slow! Keeping the wheels straight and maintaining a slow speed will help you feel the raised edges of the ramps if you are becoming off-center, which should allow you enough time to straighten out or reverse and try again. 
  3. Stop at the top of the ramps so each wheel is resting completely at the flat top. If you stop too early and the ramps slide or are removed, the rear of the vehicle may slip as well and you could damage the undercarriage. 
  4. Engage the parking brake!! Eliminate the risk of the vehicle’s wheels rolling backward off the trailer or forwards into your cab or other cargo.
  5. Always double-check the vehicle once it’s on the trailer and place wheel chocks behind the tires before you start securing the trailer.
Car Loading Ramp

5. Be Aware of Auto-Hauling/Cargo Laws and Regulations

Laws can feel confusing and overwhelming at times, but accidentally breaking them will cause a bigger headache for you. While each state may have its own version of these rules and regulations that you should look into, we’ve broken down the most important laws regarding auto-hauling and cargo control according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):

  • Proper Use of Tie-Downs:

Each car hauling strap or tie-down must be attached and secured in a manner that prevents it from becoming loose, unfastened, or releasing from the vehicle while in transit.

Edge protection must be used whenever a car hauling strap is at risk of abrasion, tearing, or cutting where it touches the cargo. This edge protection must be abrasion, cutting, and crushing-resistant.

  • Cargo Control General Rule:

The cargo must be immobilized and properly secured on or within a transportation vehicle. For vehicle-specific cargo, this can only be properly accomplished by using tie-downs or car hauling straps.

Articles of cargo that are likely to roll – such as vehicle wheels – must be restrained by chocks, wedges, cradle, or straps to prevent rolling. 

  • Minimum Working Load Limit for Cargo Securement:

The working load limit of any securement system used to secure cargo against movement must be at least one-half the weight of the cargo. The WLL is the sum of one-half the working load limit of each tie-down used.

  • Minimum Number of Tie-Downs:

A frequently asked question, there must be one tie-down every 5ft or less in length and 1,100 lbs or less in weight; you add one tie-down for anything above 5ft and/or 1,100 lbs.

For vehicles, one tie-down per tire is required to ensure there is equal weight distribution on your trailer.

6. Prepare for Special Securement Vehicles

When it comes to the transportation of special vehicles – like heavy vehicles, sports cars, or machinery – you will need to have knowledge of special securement laws or methods for these types of cars.

The minimum number of tie-downs or car hauler straps does not apply to a vehicle transporting specialized equipment or special purpose vehicles. Due to their design, size, shape, or weight, they must be fastened by special methods. Ensure you have the proper car hauler accessories that will adequately support and secure this type of special securement. While your standard wheel net may keep a commercial car secure on your flatbed, it will not work the same with a tractor’s tires.

 Special Securement Vehicles


7. Using Wheel Chocks and Scotch Blocks While Loading

While loading any vehicle, using wheel chocks or scotch blocks will help make sure the vehicle’s wheels do not shift while in transit, no matter how immediate a stop nor how deep a pothole may be. 

Wheel chocks are small rubber, plastic, or wooden wedges designed to stop a vehicle from rolling accidentally. They’re important tools to have in your auto hauler checklist because the vehicle’s parking brake is often not enough to keep a vehicle entirely still during transportation or shipment. 

Keeping the wheels stabilized prevents the risk of the vehicle coming loose during transportation or unloading and thus prevents the risk of injury or death.

Wheel Chocks


Scotch blocks are a specialty type of wheel chock. They are usually designed with steel and are used most commonly on railways. The tough material is perfect for keeping parked train cars from moving. Additionally, you can use a scotch block to store vehicles that rely on kickstands to remain upright when stationary, like motorcycles.

While this may be our ultimate car hauler checklist, it is by no means complete. You may find certain sections do not apply to you at all, just as you can add your own sections or expand upon the ones we provided. Keeping an auto hauler checklist on hand will help make your job less stressful and time-consuming, but creating your own requires these three pieces of advice:

1. Know Your Cargo 

The best way to properly prepare your checklist is to know the types of vehicles you will be towing or hauling. Will you need to lift a heavier vehicle or machinery onto your trailer? Are you hauling with a flatbed? What brands of cars are you hauling? How many vehicles are you hauling, and is your trailer big and strong enough for the weight? Do you have enough car hauler trailer accessories, like car hauling straps, for the amount or type of cargo? Different jobs require different equipment for example you are required to use agriculture and tractor attachments to make your farming easy, it’s best to always be prepared and adjust your checklist when necessary.

2. What’s The Weather Like?

When deciding the type of chocks and car loading ramps to buy, consider the types of surfaces you expect to be loading and unloading the vehicles on. Whether it’s a steep incline, smooth or gravelly concrete, or wet mud will determine the durability and type of car hauler accessories you will need to buy as well as change your checklist preparations. Prepare for the environments and weather conditions you may encounter!

3. Don’t Go Over-Budget

Safety must always be at the forefront of every car hauler’s mind, but your investments don’t have to drain your wallet. Making purchases over time, investing in car hauling accessories that will last you years, only replacing equipment when they are old or damaged are all steps you can take to ensure you’re hitting all the marks on your checklist without falling into the negatives.

It’s incredibly important to have the right accessories on hand, as it ties into your ability to safely deliver your cargo. Having a checklist on hand of all YOUR must-have actions and accessories is a great way to make sure you don’t miss anything important before you hit the road.

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John Miller

John Miller is a cars enthusiast who loves writing anything related to automobiles. He is a passionate blogger writing for and other auto blogs