Car Haulers?

Topic 32737 | Page 1

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Marc L.'s Comment
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I am starting a new trucking career. When my wife and I travel we like to observe all the trucks and wonder about the job. One of the topics has been ‘What do you want to haul for a living?’ We saw some car haulers recently and imagined what that would be like. Anyone experienced car haulers here that can comment on this type of cargo? What’s the job like hauling cars? Do you enjoy it? What carriers haul cars? How do you go about getting that gig?

Pacific Pearl's Comment
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It's a niche. I've looked into it - talking to drivers who haul cars. Not for me.

The two biggest things with car hauling are the low trailer height and damages. You can easily get high centered on a railroad track or other high point in the road and be STUCK! That could mean calls to a tow truck, the railroad, local law enforcement and others to get free.

Damages are several degrees more serious than they are in a dry van. Your cargo is exposed. Hitting a bird can destroy a windshield. A passing pickup without mudflaps can throw up a piece of gravel that can chip paint or crack glass. Now, even if you get the cargo safely to your destination that doesn't mean you're done. The minimum wage earner who washes the cars on the dealer's lot may go hot rodding with a car after you've delivered it. If they damage the car they know they'll be fired if their employer finds out so they claim, "It came that way off the truck". You'll be four states away and get notified by your safety department or insurance that there was a damage claim for a vehicle you delivered. It's basically your word against the lot attendant so you'll need to take multiple pictures of every car as you take them off the truck to protect yourself. You can't just show the car being safely off your truck, you need recognizable landmarks or one of the dealer's signs in the pictures to prove is was in one piece at the destination.

Car carriers vary by location. You don't have your location in your profile so I can't tell you who hauls cars in your area. Here are some ads for Portland, OR and Lithia Springs, GA to give you and idea what they're looking for:

CDL A Driver - Car Hauler (Portland) Toyota

Class A CDL Commercial Truck Driver

The CarMax link will let you check other locations.

How do you get a job as a car hauler? Apply.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
The Pelican's Comment
member avatar

My mother, father, and great grandfather were all car haulers.

You'll be driving cars onto the trailers, making sure you do so safely and without damaging the vehicle.

Space can be extremely tight, as you may pull a car up next to a beam on a trailer so you only have a few inches to open the door. So have to contort and twist your way out the door, almost crawling upward because there's hardly any room between the door and the trailer. So you have to be physically agile... especially when you start pulling cars onto the second level. Don't wanna lose your step and fall to the ground below! The ledge on the second level to move around is rather narrow. Gotta hang onto the cars.

A basic understanding of math is helpful, since different cars weigh different things and you may end up having to play a version of car Tetris in order to get them on the axles right. If not you'll overload an axle/tandem and DOT could eat your lunch.

From what I understand, car haulers make pretty good money compared to other types of truckers.

I'm not a car hauler, so I'm not an expert, however I did grow up talking to car haulers and watching them work.

When I get my CDL , I think I'll stick to dry van. I don't like heights and that upper deck on car haulers concerns me 😂

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
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