Shipping automotive parts is common in the freight world, but it’s also one of the most challenging things to do. Whether you’re a mechanic, car shop owner, or manage an auto parts store, you know the challenges that come with shipping auto parts. With so many different freight shipping options and a variety of automotive parts to ship, finding the right shipping solutions is key. We talk about some best practices that you can incorporate to help make shipping automotive parts easier and less difficult.
Which Should You Choose? Freight or Parcel?
Here’s the first question you need to ask yourself when shipping automotive parts: is this a freight shipment or a parcel shipment? Answering this before anything else helps you properly prepare your shipping strategy which includes managing the budget to proper packaging. How do you determine which to choose? Here are the differences between a less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipment and a parcel shipment:
- Parcel shipments must weigh less than 150 lbs., not be longer than 108”, and are no more than 165” in both length and girth combined. Girth = (Wx2) + (Hx2), add length + girth to see if the total is under 165”.
- LTL freight shipments can weigh more than 150 lbs. and are only limited by restrictions on oversized freight which can vary depending on the carrier.
Whether you need freight services or parcel services relies entirely on the automotive parts you’re shipping. Some parts might be perfectly fine packaged in a box and in the back of a USPS parcel truck. But cars and other large car parts are usually big and heavy, requiring large capacity trailers or specific freight carriers. Do an internal audit of the types of automotive parts you’re shipping and see which service would be best for you.
If you ship both small and large car parts, that’s ok, too. Your shipping strategy would need to include both parcel and LTL freight to accommodate what types of automotive parts you’re shipping.
Automotive Parts Packaging Tips
Shipping automotive parts can be tricky because of the difficulty in packaging your equipment properly. It can be hard to find the best packaging solution for items like this. As a rule of thumb, remember that there is no such thing as “overkill” in the world of shipping automotive parts. You can never be too safe when protecting these valuable items. It’s better to spend a little extra money and time safely packaging your automotive parts rather than go through the hassle of filing insurance claims for lost or damaged items. Here are a few pro tips:
- Crates are generally the safest and most protective of all the external packaging materials out there. Package your parts properly by crating them and securing it to a standard pallet.
- Pallets are crucial. Properly strapping your freight to a pallet without any overhang off the sides ensures your shipment is safe during transit.
- Drain any liquids – including water before shipping to avoid delays, damage and additional charges. This will also help maintain the structural integrity of the packaging you are using.
- Internal packaging materials like foam or bubble wrap are always recommended to keep your freight most protected.
Packaging is a vital part of the process of shipping automotive parts. Download our Guide to Freight Packaging for a more comprehensive look into different packaging materials, so you can decide which would work best for your automotive parts.
Freight Class and Measurements
Of all the moving pieces that go into shipping automotive parts and the freight shipping process altogether, one of the most important steps to get right is freight class. Freight class is a classification system designed to standardize the classification of freight. Most every piece of freight imaginable has some kind of freight classification and reporting the wrong one can create a costly billing adjustment at the end of delivery from the carrier.
While there are factors to getting freight class right, the best practice to implement into your supply chain is to get the most accurate measurements and weight for your shipment.
- Weighing your fully packaged shipment on a freight scale yields the most accurate weight.
- Measure an odd-shaped item as if it’s a rectangular shipment.
Correct weight and dimensions on an LTL freight quote, along with the right freight class, lowers the risks of billing adjustments later and makes the whole shipping process easier.
It Boils Down to Accuracy
In the end, remember that your final shipping price ultimately depends on accuracy. To avoid costly surprises:
- Make sure your listed freight weight includes the pallet and packaging.
- Ensure the dimensions—height, width, and length—are correct, and remember, the smaller and tighter the package, the greater savings potential.
- Take any necessary accessorials into consideration. You may opt for additional services, such as inside pick up and/or delivery, lift gate service, and residential service. You may also consider adding on insurance or an arrival notification.
3PLs Drive You Forward
Third-party logistics companies (3PLs) like FreightCenter can streamline the process for you and provide the expertise and the resources needed to move the parts safely and efficiently.
Using a powerful transportation management system to centralize the search for the best rates and carriers and the human touch that comes with a personalized shipping agent, is the best of both worlds. FreightCenter can provide direction and recommend solutions for your shipment.