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How to Load a Car Hauler

When loading a car hauler, you want to ensure that you are loading it properly to keep you and the other drivers on the road safe. No matter what type of vehicle you are loading, safety should be your number one priority.

Our step-by-step guide will help you safely learn how to load a car hauler so you can easily drive your vehicle down the street or across the country. Even though car hauling can be a challenging task, if you have the proper equipment and resources to help you, you’ll be operating safely in no time.

What Is a Car Hauler? 

A car hauler can go by many names: car carrier, car hauler trailer, car-carrying trailer, and auto transport trailer. But what is a car hauler? As its name implies, it is a trailer or a semi-trailer that’s sole purpose is to transport vehicles from one destination to the next. A car hauler can be open or enclosed, and it can hold a single vehicle or multiple vehicles at a time. 

How Does a Car Hauler Work? 

As we previously mentioned, there are a few different versions of car haulers. A single-car trailer works differently than a tractor-trailer that hauls multiple vehicles.

For commercial car carrier haulers, they are generally used to ship vehicles from manufacturer to the dealership, or from one dealership to the next. This type of hauler most commonly attaches to the tractor by utilizing a fifth wheel. 

These trailers are generally “double-decker” haulers, which means there are two rows of vehicles stacked on top of each other. The hauler is loaded by using raps that can be tilted or lifted hydraulically. 

The one important distinction between a car hauler and a tow truck is that they are not equipped with winches to load vehicles – so the vehicles must be operational to be driven up the ramps. The cars are then driven up the ramp, then secured with wheel straps, tie-downs, or chains.

A single-vehicle car hauler works the same, however since it only holds one vehicle, there is not typically hydraulic power. Many people rent or purchase car haulers annually, which is ideal for people who own antique vehicles or who are moving across the country. 

6 Steps to Load a Car Hauler 

To load a car hauler safely, you’ll want to follow these six steps. Be sure to inspect your vehicle and the trailer before you begin. If anything is damaged or loose, fix it before starting or you could damage your vehicle and/or trailer. 

Step 1: Line Up the Car and the Trailer

Once you’re satisfied with the safety check of the car and the trailer, you’ll be ready to start the process of getting the car loaded. Begin by making sure you are on a level surface. Pull out the ramps from your car hauler and securely place them on the ground. You should now line up your vehicle with the ramps – but do not begin to drive up the ramp yet. You’ll need to do more prep first. 

Step 2: Prep the Trailer

Once you’ve lined up the car, it’s time to get the trailer prepped and ready to load. Free the tire straps from their ratchets, pull any chains out of the way, and check for any other tie-downs on the trailer. You’ll then want to remove or lower the driver’s side fender.

Step 3: Load the Car

At this point, it is ideal to have a spotter help you with the process. The spotter will help guide you to make sure the vehicle tires are lined up with the ramp each inch of the way. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to loading the car. 

Slowly and carefully drive up the ramp, with your window down so you can hear your spotter. They will let you know when your vehicle is in the proper position where the tires rest against the front of the trailer. Put the car in park and press the parking brake, then turn off your vehicle and carefully exit.

Step 4: Secure the Vehicle

You will likely have tire straps that need to be secured. Align them properly across each tire, centered directly over them. Begin to tighten the ratchet until the tire is secure, then move to the next tire. 

You might also have a security chain to fasten to the frame. Loop it to the structure of your vehicle using the hook at the end. 

Last but not least, once you’ve secured all the tie downs and chains, push the ramp back into the car hauler, and secure the driver’s side fender. 

Step 5: Testing Secure Load

Once you’ve fully loaded the car hauler, it’s time to test its safety to ensure it is fully secured. Start by doing a final walkthrough. Check all chains and straps, check the electrical components to make sure they light up properly and double-check to ensure the ramp is securely stowed. 

Then, hit the road and slowly and carefully drive through the neighborhood. This will help ensure that the vehicle is properly stored, and it allows you time to get comfortable driving with the loaded car hauler behind you.

Step 6: Check Load

If you are making a long-distance journey, you should regularly check your load. During refueling or stops for sustenance, take a quick check that everything is secure. Tighten ratchets or adjust the chains as needed to ensure the safety of your load through your entire journey. 

Properly Loading a Car Hauler

As we just explored, there are six simple steps needed to properly load a car hauler. The most important thing to keep in mind throughout the entire process is safety. 

Without the right handling of your car hauler and vehicle, you could end up with a catastrophic wreck on your hands. Make sure you have the best tools and resources to safely haul a loan using Motive’s fleet management systems! You’ll find everything from GPS tracking to camera systems that can keep you safe on the road!


How Many Cars Fit on a Car Hauler?

A car hauler can fit anywhere from one vehicle up to nine at one time.

How Much do Car Haulers Make Per Load?

While there is no set industry standard, the typical rate car haulers receive is $300-$700 for each car.

How Long Does it Take to Load a Car Carrier?

 It takes approximately 45 minutes per vehicle to load a car carrier safely and properly.

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