Choose The Right Auto Transport Company For Your JDM

This month we decided to take a look down memory lane and peruse some of our first blog posts. To be sure we’ve grown in the last 4 years, not only in auto repair modding, but in writing as well. Our very first article pertained to towing your JDM car to show. While a great a subject for would-be show-goers there wasn’t much meat in the article.

This month we wanted to rectify this that misstep, and give you a more detailed idea of our thought process when we select a transportation or towing company to transport a car to show or race. While we have nothing against DIYers, it makes sense for alot of custom shops to outsource this service to experts.

There are strict requirements in place for moving a JDM show car and you will want it to be done the right way. Any mistakes can lead to damage and that is the last thing anyone wants to deal with when it comes to your rare Japanese domestic import.

Without further ado, here’s we we consider when looking for a auto transport company.


First things first, we start our search with who we know.

While online reviews from sites like Google, Yelp, and Bing are a decent point of reference, we’ve found that the reviews found there are often manipulated to pump up the perception of the business. In our experience referrals from friends, associates, and family we know and trust are the best sources for good business, and since we’ve been in the car business for quite a while, there’s plenty of referrals to come by.

However, if you’re relatively new to the show car circuit, or are struggling to come up with referrals from immediate friends or family, start your search with a mechanic you trust.

Mechanics generally have a good idea of reputable towing services in the area as many tow vehicles to their shop after they breakdown.

This is exactly how we had found our long time towing service partner in Schaumburg Illinois that we use to this day for JDM car shows and events in Chicagoland.

Looking Under The Hood (Of The Business)

Once we’ve narrowed down our list of qualified transportation or towing companies, we like to “get into the weeds” regarding specifics of the business operations, focusing on 3 distinct areas:

  1. Insurance / Licensing
  2. Specialization / experience in sports car transport
  3. Costs

Insurance & Licensing

JDM cars don’t come cheap, so we won’t do business with any company that is not insured many times over the value of the cargo they transport. No matter how good the driver or reputation of the business, “stuff” happens, so having the company cover damage due to accidents of handling errors is an absolute must.

Additionally the company will need the proper paperwork to effectively conduct their transportation business. You don’t want your car held up at the state border because the company you selected didn’t have the proper USDOT paperwork for interstate travel.

And don’t be afraid to ask for this information up front. It might seem awkward, but any company worth their salt should have this documentation readily available and have likely been asked many times before.


While the towing business may look good on paper, I insist on knowing the exact plan on how they would ship my cars. I ask for details like…

  • How would you load my car(s) to the transport bed?
  • How do you secure my car(s) to the transport bed?
  • Is the transport container covered or uncovered?
  • What are your guarantees for getting to the destination on-time?

We even go as far as watching them load a vehicle onto the carrier.

Having the ability to assess what their handling methods are will showcase whether or not they are the right fit for your vehicle. You will want a team that is passionate about what it does and uses high-end materials to move the vehicles from point A to point B.


Certain costs are going to come along with a service such as this one. You will have a budget in mind and that is a good starting point. However, you will also want to take into account additional fees that might come along with the service.

A good auto transport company is not going to hide fees from you and will be straight-up about what they are offering.

This goes a long way in making sure you are in line with your budget and don’t end up settling.

Final Thoughts

These are the details that you are going to want to think about when it comes to the right auto transport company. A lot of clients will go through the motions when it comes to something like this and end up with serious issues down the road.

The goal should be to make sure you are choosing an auto transport company that is on top of things and is not going to cut corners.

This will ensure your JDM show car gets to where it needs to be, in the shape it needs to be. Thanks again for reading and keep it nasty!