Auto parts shipping involves transporting all the parts of a vehicle, from the parts that make the car or truck go to those that make it safe to the body parts that make it look sleek. Some of the more common parts shipped are tires/wheels, axles, engines, bumpers, hoods, fenders, grills, and doors. The market size of the auto parts manufacturing industry has a revenue of $62.2 billion, which makes the transporting of those auto parts a significant factor in the shipping world. Without the shipping of auto parts, it would not be possible for more than 8 million vehicles to be produced in the U.S. alone every year.


With many of those auto parts, several factors make them trickier to ship. Concerns can include large sizes, unusual shapes, and the fragility of some products. Those concerns mean that it is crucial to follow the best practices when transporting them. This blog provides a list of those best shipping practices. Also included are things to consider when shipping auto parts, such as what kind of technology is available to help shippers and strategies to help them improve shipping auto parts.

Considerations for Auto Parts Shipping

As with all shipping, some factors must be considered when beginning the auto parts shipping process. But the transporting of auto parts has some unique concerns of its own. Here are a few of them.

Choosing a Suitable Shipping Carrier

As is typical with shipping any product, you want to partner with a reliable carrier. But with the varied and unique qualities of auto parts, it’s even more vital to have an experienced carrier that knows the auto parts shipping process and what it takes to transport this cargo. Dealing with high-quality and often intricate auto parts requires a carrier partner who understands how crucial it is to successfully deliver them to the correct destination and in excellent condition. Therefore, it is wise to invest time and energy into researching the reputation of potential carrier partners.


Securing and protecting the parts during shipping

If any step in the process could be considered the most important, protecting the products during auto parts shipping is it. There are many places where this can go wrong; a part could arrive damaged cosmetically or to the point it is unusable. Here is a list of more specific auto parts and what packaging can protect them:


  • Body parts: With body parts, you often deal with size issues. It’s important that they do not bend during transportation and that any sharp edges are well-protected so they don’t protrude and become a safety hazard during the journey. Double boxing is an excellent method to assist in helping the product stay unharmed and safe.
  • Parts with glass: The delicate nature of glass warrants extreme care when handling, packing, and transporting. 
  • Wheels and tires: The weight of wheels presents a concern which usually means they are packaged separately with packaging protection over the face of the wheel. If the wheels are fitted with tires, then the tires provide some protection.
  • Heavy internal parts: Engines, gearboxes, and axles need a heavy-duty crate or pallet. Forklifts are a must for moving them, and specialists often handle completing final-mile delivery.

Adhering to Shipping Regulations

Some auto parts cannot be shipped because they contain hazardous materials (transmission fluid, brake fluid, battery acid). So it’s critical that you know what materials your auto parts are comprised of before you ship them. It’s also important to know what the international restrictions are for certain auto parts.

Which Auto Parts Can be Shipped?

With some companies having multiple manufacturing locations and some assembling vehicles internationally for cost-cutting reasons, auto parts shipping entails extensive transportation with many rules to follow. Here is a list of some parts that can be transported, provided they do not contain fluid:


  • Engines
  • Tires
  • Wheels lights
  • Radiators
  • Gearboxes
  • Body panels
  • Hoods
  • Doors
  • Fluid reservoirs
  • Fuel tanks
  • Exhaust systems
  • Tailgates
  • Bumpers
  • Seats


Batteries and airbags should not be delivered using the general courier service practices. You must follow standard safety procedures to minimize damage during transit.

Best Practices for Auto Parts Shipping

There are many benefits to creating and following best practices when shipping auto parts. The following practices streamline productivity and help ensure your product arrives safe and sound at its final destination–resulting in higher customer retention.


  • Adhere closely to the delivery schedule: Dealers and manufacturers have grown even more demanding about deliveries arriving on time to help them streamline their production and assembly lines. Your team must pay close attention to delivery schedules and create new strategies to improve the existing workflow. 
  • Promote a flexible workplace: Not all client requests will be cookie-cutter. Having a workplace that is flexible to unique requests is a great benefit. Confidently handling customer-specific requirements or emergency delivery requests can raise client appreciation and loyalty.
  • Be sure to communicate with the client: Making sure clients have detailed real-time updates — via emails, texts, or other forms of communication — on the current location of their shipment of auto parts allows them to be part of the process. Informing them when parts deliveries are arriving early or delayed minimizes the negative impact of matching the original estimated delivery time.
  • Switch over to an automated route planner: Replacing manual route planning with software that uses automated delivery route planning can help you find the most effective and efficient routes to match the ETA promised to your clients.

Technology in Auto Parts Shipping 

As with every other facet of the shipping industry, technology is making a massive impact on auto parts shipping. Technology is making the shipping world more efficient in many ways and is particularly crucial to the advancement of communication and interoperability between the many sectors of the supply chain. Turvo, a world-class collaboration cloud-based  platform offered by Zengistics, does just that. Turvo connects and indexes your entire supply chain, delivering data analytics and insights to help shippers, 3PLs, brokers, carriers, and customers improve performance. Auto parts shipping can prove even more vital because the average vehicle has tens of thousands of distinct parts, with most coming on different shipments from various sources. With systems like Turvo, it’s possible to keep tabs on all of those shipments — where they are and when they are scheduled to arrive — so that the arrangement of all of those components can be planned out and be ready for final assembly.


Technology can help in other ways as well. For example, automated order processing eliminates manual work, helps reduce human error, improves operational efficiencies, and speeds up the shipping process. Technology also provides a tracking system that can keep all parties in the loop and lets the customer feel like they are a part of the process, enhancing their experience.

Strategies for Improving Auto Parts Shipping

There are plenty of ways to improve how you ship auto parts. As mentioned, best practices and technological innovations can help you raise your game. But some other strategies are worth looking into to improve your business:


  • Utilize automated shipping systems: Automation is the best way to streamline the end-to-end shipping process and improve accuracy. Automated systems can quickly determine the best shipping option and provide accurate tracking information.
  • Offer free shipping: The enticement of no-cost shipping can be a great way to encourage customers to buy auto parts from you. Promoting free shipping for specific orders or those over a particular dollar amount is a great way to generate business.
  • Use quality packaging materials: Choosing suitable packaging materials can help ensure that your auto parts arrive in good condition. Quality packaging materials can also help reduce the risk of lost or damaged shipments.
  • Use multiple carriers: An extensive network of pre-vetted, trustworthy carriers can provide reliable capacity to ensure on-time, in-full deliveries. This strategy also provides more transportation options, such as full truckload, less-than-truckload, single line hauls, round trips, and more.
  • Monitor delivery times: A keen eye on delivery times can help identify issues causing delays. It could also lead to spotting anomalies in your shipping process that can be improved upon and provide better customer service.

Zengistics Can Shift Your Auto Parts Shipping Into the Next Gear

Keeping an auto parts shipping business firing on all cylinders and having it pointed toward a bright future takes a great deal of work during these busy times. This article provided much information regarding auto parts shipping, including best practices and strategies. However, to truly take your business to the next level, you must have the right partner.


Zengistics serves the automotive industry with expertise and reliability to deliver shipments on time, without compromise. We manage the transportation of auto parts from raw materials to high-value electrical components. With Zengistics, shippers get dependable shipping and visibility to mitigate risk and avoid costly delays. We are dedicated to providing the custom services suppliers need—whether it’s expedited shipping, drop trailers, or round trips—and delivering quality with every shipment.


Take a free virtual demo test drive to learn more about how our collaborative logistics platform via world-class Turvo technology can help you achieve transportation optimization and lower costs.