4 Places to Leave Keys When Shipping a Car

Written by Mike Price of Auto Shipper's Express
Updated November 18, 2015
car steering wheel
If you can't be present at the pick up time, leave your keys somewhere easily accessible. (Photo courtesy of Greg Gjerdingen)

When shipping a car, what should you do with the keys if you can't be present at pick up?

Although it’s customary to have a person over 18 years old hand the keys directly to the car shipping company's driver, sometimes no one is available. Here are four places to consider leaving your keys when shipping a vehicle.

1. Leave your keys with your car

If possible, it’s better to leave the keys outside of the vehicle and out of sight. If the car is in the driveway, leave the keys behind a plant on the porch or on top of one of a car tire. It is actually very difficult to see the top of the tires if you are close to the vehicle, which makes it a good place.

If the car is sitting in a parking lot, put the keys in a big envelope and place the envelope under the backseat floor mat on the passenger's side. If you have a couple of days before pick up, you can mail a second set of keys to the carrier, so they can pick up your car at their leisure.

2. Leave your keys at a hotel’s front desk

Hotels or motels make great places to leave the keys. They usually have front desk that is open 24/7, where the auto transport carrier can pick up the keys.

Except for a handful of resorts, hotel parking lots usually aren’t especially big. But a lot with more than 300 spaces makes finding the vehicle difficult. If you decide to leave your keys at the front desk, draw a map of the parking lot on an envelope and indicate where your car is parked. Then place your keys in the envelope before handing it over to the front desk.

3. Leave your keys with your mechanic

An auto repair shop can be a good place to leave your vehicle, too, as long as they don’t need the parking space and will be open when the auto transport carrier comes to retrieve your car. This is a good option if you have a personal relationship with the shop. That way, if the transporter says he will be there 20 minutes after the shop closes, they will be willing to work with him.

New car dealerships, at first glance, appear to be a good match because they receive new cars from the factory on these same trucks. The problem is parking. All dealerships try to maximize their inventory, which reduces the available parking. The other problem is that if you leave the keys with a salesperson, they may be out on a test drive with a customer when the transporter needs to pick up your car.

4. Leave your car keys with a neighbor

Probably the best place to leave the keys is with a neighbor who is normally home. The carrier can call them 24 hours before pick up to confirm. Ask the carrier to call again one hour before, so the neighbor won’t be surprised or inconvenienced.

This article originally appeared on the Auto Shipper's Express blog.

About this Experts Contributor: Mike Price has shipped over 10,000 vehicles while being the General Manager at Auto Shipper's Express, a national auto transport carrier headquartered in New York. 

As of Nov. 17, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.