Top Tips for a Stress-Free Puerto Rico Car Shipping Experience

Shipping your prized exotic car to Puerto Rico for a competition or island event can be an exciting prospect, but it can also feel daunting if you’ve never done it before. The key to a smooth and stress-free experience is thorough preparation and choosing the right partners. This guide will equip you, the U.S.-based exotic car owner, with the top tips to ensure your car arrives safely and on time in Puerto Rico, ready to dominate the track.

Important Points

  1. Ensure a stress-free exotic car shipping experience to Puerto Rico by choosing between cost-effective RORO or secure containerized shipping.
  2. Partner with a reputable shipping company experienced in exotic car handling, proper licensing & insurance, and clear communication.
  3. Prepare your exotic car for transport with a deep clean, meticulous inspection, documentation, secured loose parts, and proper fluid levels.

Choosing the Right Shipping Company

Selecting a reputable and experienced auto shipping company is paramount. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Experience with Car Shipping: Look for a company with a proven track record of handling high-performance vehicles. Experience in securing exotic cars with specialized tie-downs and knowledge of exotic car specific needs is crucial.
  • Licensing and Insurance: Ensure the company is licensed and bonded in both the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Verify they offer adequate vehicle shipping insurance coverage for your car’s value during transport. Don’t hesitate to ask for certificates of insurance.
  • Customer Reviews and Reputation: Research online reviews and ask fellow exoticrs for recommendations. A company with a history of satisfied customers is a good sign.
  • Communication: Choose a reputable car shipping company in the US with clear communication channels and a dedicated representative who will handle your shipment from start to finish.
  • Services Offered: Inquire about additional services that might be beneficial, such as inland transportation within the U.S. to the departure port, customs clearance assistance in Puerto Rico, or even trackside delivery at your competition venue.

Understanding the Car Shipping Landscape

There are two main methods for shipping vehicles to Puerto Rico from the mainland United States: roll-on/roll-off (RORO) and containerized shipping.

  • RORO: This is the most common and cost-effective method for enclosed trailers or inoperable vehicles. Your exotic car is driven onto a large ferry and secured for the ocean voyage. While cost-effective, RORO exposes your car to the elements and potential bumps during loading and unloading.
  • Containerized Shipping: This method offers the ultimate protection for your exotic car. Your vehicle is secured inside a sealed steel container, shielding it from the elements, salt spray, and potential mishandling. Although more expensive than RORO, containerized shipping provides the ultimate peace of mind.

Image Credit Goes to AutoStar Transport Express

Preparing Your Car for Shipping

Once you’ve chosen your one of the best car shipping partners, it’s time to prepare your exotic car for its journey. Here are some crucial steps:

  • Deep Clean and Inspection: Give your car a thorough cleaning, removing any loose items or debris. Conduct a meticulous mechanical inspection, ensuring no leaks or potential issues that could arise during transport.
  • Document Everything: Take detailed photos of your car’s exterior and interior condition, capturing any existing dents, scratches, or damage. This will serve as crucial documentation in case of any issues upon arrival.
  • Battery Disconnect: Disconnect the car battery to prevent electrical malfunctions during transport.
  • Fluid Levels: Ensure all fluid levels, including oil, coolant, and brake fluid, are topped off to prevent leaks or damage.
  • Tire Pressure: Inflate tires to their recommended pressure to minimize stress during transport.
  • Secure Loose Parts: Secure any loose components like spoilers, wings, or mirrors to prevent them from coming loose during transport.

Customs Clearance and Documentation

Shipping a car to Puerto Rico involves some additional paperwork compared to domestic transport. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Original Vehicle Title: This proves your ownership of the car.
  • Bill of Sale (if applicable): If you recently purchased the car, you’ll need a bill of sale.
  • Vehicle Registration: A valid vehicle registration is required.
  • U.S. Customs Declaration Form (CF 7501): This form details the car’s value, description, and purpose of import.
  • Puerto Rico Customs Entry Form: This form will be provided by your car shipping company or customs broker.

Additional Tips for a Smooth Experience

  • Track Weather Conditions: Be mindful of weather forecasts at both the origin and destination ports. If inclement weather is expected, discuss any necessary precautions with your shipping company.
  • Allow Ample Time: Factor in processing times for customs clearance and potential delays when planning your shipping timeline. Don’t cut it too close to your exotic date.
  • Consider Insurance Options: While your shipping company will likely offer basic insurance, consider additional coverage for your exotic car’s full value, especially if it’s highly customized.
  • Maintain Open Communication: Stay in touch with your shipping company representative throughout the process. They should be able to provide updates on your car’s location and estimated arrival time.

Bonus Tip: Familiarize yourself with Puerto Rico’s import regulations for vehicles. While U.S. citizens typically don’t face duty charges, there may be temporary import permits required depending on the length of your stay. Your chosen car shipping company or a customs broker can guide you through this process.


By following these tips and partnering with a reputable car shipping company in the USA, you can ensure your exotic car arrives in Puerto Rico safe, sound, and ready to take on the competition. Remember, a stress-free shipping experience allows you to focus on what truly matters – dominating the track and enjoying the thrill of racing in Puerto Rico.

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