Do I need a CDL with just a truck and flatbed trailer?
What are the CDL weight requirements for a car hauler?
Do I have to have CDL to haul 3 cars?
What is the maximum weight I can haul with a topkick and 40ft trailer?
I?m new to car hauling where do I start?
Hi, I'm new to car hauling-I'm looking to get a 1 or 2 car hauler to start, any suggestions?
These are some common questions that we get in the support window here at Super Dispatch. Because we have some former car haulers in our team, we decided to do a little overview of CDL steps and requirements.
A Commercial Driver?s License is a similar process to getting your regular driver?s license. You have to register within a certain state (where you reside,) you must prove your knowledge on a written permit test, hold a Commercial Driver Learner Permit for a period of time, and then perform a physical driving test.
Depending on what kind of car hauling you do, you do not need a CDL to haul cars. Commercial Driver's Licenses are designed to train commercial employees to drive heavy, oblong vehicles. Yes, there are trailers - like 2 and 3 car wedges - that are below the CDL weight requirement rules.
Rarely can we answer a weight requirement related question for someone - all vehicles and trailers have different GVWR and GCWR. No one but your truck and trailer will have these answers.
I often think that what people are really asking is 'Should I start hauling cars without a CDL?'
This of course, we can't answer either.
While CDLs come in many classifications, Car Haulers need not worry about any classes or endorsements outside of a Class A CDL. Class A is the heaviest class of CDL, and thus the best fit for car haulers:
Class A CDL: Any combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
With a Class A certification, you can haul cars in a 50ft wedge all the way up to a 7 or 9 car trailer. If you aren't sure what kind of trailer you will drive, or you aim to eventually be an O_O, this class is a must.
In Missouri (where Super Dispatch is based) obtaining a Commercial Driver's License of any class at the DMV costs around $100 once it's all said and done. Of course, actually paying for the license is the cheapest part of this process.
By this point in the CDL process, you might have noticed something: truck driving school is expensive. Whether it's a single class, a semester or a community college - it can cost around $3,000.
This CDL thing is a huge barrier to entry!
The short answer is yes, in most states you can take both the CDL permit test and the physical driving test without paying for a trucking school. Most states will not require you to prove any sort of formal education.
Consider though, that going into any test completely blind is a bad idea.
There are some low cost options for the written and physical tests. Tom Stec, Super Dispatch customer and owner of Fury Transport LLC. in New Jersey studied for the written CDL permit test for free. To prepare for the written test, he simply read the New Jersey CDL Manual cover to cover.
"I prefer to read but others have watched YouTube videos and that worked better for them. There are even Apps for your phone that are in quiz format. Some people praise those because they don't like reading," he said.
Stec got lucky, because he was able to practice the physical driving test with his truck-driver father with his large trailer.
There are also companies and schools where you can schedule practice tests using your own equipment (or theirs) for a few hundred dollars. This allows you to get into a testing situation without paying thousands for multiple classes.
Most experienced car haulers scoff at the idea of classes; you can't learn in a class, only in the field.
Different people will say different things. The Missouri Highway Patrol (the department that runs Missouri CDL tests) says that you only need to prove your knowledge in a truck of the right classification. This means you could plan to car haul, but take a class or pass the test using a dry van. Remember though, a Ford F450 with the right trailer might be a Class A, but it won't have air brakes, 5th wheel or a manual transmission. So you might walk out with a Class A CDL with air brake, 5th wheel and manual restrictions.
According to some of our customers, there is not much of a difference between car hauling trailers and traditional dry van.
"There's no difference," Tom Stec said. "We need a Class A (truck and trailer with air brake) You need additional endorsements for Tanker(hazmat),Passenger(bus), and doubles/triple trailers. We don't need any of these additional endorsements but it looks good on your resume when applying for driving jobs!"
"When doing the road test, before you start driving you have to do a walk around inspection. You have to explain every single thing in detail and you can't assume the instructor knows what you're talking about. Picture instructor as a person who is new to trucking and you are explaining everything to them for the first time," Stec said. "My road test instructor said that I did a better job at explaining everything than the instructors do at the CDL schools."