PCS Chronicles #5 | Your Wheels (POV) and Your PCS

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By Melissa Renahan, Military Spouse and Writer

Whether you ride a motorcycle, have a 1500 hemi under the hood or cruise in a sporty four-door, one of the first questions when you have to PCS is what about my vehicle(s)?

If you are PCSing OCONUS, the military will transport ONE of your vehicles for you as part of your PCS entitlement. Granted, there are restrictions involved; when PCSing to Korea, for example, the servicemember must have a command sponsorship (meaning they are allowed to bring family with them) or must be at least an E-7 or above in order to have the one vehicle shipped for free. You are also authorized mileage reimbursement when driving your vehicle to and from the authorized shipping port facility, as they are not always nearby. PS – don’t forget that Hawaii and Alaska are considered OCONUS.

While this is good news, in most American families there are two cars, so it leaves you with a car that you have to get rid of…since shipping it overseas on your own is quite costly. So where can you sell a car with minimal hassle? Many installations across the country have Privately Owned Vehicle Resale Lots, which are like a used car lot where servicemembers can securely store/display their vehicle and other servicemembers can purchase them. This does require a permit from the base.

  • Warning: Do you have a 1/2 ton truck or some F250 that stands out? Many OCONUS bases are now not allowing servicemembers to wear their uniforms home after work. This may make you stand out as an American. Roads are small, parking is limited and smaller. Take those things into consideration when deciding what, if any, vehicles to take with you overseas.

“When we were stationed in Korea, we were lower enlisted and didn’t get to take our car. When we got there, we bought what became a community vehicle. We bought it from a military family for $800 and sold it two years later to a military family for $200 and I heard a rumor that it’s still being driven by military members!” Nicole Leech, Army Wife

For those looking to still use the car while waiting for a buyer, there are great websites available like www.SargesList.com, which allow you to post your car ad for free and enable you to target other military just arriving to the base you’re leaving, who are in need of a car. And, before you do list your car, it’s a good idea to check out some of the rules (as listed by state) and get some tips from a site like www.dmv.org/buy-sell/selling-your-car.

  • Have you considered storage? A member is authorized storage of a POV when (a) ordered to an overseas assignment to which POV transportation isn’t permitted, or (b) sent TDY on a contingency operation, for more than 30 days. See if you are eligible: Click here.

If you are PCSing CONUS, the bad news is that the military will not transport any vehicle for you, unless it is deemed necessary because you are medically unable to drive or there is not enough time to drive (because orders were late, emergency medical situation, etc.) Рboth of which are rare and shouldn’t be counted on when planning a PCS.

So once again, in an average family with two cars, you are left to decide whether to sell one and drive one, drive them both or drive one and ship one. So if you’re selling one, see above and if you’re planning to ship one, here are some things to consider.

Luckily, many domestic companies that transport vehicles offer military discounts and can accommodate your timeline with minimal inconvenience on your part. Try www.militaryautotransport.com, www.amerifreight.net or the outlet I used for my last PCS, www.allcoaststransport.com. You can also sign up to get quotes from a variety of companies by using a filter site like www.auto-transportquotes.com. Regardless of which you choose, you will need to decide on covered or uncovered transport (uncovered is typically a lot cheaper) and you need to allot at least 10 days (often more) for the car to be shipped. The trucks often have many other cars and drop-offs to make, so just be sure you’ve planned ahead and are not stranded at your new duty station until the shipped car shows up!

  • Sarge’s Tip: You do need to check on your vehicle‚Äôs emissions to ensure that they meet the U.S.‚Äôs requirements, as listed here www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/420b11015.pdf. More information is also available on www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import. For information specific to moving to OCONUS locations, speak with your transportation office.
  • Sarge’s Tip #2: Have you heard about DoD’s new Move.mil site? They have¬† POV section that covers entitlements, restrictions, links to import / export customs, locate your vehicle, etc.¬† Click here to visit the new site! Apparently you can self-counsel on-line instead of going to the Transportation Office….

Here’s to putting the vrooom in your PCS!


PCS Chronicles #6 | PCS and Careers for Military Spouses
PCS Chronicles #4 | PPM or JPPSO, which one will you choose in your next move?
PCS Chronicles #3 | Pets and Your PCS
PCS Chronicles #2 | Moving at High Speed, Low Drag
PCS Chronicles #1 | Housing First!

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