How To Transport A Christmas Tree Without Damaging Your Car

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If you’re planning on bringing a Christmas tree home this holiday season, avoid damaging your car by using a roof rack, bringing blankets and bindings, and steering clear of the highway.
Buying a fresh Christmas tree is an exciting part of the holiday season for millions of families.
But your winter wonderland can turn into a Christmas catastrophe if you end up scratching your car’s paint or getting a sap stain on the way home from the tree farm.
Luckily, these mishaps can be avoided if you bring the right materials and properly secure the tree to your car.
And remember, if you do scratch your car during the hectic holiday season, it’s important to have the right car insurance. Try the Jerry app for year-round savings without the extra hassle.
Let Jerry gather affordable quotes, help you switch plans, and even cancel your old policy—so you can get back to building gingerbread houses.
Read on for advice on how to transport a Christmas tree without damaging your car.
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How to prepare

Before you go dashing through the snow to the nearest Christmas tree farm, you’ll need to prepare your house and car.

Take measurements

An eight-foot Douglas fir might look beautiful on the lot, but you’ll have a hard time fitting it on top of your Mini Cooper. Before leaving the house, be sure to measure the roof and interior of your car so you know what size tree you can reasonably transport.
You’ll also want to measure the room where you plan on setting up the tree, as well as any decorations that will go on top.

Bring the right materials

In order to protect your car on the drive home, you’re going to need at least two blankets or tarps.
You’ll also need bindings, like rope, twine, bungee cords, or ratchet straps to keep the tree secure. Many Christmas tree lots provide free twine, but these might not be sturdy enough. Bring your own just to be safe.

Ask Santa’s elves to help you out

Christmas tree shopping is a lot easier (and more fun) when you have some extra hands.
Bring friends and family along to help with loading, unloading, and setting up the tree.
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How to load the tree

Once you’ve picked out the perfect tree, it’s time to bring it home.
First, you’ll need to wrap the tree up. Many Christmas tree lots provide netting to keep the trees self-contained. If this option is available, it will definitely make the tree easier to transport.
If they don’t have netting, be sure to shake out the tree thoroughly to get rid of any loose needles or debris. Then, wrap it up in one of your blankets or tarps as best you can.
When it comes to loading the tree onto the car, you have three options:

Up on the rooftop

If you have an SUV or a station wagon, you can probably fit your Christmas tree on the roof.
Smaller trees might fit on top of a sedan, but you want to make sure that the tree doesn’t stick out too far past the bumper or block your view out the front window while you’re driving home.
Since the tree will be exposed to the elements, it’s particularly important that you wrap it up with your second blanket or tarp. This will keep the tree protected from the wind and keep your fellow drivers protected from flying pine needles.
Use a roof rack to keep the tree secure and avoid damage to your car. Put the second blanket or tarp on top of the rack to catch falling needles, and tie your bindings securely to the rack.
If you don’t have a roof rack, put your second blanket or tarp on the roof, and place the tree on top. Then, open the car doors and use your bindings to tie the tree down as securely as possible.
With or without a roof rack, place the tree so that the trunk is facing forward.
Key Takeaway A roof rack is the safest option for transporting your Christmas tree on top of your car. If you don’t have one, take extra care to wrap the tree and secure it tightly to the roof.

Inside your sleigh

If you have an SUV or minivan, your Christmas tree might fit inside the car. Fold the rear seats down and spread out your tarp or blanket.
Your Christmas tree may be beautiful to look at, but it will also shed pine needles and drip sap on the way home. The blanket should help make clean-up easier.
Even inside the car, you’ll need to tie the tree down so that it doesn’t roll around and injure your passengers.

Nestled all snug in its (truck) bed

If you have a pickup truck, you may be able to fit your tree in the bed. Each state has different laws regarding how far your tree can legally stick out past the truck’s bed, so be sure to look that up beforehand. You might have to attach a red flag to the end of the tree to alert other drivers.
Spread out your blanket or tarp on the truck bed to further protect the tree and make clean-up easier. Then, tie the tree in place so that it won’t roll around on the way home.
Key Takeaway If you bring your Christmas tree home inside your minivan or in the bed of your pickup truck, you still need to tie it in place to avoid damaging your car, your passengers, or the tree itself.

Driving home

Before leaving the lot, give your bindings a good tug to make sure they’re secure.
Drive slowly and be extra careful, especially if you’re driving through bad winter weather. If possible, use surface streets to get home and avoid the highway.
If it’s safe to do so, plan on pulling over every now and then to double-check that the tree is securely in place.
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How to find holly jolly savings on your car insurance

With Jerry on your side, you can save on your car insurance and put that money towards stocking stuffers and ugly Christmas sweaters.
While you’re busy trimming the tree, Jerry will generate competitive quotes from top providers in less than a minute. Jerry gathers your information from your past insurer, so you’re not responsible for any long forms or phone calls. Basically, you get all of the savings and coverage, with none of the hassles.
It’s a Christmas miracle!
“When we added a new car to our family, we were shocked at how high our current insurer was going to hike our rates. We used Jerry for some comparison shopping and are now saving around $1000 a year. Thank you, Jerry!” –Darius P.


How do I secure my Christmas tree to my car?

Use rope, twine, bungee cords, or ratchet straps to tie the tree to your roof rack. If you don’t have a roof rack, open the car doors and tie the tree to the roof itself.
The bindings should be placed at the bottom, middle, and top of the tree, with the bottom binding just above the bottom branches.
Check to make sure that the bindings are taut, so the tree won’t roll around while you’re dashing through the snow on your way home.

How do I not scratch my car with a Christmas tree?

If you wrap the tree with a blanket or tarp and put an additional blanket or tarp on the roof, your car will be fairly protected from loose needles. For added protection (and safety), use a roof rack. This way, if a branch is sticking out of your blanket, it will still be elevated above the car.
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