How Much Does Car Shipping Cost

September 1, 2017Car Shipping Essentials
Michael Vaughan

Moving through the Bay Area, Michael works as a freelance writer in the moving and transportation industry.

If your car will be shipped this year, we bet you want the best possible treatment for it during transportation. Also, you’d probably like to know how much does it cost to ship a car with professional movers and avoid any possible damages. Each year 17 million cars are sold in the USA, which means all of them to have to be shipped to the dealer, sometimes including overseas car shipping. However, when it comes to private vehicles that are shipped due to relocation, it is estimated the number exceeds 300,000. If your machine is going to be among the shipped ones, stay tuned cause we will present you with detailed information.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car – Factors That Influence the Car Shipping Cost

When you want to move a car to another state and know how much money you should spend on it, the first thing you need to do is find a reliable and trustworthy car shipping company. But how to select the best auto shipping company? The first thing you have to do surely is to take some of your time and do thorough research. It will take you through the whole process and give you precise information on the cost of shipping a car cross country.

This will be especially important in case you’re moving to another state alone, and the auto transport company will be your only support. That’s why you should learn how to recognize relocation scams and avoid them. It will ensure a stress-free move and help you move efficiently. Here are the essential factors they will consider when calculating the costs for services they’re offering to you.

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Shipping Distance

The distance between the starting point and the destination is a decisive factor that influences the final expenses. More miles means higher expenses in terms of gas, more tolls to pay, and more hours to spend on driving.

Another thing you should know is that distance is influencing the mile rate, too. Although you might expect the mile rate will increase with the distance, it is quite opposite. The mile rate will be higher in cases of shorter distances, and the reason is the shipper will have to provide you with a driver and personnel who will make the same effort in pick-up and drop-off and will also lose the whole day which costs the company.

Pickup and Delivery Locations

Pickup and delivery locations can also affect the final price of the cost to ship a car. For example, if the location is far from the large cities or main interstate routes, and the shipper has to use some local road that may slow down the timetable of transportation, the costs can go up.

Another detail: the professional auto mover will ask you whether they should deliver the car in front of your new home address, or you would like to pick it up at some terminal. In case you’re not ready to experience the driving stress in a completely new town, then a door-to-door delivery might be the best possible solution for you. Although it is more expensive, it is worth it because you will be provided with full service, and the shipper will take care of every single detail. However, if you think this is an unnecessary expense, then you should consider picking up your automobile in some terminal specially designated for this purpose, which will help you significantly reduce the costs of transportation.

autos in an open trailer
Multiple factors affect the final quote of vehicle transportation

Time Needed for Delivery

Another crucial factor that affects the expenses is the time needed for delivery. Or more precisely, how long does it take for the carrier to transfer the automobile. The time needed for delivery depends on the number of drivers in charge of that particular transfer, and the number of drop-offs.

Let’s say there is only one driver in charge of transport. It means the truck will progress 500 miles per day since the law states that a single driver can’t roll more than this. In this case, the average period of the delivery will look like this:

  • West Coast to the East Coast, 5–14 days,
  • East Coast to the Midwest, 3–8 days,
  • North to South, 3–8 days.

Now you have an approximate estimation of the period needed for the delivery of your automobile, you can proceed to schedule a date with the car shipping company you’ve chosen and ensure your automobile will be delivered according to the set timetable.

Time of the Year

Since the busiest time of year for relocation is in spring and summer, which are considered as peak season, the average tariff of car transportation might be slightly higher. However, although this period is considered as the most expensive to perform the relocation, always have in mind that moving in winter can cause even more inconvenience and quote increase.

Bad weather conditions can also impact the final quote. Imagine the truck is standing on the highway in a snowstorm, while you’re waiting on your car for weeks. Not only that the delivery can be postponed but you will be frustrated knowing that you can’t have your car until the weather is stable. For that reason we say, the average tariff to transfer a car varies upon the time of the year relocation is performed.

Special Requests

If you need an expedited delivery of your automobile, then expect a special rate for it. Those requests are usually considered premium ones and imply the car transfer will start as soon as 24 to 48 hours after the order is placed. As well, the costs will rise in case you need to pick up the automobile on a specific date and the shipper has to store it in its facility. The same is with door-to-door auto transport, so make sure to resolve all these issues with the auto transporter before you agree to conditions.

If you don't know how to make this adjustment, call your mechanic.
Season, special request, and period needed for delivery also affect the price

Trailer Type

If you’re seeking an answer to what’s the cheapest way to ship my car, you should take a look at the next critical factor that will affect the quote of car shipping costs – the type of transport you’ll choose to ship a car, in terms of the type of the trailer. Choosing an open or enclosed car transport is of tremendous importance since it has a direct impact on your car’s safety and the amount you will have to pay.

Open Trailer

Choosing an open carrier auto transport can decrease your expenses by 40-50%, which is not an insignificant amount. Since this is the cheapest way to ship a car, it’s also one of the most common ways of automobile transport customers choose when moving to another state.

The only problem with open auto transport is that your automobile will be exposed to weather conditions, which could be especially inconvenient in winter. So, if you’re moving during the winter season, our car shipping advice would be to carefully choose the type of trailer. Also, when transporting the automobile via open trailer, you should know it is more exposed to scratchings, and windshield damages, so don’t forget to ask your auto transport company about the insurance.

Enclosed Trailer

Do you know how the most expensive cars in the world are shipped? You’ve guessed it – using enclosed auto transport. These trailers are the best solution for transporting luxury four-wheelers that need special treatments. And if you’re asking why the price differs so drastically compared to open trailers, the main reason is that enclosed trailers can transfer only seven automobiles at the same time and need additional equipment for the protection of the car.

Keep in mind that only by using an enclosed trailer is your machine fully protected. Auto transporters use special equipment such as hydraulic lift gates, stoppers that prevent the machine from moving during transport, and many more. However, although this way of transport is more expensive, if you’re in possession of some really valuable four-wheelers or you’re moving during winter, you should definitely consider using this type of trailer. And remember to check at least several companies before you make sure they are reputable and registered to transfer the vehicles.

usa auto transport truck
Choice of the trailer will depend on your machine type and part of the year you choose to relocate

How Height, Length, and Curb Weight Influence the Average Cost to Ship a Car

The price of transportation will also depend on the vehicle size and whether they might need some special conditions or extra space in the trailer. The larger the vehicle, the higher the price is. That’s why you should check what size of the moving truck is needed. The reason is a carrier is limited in weight by 80,000 lbs, and the number of automobiles it can carry. The enclosed trailers are limited to seven vehicles, while opened trailers can transfer as many machines as possible until the total weight is up to the said 80,000lbs. Height, length, and curb weight are crucial for defining the final quote calculation. And, if your automobile is oversized, then be ready to pay a slightly higher price than the standard one since it will take more space. Nevertheless, you should consult a few companies before closing the deal.

So, once those details on your automobile size are checked and put on a moving to another state checklist, it is the right moment to ask your carrier for advice on how to prepare a car for shipping, can they disconnect the car alarm, or should you do it yourself, and what is the procedure of registering a vehicle in a new state. Also, be ready that you will not be allowed to pack a car and load it with your personal belongings since this is prohibited by law. In case the Department of Transportation notices a carrier who transfers the automobile full of household goods, it will be penalized and the punishment should be paid by the automobile owner.

Car on a snowy road
Vehicle size is a crucial factor that defines the final costs of car transfer

So, How Much Does Shipping a Car Cost?

There is no single answer to the questions of how much does a dealership charge to ship a car or how much does it cost to transport a car 2,000 miles because every request is as different as the type of automobile. As you can see, there are multiple factors that affect the price. It is not the same if you want to transfer a compact vehicle of 2,919 pounds or a large machine of 3,882 pounds and would like to do it via a closed or enclosed trailer or if you need door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal car transportation.

So, after all the details we revised, we hope it will help you decide the way to transport your car, and it is worth it to ship a car at all. Also, count in there are some things to consider when relocating to a new place and save some money on the relocation costs. For example, you can pick the cheapest time to move, which is avoiding relocating in the summer.

Do You Need To Transfer Your Car At All?

Since transporting cars from state to state is not a cheap solution, or you consider the whole process to be stressful and complicated, you can always try to sell your vehicle and buy another one when you settle down in your new environment. For example, if you’re relocating to a town that is empowering electric vehicle transition, you can consider buying electric cars and get involved in the needed evolution of cars that will be less harmful to the environment.

Before scheduling the transportation, think if the four-wheeler you have is suitable for the new area you are relocating to. For example, if you’re relocating to some more rural area, you will definitely not need a vehicle for the city. Instead, you should explore what are the best cars for off-road driving and equip yourself with the right machine. In case you’re relocating to a busy city crowded by traffic, and own a larger vehicle, then revise is it convenient for city driving, can you easily find a parking lot for it, can you deal with the driving anxiety because the experience of driving in Chicago and Unalaska is not the same, and in the end, would you need that type of machine at all?

Once you answer all these questions and assure you want to take your machine to another state, check all the details about the regulations on the transfer of vehicles, and find a reputable company that will take care of the whole process.

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