Thinking of using the services of an auto transport company? If so, you’ll want to make sure that the cost of shipping a car fits your budget.
First things first: why ship a car at all? For starters, there’s the resale value and risk of depreciation. If you’re buying a car out of state, you could be driving it for thousands of miles. If you ship your car instead, it will arrive in pristine condition.
Shipping a car is also convenient. It’s the same reason why many people prefer to order things online instead of going to the store. This method saves time as well — you could catch a flight without worrying about getting the car home.
How much does it cost to ship a car? That depends on a variety of factors. Here’s all you need to know about car transport rates.
1. Shipping Options
First, you’ll need to decide on the carrier that ships your vehicle. There are two main types: an open carrier and an enclosed carrier.
The open carrier is the more popular option, as well as the easiest on your budget. Open carriers can transport up to eight or ten vehicles at once. With no roofs or sides, the transported vehicles will be open to the elements and bad weather.
An enclosed carrier will protect your car from dust, dirt, rain, ice, and snow. The added protection makes this transportation method more expensive. If you’re shipping a high-end vehicle, an enclosed carrier is more likely to be worth it.
Many companies also offer door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal shipping options. With door-to-door shipping, the driver will come to your home to deliver the car. With terminal-to-terminal, you’ll need to pick up the car from a specified location.
2. Time of Year
As a general rule, the auto transport industry is busiest during the summer. Why? Simple: more people are likely to travel or move.
The key reason, of course, is that June and July are the main vacation months. Also, children are out of school by then. This makes some people more likely to move in an attempt to get it done before another school year begins.
Of course, plenty of people travel in the winter as well. For example, many snowbirds move to warmer locales such as Texas, Florida, or Arizona. Still, shipping your car in the summer tends to be more expensive.
Again, the weather is one of the main car shipping cost factors here. Some parts of the country are more prone to harsh storms, which can affect your rate.
3. Vehicle Type
Your vehicle’s type can also influence your auto shipping quote. Transporting an SUV or truck will cost more than transporting a sedan.
The main factors here are size and weight. A larger car takes up more space on the carrier and may affect its fuel consumption. Car modifications can add size and weight, so make sure to let your shipping company know about them.
It also matters if the car is operable or not. If it is, loading it onto a truck shouldn’t be an issue. If it’s inoperable, shipping it may require special equipment or more manpower. That’s why inoperable cars often cost more to ship.
4. Shipping Preferences
How long are you willing to wait for the shipping company to deliver the car to you? The more flexible you are in this regard, the less you’ll need to pay.
Most companies offer three options to choose from: economy, standard, and expedited. They tend to vary in price and the time it takes to pick up the vehicle. Paying for the expedited option often gets you a designated spot on the carrier.
If you opt for the economy option, it’s best to book transport services for a few weeks in advance. This gives both you and the company ample time to prepare for shipment.
5. Location and Distance
Distance plays a large role in determining the cost of shipping a car. The further your car travels, the more you’ll pay for mileage and fuel consumption.
Other than cost, the distance affects the time frame it will take to ship your car. Depending on the location, transporting your vehicle may take weeks. If you’re shipping from coast to coast, this is something you should keep in mind.
Another important factor is the city or town you’re shipping your car to. If you’re transporting your car to a known auto shipping city, expect to pay less. That mostly depends on how far the city is from the main highway.
Why does this matter? Well, shipping along less popular transport routes tends to take more time. It’s also possible that the driver won’t be able to maneuver the truck to your location. This is a common issue with door-to-door shipping.
6. Other Services
When transporting a car, you may want to consider some additional services. For example, you may want to pay a bit more for top loading.
Top loading refers to placing a car on the upper level of an open carrier. This is a good way to avoid dust, dirt, and other debris coming into contact with your car. Vehicles stationed at the bottom are far more susceptible to these elements.
The top level also offers an added layer of protection from other vehicles. If your car is in the bottom row, a car from the top may leak on it. With an open carrier, you can’t influence which vehicles your car will travel with.
Calculating the Cost of Shipping a Car
As you can see, determining car shipping costs isn’t an easy task. That said, you can get a general idea of what you’ll pay by asking yourself the right questions.
The main thing you should ask yourself is how quickly do you need your car shipped? What type of a vehicle is it, and is it operable? Determine how far you’re transporting it and whether you’re shipping it to a hard-to-reach area.
Need more help with working out the cost of shipping a car? If so, you should consult the professionals. Here’s how to find the best shipping company for your needs!