5 reasons to ship your car

The benefits of hiring out auto transport

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    auto transport truck shipping vehicles on the highway

    Car shipping comes in handy when you need to get somewhere quickly or want to avoid driving long distances to protect your car and yourself. Auto transport is a relatively simple process that can help if you don’t want to put extra miles on your vehicle.

    Key insights

    • Shipping your car instead of driving it a long distance can mean less damage from time on the road and no loss of value from increased mileage.
    • Auto transport can save you time behind the wheel, but it can also save you some stress and potentially some money.
    • You might opt for car shipping if you’re moving across the country, buying a car in another state or attending a classic car show.

    When does it make sense to ship your car?

    Shipping a car comes with cost-, stress- and time-saving benefits, but how do you decide if it’s the right option for you?

    You’ve bought a car out of state

    When the car you want is far away, having it delivered to you is a simple way to get it home. Otherwise, you may have to convince someone to accompany you for the pickup.

    “The biggest thing for me is I was able to communicate with the carrier throughout transit. I was able to pinpoint a timeline," A satisfied Montway reviewer in Ohio stated in a review on our site. "Just being able to communicate with the driver, especially when shipping a car, together with the value, that's peace of mind. The whole reason I didn't want to use the dealership’s broker is because I wasn't able to talk to the driver.”

    If you still feel nervous about trusting a shipping company with your new or new-to-you car, look for one that offers GPS tracking so you can track your car's progress.

    You’re relocating a long distance

    If you’re moving to a new state, shipping your car can save you time and money as long as you factor it into your moving budget. If you’re using a moving company to deliver your possessions to your new home, ask if it can ship your car as well. Many moving companies offer auto transport along with their cross-country moving services.

    Snowbirds who split their time between homes to avoid long winters often ship their cars back and forth. For example, a Sherpa Auto Transport reviewer in Florida stated in a review that they use a car shipping service to get their vehicle to and from Connecticut each year.

    Even if you don't mind driving to your destination, you may need to move more than one vehicle. In that case, car shipping can help you get your other car(s) to your new home without the hassle of driving separately from your family or having to make several trips.

    » MORE: How to make a moving budget

    You’re showing a classic car far away

    When putting miles on your car isn't an option, a shipping company can help. While 97% of cars are shipped via open-air transport, enclosed transport may be a better option for show cars.

    Most cars are shipped via open-air transport.

    Open-air transport is less expensive, but the chances of chipped paint or cracked glass are higher when you choose to expose your vehicle to road hazards. If your classic car is especially rare or expensive, a single-car, enclosed trailer may provide the protection you need.

    » COMPARE: Find the best classic car transport services

    You need to arrive at your destination quickly

    If you need to be somewhere ASAP, consider flying there and having your car delivered separately. It's faster to fly than drive, and shipping a car lets you avoid spending extra days on the road. While it probably won’t be there when you land, your car may arrive surprisingly fast.

    One eShip reviewer in South Carolina said they shipped their car from Oregon on a Friday and got the car that Sunday — in perfect shape. Another reviewer in California said their car was delivered across the country in less than five days.

    You want to protect your vehicle and yourself

    Driving long distances can add thousands of miles to your odometer, and it isn't everyone's idea of a good time. Heavy traffic, long days on the road and inclement weather can make driving risky, and your chances of being involved in an accident go up with every mile you drive. Even minor accidents can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your vehicle.

    Auto transport lets you largely avoid road hazards, keeping you and your vehicle safer. If you’re not a confident driver or you have a medical condition that makes it difficult to sit behind the wheel for extended periods, shipping your car might be a good option.

    Quick and easy. Get matched with an Auto Transport partner.

      How much does it cost to ship your car?

      The cost to ship your vehicle depends on several factors — single-car enclosed shipping costs about twice as much as open trailer shipping, for instance. In general, you can expect to spend between 53 cents per mile and $2.30 per mile to ship a car. Cross-country auto transport is likely to cost at least $1,700.

      If you want your car [delivered to] your doorstep, it will likely cost you extra.”
      — Ian Lang, senior car advice editor at Bumper

      According to Ian Lang, senior car advice editor at Bumper: “Shipping costs can vary widely depending on where you live, how far you’re shipping the car and the size of it. Distance traveled, the size and weight of the vehicle, and the type of shipping used can all have an impact on the final cost.”

      Lang continued: “The cheapest method may not be the best choice if it's not as safe as other options, especially when it involves transporting your car across the country alone or if the car is a highly valued item. One thing that will affect the cost of shipping is whether you’re having your car shipped to your exact location or at a common pickup spot, referred to as a terminal. If you want your car at your doorstep, it will likely cost you extra.”


      How do I prepare my car for shipping?

      To prepare your car for shipping, remove all personal belongings, wash the exterior and interior, disable any alarm systems and make sure the gas tank is less than a quarter full (so it weighs — and costs — you less).

      Is it safe to ship my car?

      Yes, it’s generally safe to ship your car as long as you choose a reputable and licensed car shipping company. Be sure to carefully research different companies and read reviews before picking one.

      How long does it take to ship a car?

      The time it takes to ship a car depends on the distance between the pickup and delivery locations and the shipping method you choose. In general, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to ship a car.

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