Did you know that car auction sales account for $9.9 million in revenues per year? Or that the used car market in the US brings in an estimated $41 million in sales annually?

What’s more, roughly 35.5 million Americans pull up their roots each year to move to a new location. Why all the disparate figures? Because each one puts increased demand on the auto shipping industry.

Whether you’ve won a car at auction, purchased one through an online dealer, or are moving, finding the right company to transport a vehicle can feel overwhelming. After all, there are hundreds of car transport companies out there.

How do you sort through all of the noise to find the best car shipping company for your current situation? Keep reading for tips to make relocating an automobile easier.

Why Should You Ship a Car?

At first glance, the auto transport industry can look intimidating, stressful, and confusing. Especially if you’re new to working with car shippers. That’s why you need a thorough understanding of the market and how it works before making a decision.

Why do people use an auto transport company in the first place? Their reasons include:

  • Convenience
  • Fast delivery times
  • Safety concerns
  • Vehicle mileage and wear and tear
  • Out-of-town vehicle purchases

Shipping a car to your final destination can prove more convenient for many different reasons. Let’s start by taking a look at the convenience factor.


If you’re taking an extended vacation, you may wish to have your car with you. If you’re flying, however, getting your automobile transported professionally represents your best option.

You may also wish to go this route if you’re amid permanent relocation, and you don’t want to add a road trip on top of your moving activities. Perhaps you have multiple cars, and you’ll drive one but need somebody else to handle the rest.

No matter your situation, don’t underestimate the convenience of working with an auto transporter. When you work with an excellent company, you’ll enjoy a streamlined, straightforward experience.

Fast Delivery Times

Are you concerned about it taking weeks before your car gets delivered using a transport service? If so, you’ll be happy to know that most car shipping companies can move much quicker.

From the time you book a service, they’ll pick up your vehicle within two to seven days. Relocations across half the country typically take three to five days, and coast-to-coast journeys require between seven and ten days.

If you’re in a pinch and don’t mind paying extra, some companies offer expedited service. When you go expedited, expect your vehicle to get picked up within 24 hours. You’ll see it in your new destination within three to five days (depending on the distance).

Remember that every company has different delivery timeframes. So, you’ll want to inquire about how long car shipping will take before deciding on a company.

Safety Concerns

What’s another reason many people opt for a professional auto shipping service? It’s safer than a long-distance road trip. After all, your odds of being in an accident rise significantly when you’re traveling on unfamiliar interstate highways.

Factors such as driving at night or in poor weather only exacerbate the situation. In 2018, there were 33,654 fatal car crashes in the US, with 36,560 resulting deaths.

For many drivers, hiring a professional auto carrier means avoiding vulnerability to safety hazards on roadways. Whether you’re dealing with slick roads or driving while you’re drowsy, many factors can complicate safety, so consider going with professionals instead.

Vehicle Mileage and Wear and Tear

We all know that excessive mileage drops the value of a vehicle. So does extra wear and tear. In other words, nothing devalues your automobile as rapidly as a road trip.

But when you hire a professional car moving service, you nix the need for racking up unnecessary mileage. You also protect your car from wear and tear.

Out-of-Town Vehicle Purchases

With the prevalence of online auctions and internet car dealerships, more people than ever before are purchasing cars remotely. These individuals rely on professional auto moving services to ensure their rides arrive in excellent condition.

Going this route saves customers money and time. After all, they don’t have to fly to the car purchase site and then drive back in an unfamiliar automobile. Shipping makes sense.

How to Transport a Car

There are many different ways to transport a car. Choosing the right method for your current situation will depend on factors such as:

  • The make and model of your vehicle
  • How far it needs to be moved
  • Your experience with tow dollies
  • Whether your vehicle runs

For example, the way you move a vehicle over a short distance may not be the method you’d choose for a coast-to-coast service. The same goes for moving a daily driver versus a Lamborghini. You won’t select the same shipping method for these two cars.

What’s the Best Way to Transport a Vehicle a Short Distance?

For short distances, you may be able to get away with renting a tow dolly. That said, you must ensure your car is compatible with this type of transport.

Remember that many all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles require special precautions. Some shouldn’t get relocated with tow dollies at all.

If you feel comfortable about loading your car on a tow dolly and have a compatible pickup to haul it, you could save yourself some money. But don’t use this DIY approach for longer drives.

Why? Because the trailer places all of the weight of your vehicle on the back two tires. Cars aren’t manufactured to drive this way, and it can lead to significant wear and tear.

How to Ship a Car Long-Distance?

To transport a vehicle longer distances, you should hire an auto shipping company. You’ve got several options once you make this decision. These options will impact how long it takes for your car to ship and how much it costs.

Open Carriers

The cheapest way to go is a terminal-to-terminal service on an open carrier. You’ll drop off and pick up your car at regional depots. If you live close to these terminals, and you don’t mind arranging transportation after drop off and before pickup, this approach could save you significant money.

Most people prefer the next step up because of its convenience, door-to-door shipping on an open carrier. Door-to-door service means the driver will pickup and deliver your car to residential addresses of your choosing. If you live in rural areas that take your driver far from their route, expect to pay more.

Open carriers don’t protect your car from the elements, and so your automobile will get exposed to weather, dirt, and dust on the trip. This exposure is similar to what daily drivers and commuters experience on the freeway. Most drivers find receiving a dirty vehicle is well worth the money saved by choosing an open carrier.

Enclosed Carriers

If you have an investment-worthy ride, however, an open carrier won’t do. Instead, you’ll need to opt for a more expensive enclosed auto transport. Expect to pay between 30 and 60 percent more for this service.

Despite the price, it’s the only way to go if you have a high-end ride. Enclosed carrier trailer drivers receive special training, and they operate trailers with hydraulic lifts, which means vehicles with low clearance don’t get damaged. These trailers also have roofs and sides, which shield your car from the elements.

Enclosed carrier companies purchase more insurance on their vehicles, which translates into peace of mind for you.

Besides open and enclosed carriers, you also have the option of expedited shipping services. These work well for individuals with a speedy turnaround time. But expect to pay significantly more for this service.

How to Transport a Car That Doesn’t Run?

Inoperable cars prove harder to load and unload from car shipping trailers. Drivers often require additional pieces of equipment to do the job (e.g., forklifts). For this reason, you’ll want to make special arrangements with the car transporter you choose.

Make sure they’re aware of your car’s current condition before they provide a quote. After all, they must factor in the extra time and equipment it will cost to relocate your inoperable vehicle.

How Much Does Transporting a Vehicle Cost?

How much does it cost to transport a vehicle? That depends on a variety of factors as well as the company you choose to work with.

Most brands try to keep their rates competitive. If you see pricing that’s well below the average, assume they’re lowballing you.

Expect these companies to add on hidden fees and charges once you sign on with them. In other words, avoid these companies.

To ship a car it costs on average $950 within the continental United States. Oversized vehicles, such as trucks and vans, will cost more. Think upwards of $1,200. For the most compact cars, you may even be able to get away with paying $700.

Learn more about the eight factors that affect car shipping quotes.

Car Transport That Meets Your Needs

As you can see, a variety of factors impact finding the best car shipping company for your current needs. Bookmark this article so that you can refer back to it while researching car transport companies.

Are you ready to find the best car shipping company for your needs? Contact us today to discuss the many auto shipping services we provide.