How Much Does it Cost to ship a Car?

One of the most important questions that anyone asks when they ship a car is how much does it cost. For most people, price is the number one factor when it comes to auto transportation services. Knowing how much it costs to ship a car is important when figuring out who you want to ship it.

That being said, there are a number of factors that will impact how much it will cost to ship a car. These are often things that are outside your control, but there are also some things that are within your power to affect. 

Some factors, such as the distance, are going to be more influential on your price than others. There are also some things that you might think will affect the price you pay, but actually aren’t as problematic as it seems.

Overall, it’s hard to answer the question “how much does it cost to ship a car” with a simple, direct answer. Oftentimes, the best answer is “it depends.”

But that’s why we’re tackling this today. We’re not just going to give an “it depends” answer; we’re going to talk about what it depends on. So keep reading to learn more about the cost to ship a car, what factors influence the prices you pay, and how you can keep your costs as low as you can.

The Biggest Factors in Your Car Transport Price

Right off the bat, the most important determining factor in the price you pay will be the distance between pickup and delivery. The further a vehicle has to be shipped, the more expensive it will be, regardless of the vehicle. 

This in and of itself isn’t that surprising; it’s the same for pretty much any other type of freight. What’s nifty about auto shipping prices, though, is that, on a per-mile basis, you actually pay less to ship it further. 

This has a lot to do with supply and demand, particularly on the side of carriers. Longer routes are pretty common among customers. This means there are more carriers on those routes, which means more competition. More competition drives the price-per-mile down for customers. 

This is also true for shorter trips, but the price-per-mile on those is going to be higher. Either way, you’ll still save money, so long as the route is popular.

Route popularity is one of the next-biggest factors in your car transport price. Popular routes often force prices down, but during peak shipping season (summer), prices can actually go up. This, again, has to do with supply and demand. 

If carriers are flooded with potential loads, they don’t have to worry so much about competing carriers. They can just take high-paying loads easily and make decent money. As such, prices go up when the demand for service goes up, and they go down when the demand for service goes down. 

Less-popular routes see fewer carriers on them, and those carriers can often find better shipments on adjacent routes. So less-popular routes require more money in order to move freight along them, lest they sit. Keep this in mind when gathering quotes, as low prices can take longer to ship. And we’ll talk more about that in a bit.

How What you Ship Affects Your Cost to Ship a Car

Distance and route popularity are incredibly important factors when shipping a vehicle. But what you’re shipping is also important. There are a lot of different vehicles on the road today, and each one has its own dimensions and weight. 

These are crucial factors for carriers. If a vehicle is too large, it won’t fit on the truck, or it will take up two spaces on the truck instead of one. If a vehicle is too heavy, it can result in fines or delays, as there are weight restrictions for commercial vehicles.

As such, carriers have to be picky when they are deciding what to ship. Standard-sized cars, such as a Nissan Maxima, are considered standard. These are often the cheapest vehicles to transport just because of their routine size. Anything that is a company up to a full-size can usually fit on a ten-car carrier without issue.

Minivans, SUVs, and pickup trucks are also typically common and can fit on a ten-car hauler. However, some SUV’s and pickups have modifications, such as lift kits or extenders. These can be problematic. Stock versions of most SUV’s and pickups are fine. If there are modifications, you need to let your representative know.

Bigger pickup trucks, such as the Silverado 2500 and 3500 or the F-250 or F-350, can be problematic to ship as well. These will typically cost the most to ship, at least when talking about commonly-driven vehicles. Things like limousines or Sprinter vans will likely cost more, but those are more special than standard.

How Seasons Will Affect the Cost to Ship a Car

The auto transport industry is definitely a seasonal one. The summer tends to be the busy season, while the winter is the slow season. More people ship their vehicles during the summer months than during any other time of the year. Conversely, fewer people are shipping in the winter months than at any other time.

What this means is that prices tend to go up in the summer months and they go down in the winter months. This has to do, again, with simple supply and demand. The more people that are shipping, the more demand there is for shippers. As such, shippers can charge more, or take the highest-paying loads first, leaving lesser-paying loads behind.

Obviously, the seasons are not something you can control. At the same time, though, it’s important to understand what to expect when you ship your vehicle. 

Something else to understand about the seasons is the fact that different routes get popular at different times. During the summer months, you see a lot of west-east shipments, and just more shipments overall. 

However, during the winter months, and starting in the fall, north-south routes become more popular, especially up and down the eastern seaboard. These shippers, called snowbirds, are one of the main sources of shipments during the slower season. 

If you’re a snowbird or are just shipping in the winter months, you will most likely spend less than you would during the summer months.

Tips for Saving Money When Shipping

If you need to save money when shipping a car, we definitely understand. Car transport is not cheap, so getting the most bang for your buck is important. Obviously, you can’t control the weather, or the season, or even where you’re shipping from and to.

However, there are a few things you can do to save some money when shipping your vehicle.

For starters, unless you really need your vehicle picked up ASAP, standard timetables are great. Almost every car transport company out there will offer a standard level of service. This is the lowest cost to ship a car they typically offer. Most standard shipments will get picked up within 7 days of the first date available, too, so if you have some time to wait, this is definitely the best way to go to save money.

If you’re shipping from a rural area, or outside of a major urban area, anyway, think about moving it a bit closer. If you’re not close to a major city, getting closer to one can help you save some money. Carriers won’t have to drive as far to get to your vehicle, which means they save time and fuel. Both of those can help you save a bit of cash.

Make sure to ask for discounts, too. Many auto shippers will offer discounts for military members, senior citizens, and students. Many will offer others, but those are usually the standard ones you see. Discounts may not save you a lot of money, but when you’re shipping a car, every little bit helps!

Save Money with Automobile Shipping Quotes!

If you’re interested in getting your car shipped at a great price, we can help! We have comprehensive reviews of the best auto transporters in the industry right here on our website. Read about their services, what makes them great, what they can help you with, and much more.

From there, you can visit their websites to get more information from them, to get quotes from them to help you decide who to book with, and more. We make sure each one is fully licensed, bonded, and insured. This way, you know you’ll be in good hands with whoever you choose, from start to finish.

Gathering information (and quotes) is important. It allows you to compare prices and services, and with the reviews on our website, you have the power to choose whichever one you think will do the job right.