Shipping Your Car Across The Country? What You Need To Know To Save Money

Cheap does not necessarily mean cheerful. This is the biggest problem in choosing the best car shipping service. In order to save money on car shipping costs, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. We’re here to shed light on the various ins and outs of shipping a car with some insight from our friends at Car Shipping Carriers (CSC), who have been in the business since 2011.

Did you recently buy a car from an online seller across the state? Looking for an efficient way to transport your vintage automobile to a show 800 to 1,000 miles away? Here are a few helpful tips on how to save money on car shipping costs.

1. Driving Versus Shipping: Which Is Better?

Here’s everyone’s favorite answer: It depends. There are many things that determine the costs of shipping a car from state to state, so let’s take a look at some of the many factors involved. If you bought a car from another state and you are planning to drive the vehicle home, you might want to consider the following expenses, which could drive (pun intended) up costs unexpectedly:

  • Plane tickets, cab fares, and fuel cost to fly to the next city, pick up the car, and drive the vehicle home.
  • Wear and tear. Driving for long distances might negatively affect the longevity of the engine, transmission, brakes, and tires. This holds especially true for vintage or classic automobiles. There is also a risk of breaking down along the way and the necessary repair costs (and time) needed to get the car running again.
  • Hotel or lodging expenses. Unless you’re He-Man and fortified with the powers of Castle Grayskull, it is dangerous to drive for more than eight hours a day. Studies have shown that 20 percent of accidents on major roads can be attributed to driving fatigue and tiredness. Sleeping in a cramped car will only make you feel cranky in the morning.

But if you decide to ship the car, you can get an express delivery at a fully competitive rate. Considering the fact current gas prices are hovering around $3.60 to $3.80 per gallon, and replacing a flat tire may cost upwards of $100.00 (or more), shipping a car might save you more money than you can imagine, not to mention saving you time and the potential headaches associated with driving a vehicle over long distances.

2. Consider The Variables

In order to determine the cost of shipping a car, you also need to ponder on four main variables:

  1. Shipping distance. Fuel costs and labor expenses will rise in relation to the total distance of the shipment. This is the main factor that will determine the final shipping price of your vehicle.
  2. Size, weight, and condition. It will be less expensive to ship a VW Golf or Ford Fiesta from New York to Miami compared to shipping a Cadillac Escalade or GMC Yukon over the same distance. The vehicle will be classified as a sedan, truck, SUV, or van and will be further categorized as small, medium, or large prior to shipping. It is also less expensive to ship a working car versus one that doesn’t run at all. The car shipping company takes longer to ship an inoperable vehicle. It will also require a special truck with a winch to safely load the vehicle.
  3. The destination and route. It is more affordable to ship a vehicle close to interstates and highways. You can expect to pay more if the shipping address is located hundreds of miles from the nearest town or interstate. If you belong to the latter, you can arrange to pick-up the vehicle or meet the driver at the nearest exit to save on shipping costs. Although distance will primarily determine the cost, don’t be surprised to pay less money on long-distance “hot routes.”
  4. Time frame and season. It is better to ship a car in the spring and winter than in the summer and fall. Shipping activity in the south will rise during the fall while people up north prefer to do most of their shipping in the spring. If you live in California, for example, the cost of shipping a car to Los Angeles is better in the winter since fewer clients are shipping cars to this particular area during that time.

Shipping an exotic, classic, or collectible car will likely cost more. Photo: Toby Parsons.

3. Type & Means of Transport

Door-to-door transport is the most common and least expensive way to ship a car. What this simply means is the driver will load the vehicle and drop it off as close to your home as possible. Transport trucks may be prohibited to roam on certain residential areas and are restricted by the presence of speed bumps, tight turns, narrow streets, and even low-hanging tree branches along the way.

The simplest way to save money on door-to-door car shipping is to meet the driver at the most convenient location with a large parking lot.

Another consideration is “open air versus enclosed” transport. Open car shipping is the cheapest way to ship a car and is the most common method. However, the car will be exposed to harmful elements such as sun, sand, rain, dust, or snow. If you choose open car shipping, make sure to tick the Top Load option to prevent paint damage caused by road debris if the car is placed in the lower section of the hauler.

If you are dealing with a high-priced customized sports car, supercar, hyper car, or vintage automobile, it is best to choose enclosed transport, albeit at a higher price. Enclosed transport will ensure the vehicle is protected against the elements.

You can eliminate most of the hassles associated with shipping a car by simply asking for a free and no obligation quote from Car Shipping Carriers, who can help facilitate the process.

Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine. 

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