Long distance auto transport presents logistical challenges. Do you drive your vehicle when moving across the country or to a faraway location? Do you, alternatively, choose to ship it? And if you do ship it, do you flatbed it or trailer it?
These are all important questions to consider. And, while shipping a car can sometimes be more expensive than driving, that’s not always the case. In fact, there are many hidden costs to driving a car yourself over long distances — not to mention potential safety, car maintenance, and wear and tear concerns.
Here are 4 reasons why shipping your car may be the best option for you.
1. Vehicle Wear & Mechanical Concerns
Whether you are looking to transport your exotic car, “garage queen”, or daily driver you will avoid putting mileage on your vehicle and contributing to wear of items like tires and brakes by having your car shipped by a specialty long distance vehicle transport service.
The last thing you want is to break down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with no cell service.
While most modern day cars are fairly reliable, if you’re looking to ship a classic or a vehicle that’s been sitting — or a vehicle that’s had its fair share of issues — we highly recommend getting your vehicle shipped.
If you do choose to drive yourself, we encourage you to research & plan your trip route before traveling and find safe places to stay so you don’t wind up broken down in the middle of a crime-riddled area. And don’t skip getting a vehicle trip inspection completed by a mechanic you know and trust and fix anything that needs fixing before traveling.
2. Convenience & Moving Logistics
Do you have multiple vehicles you’re looking to move long-distance or across the country as part of the moving process? Even if you have all your personal items shipped by a moving company, there’s still the issue of how you’ll transport your cars.
Or maybe, instead, you are buying a classic or vintage vehicle or exotic car, and think it could be fun to take it across the country. Have you thought about the time and cost involved with doing that? While it may seem glamorous in theory, sometimes, this type of journey can be riddled with unforeseen issues and expenses in practice.
The reality is that in many cases of long distance car transportation, shipping a vehicle with a car carrier is often simply more convenient than figuring out the logistics of driving yourself.
3. Travel Costs
Car transport services and long distance shipping costs can be expensive. And rightly so — after all, you’re paying for professionals to carefully transport your vehicle for you, sometimes over thousands of miles. Choosing the cheapest shipping company, if that’s your aim, is usually *not* recommended, because there are many sketchy shipping companies out there with dubious credentials. That’s what makes the vetting process so important.
Here at Ship a Car Direct, we vet your auto transport company options carefully so you can make the right decision. We have helped over 1,000,000 customers and have over 50,000 reviews.
That being said, people are often surprised when they start to add up the hidden costs of driving their vehicle over long distances, which can include:
- Hundreds of dollars for gas and tolls
- Hundreds of dollars (if not more) on lodging, food, and accommodations
- Mid-journey or pre-journey car repair and maintenance costs
- Opportunity cost of driving yourself vs. packing or focusing on other priorities
Car Shipping vs Driving Costs: An Example
Say for argument’s sake that you receive a shipping quote of $1,000 to get your car from New York to Los Angeles. If you get 25 mpg and you pay $3.00/gallon for gas, you can expect to spend $360 on gas.
Breaking the trip (which takes about 40-45 hours) up into 5 days, which allows for 8 hours of driving time a day plus stops for gas, food, bathroom breaks, and so on, conservatively, if you spend $150 a night, that’s $750 for lodging.
Add food and maintenance costs in, and you can see how easily driving yourself can become more expensive than shipping your vehicle.
4. Scheduling, Time, & Effort
If you have a busy work schedule or life jam-packed with things to do — for yourself, for your spouse, or for your kids — can you really spend the associated time and effort involved with driving your car yourself?
The answer may be yes, and then even so, do you want to?
These are the kinds of questions that are important to ask yourself when figuring out your priorities when it comes to costs vs. benefits of shipping your vehicle versus taking a road trip.
Learn More or Get Your Personalized Shipping Quote
Learn more about shipping your car long-distance in this informative blog post.
Looking to make moves soon? When it comes to finances, the best way to determine if shipping is the right move is to get a quote and compare costs. We invite you to do so now, or call us anytime with questions; we’re here to help the often stressful and unclear process of shipping a car go more smoothly!
Michael starting working in car shipping over 20 years ago, in 2002; back in the days when fax machines ruled the roost, being the first name listed in the yellow pages was King and google wasn’t yet a verb. Sometimes he foolishly thinks he’s seen every situation imaginable when it comes to shipping a car, but about once a year he’s proven wrong.
Frequently Asked Questions
Honest Answers to Your Car Shipping Questions
Yes, we always ask for your specific pickup and delivery addresses, if the carrier can get right to the addresses you provide, they will. If the addresses that you give us are not safely accessible for a Multi-car carrier, however, you will need to make arrangements with the driver to meet at a nearby location where the carrier can safely get in and out.
People do it all the time (rarely for free) but the official answer is no.
Not what you wanted to hear, we know, but that is the honest answer.
We are not licensed to broker the shipment of household goods and, likewise, no car carrier that operates in the USA is licensed to transport them from state to state either. Despite what you might be being told by other car shipping companies you may speak with.
Remember, at the end of the day we're all salespeople, and the true answer to this question is not a great selling point.
You will hear a lot of companies tell you that you can put up to 100 pounds of items in the trunk, but that is not entirely true. That fact is that items of that amount are fairly common and the department of transportation is probably not going to split hairs and fine the trucker over items of that amount, provided they are not over their weight limit. They could fine them, however, if they see a vehicle stuffed full of personal items so the car carrier will most likely try to negotiate something with you to cover themselves against any costs they could incur. It's not something we can build into your contract though.
We have a short and helpful video on this topic in our user videos.
Only in rare cases and car carriers will usually charge a premium to make it happen.
All dates given by car carriers are typically estimates and projections.
For this reason (and to keep your cost down) we ask that you build in some flexibility and give us the earliest possible date you would be WILLING to release the vehicle, even though it may not be your preferred date.
We'll put you in direct contact with your car carrier and the driver will also typically call you the afternoon or evening before your pick up and delivery (they won't just show up unannounced, and if they do we want to hear about it). However, car carriers are out on the road battling traffic, weather and any number of other factors that can and do throw them off of their pickup and delivery projections from time to time.
If the projected dates we give you come and you are unable to make contact with your carrier, please call our office immediately so that we may help resolve the situation.
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will average 7 to 10 days. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.
Even better, we do not even ask for payment until we have you confirmed for pickup by a safe, reliable, fully insured, direct car carrier. If for any reason you do not ship your car with the carrier that we arrange for you, there is no fee.
The fees paid directly to the carrier however, (in most cases, their fees are not paid until your vehicle is delivered) are not directly controlled by us, so any requests for a refund of the carrier's portion would need to be addressed with the carrier directly.
Of course! And you are always backed by our Damage Free Guarantee policy.
Part of what you pay us for is to verify that the car carrier that we put you on is covered by the proper amount of insurance and that everything is up to date.
There is never any additional cost to you for this coverage, and their insurance is always primary.