Auto shipping is a convenient, safe, and reliable way to transport your vehicle long distances. Transporting a car can be done by train or truck and what works for you will be dependent on a few factors like the pickup and delivery location, your time frame, and your budget. Shipping a car is a fairly simple process but choosing the right method of transport could be tricky for a first time shipper. To help you make the best decision, here is a breakdown of the differences of train and truck shipment and the pros and cons of each.
Shipping a Car by Truck
Working with a trucking company is a much easier process than arranging a train delivery. Since it’s a more common option, there are more companies to choose from and you have the ability to compare pricing. It is also faster than transporting a vehicle by train because there are far more trucking companies. Another advantage to shipping a car by truck is the fact that it is faster and more efficient. If you need your vehicle in a specific time frame, you should definitely use a truck. Trucks can usually have your vehicle delivered in a matter of days while trains can take a few weeks. One of the biggest advantages of shipping your car by truck is that you have the option for door-to-door delivery. With a train, you have to arrange to drop off and pick up your vehicle from the train station. The cost of shipping your vehicle depends on several factors but generally it will cost a bit more to ship your vehicle by truck. You are paying for the added convenience and efficiency. Finally, trucks offer the option for both open and closed carriers so you can choose which method is suitable for your vehicle. Closed carriers cost more than open carriers, but they offer additional protection from outdoor elements.
Shipping a Car by Train
Amtrak allows you to ship your vehicle but their coverage is limited by their routes so you will need to make sure you are in their coverage area. Although the exact price varies, shipping your car by train is typically a cheaper option than a truck. Keep in mind, however, that it typically takes longer to ship by train so this option works best for people who aren’t in a hurry. Also, trains move along specific routes so you will have to make arrangements to drop off and pick up your vehicle from the train station. Finally, trains are a safe option, as they provide enclosed transport which keeps your vehicle safe from outdoor elements. If you want an enclosed option without paying the higher price for a truck, this might be a good option for you.
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.