If you are in need of transporting your vehicle from one location to another, you have a few options. Driving your vehicle might be the first thing that comes to mind, however, this isn’t always feasible. Cross-country drives can be exhausting, not to mention the wear and tear it can put on your vehicle. For this reason, many people prefer to have their vehicle transported. Two of the most common transport options are towing and auto shipping. While they may sound similar, there are actually a few distinct differences between these two types of transport. Here we will take a closer look at the differences between towing and shipping so you can decide which option is best for you.
Towing Your Car
Towing is a process that many people are more familiar with as opposed to shipping. When your car is towed, it is parked on top of a trailer or platform that is pulled by a tow car. This option allows people to pull their car themselves, which can certainly seem more affordable. However, it is important to note that certain equipment is required in order to tow a vehicle. First off, you have to have a trailer in order to tow your vehicle. A towing trailer secures your vehicle and is required for any vehicle that is not all-wheel drive. Secondly, your trailer must be hitched to the rear of the vehicle you are driving. This means, you must purchase a trailer hitch as well. Finally, you must own another vehicle that is capable of towing a vehicle a long distance. You will need to check the weight of your trailer and the vehicle being towed and compare that to your other car’s towing capacity. As you can see, towing a vehicle may seem like a cheaper option, but that’s only if you already have all of the necessary equipment. For those who do not have a trailer, hitch, or strong enough towing vehicle, shipping will be a better option. Furthermore, you assume several risks when you tow your own car. There is always the possibility that something could go wrong that could damage your vehicle. In addition, towing puts a great deal of wear and tear on the engine of the tow vehicle.
Shipping Your Car
Car shipping is the most convenient way to get your vehicle from Point A to Point B. Since it is designed for long-distance transport, auto shipping carriers are knowledgeable and specialized in transporting vehicles across the country safely and efficiently. In addition, car shipping is often more affordable than towing it. Renting a trailer can be expensive, not to mention the cost of gas, food, and lodging along the way. If you choose to have your car shipped, you can arrange to have it picked up either at your home directly or at a nearby terminal. Upon arrival, you can again have your vehicle delivered directly to your door or you can pick it up at another terminal in that city. Furthermore, you have the option to have your car shipped in an open or enclosed trailer. Enclosed trailers provide additional protection against the outdoor elements, making that a great option for luxury, antique, or classic cars. While car shipping can take anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks, you can rest assured that your vehicle will not be subject to additional wear and tear. Most auto shipping companies also have insurance, giving you additional peace of mind in case something unexpected happened along the way. Since auto shipping companies can transport multiple vehicles at once, they can keep prices relatively low which can save you money.
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.