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How Much Does it Cost to Ship Your Car?

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Shipping your car during a move can not only sound daunting, but it can also sound expensive. There are different ways to ship your car, and whether it's across the state, country or ocean, there are factors to consider when choosing a method and company to ship your vehicle.

Common factors to consider

Shipping costs will ultimately depend on a variety of factors, including:

Type of vehicle: Larger vehicles like trucks, SUVs and vans are more expensive to transport than sedans and compacts. Vehicle modifications such as being lowered or being lifted or oversized tires can also affect the overall cost of shipment.

Distance: Distance will obviously play a major role in the cost. The farther the distance the car needs to travel, the more likely the cost will be higher. Typically, costs can range anywhere from 50 cents to $1.30 per mile.

Where is the vehicle being shipped to/from?: Hard-to-reach pickup and destination areas may impact the cost of shipping. Is the pickup point a rural and out of the way location or is it easily accessible from a major highway?

Does the company provide door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal service?: Door-to-door service can be less expensive than a terminal site drop-off and pickup. There can be terminal storage fees which can accumulate each day the car is sitting there. Another thing to keep in mind is that a terminal yard may be far from you, which will add travel costs to your budget.

Fuel costs: With fuel costs on a never-ending rollercoaster, this will usually be the greatest variable factored into price quotes. Shipping time: Some companies may offer an express option which will undoubtedly come at a premium. If you have more time and you planned ahead, the less expensive standard options could be the best option for you.

Shipping methods: The shipping method can also dictate cost. Other methods will obviously be less expensive than others, but there are many options to choose from that will fit your budget.
  • When self transporting, which as the name suggests, you take care of transporting your car on your own. With this method, you rent a trailer, load your vehicle onto the trailer, attach it to a second vehicle and drive to your new home. Gas usage is cut down considerably with this method. For example, if you own two cars, you would drive one and tow the other behind—however, the drawback is that you are driving the vehicle to your new home and you must have a car that can handle towing such a heavy load.

  • Using a drive away service involves hiring a company that provides a driver to move your car for you. This way saves you the hassle of having to drive your car yourself, but your car is vulnerable to the elements and driver error.

  • A greener way to ship your car is by train. This may be a good option for you because you can travel on the train with your car if you choose and it is often relatively cheaper than other methods. A drawback is picking up your car at a train station rather than having it directly delivered to your home.

  • When using a moving company, they will load the car onto a trailer, drive it to your home and unload it for you. This option is often the best because auto-transport companies can work with your schedule and provide door-to-door service. Not to mention many of these companies have a great deal of experience shipping vehicles safely and securely. With auto-transport companies, there are two options; open-air trailer or enclosed trailer:

  • The open-air trailers are the large trucks loaded with cars on the highways that are between 70 to 80 feet with two levels of cars. Benefits of using the open-air trailer are that it is less expensive than an enclosed trailer, they are lighter and more fuel-efficient, and offer better visibility for inspection of the vehicles during transport. However, your vehicle is exposed to the elements and has limited protection from road debris and less security than an enclosed trailer.

  • An enclosed trailer offers four walls and a roof to protect your car. This method is recommended for antique, luxury or sport vehicles that you treasure. Benefits include protection from the weather and more security than an open-air trailer.
However, this method is less fuel-efficient and can be significantly more expensive than the open-air trailers. When choosing how to move your car from A to B, keep in mind the features of each method and figure out which ones are more important to you and your budget.

  Posted by Ana M. Ferrer on March 25, 2014

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