How Long Does Car Delivery Take? Comprehensive Guide

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated May 16, 2023

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Car delivery is one of the most convenient ways for moving your car from one location to another. Whether you’re moving to a new state or country, or just purchased a car from a distant seller, car shipping can save you both money and time. But if you’re new to the car shipping industry, you may be wondering, how long does it take to get your car delivered?

In this ultimate guide, we’ll take a closer look at car shipping and answer your most frequently asked questions about car delivery time.

Factors Affecting Car Delivery Time

Before we dive into how long it takes to get a car delivered, let’s take a look at the factors that can affect the car delivery time:

Distance: The distance between the pickup and delivery locations can significantly impact the car delivery time.

Shipping Method: There are two main methods of car shipping – open and enclosed. The open method is the most popular and affordable option, but it can result in a longer delivery time compared to the enclosed method.

Season and Weather: The time of year and weather conditions can also affect car delivery time, particularly if you’re shipping your car to a region that experiences harsh weather conditions.

Vehicle Type: The type and size of the vehicle being shipped can also impact the delivery time. Oversized or custom vehicles may require specialized transportation and can take longer to deliver.

How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car?

Now that you’re familiar with the factors that can impact car delivery time, let’s dig deeper into how long it actually takes to ship a car. The answer to this question is not straightforward, as it can depend on various factors, such as:

Route and Distance: In the United States, car delivery can take between 2-10 business days, depending on the pickup and delivery locations. Shipments to or from a remote area or across borderlines can take longer. International car shipping can take between 1 to 6 weeks.

Shipping Method: As we mentioned earlier, the shipping method you choose can impact the delivery time of your car. Open transport can take between 2-10 days, while enclosed transport can extend the delivery window by an additional 2-3 days on average.

Season and Weather: Seasonal changes and weather patterns can cause delivery delays, particularly if the vehicle is being shipped to an area that is prone to severe weather.

Vehicle Type: Vehicle size and weight significantly affect the type of shipping used and the delivery time. Larger and customized vehicles generally require more complex processes, so delivery may take more time than a regular family sedan.

Weekend and Holiday Deliveries: Many car shipping companies do not work on weekends and holidays, so that factor may also extend the delivery time.

Most importantly, keep in mind that the estimated delivery date is not the delivery guarantee. In other words, there could be unforeseeable delays outside of the transporters’ control, such as breakdowns and road disruptions.

Choosing the Right Car Shipping Company

Choosing the right car shipping company can make all the difference when it comes to delivering your car safely and on time. Here are some tips for finding the right car shipper:

Check Reviews: Look for reviews of potential car shippers from Google My Business, Angies’s List, and Yelp. Read through customer feedback to determine whether or not the shipping company provides reliable car delivery service.

Check for Safety Certifications: Reputable car shipping companies generally have FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) licensing and insurance. Check a company’s DOT# here.

Customer Service: Choose a company that offers good communication and reliable customer service. Good communication can help eliminate delays and potential misunderstandings.

Get Quotes: Collect quotes from several car shipping companies to get an idea of fair pricing across the market.

Understanding Different Car Shipping Methods and Their Impact on Car Delivery Time

When it comes to car delivery, it’s essential to understand the different shipping methods and how they can impact the overall delivery time. Two main car shipping methods are open transport and enclosed transport:

  1. Open Transport: This method is the most popular and affordable option for car shipping. Vehicles are transported on an open trailer, which can carry multiple cars at once. This method is quicker since more open carriers are available on the road, making it easier to find a carrier that matches your desired pickup and delivery dates. However, your vehicle will be exposed to the elements during transit, which can result in minor cosmetic damage in some cases.
  2. Enclosed Transport: Enclosed transport involves shipping your vehicle in a covered trailer, offering more protection from the elements, debris, and potential theft. This method is ideal for luxury, classic, or expensive vehicles. Enclosed transport tends to be more expensive and can take longer due to the limited availability of enclosed carriers.

When choosing a car shipping method, consider the type of vehicle you’re shipping, your budget, and any specific protection requirements. This will help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs and ensures timely car delivery.

Tips for a Faster Car Delivery Experience

If you’re looking for ways to speed up the car delivery process, consider these helpful tips:

  1. Plan Ahead: Book your car shipment well in advance to ensure you secure a spot on a carrier that aligns with your desired pickup and delivery dates.
  2. Be Flexible with Dates: If you can be flexible with your pickup and delivery dates, you may be able to find a carrier with a shorter transit time, leading to a faster car delivery.
  3. Choose a Reputable Carrier: Selecting a reputable carrier with a strong track record of on-time deliveries will increase the likelihood of a timely car delivery. CitizenShipper connects you with reliable and vetted drivers to ensure a smooth car shipping experience.
  4. Communicate with Your Carrier: Maintain open communication with your carrier throughout the shipping process to address any potential delays or issues that may arise during transit.
  5. Prepare Your Vehicle: Properly preparing your vehicle for shipment can help prevent unnecessary delays during pickup and delivery. Clean your car, remove personal items, and address any mechanical issues before shipping.

Following these tips and working with a reliable car shipping company like CitizenShipper can ensure a faster and more efficient car delivery experience.


What is the cheapest way to transport a pet?

Typically, ground transport is the cheapest way to transport a pet.  Longer trips using a transportation service, like CitizenShipper, typically average around $1.00 per mile.  Using a pet transportation service ensures your pet arrives in your new location safely, while minimizing stress and overall cost. 

How much does it cost to ship a pet internationally? 

While shipping your pet domestically is a relatively straightforward process, international shipping can be more complicated.  Hiring a pet transport service to help with international logistics can save a tremendous amount of stress and time.  

Each country of arrival will have specific regulations regarding pet health checks, necessary vaccination, and possible quarantine requirements.  The cost to ship a pet internationally can vary, especially if you need to board your pet for an extended quarantine. 

How much does it cost to transport cats?

The cost to transport cats will vary depending on the transport method.  Cats can be transported via ground or air transit, and are often small enough to be considered a “carry on” item.  Transporting a cat can cost as little as $25 on Amtrak, or as much as $125 to fly in the main cabin of an airplane.

How much does it cost to travel with a small pet?

Traveling with a small pet, compared to a large pet, is much cheaper.  Smaller pets can fit under the seat in front of you and can often qualify as a “carry on” item.  Traveling with small pets on Amtrak can cost $25, while airlines can charge around $125.  Keep in mind certain companies will only allow cats and dogs to travel.  

What does it cost to ship a puppy?

While puppies are small enough to fly in most airline cabins, they can incur additional costs.  Puppies generally require more attention, and therefore can be more expensive than shipping an adult dog or cat.  

Many breeders will utilize an air nanny service to accompany your puppy.  If the air nanny is experienced, or a regular, certain airlines may provide discounted rates or waive certain fees.  Breeders regularly ship puppies to their new homes and are well-versed in arranging transportation.  

Bottom Line

Car shipping is a great option for anyone looking to move their vehicle long distances, whether it’s a move to a new state or simply purchasing a car from a distant seller. However, car delivery time can vary from a few days to a few weeks depending on various factors like the shipping method, distance, weather, and vehicle type. Choosing CitizenShipper ensures that your car is delivered safely and on time.