What Is the Average Cost to Transport a Car? Full Guide

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated: April 17, 2023 / Published: April 14, 2023

What Is the Average Cost to Transport a Car? Full Guide

If you’re planning to move to a new city or state or maybe buy a car from another state, then you need to know how to transport your car. And the first question that may come to your mind is, how much it will cost to transport a car?

The cost of car shipping may vary depending on several factors, such as the type of vehicle, distance, and mode of transportation. Hence, estimating the car shipping cost and other factors determining rates can be challenging.

However, this guide will help you better understand the average cost to transport a car and what affects car shipping prices.

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Factors Affecting the Cost to Transport a Car

1. Distance

The most crucial factor that affects the car shipping cost is the distance between the pick-up and drop-off locations. It accounts for the majority of the expenses involved in car shipping. The longer the distance, the more you will have to pay for car shipping.

For instance, if you’re shipping a car from New York to Miami, your cost will be different than shipping from New York to San Francisco. You need to understand that car shipping is calculated based on distance, so the farther the destination, the higher the cost.

2. Type of Vehicle

The type of vehicle you want to ship also affects the cost of car shipping. The larger and heavier your vehicle, the more it will cost to transport. For example, it costs more to ship a truck than a sedan or a hatchback.

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Moreover, the type of car you have will also affect the mode of transportation. If you own a higher-end sports car or luxury vehicle, you might want to consider enclosed transport, which is more expensive due to the added protection and level of care it provides.

3. Mode of Transportation

Another factor that affects the cost of car shipping is the mode of transportation you select. There are two primary modes of car transportation – open and enclosed. Open transport is more common and cheaper as compared to enclosed transportation.

With open transport, your vehicle will be shipped on an open trailer and exposed to the elements, dust, and small debris. Enclosed transport is a more secure and safer option for expensive or classic cars, but it does come with a higher price tag.

4. Time of Year

The time of year you ship your car can also impact the cost of car shipping. Seasonality plays a significant role in car shipping prices. During peak seasons, such as summer, costs are higher due to an increased demand for car shipping services.

Additionally, winter and spring are also heavy car shipping seasons due to people moving from one state to another for college or work. On the other hand, the cost of car shipping drops during fall, which means you can save a lot of money if you plan to transport your car in the fall.

5. Additional Services

A few additional services may add to the cost of car shipping. For instance, if you need expedited or door-to-door service, then you might have to pay extra. Similarly, if your car isn’t operational, you’ll have to pay more because specialized equipment is needed to load and unload it.

Average Cost to Transport a Car

Now that you have some understanding of the various factors that can affect the cost of car shipping, let’s talk about numbers. According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost for shipping a car within the US is $1,200.

However, this is an estimate, and the final cost may differ depending on several factors. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay between $500 to $1,500 for car shipping, based on the abovementioned factors.

How to Save Money on Car Shipping

Now that you know how the cost of car shipping is determined, let’s look at ways to save money on car shipping.

1. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is the best way to save money on car shipping. If you know that you’ll be moving or buying a car, start researching car shipping companies at least a few weeks in advance. This way, you’ll have more time to compare prices and find a reliable and affordable car shipping company.

2. Choose the Right Time

As mentioned earlier, the time of year you ship your car can also impact the cost of car shipping. If you can, try to avoid peak seasons like summer and opt to ship your car in the fall or winter months to save more money.

3. Use a Broker

Using a car shipping broker can also help you save money on car shipping. Brokers have access to different car shipping companies, and they can help you find the best deals.

4. Negotiate

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price with your chosen car shipping company. Some companies are willing to offer discounts, especially to customers who book in advance or ship multiple cars.

Preparing Your Car for Shipping: Tips and Tricks

In addition to understanding the factors determining the cost to transport a car, preparing your vehicle for shipping is essential. Proper preparation can ensure the safety of your car during transport and make the process smooth and hassle-free. Here are some tips and tricks to help you prepare your car for shipping:

Clean Your Car

Before shipping your car, give it a thorough wash. This will make it easier to identify any pre-existing damage during the pre-transport inspection. Remove all personal belongings and any loose items from your car, as they can cause damage during transport or violate shipping regulations.

Document Pre-existing Damage

Conduct a detailed inspection of your car before shipping to document any pre-existing damage. Take photographs of your vehicle from multiple angles, and make notes about any dents, scratches, or other issues. This documentation can be crucial in case of any disputes or damage claims after the car has been shipped.

Check Fluid Levels and Tire Pressure

Before shipping, make sure to check all fluid levels and top off any that are low. Ensure that your car’s tires are properly inflated, as this will help to prevent any potential damage during loading and unloading.

Disable the Alarm System

If your car has an alarm system, make sure to disable it before shipping. This will prevent any unnecessary delays or complications during the shipping process.

Leave a Minimal Amount of Gas in the Tank

Keep minimal gas in your car’s tank – around 1/4 of a tank is ideal. This reduces the weight of the vehicle and makes it safer to transport.

Check for Leaks

Inspect your car for any leaks and have them repaired before shipping. This will prevent potential damage to other vehicles during transport.

Remove or Secure External Accessories

If your car has any external accessories, such as a roof rack or aftermarket spoilers, remove them or ensure they are securely fastened. This will reduce the risk of damage during transport.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your car is adequately prepared for shipping. Proper preparation protects your vehicle and helps you avoid potential complications or additional costs during the transport process.

FAQs: Cost to Transport a Car

What Is the Average Cost to Transport a Car?

According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost to transport a car within the US is around $1,200. However, the final cost may vary depending on various factors, such as distance, type of vehicle, and mode of transportation.

How Does Distance Affect the Cost to Transport a Car?

The distance between the pick-up and drop-off locations is a significant factor in determining the cost of car shipping. The longer the distance, the higher the shipping cost.

How Does the Type of Vehicle Affect the Cost to Transport a Car?

The size and weight of your vehicle will impact the cost of shipping. Larger and heavier vehicles, like trucks or SUVs, typically cost more to transport than smaller vehicles, like sedans or hatchbacks.

How Do Open and Enclosed Transport Options Impact the Cost to Transport a Car?

Open transport is more common and less expensive than enclosed transport. Open transport involves shipping your car on an open trailer, while enclosed transport provides added protection by shipping your vehicle in a covered trailer.

How Does the Time of Year Affect the Cost to Transport a Car?

The time of year can impact car shipping costs due to seasonal demand. Summer and spring tend to have higher shipping costs due to increased demand, while costs are typically lower during fall.

Bottom Line: Cost to Transport a Car

Car shipping costs may seem daunting at first, but understanding the factors that determine the cost can help you determine a rough estimate. Always do your research, compare prices, and choose a reliable and reputable car shipping company to ensure that your car is transported safely and securely.

So, whether you’re moving to another state or buying a car from a different region, use this guide to help you determine the average cost to transport a car and help you save some money along the way.