How Long Does It Take To Ship a Car? | Citizenshipper

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

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If you’re looking to transport a car, odds are you have two questions on your mind right now. First and foremost — how much does it cost? Second and only slightly less important — how long does it take to ship a car?

The truth is, the answers to these questions are interdependent. The more you’re willing to spend, the easier it’ll be to have your car delivered promptly. And conversely, saving on shipping costs increases the likelihood of delays.

In continental North America, the average car is delivered within 2 to 6 working days. This rough estimate doesn’t tell you much, of course. Does it take into account delays on the road? What’s the distance of that hypothetical delivery? Let’s break this down a little, looking into the factors that affect the time it takes to transport a car.

What’s the Distance Between Pick-Up and Drop-Off?

Obviously, the greater the route the longer it takes the transporter to cover it. Most shippers are able to cover approximately 500 miles per day, so take that into account. When shipping a car 1,000 miles, two days would be the bare minimum. But there is always delay and detours to account for.

The good news is, you can get always reliable ETAs if you’re in contact with the driver. When you hire an independent vehicle transporter using an online marketplace, they’ll give you their estimated time of arrival. (Accurate down to 2-3 days, in most cases). If road congestion, or the weather, or anything else causes late delivery, they’ll get in touch and let you know.

How Close is the Delivery Spot to Major Highways?

Is your car being shipped to a metropolitan area, or picked up from one? If so, the vehicle transporter will probably make good time. For most car shipping companies, trucks and trailers are much more readily available in those areas. 

But if your pick-up and drop-off spots are somewhat remote, you might be out of luck. They’ll give you an estimate of when a trailer will be available in your area, which may or may not fit your schedule. 

Still, this is another of the advantages that come with hiring independent transporters. After listing a shipment, you’ll be matched to all available transporters in your area. Assuming you’re in a hurry, you’ll be able to choose whoever can get to you quickly enough.

Does the Vehicle Come With Any Special Requirements?

No two cars are exactly the same. Maybe yours needs to be protected against the elements a little better than most? Maybe you’re shipping a luxury car in an enclosed trailer with special safety features? 

The drivers should be able to accommodate any extra demands and requirements you have. However, it might take more time for one with the necessary equipment to respond, so keep that in mind when planning the move. 

This difference might be negligible for long-distance moves. After all, shipping a car coast-to-coast typically takes 6 to 9 days! An extra half-day spent looking for exactly the right kind of service wouldn’t make a difference, would it? But on shorter routes, you’ll do need to take it into account.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

In the end, it’s as the old adage says. You can get a job done well, quickly, or affordably. Pick any two, but you can’t have all three at once. If you prioritize delivery speed when shipping a car, it might cost you a pretty penny. And if you try to get things done on the cheap, the delivery might not be prompt.

That said, there is usually a happy medium between swiftness and affordability to be found. The one aspect you should prioritize whenever possible is the quality of service. We recommend that you carefully consider each and every quote that the drivers send you. You shouldn’t automatically go for the lowest one, or the quickest one! 

Instead, get to know a driver by browsing their profile page. Read through the feedback left by their previous customers. Exchange messages until you’re sure he’s the right person for the job. You won’t regret taking extra time to make sure your car is handled by reliable professionals.

Stay safe, and happy car shipping!

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