Is it worth shipping a car? Everything You Need to Know

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

Shipping Your Car?

  • Fast and easy
  • Only pay when you book

People hire independent transporters for all sorts of stuff, in a variety of circumstances. When moving house, you need people to haul all your stuff to your new digs. When an airline won’t let your dog board a plane, you book a driver instead. 

But when it comes to shipping vehicles, well, you might be facing a dilemma. You need your ride moved from point A to point B, sure, but is it worth shipping a car? Can’t you just get behind the wheel and drive it there yourself? How difficult could that be?

The right answer, obviously, is “it depends”. Car shipping costs vary widely, as do the expenses of transporting it on your own. So let’s break this down a little and look at a couple of different situations.

Is it worth shipping a car if you’re pressed for time?

Very much so, especially if moving it long-distance. Sorting out the logistics of driving a car across the country on your own can be very time-consuming. And the trip itself might take days or weeks. To get it done quickly, having someone else move the car is practically your only option. 

Shipping companies will typically work within any reasonable time frame that you set. Still, it might take them a while to get a contractor going your way at exactly the right time. As an alternative, you could always find an independent car hauler and arrange all the details personally. Online marketplaces provide unparalleled flexibility — in a matter of minutes, you’ll have people sending you quotes.

The one thing you shouldn’t try to save time on is choosing the right transporter. Rushing into things might actually leave you stuck with people unable to meet your demands on time! Instead, we recommend making your pick carefully and deliberately. Read through their reviews, consider all the options, don’t let anyone pressure you into pulling the trigger!

It goes without saying, but you should only accept a hauler’s ETA range that suits you. If unexpected delays are deal-breakers for you, make sure that they understand this. Reliable transporters will keep you in the loop throughout the shipping process.

Is it worth shipping a car when money is tight?

Quite possibly! You might assume that the hauler’s quote needs to be higher than the expense you’d incur while driving. But that’s not always the case. Professional transporters plan their routes for multiple deliveries, looking to minimize gas expenditures. They also have their tricks that keep down the cost of accommodation, food, highway tolls, and more.

You, on the other hand, probably can’t do any of that. If moving the car on your own, it’s hard to say where your total expenditures might end up. Keep in mind it’s more than just gas that costs money!

So if you’re worried about not being able to afford the cost of shipping a car… Maybe also consider whether or not you can afford the alternative? On anything but the shortest of routes, it might very well cost you more to drive it yourself.

Of course, this is not to say that car shipping is always cheap! It’s just that, on bidding sites you can usually find something that’s within your budget. It’s not always the best offer, maybe the time frame isn’t ideal for you, but it might work. Again, don’t just leap at the cheapest quote you get. Always do your due diligence and make sure the hauler you hire is on the up-and-up.

Is it worth shipping a luxury car long-distance? How about short-distance?

Depends. When looking to move a luxury car, the cost of transport is put into context by the vehicle’s value. Why sweat over a difference of several hundred dollars if driving a set of wheels worth hundreds of thousands?

From a more practical standpoint, you risk damaging your high-value vehicle on a long-distance drive. The wear-and-tear, the precipitation, the occasional bump… on a long enough route, possibilities become inevitabilities. That’s why enclosed trailers are your friends! Find a transporter that offers the highest degree of protection to your beloved status symbol. Make sure they understand just how important your ride is to you. And don’t forget to ask about their insurance coverage.

This all applies to the long, boring seasonal moves that luxury cars must sometimes make. On a short-distance trip, however, you might as well drive your vanity van yourself. As they say, if you’ve got it — flaunt it!

Is it worth shipping a car if you’re already traveling to the same destination?

Surprisingly enough, this could still be worth it! Depending on your travel plans, driving the car yourself might still be less than practical.

For example, if you’re moving all your belongings to a new home, and they can’t fit inside a single car. You could personally handle furniture transport in a rental van, while hiring someone else to ship your car

Similarly, traveling with pets or small children can be a huge hassle. If you don’t absolutely need to be driving at the same time, go with the alternative option! Having your car shipped to the destination is infinitely less complicated.

And just throwing another possibility out there, flying might be your preferred mode of travel. But you’re not going to get your car aboard a plane, are you? Instead, have it shipped days or weeks earlier, so it’s waiting for you at the airport when you land. 

The point is, there are countless possible circumstances that might warrant shipping a car. Is there anything — literally anything — that keeps you from enjoying a leisurely drive through the great outdoors? If the answer is no, awesome! Have fun driving! But if there are obstacles in the way, you have options available.

Save time and money. Avoid bad weather. Don’t lose your nerve in traffic. Consider the car shipping solutions made available by an online marketplace.

Stay safe, and happy shipping!

Featured Image credit: