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Why is it that when you ask an auto transport company how much does car shipping cost, it’s difficult for you to get a direct answer off the bat?

It is because there are quite a number of variables that directly influence how much it costs to ship a car, and in this article I will try and break down these factors into something understandable and useful for when next time you need to ship your car

To simplify the process, Nationwide Auto Transportation has an easy to use, free cost calculator that takes the guessing out of car shipping cost.

In this post you can learn about the factors that affect your car shipping cost, how to ship your car, and the shipping methods you can choose from

car shipping cost

What Does Car Shipping Cost?

Asking about car shipping cost can be likened to asking how long a piece of string is – to get/give an accurate response, there is more information needed.

When the time comes for you to ship your car across town, or across the country for that matter, the cost of professional auto transport might in some cases be less than if you had to self-drive your car to where it needs to be, and what do you do if your car does not drive?

Be sure you understand the difference between FOB shipping points and FOB destination charges.

Why Ship Your Car and Not Drive? 

When compared to driving the vehicle yourself, auto transport saves time and can save you money. It’s not just gas that adds to the expense; wear and tear on the vehicle, staying overnight in hotels and purchasing meals along the way can all add up. Here are 7 reasons why shipping your car might just be a much wiser choice than driving it for long distances:

  1. Decrease risk of damage – Since you want to ensure that your car arrives in the same condition as when it left, hiring professionals to move it is a huge step in the right direction. With qualified drivers and the right tools and equipment, a professional car shipping service ensures that your precious investment is transported safely and won’t be damaged. It’s always a good idea to prepare your car, and if you have not yet, make sure it is rainproof before wet weather.
  2. Can you afford not to work for a few days? The time it takes to drive a vehicle or tote it to a distant location can lead to lost wages. A trusted car shipping company won’t require you to take extra time off work to transport your vehicle, and you can trust each step of the process to be handled professionally.
  3. You have enough stress, don’t add more – Transporting your car over a distance takes time and loads of energy, which adds more stress to your already stress filled life – save yourself the headache, and mileage on your vehicle, and let a shipping pro like Nationwide Auto Transportation take care of it. Does your roadside assistance cover vehicle shipping costs? Read the post to find out.
  4. Transportation Insurance – Often, insurance companies offer coverage for transporting a vehicle when using a shipping company, which can be helpful.  Read our Auto Transport Insurance: A Simplified Guide and insure that you are up to speed.
  5. A Safer Drive – Driving longer distances and spending several hours per day on the road makes it harder to avoid an accident, but by using an auto transport company, that risk is completely eliminated. Read these 5 car shipping myths.
  6. A car shipping service will save you money on unforeseen costs because you won’t have to spend much on fuel to get the car where it’s going. In addition, you won’t have to pay for any maintenance or repairs needed once it reaches its destination.
  7. You can focus on more important tasks when you hire a car shipping company.

Now that we have seen the benefits of shipping your car against driving it yourself, we can start looking into the main focus of this article, and that is what does car shipping cost?

car shipping cost

Counting the Cost of Car Shipping

When it comes to what has the most effect on car shipping cost, overall mileage plays the leading role and rates per mile will differ based on the total mileage to a destination. It costs approximately $2.00 per mile to ship a car with an auto transport company for trips less than 200 miles. For long-distance moves exceeding 1,500 miles, however, the price drops to approximately $0.60 per mile.

A spot on a car transporter, that can carry up to nine vehicles, is the most common way to ship a car and the savings compared to drive-away services can be considerable. For even more peace of mind and safety for your automobile (especially if you own a vintage, classic or super car), an enclosed carrier is highly recommended, although you are looking at about 40% more that you will fork out for this service.

As mentioned above the two most used forms of car shipping is either by open air, or an enclosed carrier. Here are the differences between the two options before we look at how much they cost.

  • 75% of customers use open carriers, and they are easy on the budget. Nonetheless, this shipping method may expose your cars to different weather elements including dust, rain, and snow.
  • Enclosed car carriers cost more than open air carriers, but protect your vehicle against the elements. Generally, this is the best option for high-end and luxurious vehicles because it has four solid walls, carries fewer cars, and protects your car from damage.
car shipping cost

Make sure you know whether there are FOB destination charges or shipping points you should be aware of.

What Else Affects Car Shipping Cost?

The Coronavirus led to many global impacts on the industry, despite the fact that we have self-driving cars.

When it comes to vehicle shipping, size really does matter – while dropping and picking your car up from a nearby terminal, and even what time of year you decide to ship, also plays a role in the pricing structure. Lets see what else may affect your car shipping cost:

  • As with other items, your delivery preference influences the cost of shipping and in general, pick-up or terminal shipping costs less than home delivery. You pick up your car from a terminal after your car is delivered to a predetermined location, while door-to-door delivery will bring the car directly to your office or home.
  • Vehicle types – What kind of vehicle you’re shipping will also affect your car shipping estimate. Review your car make and model. A sedan is less expensive to transport than an SUV or a van, for example. The reason is that sedans are smaller, and they occupy less space compared to larger vehicles such as vans or trucks.
  • Vehicle condition – A running car is easier to load into a shipping truck than one that is broken, which goes without saying that you will pay a bit more for a non-runner. Don’t forget to include the working condition of your car when you request a car shipping quote, but generally anon-runner usually cost about $150 extra.
  • Location/Distance – As previously mentioned, location plays an important role in determining shipping costs. Obviously, the farther the shipper wants to go, the more fuel is consumed and the more it costs and so more miles equals more money. Popular routes are more affordable than less traveled ones. The cost of car transport will be less in popular areas and cities compared to rural areas that are not as popular.
  • Time frame – It’s best to hire an auto transport company weeks ahead of time. When shipping within a few days or short notice, you will pay more than someone who books a month in advance. It is noteworthy that, like in every other business sector, the pandemic has had an effect on the auto shipping industry and prices and times may vary because of this.
  • Delivery time – Fast deliveries may cost about 30% more than standard deliveries. You may have to pay more for express auto shipping if you need it delivered within a short period of time.
  • Time of the year – Seasons affect many aspects of life, including car shipping. Car shipping is more popular in the summer, so prices may increase during this time. The cost and availability of car transport services may also be affected by celebrations or holiday periods, such as Labour Day, Christmas, Memorial Day, and New Year.

To save yourself stress and dollars it is better to get more than one quote and to compare price, as well as services offered. Do your due diligence and phone around or use services like the FMCA to check that you are dealing with a registered professional.

Car Shipping Costs by Size

We’ve said it before, but when it comes to shipping, size matters. The Department of Transportation has put a weight limit of 80 000 pounds on commercial car carriers, meaning they can transport between 5 and 9 cars at a time.

As an example of how size affects cost, we gathered quotes for shipping a 2020 Honda Civic, a mid-sized sedan, from Los Angeles to New York City, as well as a 2020 GMC Yukon, a large SUV, the same distance. Here are the results:

  • Cost for 2020 Honda Civic – $1,289 average using an open carrier
  • Cost for 2020 GMC Yukon – $1,669 average using an open carrier

The Average Cost to Ship a Car

A standard sedan (2019 Honda Civic) can be shipped cross-country – we used a distance of 2900 miles from San Francisco to New York City – for an average cost of $1750, if you use an open carrier, and up to $2200, if you use an enclosed transport service.

By using our free calculator you can easily see what your vehicle would cost to ship to practically any destination in America. This is what it would cost to ship a 2019 Honda Civic from San Francisco to New York City – a distance of 2906 miles, if you partner with Nationwide Auto Transportation.

car shipping costs

Car Freight Costs

Using a car carrier is one of the most common ways to relocate a vehicle across the country, but it is not your only option. There are also other options for moving a vehicle, such as freight trains, shipping containers, ships, and airplanes.

Alternate shipping methods come with their own limitations and conditions

  • Freight Train – While this method can be economical, commercial carriers won’t take on individuals looking to ship a single vehicle. A transportation company will be required, and even then, space may be limited and you will have to figure out how you will get the car to and from the terminals.
  • Passenger Train – With Amtrak, you can ship your standard sized vehicle from Virginia to Florida for less than $300 one way. What’s the catch? Only the East Coast is covered by the Amtrak Auto Train and you will need to travel with your car, adding the cost of a passenger ticket at around $90.
  • Air Freight – For international moves, you may consider flying to move your vehicle as you would for yourself – put the brakes on there – air freight can cost more than your vehicle is worth.

Concluding the Car Shipping Cost Conundrum 

This post has shown us that Car Shipping Cost can vary due to many factors so make sure you do some research before choosing your transportation partner.
Every day, thousands of cars are shipped without incident or fault and arrive at their destination because the people who shipped their cars used reliable car shipping companies like Nationwide Auto Transportation. Contact us today for a free, no obligation quotation – and all first time customers get a whopping 20% discount on their first shipment with us – Happy Holidays and please inspect your vehicle before shipping to avoid any surprises.