Is It Worth Shipping a Car? Weighing the Pros and Cons for Your Long-Distance Move

When facing a move or buying a car from afar, the question arises: is it worth shipping a car? Let’s cut to the chase, weighing the real costs, time, and care involved against self-driving and other options. Without excess jargon, we’ll help you assess what’s best for your situation and shipping needs, preparing you to make an informed decision right after diving into the unfolding sections.

Key Takeaways

  • Shipping a car can often be more practical than driving, considering the expenses of fuel, lodging, meals, and the time commitment required for long-distance drives, as well as the added mileage and wear on the vehicle.
  • Choosing the right car shipping option involves evaluating open versus enclosed carriers and door-to-door versus terminal-to-terminal services based on the vehicle type, value, and owner’s convenience and budget.
  • To minimize costs and maximize safety, it’s essential to understand the hidden expenses of driving, compare shipping versus driving costs, take advantage of discounts, and choose a reputable auto transport company with proper insurance coverage.

Evaluating the Worth of Shipping a Car

Car on a long road trip

ShipYourCarNow LogoSeveral factors should be taken into account when deciding whether to ship your car or drive it yourself. Personal preference, cost, speed, convenience, peace of mind, and safety all significantly impact this decision. The decision can be influenced by reasons such as moving to a new city, relocating for a job, or buying a vehicle from an out-of-state seller. Moreover, selling your car and buying a new one might seem like a convenient alternative, but this option comes with its own set of challenges. Furthermore, when considering whether to ship your car, don’t allow misconceptions to influence your decision. Keep educating yourself with factual information, such as in this article, and choose what’s best for you.

The drawbacks of selling and purchasing another vehicle, such as costs and inconveniences, often make shipping a car a more preferable option. Nevertheless, the pros and cons of shipping a car should be evaluated against all the costs and troubles of selling and purchasing a different vehicle. Let’s explore these factors in more depth, providing you with a comprehensive guide to help you evaluate the worth of shipping your car.

Distance and travel expenses

car travelledOne of the significant factors to consider when deciding between shipping a car and driving it is the distance and associated travel expenses. The average gas cost alone for driving a car across the country can exceed $300, and this figure can significantly increase depending on the vehicle type and fuel efficiency [1]. Furthermore, long-distance drives often necessitate overnight stays, adding lodging expenses, which can average around $150 per night in the US.

In addition to fuel and lodging costs, the cost of meals and snacks can add an estimated $20 to $40 per day per person to the total expenses of a long-distance drive. These costs can quickly add up, often making the cost of shipping a car appear more economical in comparison. Thus, before undertaking a cross-country drive, all these expenses should be taken into consideration and compared with the cost of employing a professional car shipping service.

Time constraints and convenience

second CalendarTime constraints and convenience are other significant considerations when deciding between shipping a car and driving it yourself. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Shipping a car can save a substantial amount of time and reduce stress during a move, avoiding the time commitment of driving long distances.
  • Driving long distances can put a strain on the body, leading to discomfort in the back, arms, neck, and hips.
  • Fatigue from driving can make it unsafe, posing a potential risk to both the driver and other road users.

Personal time constraints, such as work schedules or family commitments, also play a significant role in the decision to opt for car shipping over driving, especially when it comes to a car cross-country move. Moreover, if you’re moving across borders, there are additional challenges, such as managing paperwork, customs clearance, and adhering to various regulations, which can add complexity to the travel. Consequently, employing a professional car shipping company can save you precious time and lessen the physical strain and potential hazards linked to driving over long distances.

Vehicle value and depreciation

The value of your vehicle and potential depreciation are other crucial factors to consider when deciding between shipping and driving your car. Shipping a car instead of driving it helps preserve the vehicle’s value by avoiding additional mileage and mechanical stress. Driving a car yourself for a long-distance move can rapidly add significant mileage, potentially impacting the vehicle’s resale value and shortening its life expectancy.

Driving long distances can have negative effects on your car, including:

  • Lowering its resale value
  • Taking one month off its life expectancy due to increased mileage
  • Subjecting it to significant wear and tear, including the risk of damage from road debris
  • Potentially causing insurance coverage gaps

Choosing to ship your vehicle can help avoid these issues and preserve your car’s value for a longer period.

Comparing Car Shipping Options

Cars being shipped overseas

Once you decide to ship your car, the next step involves choosing the right car shipping option. When not driving themselves, car owners can choose from hiring an auto shipper or moving their vehicle along with their other possessions using a moving company. This decision is influenced by various factors, including the type of car, its modifications, and your budget.

In this part, we will examine two important considerations for choosing a car shipping option: open carriers versus enclosed carriers and door-to-door services versus terminal-to-terminal services. Understanding these options will help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

Open vs. enclosed carriers

truckOne of the first decisions you’ll need to make when shipping your car is choosing between open and enclosed carriers. Open car shipping is the most cost-effective method and is preferred by consumers due to being, on average, 30% to 40% cheaper than enclosed car shipping rates. However, while open car shipping offers cost savings, it lacks protection against debris and bad weather, exposing your car to potential damage.

On the other hand, enclosed car shipping provides superior protection against the elements and is suited for cars with lower ground clearance, using special equipment such as extended racing ramps and hydraulic lift gates [2]. However, enclosed car shipping typically incurs higher costs and longer wait times due to fewer available carriers. Hence, if your vehicle has a high value or is a classic car, enclosed shipping might be a better choice for enhanced protection.

Door-to-door vs. terminal-to-terminal

car keysAnother decision to make when shipping your car involves choosing between door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal services. Door-to-door car shipping provides the convenience of having the vehicle picked up and delivered to specific locations chosen by the customer. In contrast, terminal-to-terminal service requires dropping off and picking up the vehicle at designated locations.

Terminal-to-terminal car shipping tends to be less expensive than door-to-door services due to reduced labor and fuel costs associated with centralized pickups and deliveries. However, door-to-door shipping often results in faster delivery times and provides the convenience of not having to travel to a pickup location. Thus, the decision between door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal services hinges on your personal preferences, time limitations, and budget considerations.

The Financial Side of Car Shipping

Several cars on an open transport

Now that you have an understanding of the different car shipping options, it’s time to delve into the financial side of car shipping. In this part, we will:

  • Reveal the concealed expenses of driving your car over long distances
  • Compare the costs of car shipping and driving across the country
  • Examine the numerous discounts and special offers available in the car shipping industry.

This information will provide a more comprehensive picture of the financial implications and costs involved in shipping your car.

Hidden costs of driving

moneyWhile a road trip driving cross country may seem like a cost-effective option at first glance, numerous hidden expenses can quickly add up. These include not only the cost of fuel, but several direct expenses such as food, lodging, and tolls that make driving more expensive than it may initially seem.

Moreover, it’s important to remember that these are not the only costs associated with driving a car long distances. Wear and tear, maintenance, and potential repairs are also costs that need to be factored in. When these driving costs are compared to the one-time expense of shipping a car, shipping can potentially offer a more economical solution.

Cost Comparison: Shipping vs. driving

In general, driving a car yourself may be cheaper than shipping it using a professional auto transport company. For a distance of about 1000 miles, the cost of driving a car can be around $500, while shipping the car may cost around $1,200. However, the average cost to ship a car is approximately $1,108, with the price being around $350 for short-distance shipping on an open carrier and over $3,700 for cross-country transport on an enclosed carrier.

Hence, while certain situations may warrant or necessitate shipping, driving usually proves to be a more cost-effective solution for a long-distance move. However, you will have to invest a lot of time into that method and your car will depreciate because of the distance travelled. That said, it’s essential to obtain quotes from multiple auto transport companies, comparing both the services and the prices, to ensure a balance of value and service quality.

Discounts and special offers

While shipping a car may seem like a costly endeavor, there are several ways to save money. Auto transport companies offer a variety of discounts, including those for military personnel, students, seniors, snowbirds, first-time shippers, and customers shipping multiple vehicles. Moreover, seasonal discounts may be offered during times of high or low demand, and additional savings can be found with early bird bookings, online discounts, and loyalty discounts for returning customers.

Engaging a reputable broker can also help leverage a vast network of carriers to secure lower prices, and requesting multiple quotes may lead to competitive pricing through price matching. Shipping multiple cars at once significantly decreases the per-vehicle cost, providing more value to those transporting several vehicles. Additionally, customers can benefit from special deals and discounts by opting to move their car along with their personal items using the same moving company.

Safety Considerations in Car Shipping

Person ready to ship his car

Safety is a paramount concern when shipping a car. This portion will focus on the safety considerations for car shipping, with particular emphasis on the risks involved in long-distance driving and the significance of insurance coverage. Understanding these safety aspects will help you make an informed decision about whether to ship your car or drive it yourself.

Risks of long-distance driving

USALong-distance driving, especially during a long-distance road trip, comes with a myriad of risks [3]. Drivers are at risk of fatigue, which impairs driving ability and may require pulling over for rest to ensure safety. Driving without proper rest can lead to muscle stiffness, discomfort, and eye strain, akin to the dangers of driving under the influence.

In addition to physical strain, dehydration, and low blood sugar due to inadequate water and food intake can reduce cognitive function and increase the risk of accidents. Stress from traffic congestion, unfamiliar roads, or tight schedules can also negatively affect the driver’s well-being and lead to unsafe driving conditions. Consequently, engaging a professional car shipping company can lessen these risks and offer a safer alternative.

Insurance coverage

Insurance coverage is a crucial aspect of car shipping. All vehicle transport companies are mandated to carry basic insurance that covers damages to vehicles during transit. However, it’s recommended to verify the car transport service company’s insurance policy details, including the coverage limits and the procedure for filing claims, and check that they are bonded and insured.

For higher protection, especially when transporting luxury vehicles, additional insurance coverage can be purchased from the transport company. However, it’s important to note that the insurance provided by transporters has limitations, as it covers damages caused by the transporter but not from natural causes or ‘Acts of God.’ Hence, validating the transport company’s registration with the Department of Transport and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guarantees their adherence to regulations and their legitimacy.

Shipping Multiple Cars and Specialty Vehicles

If you own multiple cars or specialty vehicles, you might be wondering how to transport them efficiently and safely. Shipping multiple cars or specialty vehicles presents its own set of challenges and considerations. In this part, we will delve into these aspects, encompassing the related discounts and the requirement for protective measures.

Man loading a car for shipping.

Discounts for multiple cars

Shipping multiple vehicles with the same company can provide significant cost savings compared to shipping cars individually. Auto transport companies often offer discounted rates for multi-car shipments as they can maximize their cargo space and optimize transport efficiency. For instance, discounts may also be available when transporting multiple vintage cars with professional carriers, leading to more efficient and cost-effective solutions for collectors and enthusiasts.

Protecting specialty vehicles

SafetyShipping specialty vehicles requires special care and attention. Enclosed car shipping is the preferred method for specialty vehicles, offering complete protection with trailers that have solid walls, ceilings, and floors, and is particularly suitable for vehicles with low ground clearance due to special equipment like extended racing ramps and hydraulic lift gates.

Experienced auto transport companies specialize in hauling exotic and antique cars with enclosed car trailers that shield against the elements and road debris. These companies also provide the necessary expertise and tools for secure transport, along with tracking services for the owner’s peace of mind. Consequently, hiring auto transport services for classic and specialty cars helps maintain the vehicle’s value by avoiding unwanted mileage and unnecessary wear and tear.

Preparing Your Car for Shipping

Once you’ve made the decision to ship your car and selected a suitable auto transport company, the now it’s time to begin preparing your car for the shipping process. Proper preparation ensures a smooth shipping process and reduces the risk of potential damage.

Start by cleaning the vehicle and taking detailed, dated photographic and video records of its condition, including the odometer. This will assist with accurate condition reporting before and after shipping. It’s also crucial to ensure routine maintenance, such as checking for leaks and mechanical issues, ensuring the battery and tires are in good condition, and topping off fluids.

Moreover, remove all personal items from the vehicle as they are not covered by insurance and could cause damage or loss during transport. By following these steps, you can ensure your car is ready for the journey ahead.

Choosing the Right Auto Transport Company

ShipYourCarNow LogoSelecting the most suitable auto transport company is pivotal to a successful car shipping experience. The auto shipping company you choose should have significant experience and a proven track record in the industry to ensure the safe and efficient handling of your vehicle.

When selecting an auto transport company, it’s essential to read online reviews and feedback on platforms like Google, Facebook, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to gauge the company’s reputation. Check how companies respond to negative reviews and complaints, as this reflects their approach to handling customer dissatisfaction.

Additionally, it’s important to look for a company with multiple payment options to ensure convenience and security and be cautious of those that only accept wire transfers or direct deposits.

ShipYourCarNow: Your Trusted Partner for Reliable and Affordable Auto Transport Solutions

Consider ShipYourCarNow if you’re in search of a dependable and cost-effective auto transport service. They provide a full range of car transport services and cater to both businesses and individuals. From door-to-door shipping to coast-to-coast (domestic US) and international car shipping services, ShiprYourCarNow has got you covered.

With ShipYourCarNow, you’re not just getting a car shipping service; you’re also getting peace of mind through our professional car shipping services. We offer claim assistance in the event of any damage and will guide you through the process. Our expert logistics agents are standing by 24/7 to help with your car transport needs, ensuring a stress-free shipping experience.

Full Summary

Shipping a car involves a series of considerations ranging from costs and convenience to safety and insurance coverage. While driving a car cross-country may seem cost-effective at first glance, the hidden costs and potential risks could outweigh the benefits. On the other hand, choosing to ship your car with a professional auto transport company like ShiprYourCarNow can save you time, preserve your vehicle’s value, and provide peace of mind. The choice ultimately depends on your personal circumstances, preferences, and budget. Here’s to a smooth and successful car shipping experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it cheaper to ship a car or drive?

It is cheaper to drive your car rather than shipping it, as it will save you the most money. However, if convenience and time are more valuable to you, then shipping your car may be a better option.

Is car delivery a good idea?

Car delivery can be a convenient and safe option for getting your new car without leaving home, as long as you research the dealership or transport company. Additionally, it can help reduce wear and tear on your vehicle for long-distance moves.

How much does shipping cost for a car?

Car shipping costs vary based on carrier type and distance.

Is car shipping profitable?

The profitability of car shipping depends on the specific transport type and service offered, with delivery drivers earning $15 to $45 an hour and movers making $50 to several hundred dollars per gig, and success is determined by effective cost management and understanding of direct and indirect costs.

What is the difference between open and enclosed car shipping?

Open car shipping is more cost-effective but lacks protection against debris and bad weather, while enclosed car shipping offers better protection, especially for high-value or classic cars, but is more expensive. Consider your car’s value and your budget when choosing the right option.

( Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at SYCN Auto Logistics-Alchemist, blending the best technology, analytics & service available. )

Senior automotive logistics professional with a passion for the industry and a 10+ year history of accomplishments. Proven track record of exemplary client management working with both RMCs, Van Lines and OEMs. Keen ability to react to an ever-changing marketplace while offering superior technology solutions, programs and services. Architect of award winning auto transport portal technology offering transparency and agility to clients, agents and transferees. Successful team builder and leader easily managing budgets with effective leadership, strategic planning, and problem-solving capabilities.

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