How To Save On Car Transport Expenses

Many people think that the cheapest way to ship their cars to another state is by driving them themselves. However, they fail to understand that the additional cost, such as fuel refilling and lodging, including the stress of driving several hundreds of miles, can make it expensive and uncomfortable.

Also, if you own more than one car and you are the only driver, it is impossible to drive your car from one state to another. In this case, your best option will be to hire the services of a car shipping company.

One of the sets of questions a person asks when looking into an auto transport company is the cost. There is one answer to the question because the shipping cost is dependent on a lot of different factors.

However, you can reduce your vehicle delivery costs by using the factors discussed here. Even though some factors such as harsh weather are way beyond your control, there are lots of factors that enable you to lower your expenses in a great way.

Let’s look at them one after the other.

How To Save On Car Transport Expenses

In this article

Be Right with your Timing

The most crucial factor to consider (concerning price) when transporting your vehicle is the seasonal fluctuations of price. You can take advantage of the north-south winter price shift being the easiest one.

People often dread the cold, and they want to move away from it. If you transport your vehicle to the north in the winter when others are shipping south, you could be able to save up to 50%.

This is also true when winter is over, and most shipping is sent to the north, enabling you to save a lot of money shipping south (between March and May). Another seasonal price fluctuation is experienced in the summer. Shipping from east to west or the other way round is a bit costly because this is when a lot of people move homes.

It is not much, but you can save up to 25% when shipping your vehicle after summer if you are shipping either in the west or east.

Service Types for Auto Shipping

Many auto shipping companies offer different levels of services for car transport. Open, enclosed, and expedited auto shipping are three of the widely known types offered in the shipping industry.

The most common and cost-effective shipping option is open auto shipping. More than 95% of car shipping trailers available in the industry are open trailers, and a lot of dealerships make use of this type of trailer when shipping new cars.

A wide number of open-air trailers imply that there are many drivers available to haul loads, reduce prices, and make it more competitive for open transport.

Enclosed trailers, in comparison, are well limited all through the country and cost between 40% and 60% more to book for a shipment than open trailers.

Read Enclosed car transport vs. Open trailers.


If you are not rushing to ship your vehicle, you should hold on till the off-peak season. If you live closer to the coast, you should understand that coastal vehicle shipping is the busiest in the summer (May to September).

Heavy car carrier traffic is experienced in the fall and spring seasons because snowbirds prefer to ship their vehicle from the cold northern states to the warmer southern states.

So if you reside in these areas, you will be charged lower rates during off-seasons. However, avoid waiting too long; many auto shipping services encourage customers to book their services a few months before their desired date to make sure they have the right carrier and manpower needed to have their car shipped.

You may get to realize that all bookings have been closed if you wait longer than necessary. This can reduce your productivity since this only means you will have to try urgent car shipping, which is more costly.

Choose Open Carriers

If your vehicle is not an antique, high-end sports car, or classic car, or a car that needs privacy from a stranger’s eyes, you have no reason not to go for open carriers. A lot of auto shipping companies make use of enclosed carriers to be their default mode of shipping.

You can spend over 50% more than the normal open carrier option on closed carriers. But they are controlled by well-experienced and highly qualified drivers and provide more security to your vehicle.

They also protect your vehicle from dust, rain, snow, and debris during shipping. However, an open carrier is not a bad choice for your car, as you think. Although your vehicle will be exposed to the elements, only in a few chances will the vehicle be damaged.

Top car shipping companies take necessary measures to make sure your vehicle is safe all through the journey. You only have to worry about its condition if it is a collectible or a luxury vehicle.

As discussed earlier, shop around for transport quotes; do not try to save money by employing the service of a car transport company that offers you the lowest rate. Perform research on the shipping rates of the company online. If you find a deal too low, it is an indication that the service is not excellent. Therefore, shopping around and checking other company’s shipping quotes is great as it will enable you to figure out the market price of shipping your vehicle this way.

A lot of car shipping companies also give you the convenience of using shipping quote calculators that enable you to enter the location, weight, and size of your vehicle, together with some other requirements. They then provide you an estimate on the cost of shipping your vehicle. This approach is so convenient, transparent, and helpful for those who are shipping for the first time.

Pickup and Delivery Location is Important

The quoted price will be determined by your pickup and delivery location in the city or rural areas. If the distance between your pickup and delivery locations falls between 50 miles of a major city, your shipping rate will possibly be lower than if you arrange to ship to or from a remote area.

Some customers prefer to drive to the closest large city to save on auto transport costs. Metro areas can be cheaper because more customers are shipping their cars from larger cities, and carriers like to pick up vehicles in the closest possible locations. If a carrier is to travel away from a highway or a large city, the price you are quoted will be higher.

Ship Multiple Cars

If you own more than one car, making sure they are shipped from one vehicle shipping company rather than using a second shipping company will greatly reduce your expenses. A lot of companies may even provide you a discount if you are shipping two or three of your vehicles. That is because their pickup and delivery destinations will be straightforward.

Terminal-to-Terminal Transport

Even though having your vehicle picked up from your home can be so much convenient, it can, however, be more costly than terminal-to-terminal shipping as this involves delivering and picking up your vehicle from certain terminals that also keep other vehicles waiting to be received by their owners.

Since your car shipper doesn’t have to travel various distances to pick up vehicles, this option is therefore economically cheaper. You only need to drive your vehicle to and from one terminal to another, and your car shipper will handle the rest.

Be Frugal, Not Cheap

Although the price is the key in this article, ensure it is not the only factor when choosing an auto shipping company. You get your money’s worth no matter what.

If a shipper promises you a too low price, that may be a warning signal. The car shipping industry is facing huge problems from bait and switch techniques of rogue shippers, so endeavor to check reviews for any shipping company before you request a quote.

Final Words

Your vehicle is a great investment, so it is normal that you are concerned about its well-being while it is being shipped. If you prefer a quality shipping service for your vehicle, it doesn’t have to be too costly than necessary. The tips discussed above will enable you to save a surprising amount of money on vehicle shipping.

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