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Average Car Delivery Cost

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Factors Influencing Car Shipping Costs
  2. Choosing Car Shipping Companies
  3. Understanding Car Shipping Services
  4. Navigating the Auto Transport Industry
  5. How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping
  6. The Importance of Choosing a Reputable Auto Transport Company
  7. How to Save Money on Car Shipping
Average Car Delivery Cost

Shipping a car can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to understanding the costs associated with it. The average car shipping cost in 2023 is $1,150, but prices can range from as little as $550 to as high as $2,450 depending on various factors such as the type of vehicle, the distance to be covered, and the shipping method chosen (source: Forbes). This wide price range indicates that car shipping costs are not fixed and can vary significantly based on different variables.

For example, short-distance car shipping costs range from $0.98 per mile to $5.45 per mile, averaging $1.63 per mile or $893 for distances 500 miles or less (source: MarketWatch). On the other hand, longer distances or cross-country shipments can range from $500 to $2,000 or more (source: uShip).

While these figures provide a general idea of what you might expect to pay, it's essential to remember that every auto transport scenario is unique. Therefore, the actual cost to ship your car may be higher or lower depending on your specific situation.

Factors Influencing Car Shipping Costs

Several factors can influence car shipping costs, making the process of estimating these expenses complex.

  • Distance and Location: The distance between the pickup and delivery points is one of the most significant factors determining the cost. Generally, the further the distance, the higher the cost. However, the cost per mile tends to decrease as the distance increases. The location also plays a role; shipping to and from major cities or transportation hubs is typically less expensive than remote or hard-to-reach areas.
  • Vehicle Size and Weight: Larger and heavier vehicles require more efficient resources to transport, leading to higher costs. For example, shipping a compact car will typically be less expensive than shipping a large SUV or truck.
  • Transport Type: There are two main types of car shipping - open and enclosed. Open transport is the cheaper and more common option, but your vehicle will be exposed to the elements. Enclosed transport offers more protection but comes at a higher price.
  • Seasonality: The time of year can also impact car shipping prices. Demand for auto transport services tends to increase during certain times of the year, like summer and early fall, leading to higher prices.
  • Vehicle Condition: Operational cars are easier and cheaper to ship as they can be driven on and off the carrier. Non-operational vehicles require additional equipment and labor, increasing the cost.

Choosing Car Shipping Companies

When choosing a car shipping company, it's essential not just to consider the cost. While finding a good deal is important, you also want to ensure that your vehicle is in safe hands.

Look for car shipping companies with a solid reputation for reliability and customer service. Read reviews and check ratings on platforms like the Better Business Bureau. Ensure the company is registered with the Department of Transportation and has a valid Motor Carrier Number.

Also, consider the services offered by the company. Some companies offer door-to-door service, while others may require you to drop off and pick up your own car at a nearby terminal. Some provide tracking so you can monitor your vehicle's progress during transit.

Finally, don't hesitate to ask questions. A reputable auto transport company should be transparent about their pricing and willing to explain any fees or charges that aren't clear. Remember, the cheapest quote may not always be the best option. Consider the company's reliability, customer service, and track record as well as the price when making your decision.

Understanding Car Shipping Services

When considering how to ship a car, it's crucial to understand the range of services offered by car shipping companies. These services can significantly influence the car transport costs and the overall experience of shipping your vehicle.

Door-to-Door Service: This is one of the most convenient options offered by many auto transport companies. As the name implies, the company will pick up your vehicle from your specified location and deliver it directly to your desired destination. This service can save you a lot of time and hassle, but it may come with additional costs.

Terminal-to-Terminal Service: In this option, you'll need to drop off your vehicle at a designated terminal, and it will be delivered to a terminal close to your destination. While this service can be cheaper than door-to-door delivery, it may require extra time and effort on your part, especially if the terminals are not conveniently located.

Open vs. Enclosed Transport: Open transport is the most common and affordable method of shipping a vehicle. Your car will be loaded onto an open trailer along with several other vehicles. However, your vehicle will be exposed to the elements and potential road debris. On the other hand, enclosed transport provides more protection for your vehicle but comes at a higher cost.

Expedited Shipping: If you're in a hurry to get your vehicle shipped, some companies offer expedited shipping services. This service ensures a quicker pickup and delivery time, but it will significantly increase the cost to ship.

Navigating the Auto Transport Industry

The auto transport industry is vast and complex, with hundreds of car shipping companies vying for your business. It's essential to navigate this industry wisely to ensure you get the best car shipping rates and services.

Firstly, research is key. Use online resources such as the car shipping calculator provided by many companies to get an estimate of the average vehicle shipping cost. This tool considers factors like distance, vehicle type, and chosen service to provide a rough estimate of the cost.

Next, read reviews of auto transport companies. Look for consistent positive feedback about timeliness, condition of vehicles upon arrival, and customer service. Remember that while no company is perfect, a pattern of complaints is a red flag.

Also, verify the legitimacy of the car shipping companies you're considering. They should be registered with the Department of Transportation and have a valid Motor Carrier Number. You can check this information on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website.

Finally, when you receive your quotes, be wary of prices that seem too good to be true. Extremely low prices could indicate a company cutting corners or adding hidden fees. A reputable company will provide a transparent quote that includes all costs.


How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping

Once you've chosen a car shipping company and service, it's time to prepare your car for next shipping. Proper preparation not only ensures the safety of your vehicle but also helps avoid any potential delays or additional charges.

Start by cleaning your vehicle inside and out. A clean car makes it easier to identify any existing damage and compare it to the condition of your vehicle upon delivery. Document the current state of your car with photos and notes, focusing on any pre-existing damage.

Remove all personal belongings from your car. Auto transport companies are not liable for personal items left in the vehicle during transport. Additionally, these items can add weight to your vehicle and potentially increase the cost to ship.

Check your car's tire pressure, battery charge, and fluid levels. Your car may need to be driven on and off the transport trailer, so it's important to ensure it's in good working order.

Finally, disable your car alarm to prevent it from causing any disruptions during transport. Provide the driver with any necessary keys or fobs and instructions for starting and operating your vehicle.

Preparing your car for shipping can seem like a daunting task, but with the right planning and preparation, you can ensure a smooth and successful transport experience.

The Importance of Choosing a Reputable Auto Transport Company

When it comes to shipping a car, choosing the right auto transport company is as crucial as understanding the car transport costs. The safety and security of your vehicle during the shipment process largely depend on the credibility and reliability of the car shipping company you choose.

A reputable auto transport company will prioritize customer service, transparency, and professionalism. They will provide accurate estimates, clear contracts, and comprehensive insurance coverage. Their drivers will be trained and experienced, ensuring your vehicle is handled with care.

While the cost to ship a vehicle is a crucial factor, don't let it be the only determinant in your decision. An exceptionally low cost could indicate a compromise on service quality or hidden charges that might surface later. On the other hand, a high price does not necessarily guarantee superior service.

Researching and comparing multiple companies is essential. Look for companies with positive customer reviews and ratings. Check their registration and licensing details to ensure they are legally authorized to operate in the auto transport industry.

Also, consider the range of services they offer. Some companies specialize in certain types of transport, such as enclosed auto transport for luxury or classic cars. Others may offer additional services like door-to-door delivery or expedited shipping.

Remember, your vehicle is likely one of your most valuable possessions. Choosing a reliable car shipping company will give you peace of mind, knowing your vehicle is in good hands.

How to Save Money on Car Shipping

Shipping a car can be a significant expense, but there are several strategies you can use to save money on car shipping cost. Here are some tips to help you reduce the average cost to ship a vehicle:

  • Choose Open Transport: Open transport is usually less expensive than enclosed auto transport. Unless you're shipping a luxury, classic, or highly valuable car, open transport should be sufficient.
  • Use Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping: While door-to-door shipping is convenient, terminal-to-terminal shipping can be a cheaper option. This service requires you to drop off and pick up your vehicle from designated locations, which can reduce the transportation cost.
  • Be Flexible with Pickup and Delivery Dates: If you're not in a rush, being flexible with your pickup and delivery dates can help you save money. Car shipping companies often offer lower rates for customers who can wait a bit longer for their vehicle shipment.
  • Book in Advance: Like many other services, booking your car shipping well in advance can help you secure better rates. Last-minute bookings may attract premium charges.
  • Lighten Your Vehicle: The weight of your vehicle can impact the shipping cost. Remove any unnecessary items from your car before shipping to reduce its weight.
  • Get Multiple Quotes: Don't settle for the first quote you receive. Gather quotes from several car shipping companies and compare them. Keep in mind that the lowest price might not offer the best value, so consider factors like service quality and company reputation as well.
  • Negotiate: Don't be afraid to negotiate the price with auto transport companies. Some may be willing to match or beat their competitors' prices.

By implementing these strategies, you can significantly reduce the cost of shipping your vehicle. However, remember that saving money should not compromise the safety and security of your vehicle. Always prioritize choosing a reputable and reliable car shipping company.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

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Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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