Transporting your car interstate requires adequate planning to ensure your vehicle reaches its destination safely and on time. We’re going to be listing and breaking down the different ways you can transport a car interstate so you can find a method that meets your specific needs.
People transport cars across states for a variety of reasons. Job relocation, retiring to a new area, and sending a car to a college are just a few reasons people choose to transport their vehicles interstate.
There are three main ways you can transport a car interstate—all of which contain various pros and cons.
Let’s start with our first method of independent interstate transportation.
How Do I Transport My Vehicle Interstate Independently?
While transporting a vehicle interstate yourself is the most straightforward option on our list, it’s not always the most convenient. The distance to your destination from point A to point B is one of the main deciding factors on whether or not transporting a vehicle independently is worth it. Along with distance, traveling with others, safety, and cost are the other main factors to consider when looking to transport a vehicle interstate by yourself.
If you’re looking to transport your car across one or two states, then independent transportation may be a good idea. For transport routes on the longer side, transporting your vehicle independently can be more of a hassle than it’s worth. If you feel like you want to embark on the traditional great American road trip, traveling long distances may be an exciting prospect.
What Are the Downsides of Transporting a Car Independently?
Not all cars are created equal. When transporting a vehicle long distance, you run a higher risk of breaking down and having to spend money on maintenance or time repairing the car yourself. A vehicle’s value isn’t the only factor influencing how durable it’ll be on the road. Even old luxury cars are more susceptible to breaking down than modern economy cars. Budgeting and additional travelers are other factors to consider.
Budgeting for long-distance car transport is a more involved process. Food, overnight stays, and gas are all going to be a central part of your budget. These costs can accumulate to the point where choosing an alternative transport method may be more or nearly as cost-efficient during long-distance trips.
Even if choosing an alternative transport method costs more than independent travel with your vehicle, it can reduce time and stress compared to performing the trip yourself. If you need to transport your car with other people, you have to add their costs to your trip, while moving a car alone can be a dull endeavor for some.
When you feel like independent transport isn’t the right option for you, consider hiring a driver to transport your vehicle.
How Do I Hire a Driver?
The nice thing about hiring a personal driver to transport your vehicle is you have options. Potential private drivers that can transport your car interstate include friends, family members, or professionals that list that advertise their services online.
Trust is the biggest challenge when allowing someone to transport your vehicle personally. You’re most likely going to have an easier time enlisting the help of a friend or family member to transport your car than a stranger. When you work with personal drivers, you don’t know; it’s easy to fear that they’ll mistreat or steal your vehicle. Do your best to do screen people or services offering personal vehicle transport.
One upside with hiring a personal driver to transport your vehicle is the service being more focused on you. When you employ other transport vehicle services such as a carrier service (more on that later), you’re storing your car with other vehicles that also have to be delivered. A personal driver has you as their sole focus without the need to deliver other vehicles.
Let’s take a look at our third and final option of hiring an auto transport company to move your vehicle across the state(s).
How Do I Hire an Auto Transport Company?
Before you look at hiring an auto transport company, you need to understand the different types of services, as well as the factors that will affect the overall cost of the service. The four main types of services that professional auto transport companies provide are enclosed transport, open-carrier transport, single-vehicle enclosed transport, and air freight shipping. The model, condition, weight, and distance your vehicle is traveling are factors that will impact your final cost.
What Is Open Carrier Transport?
Open carrier transport is the most frequently used and least expensive option of the auto transport services listed above. When you hire an open carrier transport service, your car is loaded onto the carrier via a slanted ramp. After the vehicle is loaded, it will travel on an exposed carrier with other cars.
One perk associated with open carrier transport is the opportunity to order door-to-door service. When you select a door-to-door open carrier service, the transport company will load your vehicle from where you live and deliver your vehicle as close as possible to the door of your desired destination.
What Are the Downsides of Open-Carrier Transport?
The main risk associated with open carrier transport is that you’re openly exposing your vehicle to outdoor elements such as bad weather while the car is on the route. In addition to bad weather, dirt, and dust, stray objects can hit your vehicle and cause minor damage.
A minor downside associated with open-carrier transport is that your vehicle will be on a carrier with other cars so that the journey will take more time due to the many deliveries on deck.
You shouldn’t worry too much about the risks open-carrier transport services contain as the drivers are trained to manage the vehicles they’re moving carefully.
What Is Enclosed Auto Transport?
Enclosed auto transport is a step up from open-carrier transport services because your vehicle is fully covered during its journey. Since your car is fully enclosed, this service offers more protection. When transporting a vehicle long interstate distances, that extra protection is an invaluable asset.
Similar to open carriers, your vehicle will travel to its destination with other cars. You will have to dish a little extra cash for enclosed auto transport, but if you own a modern luxury or classic car, the extra money you spend will be well worth it.
What Is Single Car Enclosed Transport?
Single car enclosed transport is the same as the enclosed transport, except your car won’t be traveling with other vehicles. Rare, high-end cars tend to be the classes of vehicles that utilize this service for top-tier protection and faster delivery. It’s more challenging to reserve single car enclosed transport as the service isn’t as in demand as the former interstate transport methods.
We’re going to end on the most expensive and efficient way of transporting a vehicle interstate.
What Is Air Freight Shipping?
Airfreight involves loading your vehicle onto an aircraft carrier, usually with a limited number of other vehicles due to plane weight regulations. When searching for the quickest method to ship a vehicle interstate, you can’t go wrong with air freight shipping. The high cost of air freight shipping tends to result in luxury cars being the main form of cargo transported.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.
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