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“A1 Auto Transport became synonymous with top-notch service delivery, unfailing punctuality and constantly preoccupied with customer satisfaction.

See Article— USA Today

How long does it take to ship a car and what is the cost?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Factors Affecting Shipping Times
  2. Understanding Shipping Costs
  3. Tips for Reducing Shipping Time and Cost
  4. Preparing Your Car for Shipping
  5. Conclusion
How long does it take to ship a car and what is the cost?

When it comes to getting your vehicle from Point A to Point B, the two most pressing questions often are: how long does it take to ship a car and what is the cost? The answer to both can vary widely depending on several factors, but here’s a straightforward rundown.

  • Duration of Car Shipping: On average, domestic shipments can take from 1 to 2 weeks, while international shipping might extend anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks. The time frame is influenced by the distance, the choice between open or enclosed transport, and how commonly traveled your route is. For instance, shipping across the country will naturally take longer than a trip from one state to another. Choosing enclosed auto transport, while offering greater protection for your vehicle, might also extend the delivery time due to more specialized service.
  • Cost of Car Shipping: The price range for shipping a car can be quite broad. Domestically, costs can range from $500 to $1,500, while international shipments might start at $1,000 and can go up significantly from there. Factors affecting these costs include the shipping distance, whether you opt for open or enclosed transport, the type and condition of your vehicle, and how quickly you need the car shipped. Enclosed transport typically costs more due to the added protection it offers.

Factors Affecting Shipping Times

Several key factors influence how long it will take to ship a car. Understanding these can help set realistic expectations for your auto transport.

  • Geographical Distance: It’s straightforward – the farther the car needs to travel, the longer the shipping will take. Auto transport companies plan routes that can efficiently deliver multiple vehicles, which may also affect timing.
  • Shipping Method: Choosing between open and enclosed transport will impact your shipping time. Open car shipping is more common and can be faster due to higher availability. Enclosed auto transport offers more protection and is preferred for luxury or classic cars, but might not be as readily available, potentially leading to longer wait times.
  • Route Popularity: Popular routes between major cities are frequently serviced by car shipping companies, potentially reducing transit times. Less common routes may see longer shipping times due to less frequent service.
  • Customs and Import/Export Regulations: For international shipments, navigating through customs can add significant time. The process varies by country and can be influenced by the documentation and the vehicle’s compliance with foreign regulations.

Understanding Shipping Costs

When estimating the cost to ship a car, several factors come into play, making each quote unique.

  • Transport Method: The choice between open and enclosed transport is one of the most significant factors affecting cost. Open transport is more economical and widely available, making it a popular choice for standard vehicle shipping. Enclosed transport, while more expensive, provides a higher level of protection against the elements and road debris, ideal for high-value or classic cars.
  • Vehicle Size and Weight: Larger and heavier vehicles take up more space and add weight to the transporter, leading to higher shipping costs. This is a critical consideration for auto transport companies when calculating your quote.
  • Insurance and Additional Services: Comprehensive insurance coverage is essential for protecting your vehicle during transit, but it can add to the overall cost. Likewise, opting for additional services like door-to-door delivery for convenience will increase the price.
  • Seasonal Fluctuations: Just like the travel industry, car shipping experiences peak and off-peak seasons. Prices tend to rise during the busy summer months and around the start of the year when people relocate for new jobs or school terms. Planning your shipment during off-peak times can lead to lower costs.

By understanding these factors, customers can better navigate the complexities of car shipping, ensuring they find a service that meets their needs and budget. Whether choosing a car transport company for a domestic move or international relocation, being informed helps in making the best decision for your vehicle’s journey.


Tips for Reducing Shipping Time and Cost

Shipping your vehicle doesn't have to break the bank or take an eternity. With strategic planning and a bit of know-how, you can significantly reduce both the car shipping costs and the time it takes. Here are some insider tips:

  • Book in Advance: Like airlines, auto transport companies often offer better rates when you book your shipment well in advance. Last-minute bookings can be subject to higher prices due to the urgency and limited availability of transport options.
  • Choose the Right Shipping Method: While enclosed car shipping offers superior protection, it comes at a premium. If you're looking to cut costs and your vehicle isn't particularly susceptible to road damage (e.g., it's not a luxury or classic car), opting for open transport can save you a significant amount. Be sure to weigh the benefits of enclosed shipping against the additional cost.
  • Be Flexible with Your Schedule: Flexibility with your pickup and delivery dates can lead to lower car shipping prices. Auto shipping companies can more easily accommodate your vehicle on a route with other deliveries, optimizing their load and passing the savings on to you.
  • Compare Quotes: Don’t settle for the first quote you receive. Take the time to compare offerings from different vehicle transport companies. This not only gives you a better idea of the going rate but also puts you in a position to negotiate better terms.

Preparing Your Car for Shipping

Preparing your car for transport not only ensures its safety but can also streamline the shipping process. Here’s a checklist to get your vehicle ready:

  • Documentation: Make sure all your paperwork is in order. This includes registration, insurance, and if applicable, power of attorney documents. Having your documents sorted can avoid any delays.
  • Vehicle Condition: Clean your car inside and out. This allows for a more accurate inspection before transport, ensuring any pre-existing damage is well-documented. Ensure the gas tank is only a quarter full, which is enough for loading and unloading but not so much that it adds unnecessary weight.
  • Personal Items: Remove personal belongings and any loose items from the vehicle. Auto shipping companies typically prohibit personal items in the car due to weight restrictions and potential for damage or loss.
  • Maintenance Check: Perform a basic maintenance check before shipping. This includes checking for leaks, ensuring the battery is charged, and the tires are properly inflated. A car in good working order is easier and safer to transport.


Understanding the intricacies of car shipping, from the factors that affect timing and cost to how to prepare your vehicle, empowers you to make informed decisions. Whether it's choosing between open and enclosed shipping, evaluating car shipping services, or preparing your vehicle for transport, knowledge is your best ally. Remember, the goal of any reputable auto shipping company is to deliver your vehicle safely, efficiently, and at a fair price. By following the guidance outlined in this article, you're well on your way to achieving a hassle-free car shipping experience.

Ready to experience hassle-free car shipping with A1 Auto Transport? Click here to get your free, no-obligation quote today! Our dedicated team ensures your vehicle's safe, efficient transport at competitive prices. Trust us for a seamless, stress-free experience from start to finish. Let A1 Auto Transport be your go-to for all your auto transport needs.

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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!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
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.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

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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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