How Long Will I Not Have My Vehicle For?

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How Long Will I Not Have My Vehicle For?
How Long Will I Not Have My Vehicle For?

Know How Long Will I Not Have My Vehicle For

When you book to ship your car, you will be given a pick-up window. This is the period when you advise your shipping company to collect your car. After the pick-up, your car may take between four days to four weeks before it is delivered. Understanding your delivery date is important to help you make the necessary arrangements. From time to time, the first available delivery date is not the actual date. The delay is usually caused by the process of shipping vehicles and other factors. However, you can estimate the time when you will have your vehicle by considering the following factors.

First available shipping date

Automobile shipping involves coordinating various logistics. Your transporter determines your shipping dates by your route, delivery trailers available, specific shipping needs, and your location. All these factors may delay the actual date your vehicle will be shipped. To avoid waiting for too long, book your shipment date early enough. Early booking could be 2-3 weeks for off-peak seasons and a month for busy seasons such as between October and March.

Lead time

You may have more than one carrier transporting your vehicle. For instance, one carrier may pick-up your car and deliver it to the terminal while another one transports it across the country. The carrier taking your vessel to the delivery location may take some few days to arrive. This period will affect the delivery time of your vehicle.


If your vehicle needs to be transported by two different carriers, it may be unloaded at “cross-dock.” The process of unloading and reloading your vehicle between carriers may take some few days. Therefore, the transit time will be longer.

First available delivery date

Your first available delivery date (FADD) is when you are expected to receive your vehicle at the delivery location. This date is given by your transporting consultant after they have assigned your shipping date. This delivery date is often mistaken for the actual date you get your vehicle. However, it is common to get your items after FADD.

For your vehicle to be shipped at an affordable price, it has to be transported alongside others. Shipping items together also makes business sense for companies. This means that other customers’ inefficiencies may lengthen your delivery time. However, your transporter will try to estimate your delivery time as accurate as possible.

The federal law

The federal law stipulates that automobile shipping drivers cannot do more than 500 miles per day. And after 6 days, a driver is entitled to rest. If the journey takes more than 2 weeks, longer rests are required. Still, some states do not allow over-sized boats to be transported past sunset. And for international shipping, various laws apply. These legal provisions count for longer transit time.

A-1 Auto Transport ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-518-8708 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.

Uncontrollable conditions

The transit process may be held up due to unforeseen circumstances. The delivery trailer may experience some mechanical problems or unfavorable weather conditions. Extreme weather conditions put both the driver and your automobile at risk. It is only sensible to wait until the conditions allow for travel. In addition, the current e-commerce boom has put more pressure on traffic as more delivery trucks ply roads.

Changes in delivery location

As you book your shipment, you will be asked to provide your delivery details. This location will be used to determine your delivery time. In the case you make changes after completing a placement, the transporting company will have to make adjustments too. Depending on how soon you make your changes, the shipment process and delivery time could be greatly affected. Note that, you may also incur an extra cost for the adjustment.

Customized delivery

If you want to have your vehicle sooner than the normal time, your shipper may customize the delivery dates for you. Some vehicles such as oversized boats and luxurious cars need special arrangements. You can make customized delivery dates by giving the transporting consultant your specific date. Usually, you will pay an extra cost to have this customization.


Your shipping firm takes the above factors into consideration when giving you the delivery time window. For big and efficient companies like A-1 Auto Transport, delivery time is between four days to three weeks. This could be four weeks for smaller companies.

Most drivers will call you when they are near your delivery location. In the case that your shipment takes longer than the estimated period, you should contact your transporting consultant. However, the surest way to know the progress of your automobile’s journey is to use a time tracker.

Be sure to check our tracking FAQs to understand our procedures.

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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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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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

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
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
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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