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How Much Is Auto Transport

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Understanding Auto Transport
  2. Factors Affecting Auto Transport Costs
  3. Choosing the Right Car Shipping Company
  4. The Car Shipping Process
  5. Understanding Car Shipping Costs Range
  6. How Does a Car Shipping Company Determine Costs?
  7. Preparing Your Vehicle for Shipment
How Much Is Auto Transport

Auto transport, also commonly known as car shipping, is a service that allows you to move your vehicle from one location to another without driving it yourself. Whether you're moving, buying a car out of state, or sending a car to a classic show, auto transport can save you time and prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle.

But the question that often arises when considering this service is, "How much is auto transport?" The answer isn't straightforward because car shipping costs depend on several factors. These include the distance between pickup and delivery locations, the type of vehicle you're shipping, the type of transport chosen (open or enclosed), and the current demand for services.

On average, the cost to ship a car within the continental U.S. can range from $500 to $1,200. However, this is a broad range, and actual prices can be lower or higher based on the factors mentioned above. For a more accurate estimate, many car shipping companies offer online tools like a car shipping calculator to provide personalized quotes.

Understanding Auto Transport

Auto transport refers to professional services that transport a vehicle from one location to another. This service is typically used when a vehicle needs to be moved over long distances or when multiple vehicles need to be transported simultaneously.

There are several types of auto transport services. The most common is open transport, where cars are loaded onto a large, open-air truck. This is the most cost-effective method and is perfectly safe for most vehicles. However, for luxury, classic, or exotic cars, you might consider enclosed auto transport. Enclosed transport involves shipping the car in a covered truck, offering extra protection from weather elements and road debris but at a higher cost.

Door-to-door service is another common offering among auto transport companies. With this service, your vehicle will be picked up from and delivered to your locations, providing maximum convenience. However, this service can be more expensive than terminal-to-terminal transport, where you drop off and pick up your vehicle at designated locations.

When considering auto transport, it's essential to understand that car shipping prices are not set in stone. They vary based on several factors, including the type of service you choose. For example, choosing enclosed transport or door-to-door service will increase your car transport costs compared to open transport or terminal-to-terminal service.

Various car shipping companies offer these services, each with different pricing structures and service standards. Therefore, it's advisable to get quotes from several companies before deciding. Remember, while cost is an important factor, it should not be the only thing you consider. The reputation, reliability, and customer service of the auto transport company are equally important.


Factors Affecting Auto Transport Costs

Auto transport costs are not a fixed value; they fluctuate based on various factors. Understanding these factors can help you estimate the average car transport cost and make an informed decision about shipping your vehicle. Here are some of the key elements that influence car shipping rates:

  • Distance: The distance between the pickup and delivery locations is one of the most significant factors affecting the cost to ship a vehicle. Almost all car shipments will cost between $0.50 and $2.00 for each mile traveled. Therefore, the further the distance, the higher the car shipping cost.
  • Type of Vehicle: The size and weight of your vehicle also play a role in determining the shipping cost. Larger, heavier vehicles take up more space on the carrier and add more weight, increasing fuel consumption, which can raise the overall cost.
  • Type of Transport: There are two main types of car shipping services - open car transport and enclosed transport. Open car transport, where vehicles are shipped on an open-air carrier, is the most common and affordable option. However, if you have a luxury, classic, or exotic vehicle that needs extra protection, you might opt for enclosed transport. While this offers more protection, it comes at a higher cost.
  • Vehicle Condition: If your vehicle is inoperable, it may require special equipment or additional labor to load and unload, which can increase the auto transport costs.
  • Pickup and Delivery Locations: The location from where your vehicle is picked up and where it's delivered can impact the cost. Shipping to and from major cities or transport hubs is usually cheaper due to better accessibility and higher demand. In contrast, shipping to or from remote or rural areas can be more expensive due to the additional time and effort required.
  • Time of the Year: The auto transport industry experiences seasonal fluctuations. For example, demand for car shipping services typically increases in the summer and decreases in the winter, which can affect the cost.
  • Economic Conditions: Economic factors, such as fuel prices and market demand, can also affect car shipping costs. During periods of high fuel prices or increased demand for auto transport, you can expect to see higher shipping rates.
  • Additional Services: If you request additional services, such as door-to-door delivery or expedited shipping, these will be added to the total cost.

In conclusion, the cost of shipping a car can vary significantly based on several factors. Therefore, it's crucial to understand these factors to get a better idea of what you might expect to pay and plan your vehicle shipment accordingly.

Choosing the Right Car Shipping Company

Selecting the right car shipping company is as important as understanding the car shipping costs. With numerous companies offering car transport services, it can be a daunting task to choose the best one. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a car shipping company:

  • Reputation: Look for customer reviews and ratings on trusted platforms to gauge the reputation of the car shipping company. Good reviews typically indicate that the company is reliable and offers quality services.
  • Experience: An experienced car transport company is likely to understand the intricacies of the car shipping process better than a newcomer. They would have handled various situations and can provide solutions to most problems that might arise during car shipment.
  • Services Offered: Not all car shipping companies offer the same services. Some might specialize in enclosed shipping, while others might excel in open transport. Choose a company that offers the services you need.
  • Price: While you should not compromise on quality for cost, it's essential to find a service that fits within your budget. The best car shipping companies provide excellent service at competitive prices. Remember, the cheapest quote isn't always the best, especially if it compromises on service quality.
  • Insurance: Ensure that the car shipping company offers insurance during transit. This will protect you from potential financial loss in case of accidental damage to your vehicle.
  • Customer Service: A company with excellent customer service can make the car shipping process less stressful. They should be able to answer your questions promptly and keep you updated about the progress of your car shipment.

The Car Shipping Process

Understanding the car shipping process can help you better prepare for your vehicle's transport. Here's a step-by-step guide to what usually happens:

  • Step 1 – Quote and Booking: Once you've chosen a car shipping company, the first step is to get a quote. The company will consider various factors such as the type of vehicle, distance, type of transport service required, and more to provide you with a car shipping cost. If you're happy with the quote, you can proceed to book the service.
  • Step 2 – Vehicle Pickup: On the scheduled date, the car carrier will arrive at your specified location to pick up your vehicle. Before loading your car onto the carrier, a pre-transport inspection will be performed to document the current condition of your vehicle.
  • Step 3 – Transportation: Your vehicle is then transported to its destination. During transit, your vehicle is covered by the shipping company's insurance, ensuring it's protected against any accidental damage.
  • Step 4 – Delivery: Upon arrival at the destination, another inspection is performed to check for any potential damage during transit. Once everything is confirmed to be in order, your vehicle is safely delivered to you.
  • Step 5 – Payment: Payment for the service is usually made upon delivery. Some companies might require a deposit at the time of booking, with the remainder to be paid upon delivery.

Remember, each car transport company might have slightly different processes, but this guide provides a general idea of what to expect when you ship a car. It's always a good idea to ask the company about their specific process before booking their service.

Understanding Car Shipping Costs Range

When planning to ship a car, it's crucial to understand that car shipping costs can vary. As per my recent web search, for longer distances or cross-country shipments, the car transport cost can range from $500 to $2,000 or more. The wide range in auto shipping costs is due to several factors that influence the final quote you receive from a car shipping company.

The distance between the pickup and drop-off locations is one of the most significant factors influencing the cost. Typically, the further the distance, the higher the shipping cost. However, the cost per mile decreases as the distance increases, making long-distance shipping more cost-effective on a per-mile basis.

The type of vehicle being transported also affects the cost. Larger vehicles take up more space on the car carrier and weigh more, leading to higher costs. Similarly, if your vehicle isn't operable, it may require special equipment to load and unload, increasing the cost.

The type of transport service you choose - open or enclosed - will also impact the cost. Open transport is usually cheaper, but enclosed transport provides extra protection for your vehicle, especially valuable for high-end or classic cars, albeit at a higher cost.


How Does a Car Shipping Company Determine Costs?

A car shipping company uses a variety of factors to calculate the car shipping cost. Here are some key considerations:

  • Distance: As mentioned, the distance between pickup and delivery locations is a major factor. Companies often use a car shipping cost calculator that takes into account the mileage between the two points.
  • Vehicle Type and Condition: The make, model, size, weight, and condition of the vehicle can affect the cost. Larger and heavier vehicles cost more to transport due to increased fuel consumption and space usage on the carrier.
  • Type of Transport: Open car transport is generally less expensive than enclosed car transport services. However, if you need extra protection for your vehicle, the additional cost for enclosed transport may be worthwhile.
  • Pickup and Delivery Locations: Shipping to and from major cities or near transport hubs usually costs less than shipping to remote or rural locations due to ease of access and higher demand in urban areas.
  • Time of Year: Seasonal demand can affect shipping costs. For example, prices may increase during the summer when demand is high.
  • Additional Services: Services like door-to-door delivery or expedited shipping will add to the total cost.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Shipment

Once you've understood the average car shipping costs and chosen your car shippers, it's time to prepare your vehicle for shipment. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Clean Your Vehicle: Start by thoroughly cleaning your vehicle, both inside and out. This makes it easier to identify any existing damage during the pre-transport inspection.
  • Inspect Your Vehicle: Conduct a detailed inspection of your vehicle and document its current condition. Take pictures of any existing damage for reference.
  • Remove Personal Items: Most car shipping companies require that vehicles be empty of personal belongings. These items can add weight to the vehicle and aren't typically covered by the transporter's insurance.
  • Check Fluids and Tire Pressure: Ensure that all fluids are at their appropriate levels and check tire pressure. This helps ensure a smooth loading and unloading process.
  • Disable Alarm: To prevent unnecessary interruptions during transit, disable your car alarm.
  • Handover: When the carrier arrives to pick up your vehicle, they'll conduct another inspection and load your vehicle onto the carrier. You'll be required to hand over a set of keys to the driver.

By properly preparing your vehicle for transport, you can help ensure a smooth shipping process and prevent potential issues.

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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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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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