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The Different Factors That Affect Car Hauling Rates

What's in this article?
  1. Factors Affecting Hauling Rates
  2. Distance
  3. Location
  4. Type Of Car
  5. Season
  6. Shipping Option
  7. Number Of Cars
Factors Affecting Hauling Rates

A major concern when shipping cars is the cost. Car hauling rates depend on different factors. Understanding these factors will help you cut the shipping costs. It will also help you select the most cost effective hauling company.

Factors Affecting Hauling Rates


Most companies charge car hauling rates on the mileage traveled. This is because the shipping trailer will use more fuel and more hours on transit to a longer distance. Hence, the further your destination, the more the hauling costs. For instance, shipping a car from Chicago would cost more to California than to Alabama. You can check some of the estimations here.


Although the shipping distance may be shorter, transporting to a remote location might cost you more. Generally, major cities have wider roads and have more people who ship cars. Maneuvering within these towns is easier for trailers. More so, the drivers can deliver more cars than within smaller towns. On the other hand, delivering to remote areas requires that a driver branch from the main route. Therefore, the transporting company is able to spread shipping costs and charge lower prices.

Type of car

Different cars have different sizes and weights. A large car takes up more space and may require special arrangements for transit. As such, it is more expensive to ship a large than a small car. For example, shipping a bus is pricier than shipping a two door car. A heavy car also means that the truck will take fewer cars on transit. The additional weight will cost you more. For instance, shipping a 3,208 pounds BMW costs more than a 2,888 pounds Toyota Matrix.

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Auto transporters charge higher costs in summer than in winter. Generally, there are more people shipping vehicles in summer than in winter. The high demand drives the car hauling rates up. In addition, it is riskier to transport cars during winter than in summer. However, some routes have higher shipping rates during winter. For example, the southern routes are more expensive in winter as the traffic is high as snowbirds are moving south.

Shipping option

Basically, there are four shipping options used by transport companies. The method you choose will determine the car hauling rates.

  • Open air transport: the cars are transported in an open truck. These trailers may have more than one deck to accommodate as many cars as possible. Due to the higher number of cars shipped by the open air method, the costs tend to be lower. However, your car will be exposed to elements, car leaks, and weather conditions.
  • Enclosed transport: the cars are moved in an enclosed container. These trailers might have additional conditions to suit luxurious vehicles. This method does not allow as many cars (usually up to 7) as the open air service. For this reason, the costs tend to be higher. In addition, the drivers for the enclosed trailers are more trained to handle the high-end vehicles. As such, the shipper incurs more costs. Customers prefer this method as their cars are protected from the public eye, the wind, the snow, road debris, and the sun.
  • Terminal to terminal service: you may arrange to take your car to a terminal for pickup. Upon delivery, you may also choose to collect it at a terminal. This method is cheaper as you are the one moving the car. If you are in a remote location, this service would be the best for you.
  • Door to door service: this is a convenient method where your vehicle is picked and delivered at your preferred location. This could be your resident. Since the driver will move from place to place, the hauling rate will be higher than for a terminal to terminal option. Remember that you must reside in a major city where streets are wide to utilize this service.
Auto Transport Prices

Number of cars

Some clients ship a fleet of cars. This will give an auto transporter an easier job picking or delivering the cars. As such, the transporter may give them favorable prices. However, this is up for the transporter to determine.

Depending on your budget, you can choose the cheapest method. For example, you can opt to transport your car in winter using the open air method and pick it from the terminal.

You can use these factors to estimate the hauling cost for your vehicle. However, it would be tedious and far from the actual estimate. The best way to get an accurate quote is by the online quote calculator.

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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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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my 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.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to 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!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

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.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

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.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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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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