How much does it cost to ship a car? 10 factors to consider

How much does it cost to ship a car? 10 factors to consider

Car shipping is being transported from one location to another. As a business owner, you want to be cautious when transporting cars for clients, because it can be tricky. You may not be aware of the many factors that can affect your shipping, such as the cost of shipping a car and the options in regards to the shipping method.

You need to find a car transport company that can safely ship your car within a price you can afford. How do you start? This article is here to help you start your car shipping process on the right foot by telling you how to find a reliable company and what to look out for. You can also find out how to reduce the cost of shipping by following these easy tips.

What’s involved in shipping your car?

Shipping your car is not like shipping anything else unless of course you have a well-known company that can take care of it. Shipping cars is more difficult than other types of shipping items because they are bulkier and their size can make the process more complicated. Nonetheless, there are companies that specialize in shipping cars cross-country, coast to coast, and throughout the world. This type of shipping costs more money when compared to other items but this is to be expected.

Many shipping companies use trailer trucks to ship their goods. These vehicles are necessary for shipping cars cross-country; however, you may want to choose other options such as ocean freight and trains.

Car shipping average cost

Shipping your car can be expensive. But before we get into how much it will cost, let’s look at the difference between two of the most common options: Open Air Carriers and Enclosed Carriers. Open Air Carriers are often cheaper and do not always require a large vehicle to transport your car. Enclosed Carriers provide more protection for your car, but are also more expensive.

Open carriers are popular, but they may have their drawbacks. This shipping method exposes cars to the elements, such as to dust, rain, or snow. Additionally, other cars travelling with your vehicle on an open carrier may be making a mess of it. Open carriers also carry up to six other vehicles with your car.

Enclosed carriers are more costly than open air, which is a less expensive form of transport. Enclosed carriers shield your vehicle from different harsh elements, while open air carriers do not. Enclosed transport is generally best for high-end and luxurious vehicles because it maintains the vehicle’s value and protects it from the weather.

Shipping a car across the country (2750 miles) is going to cost you. For a cross-country shipment, the average cost ranges from $1200 if you use the open carrier option to up to $2000 if you choose the enclosed transport option.

How to calculate the estimate of shipping a car

Determining the cost to ship a car is not easy. There are many factors that go into it, so you can’t just say X amount of money for this or that. However, you can calculate the rough estimate of how much a car will cost to transport by taking into account some of those factors.

When shipping a car, it is important to keep in mind the cost per mile. The average cost per mile for the first 500 miles is $1. For the next 500 miles, it drops to $0.75. This continues to drop, and after 2500 miles, it is $0.40 per mile. When shipping cars for longer distances, the price per mile goes down.

Note: Shipping across the country may be more expensive, especially if it’s a route less travelled.

Why car shipping cost varies

When you ship a car, the cost will vary based on who you hire to do it. For example, you might get a different price from a company if you are a business client than if you are an individual. We’ll talk about all the factors that can affect car shipping prices in a minute.

There are two main reasons for fluctuation in shipping prices. One is that car shipping is a competitive business, so rates change depending on the bids of different car shipping companies. Oftentimes, you have to go through a broker to connect with car shipping carriers, who will then contact different companies and places bids.

The bidding process for transporting a vehicle is as follows: the broker finds carriers who will bid for the transport of your vehicle. A carrier may be willing to transport the car for $1000, and another is willing to do it for $500. The bidding continues until the broker finds the lowest price.

Another major reason car shipping costs can fluctuate is a factor like the size of your car. You might also be charged more if you’re shipping your car in a busy season or to a difficult location.

Read More: The truth behind free shipping

Factors that affect shipping cost

Here are some of the factors that can affect the cost of shipping a car:

Open or enclosed carrier

Enclosed carriers are the more expensive option. They protect your car from the elements and are usually luxurious cars. These extra precautions make them more expensive.

Delivery preference

The cost of shipping your car will vary depending on your delivery preference – such as pick-up, terminal, or home delivery. Pick-up and terminal deliveries are generally less expensive than home delivery. Terminal to terminal shipping is when you take your car to a designated location where you pick it up.

Types of vehicles

The type of vehicle you’re shipping will factor into your car shipping quote. Sedans are typically less expensive than SUVs or vans, for example. This is because sedans are smaller and take up less space in the truck.

In addition to the size of a car, its weight is also an important factor in price. The heavier the car, the more fuel it needs to travel a certain distance; since luxury cars are heavier than the average, you pay more money to ship them.

Vehicle condition

The condition of your car will determine how it’s handled during the shipping process. If your car is inoperable, you’ll have to use more tactics to load it onto a truck, which will increase the cost of car shipping. If your vehicle can be driven, on the other hand, it’ll be easier to get it on the truck and will require less work.


Location is a major factor in determining how much it will cost to ship your car. The farther you want to ship it, the more gas you’ll use, which of course will cost more money. In fact, the more miles you put on your car, the more it costs.

Time frame

Hiring a car transport company is best done weeks before the actual shipment. If you’re shipping in the next few days or just need to have it done ASAP, the prices for the service will be much higher than if you’d booked it weeks ago.

Speed of delivery

Actually, when you want your car delivered at speed, like in a hurry, you may have to pay more for express auto shipping. Standard car delivery is usually much cheaper than express auto shipping.

Time of the year

Shipping during the summer season may be more expensive, but holidays and other celebrations can also trigger prices to change. For instance, Christmas and New Year holidays will increase shipping prices because people will be traveling during those times.


If you buy a bigger car, it will cost more to ship it. For example, shipping a truck would cost more than shipping an SUV. This is because the truck is much bigger than the SUV, and so it needs more space in the trailer. The price of shipping a car is usually around $80 more than the price tag on the vehicle, but this will vary depending on the size of your vehicle. Shipping multiple cars in general will cost more.


Shipping cars can come with risks, so some companies offer the option to purchase insurance packages. Insurance costs will be added to the shipping charge, but it’s a worthwhile investment for peace of mind.

How to reduce car shipping cost

Affordable car shipping is possible! Here are some tips to reduce your shipping cost:

Compare car shipping quotes

When you’re looking for a car shipping company, it’s worthwhile to request quotes from several companies that offer the same service. You should always research their prices, but also make sure they have quality service.

Try open shipping

Open car carriers are 60% cheaper than enclosed carriers. Keep this in mind if you’re transporting a vehicle. Enclosed carriers are the best option for classic or luxury cars.

Book a few weeks before shipment

If you book in advance, you can find cheaper deals than if you wait until the day you need shipping services. The Conference Board of Canada predicts that there will be a higher demand for transport services than supply, so it’s best to book your shipment as soon as possible.

Consider multi-car shipping

If you want to ship your car, you will pay more if the company ships it with other cars. To save money, ship with several cars at once. If you have a classic car and are worried about the elements, consider enclosed shipping.

Look out for discounts

Are you a military member, student, or senior? There are discounts available for you! Auto transport companies offer deals for all sorts of people. Ask the car shipping company if they offer any discounts. See if you qualify for any of them.


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