When you’re away from home, several methods of public transportation can effectively take you from one location to another. But, it’s not always convenient. Ultimately, you are at the mercy of someone else to get you to your destination.
However, having your own vehicle makes traveling much more manageable. With your own set of wheels at your disposal, you can come and go as you please. But what happens if you’ve recently moved and were unable to take your vehicle with you? Luckily, you can ship your vehicle across the country or overseas, but is it worth it?
So before you ship your car, truck, or SUV, it’s essential to understand the costs associated with this kind of shipment and the other factors you need to consider.
How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car?
Whatever your reason for transporting a car, shipping it long distance is possible, but the price you pay for the vehicle to reach its destination will depend on several factors.
These factors will include:
The Size of Vehicle You Are Shipping.
As you evaluate the circumstances surrounding your vehicle transport, think about your vehicle’s size and include that into the equation. As with standard packages and parcels, bigger and heavier automobiles, like pickup trucks, will cost you more, such as moving a GMC Sierra across the country. Since it’s a larger automobile, it takes up more space. A Sierra also weighs more, so shipping it will cost more than a smaller compact car.
Current Hauling Rates.
According to Forbes, shipping a car with an auto transport company can average close to $2 per mile for trips under 200 miles. But longer distances that exceed 1,500 miles can fall to about $0.58 per mile. Still, these rates can fluctuate when you throw current events into the mix—i.e., a global pandemic, labor shortage, shipping crisis, etc. Also, the numbers you see now could be different in six months. So be sure to explore more detailed car shipping pricing by researching websites like centraldispatch.com to help calculate and track estimates.
The Shipping Company.
How shipping rates and fees are determined will differ from company to company. Some may charge you per mile, while others calculate differently. Therefore, research your available options to find the best available rate before settling on a shipping company. Additionally, request a written estimate so you have a hard copy—i.e., proof—of the numbers they give you.
The Shipping Method.
There are several methods to transport vehicles. For instance, you might have the option to choose a passenger or freight train, air freight, or port-to-port shipping. Depending on what you can afford and where the car is going, the shipping costs could range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. One budget-friendly option is to use the Amtrak Auto Train and travel with your vehicle. But, it only operates along the East Coast.
Other factors can also influence the total expense and whether you need to use a transportation company. Are you planning to transport your car in an open or closed container? Although an enclosed carrier will be more secure than an open one, Forbes reports that it will cost you upwards of 40% more.
The Time of Shipment.
The best time to buy a car is during the fall and winter seasons, and shipping a vehicle is no different. During the off-season, you will find lower shipping costs because of a decreased demand for shipping services. So if avoiding the peak travel months is possible—June, July, and August—you could potentially save a lot of money by simply waiting. Talk to your carrier about their rates and when they tend to spike. But remember, winter weather can impact delivery times and cause shipping delays, so keep that in mind as well.
Where the Shipment Is Going.
Choosing to transport your vehicle from terminal to terminal in a central location will cost you a lot less money than door-to-door delivery to a rural area. Also, the company you choose might charge you less per mile if you’re shipping it a great distance or multiple cars are being brought to and from the same cities. Therefore, researching company rates and choosing the route that best fits your budget and needs is essential.
Overseas Shipping Costs.
You’ll want to consider several other expenses, including a duty to clear customs, taxes, distance to a port, and expedited shipping if you are shipping internationally. Unfortunately, import taxes may cost more than the price of shipping the vehicle itself.
If you don’t live near a major city port and live in the middle of the country, prepare to pay an extra thousand dollars to get your car there. Additionally, suppose you need to get your vehicle to its destination in a short amount of time. In that case, the total shipping costs will jump quite a bit and may double or triple what it costs to ship in an ocean container.
However, Forbes estimates that it will cost an average of $1,289 to ship a 2020 Honda Civic from LA to NYC in an open carrier. For a 2020 GMC Yukon, it will cost $1,669. But to ship internationally, Consumer Affairs indicates the average range falls between $1,000 to $5,000 for sea transportation. If you want to ship via airplane, expect to pay upwards of $40,000, which could end up costing you more than what your car is worth.
Factors to Consider Before Shipping Your Car
Saving money on your transport should be at the top of your to-do list because shipping a car is a significant expense. One step you can take to decrease costs is to ship a vehicle that runs. Why? If your can doesn’t work, the shipping company will have to use a specially equipped truck to load and transport it. The more effort it takes to move your vehicle, the costlier it will be.
Schedule an appointment with a certified mechanic who can get your vehicle in working condition. If you’re transporting a car you don’t often use, make sure to fill it with gas, change the oil, check the tire pressure and fluids, and give it a thorough cleaning.
Another way to save is to take advantage of discounts. See if you qualify for any military, first-responder, senior, student, or first-time shipper reductions. In addition, request quotes from multiple auto transporters to compare price ranges, discounts, and fees.
Protect Yourself From High Repair Costs Before Transporting Your Vehicle
Get your vehicle in tip-top condition and gain peace of mind before traveling by investing in a solid vehicle protection plan. Explore our extended warranty provider reviews and buying guide to discover which extended warranty has the best value and coverage for your budget.