You might have to get creative, but it’s possible to find great affordable car shipping deals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Car shipping can be expensive.
  • Following experts’ tips can help cut costs.
  • Staying flexible and shopping around helps.
  • Using an auto-transport broker streamlines the process.

There are many reasons for shipping a vehicle to another part of the country. 

In many scenarios, putting the car on a transport truck and flying to your destination is the safer, more convenient option. Other times, it’s a matter of necessity as you move all your belongings when starting work or college in another state.

No matter why you’re transporting a vehicle, finding a good deal is a priority; no one wants to overpay. Prices can fluctuate significantly in the auto-transport industry; carriers set their prices based on demand and availability. This means saving money is possible if you correctly time your shopping.

Here are five tips to help you secure affordable car shipping from your carrier in 2023.

Tip 1: Consider The Low Season

Like airlines and hotels, auto-transport prices tend to drop during the off-season. Generally, the busiest time for car shipping is in the summer, so you can expect to pay a premium when seeking this service between June and August. 

However, if you can wait a few months and ship your vehicle between December and February, you can save a significant amount of money.

The rest of the year is considered shoulder season, where you won’t pay the summer premium, but also won’t receive the winter discount.

Tip 2: Make Yourself Flexible

When booking this service, staying as flexible as possible makes it easier to find affordable car shipping. You might discover a carrier offering an excellent last-minute deal, even when shipping during peak season.

Look for flexible pick-up and delivery locations in your surrounding area. For example, if you live in a suburban community outside a major city, there is a good chance available carriers will charge less if you can meet them at a central location. Driving 30 minutes to meet a carrier near an Interstate could mean lower rates.

Being flexible with pick-up and delivery times can save money under some circumstances. If you have precise pick-up and delivery windows, your carrier will likely charge a premium to meet the deadline. However, fitting your delivery into the carrier’s schedule can eliminate this premium and reduce your expenses.

It’s worth noting that the carrier is unlikely to meet your deadline; there are so many variables on the road, and most drivers won’t guarantee a specific delivery time. You aren’t missing out on much by staying flexible, but you could save some money.

Tip 3: Go Terminal-To-Terminal

Yes, door-to-door car shipping is incredibly convenient because the carrier will collect your vehicle at your house and deliver it to your specified destination. This service prevents you from finding your way to and from the shipping terminals in both locations.

However, door-to-door shipping is also more expensive because it’s far less convenient for the driver and takes more of their time. Terminal-to-terminal shipping costs less because the carrier won’t have to travel through residential neighborhoods to complete the pick-up and delivery. It’s worth mentioning, though, that there could be storage costs if you leave your vehicle at the terminal for too long, and there are fewer terminal-to-terminal carriers available.

Tip 4: Opt For an Open Carrier

Vendors typically offer three auto transport types: open, enclosed, and flatbed.

Enclosed trailers offer the safest mode of transportation because they offer complete protection from the elements, road debris, and vandalism. If you have a classic or expensive vehicle and don’t want to risk damage, an enclosed trailer might be worth the investment.

You probably won’t require flatbed transportation unless you’re shipping an oversized vehicle that won’t fit on an open or enclosed trailer. This method is often the most expensive and typically has the most extended wait times because it’s the least common option.

Going with an open trailer could save you some money because they’re the most common and easiest carriers to find. About 90% of all car shipments travel on open trailers, giving you nearly unlimited options when seeking quotes and allowing you to shop around for the best deal.

Tip 5: Get Multiple Quotes

When shopping around for the best car-shipping price, seek multiple quotes before selecting a carrier. Once you know when you’ll need to ship your vehicle, start seeking quotes online and comparing them. It’s a good idea to get at least three quotes before selecting one. Feel free to try multiple dates to see if you can find a better deal by waiting a week or two. 

You might also use the services of an auto transport broker. They have access to hundreds of carriers nationwide and provide options that meet your needs. Using a broker ensures you’re receiving the best possible price; reputable brokers also vet carriers to limit your risk throughout shipping.

Using a Car Shipping Broker

Securing the services of an auto-transport broker is the most straightforward way to find affordable car shipping. A reputable broker will post your vehicle on its network; licensed and insured carriers can view the job and present offers. It’s then up to you to accept one of the bids.

Mercury Auto Transport is a car-shipping broker that can help you save money when shipping a vehicle. We connect licensed, bonded carriers and car owners, guaranteeing your price and avoiding hidden fees. Contact Mercury Auto Transport to speak with a representative or receive your free quote.


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