Why the Season Influences Auto Transport Prices

a car shipping truck moving vehicles in the winter when auto transport prices are lower


Expect different car shipping prices in the summer than in the winter

You might not have a choice on when you ship your vehicle across the country. After all, there’s a good chance you’re on a tight timeline because of a move or vacation, so waiting for a more affordable period is a luxury you may not have. However, if you can wait to send your vehicle, looking into auto transport services in the winter can save you some money. 

That’s because auto transport company prices often fluctuate by season. There’s less demand in the colder months, so carriers are willing to cut you a break to fill space on their trucks.

Here’s a look at everything you should know about seasonal price differences in the auto transport industry.

Key Takeaways

  • Auto transport prices vary by season
  • Winter is the cheapest time
  • Shipping is faster in the summer
  • Mercury Auto Transport can help you secure a reliable carrier at a low rate


Winter is cheaper

Generally, the coldest months of the year are the cheapest time to ship a vehicle. It all comes down to supply and demand: Fewer people are moving cars at that time, so there’s less competition.

It’s a buyer’s market in the winter because there are still lots of carriers available but not enough people shipping cars to fill their trucks. Vendors will drop prices as a result in an attempt to attract customers. Fuel costs are also usually at their lowest in the winter before experiencing a significant uptick when people are more likely to travel in the summer. 

Carriers often pass these savings to their customers through lower rates or reduced fuel surcharges. It benefits vendors to offer lower prices to attract business during the slow season, as well.

How much cheaper is the winter?

If you have flexibility, your final decision might come down to how much money you stand to save. Unfortunately, there’s no predetermined discount because it’s all dependent on individual carriers. 

The good news is that you can receive multiple quotes from various vendors at once when you use a brokerage service, ensuring you can compare prices easily no matter the season.

Summer is faster

Everything runs more smoothly in the summer, including the car shipping industry. There are fewer delays when moving a car from point A to point B between May and September, and there are more trucks on the road, too.

The result is more options available when you need your car shipped, leading to shorter wait times and faster transportation.

From a pure speed standpoint, there’s no comparison between summer and winter, while keeping in mind that you’ll pay for the convenience of having your car picked up and delivered quickly.

What about shipping between the summer and winter seasons?

For the best of both worlds, you might consider shipping in the early spring or late fall, what the travel industry calls the “shoulder seasons.” Shipping during these times of year tends to be cheaper than summer but faster than winter. 

Of course, you won’t receive the ultimate cost savings you would in January when you ship in November, but you won’t have to worry about your car on the winter roads or wait as long for an available carrier.

Other wintertime problems

Another issue worth considering in the winter is road conditions. There’s a decent chance your driver will run into winter weather, including snow and ice, once temperatures drop. Northern states have particularly bad winter weather that you’ll have to keep an eye on.

The reason for concern about the weather is that it can cause significant delays if roads are closed or unsafe to travel. There’s also the heightening risk of an accident in the snow and ice that could damage your vehicle.

If you aren’t in a hurry and it doesn’t matter when your car arrives at its destination, these concerns become less important. Taking out additional insurance can also put your mind at ease if you’re concerned about your car’s safety. 

Using a broker

The entire car shipping experience is challenging because carriers don’t send out rate sheets with price information. Much like with airlines and hotels, prices in the auto transport industry fluctuate with demand, so figuring out when you can expect the best rates isn’t easy.

However, using a broker to help you compare quotes takes all the guesswork out of the equation by allowing you to see what each carrier would charge for your shipment. That way, you can make an informed decision rather than jumping at the first quote you receive.

Mercury Auto Transport is a broker that only works with FMCSA licensed and insured carriers. Once you accept an offer we provide, we’ll send you a service agreement guaranteeing your price, giving you one less thing to worry about when transporting your vehicle. Contact us today to request a free quote or speak with a car shipping expert.


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What Our Customrs Are Saying


We feel it’s important for you to know how we determined your quote. Quotes are based on what the market demands for cars to be moved at a given time. Each quote is compared with the current rates on the National Load Board before being sent to our customers and will be reviewed periodically through the process.

Other companies might offer you a lower price to obtain your business. This method is ineffective because if the car does not pay the correct amount of money, it will run the probability of not getting loaded or transported on time. You will not get this information from our competitors. Truck drivers always take the loads that pay the most first, leaving the loads that are mispriced to be moved last or not at all. We try very hard to avoid this with our customers by quoting a fair but realistic quote up front. Visit our How we determine your quote page for more information.

Understanding auto transport insurance is important and we think it’s valuable to explain how it works. As part of providing a great car transport service, it is our job to guarantee that the carrier we assign to pickup your vehicle is licensed and insured. Click here to check out our license.

When you go with Mercury to ship your vehicle, you can rest assured that the carrier assigned to move your car is fully insured and licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Saftey Administration).

Your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s insurance policy that is doing the shipping. Depending on the type and size of the truck/trailer that is shipping your car, the insurance policy can cover from $100,000 to $1,000,000 of damage.

We have also provided a checklist to explain what you need to do at both pickup and delivery in case there are any issues so, you can file a claim and know that everything will be taken care of.

It is rare but, time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit and it is good to know that your carrier’s insurance will protect your auto shipment in that event.

To view a sample BOL (Bill of Lading) and learn what to do in case of accidental damage, please check out our Condition Report and Procedure checklist.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible.  

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determine your quote.

When you’re looking for a car shipping rate, you want to understand how auto transport works. Prices are based on seasonal market demands for cars to be moved at any given time. Each quote is prepared based on the season and the current national rates.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible. Not all brokers are created equal in this talent.

Mercury does a thorough background check with each carrier for every shipment. We verify their ratings, references, and in addition, we obtain a certified copy of their insurance certificate, directly from the government agency that it is on file with.

You can have peace of mind knowing that the carrier shipping your vehicle is the very best and that there are no surprises guaranteed.

Mercury Auto Transport is licensed, Bonded and Insured. Our FMSCA Motor Carrier Number is MC647319.

While we do our best match your auto shipping needs with the most responsible carriers with the best track records, from time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit, it is good to know that the insurance of the carrier we locate for you will protect your auto shipment in that event.

Shipping a vehicle can be stressful if you don’t know what to do.  This is why we believe it is paramount to have our highly trained agents be your main point of contact from start to finish.

They will go over everything you need to know so you can relax.  In the meanwhile, we prepared this checklist.  This includes everything from pickup to delivery and how to make sure your car is ready for pickup.

When it comes to car moving, we want you to be ahead of the game!  For any questions and further assistance our agents are standing by, (800) 553-1828.  Please read our checklist to prepare your vehicle to learn more.

There are several ways you can ship a car.  The options include enclosed trailer, open carrier transport, flatbed truck, door-to-door shipping services, and to or from a terminal as well.  The most popular of the options is a 7 to 10 car open carrier.  These large trucks can accommodate almost any size vehicle including carsSUVstrucksjeeps, and vans.

Open car transport, door to door is also the best way to get the cheapest auto transport rate possible.  To learn more and see what transport method is best for you, please fill out our free quote form and one of our representatives will respond to you within minutes.  You can also call us at (800) 553-1828.

We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service, and 100% bumper-to-bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.