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

Why the Season Influences Auto Transport Prices

Why the Season Influences Auto Transport Prices

David Stone
Updated July 19, 2021 by David Stone

Table of Contents

    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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