Car Towing Vs. Shipping: Which to Choose, Car Shipping - Mercury Auto Transport

Car Towing Vs. Shipping: Which to Choose

Car Towing Vs. Shipping: Which to Choose

Updated October 18, 2021 by Matt

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    Car Towing Vs. Shipping: Which to Choose, Car Shipping - Mercury Auto Transport


    Towing or shipping your vehicle could make sense when moving to another city, but the option you’ll choose depends on some variables.

    Relocating to another part of the country comes with inherent stress. 

    First, you’ll have to find a new home and begin your preparations. Then, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll transport your belongings and develop a timeline. 

    Finally, you can start thinking about the actual move, which could include hiring a moving company or renting a truck and driving yourself. 

    Your vehicle is another factor to consider because, if you’re renting a truck or moving a long distance, driving the car might not be possible. 

    Fortunately, you’ll have some auto transport options available to you, including hiring a tow truck, towing the vehicle yourself, or using a car shipping carrier. 

    Here’s a look at some car towing vs. shipping information that you’ll want to keep in mind as you decide.

    Key takeaways

    • You’ll have multiple options when moving your car to another city
    • Towing it could work in some situations
    • Car shipping is the preferred option for longer distances
    • Mercury Auto Transport can put you in touch with licensed vehicle transport carriers


    Hiring a tow truck

    Contacting a towing company makes some sense in a few situations, particularly if you’re only transporting your vehicle a short distance. 

    First, you can trust that the professional tow truck driver has the expertise to deliver your car in good shape. These drivers tow dozens of vehicles each week, so they know what they’re doing. 

    Car towing companies are available around the clock, as well since there’s always someone on shift. This availability can be incredibly convenient if you make the last-minute decision to tow your vehicle rather than drive it. 

    Hiring a tow truck is also affordable, at least over a short distance. For example, if you’re moving somewhere with a 50-mile radius, you can save some money through this method. 

    Nevertheless, you should know that using a towing company quickly becomes more expensive than using an auto transport professional when traveling longer distances. That’s because you’ll usually pay a per-mile rate. If you’re moving across the country, many tow truck drivers won’t even attempt the job because it’s too much time away from home. 

    In short, tow trucks are great options within town but aren’t recommended when you’re moving a significant distance.

    Towing the car yourself

    Another option you might consider is towing your vehicle behind you as you drive. You can achieve this by buying or renting a trailer or renting a moving truck with a tow dolly. 

    This method is the least expensive you’ll come across because you won’t have to pay a shipping company to handle the work for you. If you already have a truck that’s capable of pulling a trailer, the expense of renting a trailer is minimal compared to the other forms of vehicle transport. 

    However, it’s worth noting the drawbacks of this method, starting with the time it’ll take. If you’re responsible for the entire shipping process, you’ll have to pull the trailer wherever you’re moving, a process that could take multiple days. This option could end up costing you more when you factor in the time you’ll have to take off work.

    Next, you should remember the wear this journey will put on your vehicle. Pulling a heavy trailer is hard on your engine. While it shouldn’t cause immediate problems for your truck, it’s worth factoring in this additional wear when making your decision. 

    Finally, there’s an increased chance of something happening on the road when you’re towing a trailer. Driving with a trailer is more challenging than driving a solo vehicle, and there’s also the risk of user error when connecting the trailer. 

    If you have the equipment and experience, towing your car could be a solid option. Otherwise, the additional risks you’ll take on and the time the journey will take might not be worth the cost savings.

    Using an auto transport service

    Auto transport carriers specialize in shipping vehicles from point A to point B. For that reason, you can trust that your car will be safe and secure throughout its journey. 

    Car shipping companies are also a good option because of the time they’ll save you. All you have to do is book a carrier and ensure the vehicle gets on the truck. The driver will take care of everything else, and you can fly to your new home at a time that suits your needs. 

    Shipping your car could even end up being less expensive than hiring a tow truck, depending on the distance you’re traveling. It makes sense because your auto transport carrier is moving multiple cars at once, so you’ll share the expenses with other people. 

    There are a couple of negatives when shipping a car, though, starting with time delays. Since there may be more than one car on the carrier’s truck, it takes longer than hiring a tow truck to make a direct delivery to your new home. 

    You’ll find fewer car shipping carriers on the market, as well, which makes it more challenging to secure the services of a reputable one. You’ll often have to book well in advance, cutting into your flexibility. There are some services you can use to put you in touch with auto transport vendors, though, which will make your life a lot easier.

    Where to find reputable vendors

    Once you decide between car towing vs. shipping, you’ll have more decisions to make. A vehicle shipping broker can provide you with quotes from multiple car transport vendors, making it easier to decide on one that meets your needs. These service providers can also streamline the planning process, so all you have to do is select a carrier and wait for the big day to arrive. 

    Mercury Auto Transport is a leading car shipping broker that deals exclusively with vendors holding FMCSA licensing and insurance. The result is a streamlined process when selecting a carrier to move your vehicle. Contact Mercury Auto Transport today to learn more or to receive your free quote.


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    First, we post your vehicle through our network, including all National Dispatch Boards for Auto Transport. This is where all licensed auto transport carriers can see your vehicle is available for shipping.


    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.


    Not until you approve your carrier and final logistics is your deposit due. Your deposit is included in your quote and goes toward the total price. The remaining balance is due at time of delivery. Nothing gets done without your approval.


    Your driver will contact you prior to your pickup and delivery dates to schedule a time for loading and unloading. Once your vehicle reaches its destination, you do a final inspection of your vehicle and pay the driver the remaining balance. You and the driver both sign the Bill of Lading and each keep a copy.

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