THE AUTOMOBILE IS A SYMBOL OF FREEDOM AND EXPRESSION, ONE THAT REALLY STICKS IN THE HEART OF THE AVERAGE AMERICAN, AND WHETHER YOU HAVE A SMALL TWO-DOOR COUPE, A SPORTS CAR, A SEDAN OR WHATEVER IT MAY BE, IT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU, BECAUSE IT’S YOUR CAR.
We know when you’re looking for car transport services, you want your vehicle to be well taken care of.
We compiled this handy article to explain to you some of the more important aspects of transporting regular cars and how they will affect your auto transport prices and experience.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SHIP A CAR?
The cost of shipping a vehicle has several different factors. For instance, supply and demand. If there are many people shipping a vehicle on the same route and there are few carriers the cost could be higher than average.
On the other hand, if your route has few vehicles moving but, many carriers with spots open you can get a great deal. This sort of thing happens all the time. For example, most people ship their car south for the winter so if you’re shipping your vehicle north during that same time period you can get a great price.
|Vehicle Shipping Cost per mile index|
|Directional Pricing Index||Regional Distance||Cross Regional Distance||Cross Country Distance|
|North to South||$0.91||$0.73||$0.58|
|South to North||$0.61||$0.49||$0.39|
|East to West||$0.47||$0.38||$0.30|
|West to East||$0.53||$0.43||$0.34|
|Vehicle Shipping Cost per mile index|
|Original Region Pricing Index||Regional Distance||Cross Regional Distance||Cross Country Distance|
HOW TO SHIP YOUR CAR DOMESTICALLY OR INTERNATIONALLY
Cars have changed the face of transportation forever, going from the horse and buggy to the modern face of transportation that takes us everywhere from family reunions to the grocery store. In addition to utilizing vehicles for our everyday driving there is also a special class of vehicles that are known as collectors cars, and when it comes to moving across the country you probably wouldn’t want to drive a rare car for thousands of miles would you. Car shipping is a service that we are all going to need at one point or another, and choosing the right company to transport your prized possession will take some research.
The car transport business is not a one size fits all glove, and there is a good deal of prep work that should go into the process. There is more to transport your vehicle then just throwing it on top of a tow truck, especially if the vehicle is going to be transported a far distance. Let us examine a few of the things that go into shipping a vehicle the right way, and what you’ll need to plan to get this job done right. The car transport business is full of professional companies who have been doing this for a long time, and you shouldn’t have to lose sleep at night when you ship your car.
LONG DISTANCE CAR TRANSPORT AND UNDERSTANDING THE DISTANCE
The first thing that is going to come to mind when we think about shipping a vehicle is going to be the distance, is the car going to be shipped domestically or internationally? Yes, that’s right you can ship a car internationally but it will cost a little more than the domestic route. Shipping companies will calculate their quote by distance, so providing an accurate address and distance is going to be key to getting a fair and balanced quote. Tools like the auto transport calculator also help to take the guesswork out of getting a quote, and you should expect that most companies will offer a similar quote for the same amount of miles.
THE TYPE OF CAR MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Another factor that goes into car shipping is the make and model, because not every car is the same. The price to transport a Dodge Ram dually pickup truck is not going to be the same as the price to transport a tiny Mitsubishi Mirage. The bigger the car the more complicated of a trailer is going to be needed and vice versa, and there are also specific needs such as a covered trailer for collectors cars. These are aspects that you’ll want to consider and express to the auto transport company before you settle on a deal because every car is different and has a different need when it comes to auto transport.
OPEN TRANSPORT CAR SHIPPING
You’ve probably seen the auto transport trucks on the highway, the big open trailers that can house up to eight vehicles. But, that is not the only type of auto transport as there are quite a few options. You can choose from the enclosed trailer form of auto transport which is ideal for protecting rare vehicles that you might not want to be exposed to the elements, and the closed transport is also great for recreational vehicles and motorcycles. Although the enclosed form of auto transport can cost a little more, the added benefit of the protection is definitely worth the price when your vehicle makes it to its destination.
CLOSED TRANSPORT CARRIERS
If you’re dealing with an exotic or classic car you might want to opt in for a closed car transport which will be a lot more safe for your vehicle. Closed car transports are what you generally see transporting super cars and race cars!
THE VEHICLE CONDITION
So here’s the thing, you want to be upfront and honest about the vehicle condition before the car transport company gets there. If the vehicle is inoperable the company will need to know because this will require more dedicated equipment to get the car where it needs to be, and depending on how complicated the situation might be the entire process could be delayed. A good rule of thumb is that a vehicle will at least have the ability to steer and roll, as well as the shift into neutral gear.
If you are shipping a vehicle there is a good chance that it doesn’t run, but you at least want the process to go as smooth as possible. Shipping a vehicle is an intensive process, and if a vehicle is in poor condition it might not make the trip. If you are opting for an open-air variation of transport you’ll want to visually inspect the vehicle and make sure that there are no loose or dangling parts that could potentially be a hazard on the freeway. The issue could be a hazard for other drivers as well as a potential ticket for the transport company, and this will only slow down your vehicle getting to its destination.
LOCATION IS KEY
The location is an important part of the transport process because the more rural an area that you live in the less auto transport companies there will be. Living in or near a major metropolitan area will make the process of acquiring an auto transport company a little easier, as you are going to be dealing with smaller operations in the smaller parts of the country. The bigger the city will also mean a better rate because if an automotive transport company is doing a lot of business they can afford to charge more economical rates. You’ll want to go with a company that has experience transporting vehicles in all weather conditions, that way you’ll know that your vehicle is going to make it back on time.
THE SEASON MAKES A DIFFERENCE
The auto transport industry is ever-changing, and the season will make a difference in how much you can expect to pay for auto transport as well. The summertime months are the peak season for auto transport, and if this is the time that you have decided to move you can expect to pay a little more. The wintertime months are ripe with more road hazards because of the ice and rain in certain parts of the country, so you’ll want to pay attention to the weather in the area that you are moving to. If you are moving to an area that is prone to icing you can expect to either pay a premium or have a delay when it comes to getting your vehicle where it needs to be. The season can play a major role in the vehicle transport business, and research in the key to getting the job done right. You don’t want to make a mistake when it comes to transporting your vehicle so taking the time to research where your car is going to be shipped to and the elements is an essential part of understanding the process.
AFFORDABLE CAR SHIPPING
A standard car is anything that is a coupe or a sedan, from the smallest subcompact cars all the way to the huge full-size sedans that seem like you’re driving a boat. But all of these vehicles are considered “standard” in the auto shipping industry, which means that all prices and quotes that you receive for transporting a standard car will be the bare-bones price you’ll need to pay. Many larger vehicles are priced by taking the price of a standard vehicle on the same route and adding additional money to the order to compensate for the larger size or additional weight.
The most important aspect of your auto transport price, when shipping a standard car, is where the vehicle is coming from and where it’s going to – in other words, the specific route that your vehicle is traveling on. There are thousands of carriers running thousands of routes through thousands of different areas, regions and cities.
Some Carriers won’t pick up loads for a variety of reasons – it’s too far off the route, the delivery city is too far, the route isn’t busy enough, they’re going the opposite direction – there’s a lot more than that too, but carrier availability is based primarily on where you’re moving from and to.
RELIABLE CAR SHIPPING
With a standard car it’s a lot easier to find a carrier, which is always nice. If you’re transporting a vehicle into or out of a rural area and you aren’t having luck finding a carrier, moving the pickup or delivery city (or both) to a larger metropolitan area could help the cause. Carriers don’t like traveling too far off their routes to pickup or deliver vehicles without additional incentive and moving to and from major metro areas can also help save you money on your car transport services.
CAR TRANSPORT METHODS
When it comes to auto transport there are several different methods of transporting your vehicle. We’re not talking about auto transport carriers here – that’s an entirely different subject. No, in this section we talk more about the method of transportation that will be used to move your vehicle – not the carrier itself but what particular transport service they are providing, because there are a few different ways that people can go about transporting their vehicle. In this helpful article we’ll provide links to articles that explain more about each type of transportation method in more detail, so you can get a better understanding of what you’re getting yourself in for and how that will affect your auto transport prices and your overall transportation experience.
By far the most common method of auto transport is door to door auto transport. Door-to-door is what most carriers prefer as it allows them much more control over where they are driving their truck, the routes they use and they can avoid some of the harder places to ship in and out of which they cannot do via other methods.
TERMINAL TO TERMINAL
Terminal to terminal auto transport is not nearly as popular as door-to-door transport but it is still a valued part of the industry today. Some companies will not provide terminal-to-terminal shipping, as there are not as many carriers that provide terminal-to-terminal shipping than door-to-door, but it is still available out of most major cities in the U.S.
STANDBY AUTO TRANSPORT
Standby auto transport services are when you pay a lower price on purpose and essentially wait for a carrier to be willing to pick your vehicle up at a lower price. Standby services are generally not recommended because of how long they take to arrange, but they are available. If you are interested in them check out the link for more.
AUTO TRANSPORT BY RAIL
Auto transport by rail is the last method of auto transport that we will break down for you. Auto transport by rail is only available on select routes and we don’t really work with any rail transportation companies, but it is a method of auto transport that is still quite popular despite its slow disappearance.
You should definitely read the linked-to articles above for more information about our auto transportation methods and what you can expect when it comes to transporting your vehicle. The more you know about the process and how we work, the less surprises will be waiting for you when it comes time to transport your vehicle. You can fill out our free online quote request form right here on our website for a free quote or you can call us toll-free at 800-553-1828 for a free auto transport quote calculated by one of our friendly and experienced staff members. We work hard to make sure your transportation experience is the best we can make it, bar none.
READY TO TRANSPORT YOUR CAR?
Now that you understand the ins and outs of the auto transport process you can rest assured that your vehicle will make it to its destination on time and in-tact. Researching is key when it comes to a positive process, so take the time to gather information on where you are moving to and the characteristics of your vehicle so that you can be provided with an accurate quote. The automotive transport process doesn’t have to be an intimidating one, and the process can go quite smoothly once you have everything in order. Taking the time to do your due diligence and compare the various auto transport quotes will help you to make an informed decision, and you’ll have your vehicle safe and sound at your new destination in no time.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW DO I INSURE MY VEHICLE FOR SHIPPING?
Your vehicle is insured up to $100,000 from the FMCSA licensed carrier that is shipping your vehicle.
You can request the insurance certificate from any licensed carrier and will provide you a copy..
With Mercury, all carriers have their insurance verified with every shipment.
HOW DO I PREPARE MY VEHICLE?
Keys: You must provide the selected carrier with keys to the ignition, trunk, gas cap and any locked compartment. Please have copies of your keys made and leave only the copies (keep your original set of keys) after you have checked to ensure that the copies fit all devices/compartments.
Don’t Fill Your Gas Tank: Due to DOT weight regulations, we recommend that your gas tank be less than a ¼ tank.
Do not Over-pack: Light and soft personal items. Luggage or small boxes may be shipped inside the trunk only (100 lbs max).An infant car seat and spare tire with a jack are integral parts of the vehicle, so they may be included. You will/may be asked for additional compensation if your vehicle is over-packed or require removing anything that is not permanently mounted or bolted to the vehicle.NOTHING obstructing views out of the windows. This is mandatory and is for the safety of our crew. Our crew often must load these vehicles on to the trailer with the mirrors folded in, using only the windows. If their view is obstructed the potential for damage and injury increases greatly.
Don’t Pack Firearms or Fire Extinguishers: No firearms, ammunition of any type, or fire extinguishers may be shipped in a vehicle.
Alarm Systems: If there is an alarm system, it must be disconnected prior to dropping off or the alarm remote must be provided.
Disabled / Inoperable Vehicles: If your vehicle is inoperable it must be in a safe location with easy access with inflated tires, fully operational brakes, and steering.
Oversized / Modified Vehicles: Unless otherwise previously noted to our dispatch department, Vehicles that are Factory Stock cannot exceed certain height or clearance. All vehicles must have at least 6½ inches of ground clearance and/or maximum 6’4” high, otherwise, we may be unable to accept your vehicle for a regular auto trailer which may increase your estimated rate.
The vehicle should be clean: To ensure an accurate vehicle inspection report can be completed, please clean your vehicle. This will assist you and the driver to speed up the walk around the vehicle at pick up and destination.
GET A VEHICLE SHIPPING QUOTE WITHIN MINUTES
CAR SHIPPING OPTIONS
OPEN AUTO TRANSPORT
Open auto transport carriers are considered the standard carrier in the industry today.
ENCLOSED AUTO TRANSPORT
Enclosed auto transport carriers are not as readily available as open carriers but…
OUR TRUSTED VEHICLE SHIPPING PARTNERS
Read our guides on shipping your car
HOW AUTO SHIPPING WORKS
REQUEST A QUOTE
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.
BOOK YOUR ORDER
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.
VEHICLE IS PICKED UP
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.
VEHICLE IS DELIVERED
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.