Don’t Ship Your Vehicle Until You Read These Cost-Saving Tips

budgeting for an exotic car


The cost to ship a vehicle depends on different factors, like mileage and vehicle type, and may fluctuate depending on your needs

Key takeaways:

  • Several factors determine car shipping rates, from distance to vehicle type
  • There are different ways to lower your shipping cost, like using open carry transport
  • Mercury Auto Transport is your reliable and affordable vehicle transport service

Do you need to transport a car from one place to another? Maybe you just purchased a car online from another state or are relocating for a job? How can you figure out how much it should cost to send the vehicle there?

Shipping a vehicle isn’t an everyday expense, and the actual amount you pay can vary. Differences like seasonality, type of service, and mileage can bring your bottom line up or down. When it comes to the cost to ship a vehicle, here’s what you can expect, as well as tips for bringing the cost down. 

Factors that determine the cost to ship a vehicle 

Car transport is a service that moves vehicles from one location to another. The average cost to ship a vehicle is anywhere from $500 for short trips across the state to $1,500 for cross-country transports. 

Of course, the final price depends on many factors, such as: 

  • Distance traveled: Mileage is the #1 factor in the cost to ship a vehicle. The average cost to ship a vehicle is $1.00 per mile for short distances (1-500 miles), $0.75 per mile for medium distances (500-1000 miles), $0.50 per mile for long distances (1,000-2000 miles), and $0.40 per mile cross-country. Per-mileage pricing includes labor costs, fuel charges, and tolls. As you can see, longer distances cost more overall but less per mile. 
  • Route: The highways and roads a carrier takes when transporting your vehicle affect cost. For example, routes through big cities with more traffic congestion can impact the transport time. Additional route considerations include physical road conditions, street construction, and bad weather. 
  • Vehicle Type: The size and weight of your car matter, as does the model. For example, carriers have limits on the number of cars and weight they can carry, thus, a heavier car is more expensive to move. Luxury, antique, and collector cars usually require an enclosed carrier, which also impacts rates. 
  • Seasonality: The time of year your vehicle will be transported is important. Pricing increases in the summer during peak car-shipping season and slows down in the winter. 
  • Shipping dates: It’s best to book your transport service as far in advance as possible because shipment date figures into the cost. If you leave your car pick-up dates flexible, you can often save money. 
  • Transport type: You have a choice between open and enclosed car transport. Open transport is cheaper and the more popular choice among consumers. Customers shipping luxury or vintage cars that need more protection usually choose the more expensive enclosed type. 
  • Vehicle condition: A running vehicle is easier to manage and therefore qualifies for better rates. If your car isn’t in working condition, it will require extra accommodations to be loaded and transported, which increases the cost. 
  • Car characteristics: Vehicle details such as height, length, and curb weight will affect the trailer type needed for transport, and thus the cost. They may also require certain accommodations, like being held in a specific place on the trailer. 
  • The number of vehicles: Two cars cost more than one. 
  • Car bidding process: A carrier will bid on how much your shipment will cost, which can be a little unpredictable. 
  • Location: Metro areas usually have a lot of trucks available to carry out shipping orders, whereas small towns may be more limited.


Tips to bring down the cost to ship a vehicle

There are two types of auto transport carriers that ship cars – open car transport and enclosed car transport. Open transport carries vehicles uncovered on the hauling truck whereas enclosed transport covers the vehicles. Open car transport carriers are cheaper and more popular because many people don’t require their car to be covered, even though they will be exposed to weather and possible debris. 

There are two delivery options for your car – terminal-to-terminal car shipping and door-to-door transport. Terminal-to-terminal shipping requires taking the car to a drop-off location and picking it up from another. Door-to-door transport is when the carrier picks up your car from a convenient location (like your house) and delivers it to your desired destination. Terminal-to-terminal shipping costs more money because it is much more convenient for the customer and racks up daily terminal storage fees. Door to door is cheaper because it requires more work for the customer.

You can save more money by shipping your vehicle during the off-season (late fall to late spring), instead of summer to early fall, which is the most popular time to ship a vehicle. 

Another way to lower the cost is through discounts. Many auto transport companies offer discounts for a variety of situations. These include: 

  • Military discounts
  • Student discounts
  • Senior discounts
  • First-time customers
  • Return customers
  • Multi-car shipments
  • First responders
  • Early birds
  • Vehicle fleets

At Mercury Auto Transport, we do not charge a service fee until you choose your carrier, unlike other auto transport companies, and the carrier is not paid until they safely deliver your vehicle. 

Choose Mercury Auto Transport for secure, inexpensive vehicle shipping

Many factors go into the cost of shipping a vehicle, from distance traveled to time of year. Depending on what you need, several options can lower your price, such as choosing to ship open-carry terminal-to-terminal. There are also a variety of discounts to leverage depending on your situation. 

Mercury Auto Transport is a nation-wide, full-service auto shipping company that can transport your vehicle safely and securely from anywhere in the country. Our process is transparent and trustworthy, and we’re always working to get you the best deal. Call us today for a quote and let’s get started.  


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