How to Ship Your Car When Moving Long Distance

ship your car

2021 saw 8.4% of Americans up sticks and head for pastures new. Are you planning a big move sometime soon?

Maybe you’re a lifelong New Yorker who’s being tempted west by the lure of Silicon Valley. Or maybe you’re leaving Texas behind for the cooler climes of New England. Whatever your reason for moving, there’s a burning question – to drive, or not drive?

Driving your car across the country might be great when you’re a kid on summer break with all the time in the world. When you’re adulting, you need to ship your car.

Let’s get into exactly how that works and how you can find the best transport company for shipping your car long distance.

Why You Should Always Ship Your Car

Roadtrips are fun, we get it. But they’re not without risks. The chances are very slim that you’ll have an accident, but when you’re driving long distances, it gets really old, fast.

No one should plan to drive more than 500 miles per day. FMCSA limits don’t apply to private vehicles, but they’re in place for a reason. They recommend that passenger-carrying drivers drive no more than 10 hours per day – which makes 500 miles touch and go in many states.

Can you afford to take a week off work just to move your car across the country? For most people, it makes more sense to spend that time adjusting to their new home and getting their kids settled into school before they start their new jobs.

It’s also better to transport your car to reduce the wear and tear on the vehicle. Thousands of miles will mean you’ll need new tires and brakes sooner. Plus, you’ll put a lot of extra miles on the clock. 

It makes more sense to save yourself the stress, gas money, and repair costs of driving your car. Instead, entrust it to a professional transport company who will pick it up and safely deliver it to your new address.

How to Ship Your Car Long Distance

Before you start searching for quotes, it’s helpful to understand how the process of shipping your car works. You have a few options and there are some ways that you can reduce the overall cost.

Choose Your Pickup Location Carefully

You can have your car picked up from home, but that’s usually the most expensive option. Driving to a central location may reduce the cost. If you live on a tiny road, you may also need to meet them in another location because the road is too small for the truck.

Open or Closed?

Naturally, it’s cheaper to transport your car on an open transporter. The obvious disadvantage is that your car will not be protected from the elements and birds flying overhead.

That may not worry you, especially if your car is parked outdoors most days anyway. If you do choose covered transport, it’s going to be a lot more expensive and is usually reserved for high-value vehicles.

Prepare Your Car

You want your car to be in the best possible shape when it arrives at the other end. Start by washing the car, so that you can easily document any scratches, scrapes, and dings. This will help you to identify any accidental damage that occurred in transit at the other end.

It’s also a good idea to get your car serviced before it sets off on its adventure. The last thing you want is an oil leak en route to your new home. No one wants to have to find an auto shop as soon as their car arrives at their new home.

Make sure that there is enough, but not too much gas in the tank. You need enough to be able to drive it at the other end, but not so much that it adds a lot to the weight of the vehicle. 

How Long Does It Take?

This depends on how far you’re shipping your car. It also depends on the carrier you choose and their routes. But here are some ballpark figures to give you an idea:

  • Up to 500 miles – 2 days
  • Up to 1000 miles – 3 days
  • Up to 1,500 miles – 5 days
  • Up to 2,000 miles – 7 days
  • Up to 2,500 miles – 10 days
  • Over 2,500 miles – 14 days

The times quoted are the maximum amount of time it usually takes. If you are in a hurry, ask your broker to find the fastest transport service they can.

Can You Fill Your Car With Stuff?

A few items in the trunk are OK. But filling your car with stuff is not recommended.

The weight of the vehicle may be a factor in determining the cost. So the more you put in, the more expensive it will be. Plus, it’s not the safest way to transport your personal items.

How Much Does It Cost?

This will vary based on how far you’re traveling and the type of service you choose.

Working with a car transport broker is a good move. They charge a fee to find the best deal for you. They negotiate with a wide range of car transporters and compare their rates to the DAT rate.

The DAT rate is the current average rate for freight, based on a database of recent transactions. This helps the broker to determine if you’re getting a good deal. 

It may be tempting to go for the cheapest quote you can find. But be warned – they come with a health warning. If your vehicle is the lowest value load on the truck, the company will put it on last, if they put it on at all.

This can lead to seriously inconvenient delays. Working with a broker will give you peace of mind that you’re getting a fair deal and a quote that you can rely on. 

Car Shipping Mistakes to Avoid

Car shipping makes a long-distance move so much simpler. But save yourself a headache at the other end by avoiding these rookie mistakes.

Not Documenting the Condition of Your Car

Think about the way you’d check a rental car before you drive out of the parking lot. You’d scrupulously point out every scratch and scrape, making sure it all went on the rental agreement. You kind of need to do the same with your own car before you hand it over to the transport company.

Accidents can happen in transit and it’s important that you can prove they weren’t there already. A reputable company will walk you through this process to give you peace of mind. Taking a few photos never hurts as well.

Not Checking the Transport Company’s Insurance

Your regular car insurance probably isn’t designed to cover you when you transport your car across the country. Of course, give them a call first and let them know what you’re planning. But the likelihood is that you’ll need to make sure your transport service has great insurance in place.

Ask them for details and how you can make a claim if there is any accidental damage. If they can’t provide details of the policy, it’s a red flag and it’s time to find another shipping company.

Filling Your Car With Stuff

A few personal items in the trunk should be OK. But don’t be tempted to use your car as an extra moving truck. It can make your car a thief magnet and your belongings may not be covered in the event of a break-in.

Also, make sure that you don’t leave any personal documentation, medication, or other valuables in the car when you ship it.

How to Find a Great Car Transport Service

It’s easy to leave shipping your car to the last minute when you’re planning a major move. After all, finding accommodation, schools for the kids, and packing up your house tend to take priority.

That said, it’s wise to check as early as possible, at least 7 days in advance to get the best deal you can. Here are a few simple things you can do that will ensure you find a great transport company.

Get Multiple Quotes

It’s always a relief to get an affordable quote. But is it really the best?

Even if you’re in a time crunch, try to get at least three like-for-like quotes. Check the fine print, such as pick up and drop off details and whether the transporter is open or closed. Also, make sure that they can work with your timescale.

Always choose the best quote rather than the cheapest. If you love your car enough to transport it, it’s worth making sure that it arrives safely.

Check Out Review Sites

Online review sites like Google and Facebook are great places to get some insight into the transport company you’re thinking about using. Sure, there’ll be some dodgy reviews in there, especially if they’re a large company with thousands of reviews. But look at how they respond to them.

The best companies take customer service very seriously. Do they follow up on negative reviews courteously and try to resolve the problem? If they do, that’s a great sign that you can trust the company.

Also, check out the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This rates businesses, with A+ being the highest rating. It gives you a chance to read reviews and see how good the company is at closing out complaints.

It will also tell you how long they’ve been in business and have been accredited by the BBB.

The Earlier, the Better

Although you can usually get deals at the last minute, that’s not the way to get the best deal. Try to book as early as possible, before spaces fill up. This can give you peace of mind and is one less thing to worry about as you prepare to move. 

If you work with a broker, they’ll recommend giving them seven days’ notice. This gives them time to negotiate the best deal for you.

Work With a Transport Broker

Contacting multiple transport companies is time-consuming. For most people, this is something they’ll do once or twice in their life. How can you be certain that you’re getting a good deal?

Transport brokers are the way forward. You talk to them once and explain exactly what you’re looking for. They’ll help you come up with a price and then list your job on a dispatch board.

Transport companies will then quote for your business. They can accept your price or counter-offer. You choose the quote that works best for you and negotiate directly with the transport company to agree on the final price.

The broker will perform background checks. This includes making sure that the company is licensed, insured, and highly rated.

There is a small fee to pay the broker for their assistance. But it’s a small price to pay compared to the stress of searching for yourself. Plus, you’ll probably save money on car transportation too.

How to Get Cheaper Quotes

If your pickup and drop-off window is very narrow, you’ll limit the number of carriers that can quote for your business. If you choose a winder pickup and drop-off window, you’ll increase your options. This can translate into cheaper quotes.

Ship Your Car with Mercury Auto Transport

Now you know all there is to know about how to ship your car, all you need to do is find the right transport company.

Mercury Auto Transport is the way to go. We’re a transport broker, helping our clients find great deals on long-distance car transport. We’ll help you connect with licensed, insured carriers with great ratings, who will take care of your vehicle from pickup to drop-off.

Ready to get moving? Start a quote online right now!

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FAQs

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.