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How Long Does It Take to Ship a Vehicle Cross Country?

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Vehicle Cross Country?

David Stone
Updated March 24, 2021 by David Stone

Table of Contents

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    A variety of factors determine how long it takes to ship a car from point A to point B

    Moving to another part of the country comes with a lot to figure out. After all, you’re packing up your life and taking it to a faraway destination. You likely know you can hire a moving company to take your belongings to your new home, but what about your car?

    Driving your vehicle across the nation could take over a week, and you might not have the time if you’re starting a new job or have another date to meet. It’s also a hassle and may not be possible with a secondary vehicle. 

    Fortunately, you can ship your vehicle cross-country and then fly to your new home city, eliminating one of the most time-consuming aspects of your move. 

    The amount of time it will take to ship your car varies, so here’s some information on what you can expect.

    Key takeaways

    • The benefits of shipping your vehicle cross-country
    • Shipping a car takes time
    • The distance, chosen carrier, and destination factor into the timeline
    • Reputable carriers will often provide an ETA

     

    The benefits of shipping your car cross-country

    There are a few good reasons to ship your vehicle to your destination rather than driving it. 

    First, the cost of transporting it is usually similar to what it would cost you to drive. You can even save money by shipping the car because you don’t have to worry about spending nights in hotels or eating at restaurants. 

    Second, putting the car on a truck won’t increase its mileage. Driving 2,500+ miles could put wear on the vehicle’s components, including its tires, which could reduce its value and force you to replace parts sooner. 

    Finally, you won’t have to worry about damaging your car on the drive. Accidents, bad weather, and blown-out tires add stress to a long drive. These factors are no longer a concern if you put the vehicle on a truck. Often, eliminating the stress of driving cross-country is reason enough to consider an auto transport service.

    The destination matters

    As you might expect, the destination you’re sending your vehicle to is a significant factor in how long the delivery takes. Generally, you can expect a short-haul shipment of fewer than 500 miles to take a day or two, while shipments traveling between 500 and 2,000 miles can take anywhere from two to seven days. 

    When you start getting into lengthier distances, like shipments of more than 2,000 miles, it’ll take anywhere from seven to ten days for your car to arrive at your new home. Deliveries of more than 2,500 miles can take up to two weeks.

    Make sure you plan the time your car shipment will take into your move. You don’t want to be without a vehicle for too long once you reach your new home, especially if you’ll be reliant on it as your sole means of transportation. However, walking the area before driving it does have its advantages.

    Other shipping factors

    Distance isn’t the only thing that determines how long a vehicle shipment can take. Another aspect to think about is the location of the pickup and delivery. 

    If you’re moving to or from a major city, there could be a substantial amount of traffic that slows the delivery. Keep in mind that truck drivers can only stay behind the wheel for a certain number of hours per day, and traffic can quickly eat into that.

    The season you ship in is a factor, too. In the winter, poor road conditions could slow the delivery considerably, leaving you waiting longer than you had envisioned. 

    Finally, the shipping company you select will influence how soon you receive your car. Some vendors are faster than others. 

    Consider all of these factors when figuring out how long the shipment could take from start to finish.

    Consider the shipping method

    As you book your car transport, you can choose between an open trailer and an enclosed trailer. 

    An open trailer is like the car haulers you frequently see on the interstates. The cars are carefully loaded onto a car trailer and moved between cities. Your vehicle will be exposed to the elements and road hazards for the entire trip.

    An enclosed trailer provides additional protection because it’s like putting the car in the back of a traditional semi-truck trailer. With walls all around it, your car will be better protected from road damage and dirt.

    Enclosed trailers cost more and can be a slower method of delivery. They generally take longer because loading and unloading the vehicles is more challenging and leads to slowdowns. 

    Keep in mind that you can ship a car via plane, as well, but that generally isn’t recommended for cross-country travel. Air shipment will generally cost more than the vehicle is worth unless it’s a rare vintage automobile.

    Finding an acceptable quote

    How long your cross-country car shipment will take depends on all these factors. However, you should generally plan for the process to take between ten days and two weeks for trips across the country (three to five days for travel within your time zone). 

    Of course, there are other factors to consider, and few vehicle carriers provide timeline guarantees because there are so many variables. They will offer you an estimated arrival time, though, which can help you make plans at your destination.

    Mercury Auto Transport is a broker that can connect you with quotes from some of the nation’s most reputable auto transport carriers. Our team knows that shipping a car is a large job, which is why we take much of the guesswork out of the equation for you.

    Contact us to speak with a car shipping representative or to request a quote.

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    OUR TRUSTED VEHICLE SHIPPING PARTNERS

    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.

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