Cars being hauled under blue sky

When Does Shipping My Car Make Sense?

When Does Shipping My Car Make Sense?

David Stone
Updated July 19, 2021 by David Stone

Table of Contents

    Cars being hauled under blue sky


    You’ve got a long trip ahead and a car that may or may not be going with you. Learn how to assess the situation and make the best decision.

    Car shipping is an expensive proposition, but so is acquiring a new vehicle. Car owners stuck at the crossroads on this choice must carefully weigh a number of common factors, like time, money, and stress, alongside unique variables like their vehicle’s model and the journey ahead.

    This isn’t a decision to be made in a hurry. Take some time to put each side of the argument into perspective before it becomes a pressing issue, and it will pay off for you in the long run.

    In this blog, we’ll cover these key questions and considerations:

    • When does it make sense to just leave your old car behind and buy a new one?
    • Would it be better to ship my car or drive it myself?
    • Saving money vs inviting driver error
    • How to optimize time when researching shippers


    When does it make sense to just leave your old car behind and buy a new one?

    Answering this question requires looking at the pros and cons of each option. The easiest decision is when the vehicle is at the end of its lifespan. Covering the cost of transporting a car that’s already draining you with repair and maintenance fees can sometimes be the wrong financial decision.

    It may be best to part ways and invest the money you make from selling the old model into a new one when you’ve made the move. On the downside, there are always new costs, even with a used car, such as registration and insurance. Be sure to factor these in before you sell.

    But what if there’s still plenty of life left in your current model? Perhaps it qualifies as a classic or as an exotic vehicle, and parting with it is out of the question. This is when taking your car to your next destination makes sense and finding a shipper (or becoming your own long-distance driver) becomes a viable option.

    Precisely how viable each one is from a financial and personal standpoint only becomes clear with deeper consideration. 

    Would it be better to ship it or drive it yourself?

    Car owners essentially have two key shipping concerns: saving money and preserving the safety of their vehicle. The natural answer to both would seem to be cutting out the shipper (thus saving money) and handling transportation alone because you feel that nobody can care for your car better than you.

    It’s hard to argue against that as a decent solution for relatively short journeys. However, the fact that you’re considering a shipper in the first place probably means the transport distance is significant. Think of the distance ahead. Now, think of all those extra miles and the wear and tear they’ll add to your vehicle.

    These are factors that disappear when you hire a shipper — think of it as keeping your car a little younger. A more important factor has to be considered that goes beyond the odometer and demands on your suspension. We’re talking about how extended journeys directly impact human performance and the safety of both driver and vehicle.

    Saving money vs. inviting driver error

    Driving to your ultimate destination is no picnic! Long stretches on the road increase the chances of an accident by causing fatigue. Being worn down mentally and physically means lower reaction times and decreased awareness, which triple the chances of a crash.

    Accidents mean repair costs, which equals lost money. Not to mention that extended journeys mean frequently filling the gas tank along the way, which adds up. Long drives can also be boring and have you reaching for the radio, snacks, cell phone, or another mobile device when you should be watching the road. These all constitute distracted driving, which is now one of the biggest causes of road accidents in America.

    Distracted driving can mean a fine in the hundreds of dollars. Now you’re definitely not saving money! This can be upgraded to jail time. At worst, distracted driving greatly increases the likelihood of injury to yourself or others, which could cause a big jump in your insurance premiums and leave you to pay medical expenses for multiple people.

    A shipper drives the long haul for a living and knows all the right ways to stay safe on the road. Leveraging their experience is ultimately the safer – and very likely least costly – way to transport your vehicle.

    How to optimize time when researching shippers

    Let’s say you’ve made the decision to have the car shipped. Researching the service history, safety record, and insurance coverage of potential shippers can be an off-putting time sink, and one of the main reasons why drivers are tempted to go it alone. It takes a lot of work to narrow the candidate field and decide which, if any, you can trust.

    Hiring an auto shipping broker to transport your car removes all that research pressure and time commitment. The broker will already have a network of trusted shippers reviewed and ready for your consideration, sorted by all the important factors. All that’s left for the customer to do is pick the one who satisfies their needs.

    The Mercury Auto Transport blog archives provide more information on how the auto transport process works, when brokers and carriers come into play, and many more auto-transport topics. Our ongoing insight will give you the tools to better appreciate your unique situation and ship your car with confidence.

    Our team is here to answer any and all questions you may have about the auto transport process, from selecting a shipper to prepping your vehicle for the trip. Connect with us at the links below and let’s make your next move a success!

    Mercury Auto Transport finds quotes in minutes for open, enclosed, and flatbed auto transportation. We’ve arranged safe delivery for over 186,000 vehicles by road, rail, and air while working with the most trusted shipping partners in our industry. Email or call us free at (800) 553-1828 or for a 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.