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How Long Does Car Shipping Take From Start to Finish?

Transporting a car can be an overwhelming task, especially when you’re trying to move it across vast distances. Many aspects go into the timeline of delivery, like vehicle type, distance traveled and carrier preferences. In this comprehensive guide, we explore in-depth the details of car shipment and also provide advice on how best to reduce both the time and money associated with auto transport services. Keep reading to discover for yourself how long car shipping takes, and what elements affect car shipment fees? As well, learn how long it takes for the service provider to get your ride delivered safely.

Factors Affecting Car Shipping Time

1. Distance & Location

When deciding how long it will take to ship your car, one key component that must be taken into account is distance between pick-up and drop-off points. Generally, as this span increases, so too does transit time.

The time it takes for auto transport services to deliver your car will depend on where you live. Cities and highways that are close by can cut the shipping time. This is due to their proximity to major centers of transportation.

2. Carrier Type: Open vs. Enclosed

When it comes to shipping time, your selection of carrier will have an effect. Open carriers are most widely used and they can carry a number of cars at one time which decreases transit time. On contrary, enclosed carriers are meant for luxury, vintage or classic vehicles and may take more effort to arrange so this increases delivery duration.

3. Vehicle Type and Size

When it comes to getting your vehicle shipped, its size and shape can have an impact on transit time. Bigger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs require more space on a transport carrier; in turn increasing loading and unloading times. Moreover, high-end cars or automobiles with non-standard dimensions may necessitate specialized shipping solutions which result in longer transportation periods.

4. Seasonal Factors

When it comes to car shipping, seasonal fluctuations can have a considerable impact on timelines. During peak season, which usually falls between late spring and early fall, there is usually an uptick in demand for pick-up and delivery services that can lead to delays. Conversely, during off-peak periods, there may be fewer carriers on duty resulting in longer wait times as well.

5. Weather and Road Conditions

When it comes to car shipping, there are a multitude of external factors that can cause unwanted delays. Mother Nature’s fury in the form of snowstorms, torrential rain, and gale force winds can all hamper transportation progress. In addition to this, traffic congestions and road closures will also add extra waiting time for the delivery of your vehicle.

Car Shipping Cost: What Influences the Price?

1. Distance and Location

The cost of car shipping is largely determined by the distance between pick-up and drop-off points. Typically, farther distances result in a higher expense. Furthermore, locations that are considered to be remote or have limited access will likely incur an additional fee when it comes to vehicle transportation.

2. Vehicle Type and Size

When considering car shipping costs, it is important to factor in your vehicle’s size, type and weight. Bigger and heavier vehicles like SUVs or trucks will likely cost more due to their greater impact on a carrier’s fuel consumption and capacity. Furthermore, luxury and special cars may incur extra fees for requiring specialized transport.

3. Carrier Type: Open vs. Enclosed

When it comes to cost, open and enclosed carriers have different price structures when it comes to transporting cars. Open carriers are usually the more affordable option, as they can carry multiple vehicles at once. On the other hand, an enclosed carrier will cost more due to its specialized design for protecting luxury or specialty cars and its limit on how many vehicles it can hold.

4. Seasonal Factors

The cost of car shipping can be influenced by various seasonal factors. When the demand is at its highest during peak season, it can lead to increased prices. However, in off-peak season when demand is lower, you could potentially take advantage of this opportunity and negotiate more reasonable rates.

5. Expedited Shipping

Do you need your vehicle delivered in the shortest possible time? Expedited shipping is an option that can make this happen; however, it does come at a higher cost. This type of shipment will be given priority by the auto transport service over any other delivery.

Estimating Car Shipping Time: A Rule of Thumb

Bear in mind that this is an approximation; exact delivery times may differ.

1. The Time It Takes To Assign A Vehicle To A Carrier

Assigning a vehicle to a carrier depends on what? Money, folks. This is America. It’a always about money. Here are four points about assigning a vehicle to a carrier:

a) If the car shipping broker has adjusted the carrier fee too low, it might never get assigned. Too low and it won’t go.

b) There is such a thing as a basic standard rate for just about any route, and that too can vary route to route. The basic standard rate might take one or two days to get assigned, or maybe several days if there are higher carrier fee vehicles waiting nearby.

c) Adding anywhere from $50 to $200 to the carrier fee often results in a quick assignment, as in one to four days. It depends on the distance and other factors too, but expediting your order is a very good way to get fast service.

d) Adding anywhere from $200 to $500 will likely get car transport carriers to jump. Expect one or two days, on average, for rush priced orders to get assigned a carrier.

2. The Time It Takes To Pickup or Deliver A Vehicle

People forget about the time it takes to pickup or drop-off a vehicle. It can be as quick as 30 minutes, or take an hour or more. Sometimes the driver has to move other vehicles on his carrier to make room for yours. That takes time and skill. Every amalgamated carrier load is a mathematical puzzle with far more to it than meets the eye.

If a car carrier has ten vehicles to haul, it will take him a full day, sometimes two, to pick them all up. Then he has to do it all over again upon delivery. All of that jockeying around can add one to three additional days to the overall transit time.

3. The Actual Time On The Road In Transit

While it’s challenging to provide an exact delivery date, you can estimate the shipping time using a simple rule of thumb: divide the total mileage by 500. For example:

After Vehicle Pickup

250 miles / 1-3 days start to finish
500 miles / 1-3 days start to finish

750 miles / 2-4 days start to finish
1000 miles / 2-4 days start to finish

1250 miles / 3-5 days start to finish
1500 miles / 3-5 days start to finish

1750 miles / 4-6 days start to finish
2000 miles / 4-6 days start to finish

2250 miles / 5-8 days start to finish
2500 miles / 5-8 days start to finish

2750 miles / 6-9 days start to finish
3000 miles / 6-9 days start to finish

3250 miles / 7-10 days start to finish
3500 miles / 7-10 days start to finish

Federal regulations require the driver to take longer rest periods the more he drives in a week. And thank heavens for that. It is good for the driver and also the rest of us on the highway with him. 

Tips for Reducing Car Shipping Time and Cost

1. Plan Ahead

For optimal results, it is advisable to make an auto transport reservation at least two weeks before the delivery deadline. Doing so provides plenty of time for the carrier to find a driver going your way. This proactive strategy not just decreases transit time but also gives you an opportunity to reduce expenses related to car shipping.

2. Choose Open Transport

Are you considering transporting a vehicle in the near future? Then open transport may be your best bet; not only can it be more cost-effective, but also offer quicker shipping times. This is due to the fact that open carriers are much more prevalent and can accommodate multiple vehicles at once. Therefore, selecting open transport could very well help you save time and money.

3. Be Flexible with Pick-up and Drop-off Locations

For those living in rural areas, it can be a good idea to arrange to meet the driver near a prominent city or highway.

4. Avoid Guaranteed Delivery Dates

When selecting an auto transport service, it’s important to choose one that is honest and realistic. Companies offering a guaranteed delivery date should be avoided; a reliable company will provide you with an estimated delivery window instead.

Final Thoughts

The right planning and selection of an auto transport service is essential for controlling car shipping time and cost. With a combination of flexibility and the correct carrier, you can optimize both the duration of shipment as well as the expense associated with it. Proper research into the factors that influence cost and time can help ensure that you make informed decisions when selecting a transport provider.

The Original Car Shipping Quote Calculator

Direct Express Auto Transport originated the instant car shipping quote calculator in 2004. It is still the best, most sophisticated, reliable tool available anywhere online. We offer three options that we call tiers of car shipping estimates. The standard rate is the cheapest car shipping quote, but it may take longer. Use it if you are patient. The expedited car shipping rate is most recommended, and we have countless satisfied customers because the shipping process tends to go quicker. The rush rate is our highest level of car shipping service, and we have many customers who are glad they went with that method.

auto transport tips, Car Shipping Quote Calculator, Cost Per Mile