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Car Shipping Cost Comparison for Small vs Big Vehicles

When shipping your car, one of the most important factors to consider is the size of your vehicle. While the process of car shipping may seem straightforward, the cost can vary significantly depending on the size of your car. In this article, we’ll compare the car shipping cost of small cars versus big vehicles to help you make an informed decision. Whether you’re relocating for work or moving across the country, understanding the cost implications of car shipping can help you save money and avoid unpleasant surprises. So, buckle up and join us as we explore the world of car shipping and compare the costs of shipping small versus big vehicles.

Factors that affect car shipping costs

Before we dive into the cost comparison for small versus big vehicles, let’s look at the factors that affect car shipping costs. The distance between the pickup and drop-off locations is one of the most significant factors. The farther the distance, the higher the shipping cost will be. Another factor is the type of transport you choose. Open transport, where your car ships on an open trailer, is generally less expensive than enclosed transport, where your car is shipped in an enclosed trailer. The size and weight of your vehicle also play a role in determining the shipping cost. Finally, the time of year can affect the shipping cost, with peak seasons typically being more expensive.

Car Shipping Cost: Size Matters

What does size have to do with car shipping? Quite a lot. We’ll start with one of the two most significant size components: weight. 

Shipping Weight

A vehicle’s weight plays a huge role in car shipping because it influences the efficiency of the freight truck and trailer to which it’s attached. When a freight truck has to haul more weight, it has to work harder and use more gas. It takes on more wear and tear and consumes more gasoline. That makes the car shipping process more expensive, and some of those costs get passed on to you. The heavier your pickup truck is, the more you’ll have to pay to ship it.

So where is the dividing line in regards to vehicle weight? Generally speaking, car transporters start becoming concerned around 5,000 lbs. and require more compensation to haul that vehicle. There is a step ladder whereby the heavier a vehicle is, the higher the carrier compensation. So a 6,000 lb. vehicle will likely cost significantly more to haul than a 5,000 lb. vehicle. And so on. The auto transport carrier is also very cognizant of the weight scales he must pass on the highway. He cannot exceed his maximum weight.

Shipping Length

Moving on to the second component of size — length — we see that the same principle applies. Pickup trucks that take up more space are often costlier to ship. Again, this is an issue of resources. Freight truck trailers only have so much room, and if a large pickup truck takes one-and-a-half car spaces on the trailer, there’s one fewer car that can fit on the trailer. For the car transport carrier and the shipping broker, that means fewer customers and lower earnings. To compensate for this loss, most car shipping companies will charge customers extra if their vehicles take up a sizable amount of space.

Okay, so where is the demarcation for vehicle length? Again, it is a general rule, and there are exceptions. But most vehicle shippers become concerned around 200 inches in length and require more excellent compensation to haul. The average sedan, such as a Ford Mustang, Honda Accord, or Toyota Camry, will range from 188 to 196 inches. The standard long-haul carrier can comfortably fit ten of those. 

If a vehicle is over 200 inches, now the carrier is looking for a shorter car to balance his total load. If he cannot find a smaller vehicle, he may need to charge the longer vehicle more to make up the difference.

Shipping Height

Some SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans are extremely tall. Once a vehicle reaches 80 inches or higher, it imposes on the vehicle size that it can fit either above or below it. The carrier might not be able to do it. In essence, the much taller vehicle has taken two spaces on the trailer. Therefore, extremely tall vehicles must cost more to transport. 

Curious to know how much extra it will cost you to ship your vehicle? The answer depends on the company you’re working with, your departure and destination cities, and the type of vehicle in question. To get a definitive answer before deciding, secure a free quote from a highly reputable shipping company. Here at Direct Express Auto Transport, we can tell you how much it will cost to ship your pickup truck in seconds. Use our Online Quote Calculator to get started.

Car Transport Cost comparison for small vehicles

Now that you understand the factors that affect car shipping costs let’s compare the cost of shipping small vehicles. Small cars, such as compact cars, are generally less expensive to ship than larger vehicles. The average cost to ship a small car is between $700 and $1,200 for a distance of 2,000 miles. For example, car shipping a Honda Civic from Los Angeles to Chicago would cost around $1,000. If you’re shipping a small car a shorter distance, the cost will be less. For example, shipping a small car from Los Angeles to San Francisco would cost around $500.

Auto Shipping Cost comparison for big vehicles

On the other hand, big vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks, are generally more expensive to ship than small cars. The average cost to ship a big vehicle is between $800 and $1,500 for a distance of 2,000 miles. For example, car shipping a Ford F-150 from Los Angeles to Chicago would cost around $1,200. If you’re shipping a big vehicle a shorter distance, the cost will be less. For example, shipping a big vehicle from Los Angeles to San Francisco would cost around $700.

It’s important to note that the cost of shipping a big vehicle can vary significantly depending on the size and weight of the vehicle. For example, shipping a compact SUV will be less expensive than transporting a full-size SUV.

DIY vs professional

While it may be tempting to save money by shipping your car yourself, it’s generally not recommended. Shipping a car requires specialized equipment and expertise that most people don’t have. In addition, DIY car shipping can be more expensive than professional car shipping when you factor in the cost of gas, lodging, and meals during the trip.

Professional car shipping companies offer several advantages over DIY shipping. They have the equipment and expertise to transport your vehicle safely, and they’re insured in case anything goes wrong. They can also save you time and hassle by handling all the logistics of the shipping process.

Tips for saving money on car shipping

If you’re looking to save money on car shipping, there are several tips you can follow. First, plan and book your shipment early. That will give you more time to shop around and find the best deal. Second, be flexible with your pickup and delivery dates. Shipping during off-peak times can save you money. Third, choose open transport over enclosed transport if possible. Finally, consider shipping your car on a terminal-to-terminal basis instead of door-to-door. That can save you money but may require you to drop off and pick up your car at a terminal. Most people regret terminal-to-terminal shipping. 

Choosing the right auto transport company

Choosing the right car shipping company ensures a smooth and stress-free shipping experience. Look for a company that is licensed, insured, and has a good reputation. Read online reviews and check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to ensure the company has a good track record. Ask for references and get a written estimate before committing to a company. Finally, ensure you understand the shipping contract’s terms and conditions, including any insurance coverage and liability limits.

Preparing your car for transport

Before you ship your car, there are a few things you need to do to prepare it for transport:

  1. Clean your car inside and out so that you can quickly inspect it for any damage after it arrives at its destination.
  2. Remove personal items from your car, including GPS devices, phone chargers, and personal documents.
  3. Disable your car alarm to prevent it from going off during transport.
  4. Ensure your car has about a quarter tank of gas, and take photos of your car before loading it onto the transport trailer.

Conclusion: Making the best decision for your car shipping needs

Shipping your car can be stressful and expensive, but understanding the cost implications of car shipping small versus big vehicles can help you make an informed decision. By choosing a professional car shipping company and following our tips for saving money, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free shipping experience. Whether you’re shipping a small car or a big vehicle, be sure to prepare your car for transport and choose a reputable company that will take good care of your vehicle. With the proper preparation and research, you can ship your car with confidence and peace of mind.

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. We recommend the expedited car shipping rate and have countless satisfied customers because the shipping process tends to go quicker. The rush rate is our highest level of car shipping service, and many customers are glad they went with that method.

auto transport tips, Car Shipping Quote Calculator