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The Real Cost of Shipping a Car

The Real Cost of Shipping A Car

The most common questions we receive are about the cost of shipping a car. People can see the advantages of auto shipping, especially when compared to taking a lengthy road trip that lasts for days or weeks. But they worry that shipping a car will cost a bundle – so much that it’s not worth it. 

We have some good news for you at the start: a competitive auto shipping market has lowered the cost of getting your vehicle onto the back of a vehicle trailer. Plus, it’s never been easier to arrange auto shipping, especially with the help of an online shipping broker like Direct Express Auto Transport. It’s an option for everyone!

But you’re probably still wondering how much it costs. We will get to that figure shortly. But before you consider the cost, consider the cost of the alternatives. You might spend more money when you think you’re spending less.

The Cost of Driving

People expect that driving costs less than shipping. But when you actually consider all the costs of a road trip – whether of hundreds of miles or thousands of miles – the economics start to look differently:

    • Gas – Depending on what you drive, how far you’re travelling, and the current cost of gas, you might spend hundreds or thousands of dollars fueling your vehicle. 
    • FoodFood costs can add up fast when you’re eating three meals a day on the road (plus any snacks you buy), especially when you’re travelling with multiple people. 
    • LodgingPaying for hotels or motels can be a huge cost, and even if you’re willing to pitch a tent during your travels, you have to pay for campgrounds. 
    • Wear and TearLong drives add tons of miles to the odometer that lower the value of your vehicle and mean you will need maintenance (oil changes, new tires etc) sooner. 
    • TimeYou can fly across the country in an afternoon, but it takes days and days to cover the same distance by driving. Your time is valuable, and you will have to invest A LOT of it whenever you take a roadtrip.
    • If One Thing Goes Wrong! – Even if you’ve sharpened your pencil and determined it is cheaper to drive, if just one thing goes wrong … a flat tire, overheated radiator, blown transmission, a speeding ticket (ouch!) or more, then you will be in the negative and wishing you had just let Direct Express Auto Transport ship your car.

When you add up all the costs, even driving to an adjacent state can be very expensive. You also need to factor in the danger or driving – yourself, your passenger, and your vehicle are all at risk on the road no matter how skilled you are behind the wheel. Plus, you might dread the thought of spending long hours behind the wheel as you inch towards your destination. Keep all this in mind when you’re considering the cost of having a car shipped

The Cost of Shipping

How much you pay for shipping depends on several variables:

    • Make/Model – The larger the vehicle, the more space it takes up on a vehicle trailer. People with a truck, SUV, van, or other large auto will pay more than people with a sedan or compact car. 
    • Trailer TypeMost people ship their vehicle on the back of open-air auto trailers similar to the ones you see on the highway all the time. You can also opt to ship inside of an enclosed trailer for more safety (a popular option for auto collectors), but it costs more. 
    • RouteThe longer a vehicle hauler has to travel with your vehicle, the more you will pay for the shipment. The pickup and dropoff location can also affect costs; if you need pickup or dropoff in a remote location far away from a major highway or population center, it could elevate the cost of shipping a car
    • ScheduleYou can pay more to have your car picked up and delivered sooner, within days of scheduling the shipment. Or you can pay less if you’re willing to wait a week or more for pickup. 
    • AvailabilityThere are certain times of the year, usually around major holidays, where there are fewer vehicle haulers on the road, in which case it will cost more to schedule one that’s available. 
    • ConditionIf you want to ship a vehicle that doesn’t run, the hauler will have to get it on and off the trailer manually, which takes more time and effort and therefore costs more money. 

Another thing to keep in mind when considering the cost of shipping a car is the fact that vehicle haulers carry multiple vehicles on the back of a trailer. That means the cost of gas and the driver’s time are split between everyone shipping their car. Since you share the financial burden, you often spend less than when you take a roadtrip and shoulder the entire cost yourself. 

What Will Your Shipment Cost?

Thanks to Direct Express Auto Transport, you don’t have to estimate the cost of having a car shipped. You can get an exact quote instantly thanks to our car shipping quote calculator. We invented this innovative tool in the early 2000s, and it remains the simplest and fastest way to explore the cost of auto shipping. That way, you don’t have to guess about the best option – you can know for sure using real numbers. 

Here’s how it works: You enter the type of vehicle you want to ship, the type of trailer you want to ship it on, your pickup and dropoff locations, and whether the vehicle runs. Then, we give you quotes for the cost of shipping broken down into three tiers:

    • Standard Tier – This is the least expensive option. Shipments are usually assigned to a vehicle hauler 1-8 days from the first date you make it available.
    • Expedited TierThis is the middle (and recommended) pricing tier. Shipments are usually assigned to a vehicle hauler 1-4 days from the first date you make it available.
    • Rush TierThis is the most expensive option. Shipments are usually assigned to a vehicle hauler 1-2 days from the first date you make it available.

For your reference, vehicle haulers typically cover about 500 miles a day. You can get a rough estimate of the shipping time by dividing the total shipping distance by 500. However, haulers also have to make stops for pickups and dropoffs, which can add a day or two to the shipment time. 

Is the Cheapest the Best?

The cheapest shipping options aren’t necessarily the best. Sure, you pay less. But you also entrust your car to a vehicle hauler with a spotty record or rely on a shipping company that couldn’t care less about service. Auto shipping doesn’t have to be expensive to be exceptional. That being said, beware of prices that seem too good to be true. You get what you pay for with auto shipping. For something as important and expensive as your car, you might be taking a big risk by seeking out the lowest prices possible. The better strategy is to work with a company that balances affordability, quality, consistency, and commitment.

Direct Express Auto Transport – High-Value Shipping Options

As an innovator and standard-bearer in the auto shipping industry, you can count on Direct Express Auto Transport to make auto shipping as valuable as possible. That means we do everything we can to keep the cost of shipping a car low. But we also only work with the top vehicle haulers in the industry. You’re paying for the best in the business, so you know your vehicle is in good hands. 

If you’re never shipped a car before, read this beginner’s guide, and get some tips and tricks from experts. Contact us with questions.

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