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photo of Autumn road for car shipping seasons

Best Car Shipping Seasons & Time Frames

Whether you need to move your vehicle 500 miles in the state or 3,000 miles across the country, such as from Miami to Seattle, shipping your car with an auto transport carrier can make it much easier than trying to drive it yourself. But when you are planning the best car shipping seasons, there are a few questions you want to be answered, like:

  • How long will it take?
  • How far in advance should I book?
  • When’s the best time of year to ship a car?
  • What’s the busiest time?

We strive to answer these questions and more by giving you the best, most honest, and most straightforward information so that you can make the right decision for your situation.

Car Shipping Time Estimates

The first questions on most peoples’ minds are, “how long will it take for it to get picked up?” and “when will it be delivered?” 

As a good rule of thumb, auto transport carriers traverse about 500 miles daily. If you’re shipping 500 miles or less, you could have it delivered within 1-3 days. If you’re shipping across the country, count on the transport time to take around a week. 

Remember, carriers face unpredictable situations over which they have no control, such as inclement weather or truck breakdowns. Car shipping estimates are just that, estimates. And if this is your first time using an auto transport service, check out our guide to everything you need to know. It is beneficial information and car shipping advice. 

If you can plan accordingly, you reduce your likelihood of being frustrated. That means planning to be without the vehicle for a few days and arranging for a rental, ride-sharing, carpooling, or bumming rides from friends. Speaking of friends, allow the people in your life to lend you a hand. 

Another common question is whether you have to be there for both the pick up from the origin point and the delivery of the car to its destination. Thankfully, no! All that is required is a person you trust who is 18 or older and available to turn over or receive the vehicle. It takes about 30 minutes, so asking is reasonable and manageable. And they know you’d do it for them. That allows you to buy a car from across the country or fly to your destination in comfort and know someone else can get your vehicle shipped or received.

Best Car Shipping Seasons

Now that you have the logistics of shipping and receiving the car, it’s time to plan when? Sometimes, you must go when you must, such as moving for a job, deploying, or shipping a car for college. But you may have the luxury of choosing the best car shipping season in which you send a vehicle. Either way, information is power. So let’s talk about the best time to ship a car.

Autumn Is The Best Season For Car Shipping

Autumn is the ideal time of year to ship a vehicle. September, October, and the first half of November provide the best options for lower rates and faster delivery. The summer rush is over, the snowbird migration has yet to begin, and you’re unlikely to contend as much with the weather. And because it’s not a rush season, you’re also competing with fewer shippers, so rates are less costly as transporters try to fill loads. Plus, the holidays have yet to arrive, so shippers are still actively seeking loads instead of settling in to enjoy time with their loved ones.

Winter Is The Toughest Season For Car Transport

The winter months of December, January, and February are the toughest for car shippers all year. Fewer people are relocating or buying cars. The weather makes many parts of the country impassable or logistically challenging. It’s hard to amalgamate a full load, except for the short four-week snowbird season to warm weather states, in late December to mid-January. The rest of winter is so sparse and costly that many transporters park their rigs for the winter. Customers might find it both expensive and difficult to ship in the winter.

Spring Is A Good Season To Ship A Car

The spring months of March, April, and May are ideal for auto transport services. There are more car haulers; thus, space is available, and the weather typically is moderate and easier for the drivers. Car shipping costs are usually stable. The only caveat is that a massive influx of snowbirds leaves Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Southern California in April and May. Shipping a car from those states in the spring can be very expensive. 

Summer Is The Busiest Season For Auto Transport

Because of the school year, many people move during the summer months. This influx, accompanied by idyllic weather, means summer is undeniably the busiest season. Busy also means more expensive, as you’re competing with other customers for limited space on transport vehicles. If you car ship in the active summer months, you may need to pay more to incentivize haulers to pick up your vehicle. 

That could make it worth it for the hauler to choose either your vehicle over someone else’s in the summer or entice them to drive a car to or from a place, not along a well-traveled route or facing inclement weather in the winter.

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, seasonal auto transport