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Cost Factors of Shipping Your Car

Cost Factors of Shipping Your Car How much is the car transport cost and what factors affect it? This is one of the most frequently asked questions when the time comes for shipping your car. Right of...

Cost Factors of Shipping Your Car

How much is the car transport cost and what factors affect it? This is one of the most frequently asked questions when the time comes for shipping your car. Right off the bat, you’ll want to set the shipping date as far in advance as possible, this’ll ensure lower cost from the get-go. 

The main factors (though not the only factors) in determining what it’ll cost is trip distance, car size (sedan, pickup truck, SUV, etc.), vehicle condition (operable or inoperable), transport type (open or enclosed), location (i.e. rural or urban), and the time of year when you ship. The truth is there is no universal price. The cost is on a case by case basis and there are a lot of variables when it comes to your situation and the needs therein. The following is a list of factors that you can take into account.


Trip distance is one of the main factors affecting the shipping cost. Longer distances tend to mean higher prices. Make sure the company you go with has a shipping calculator for you to get a quick and accurate quote. Moving to or from a large urban center with a high population will mean you will be charged more for the car shipping, whereas smaller cities and rural areas mean a cheaper price. If your city is too costly, you can always try arranging to meet the driver outside the city limits to see if that is cheaper. Sometimes companies will offer a discounted cost per mile deal for especially long trips, so keep that in mind. Also, keep in mind that international shipping costs have an entirely different scale for pricing.

Car Size

The make and model of your car will play a big part in determining the cost. Obviously, the larger your car is, the more space and adjustments involved in transport it’s going to need. Custom modifications like roof racks, large tires, spoilers can also play a part in this. If you have a super tricked out car, make sure you get a hold of a representative that can take your specifications into account so that you get the most accurate quote. You also want to make sure it’s able to even fit onto the trailer!

Vehicle Condition

Depending on the company, whether or not your car is in working condition may play a factor in the quote. If your car starts with proper steering and braking it can easily be loaded and unloaded. But if it’s inoperable, it should at least be able to be rolled and pushed, though this may require the use of more equipment on the part of the company, and thus more cost. If your car requires a forklift or other even heavier machinery, well, you can see where that will take you price-wise.

Transport Type

The type of car you have will affect your decision on what kind of transportation you prefer. Open-air transport is the typical kind you see loaded onto semi-trucks on the highways. But if you have a luxury or a vintage car, you may want to opt for an enclosed service. This can be crucial in protecting your vehicle against weather factors and other hazards on the road like flying rocks and debris. This may be especially useful if you know the route of the delivery will be going through areas with some intense weather or rough terrain. Keep in mind that enclosed transport will entail a higher price.

Seasonal Factor

Considering what time of year you’re looking to ship can be a big factor. What are the rates to and from your areas in the winter as opposed to the summer? Sometimes it can be counterintuitive. For instance, transportation to a sunny state may seem like it would be cheap, but if it’s coming from a snowy state, then demand is higher during that time, and thus prices will go up. This is why it’s important to get a quote as far in advance as possible to consider these scenarios.


When looking into a company to find out their car shipping cost, you should check references from other clients. Make sure to ask about the company's experience with moving cars and the different types of cars. What are their shipping prices compared to other companies, and how long does an average delivery usually take to complete?

If they have a long list of satisfied clients or have referencesFind Article, it may be an indication that the company is reputable and can get the job done quickly. You should also check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the company you are considering using.


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Rayanne Morriss is currently working towards
her BA from Oregon State University.
She loves to write, read, travel, and paint.
She enjoys finding new coffee shops
with friends and expanding her
cooking skills with her husband.

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