Cheapest Options to Ship A Car Cross Country


Need to ship your car across the country? Prepare yourself. Besides being expensive, it can be intimidating as well. After all, it’s your baby, and you wouldn’t want to entrust it to some random stranger who doesn’t know how to care for it, right? Fortunately, you can do a few things to ensure that your car is in good hands without spending a small fortune. Below are some of the cheapest options to transport your vehicle to its destination:

Hiring a Car Shipping Company

Ranging from about $500 to as high as $1500 per one-way trip, hiring an auto transport company might not sound cheap at all! While that may be true, the assurance you receive can be invaluable if you pick the right company. It also saves you money from making repairs when things don’t go as planned on your own.

You’re paying the carriers for more than just taking your car from point A to point B. You’ll also be paying them for the safety measures they take, protective equipment they use, liability coverage, and the peace of mind they provide.

If you consider the time and wear and tear saved, then hiring a carrier isn’t that expensive. You can find plenty of companies that offer excellent services at competitive prices. Note that the type of trailer also affects the final cost of your shipment.

  • Open-air trailers are the large trucks loaded with cars you typically see on highways. Although cheap, this method exposes your vehicle to external factors — not the best option when you want to transport luxury or vintage wheels.
  • On the other hand, enclosed trailers might be more expensive, but they protect your vehicle on all six sides. On top of that, these carriers often ship no more than four to five cars, so you won’t have to worry about yours getting scratched.

If you hire a shipping company, you won’t have to undergo all the hassle of processing documents or finding a reliable driver. You can trust them to handle everything while you focus on more important matters.

Shipping Your Car via Rail

Trains are a cost-effective way to transport anything from crates to vehicles. The average cost of shipping a car across country via rail is $600. Plus, it takes only a few days for delivery. As tempting as it sounds, there are several limitations to this method.

  • There must be a route from your car’s present location to its destination.
  • Sometimes, the final station is far from your new location, and you’ll have to pay extra to have your car picked up by a truck and delivered.
  • It can be challenging to book a specific day to transport your car. You’ll have to operate on the train’s schedule.

Other than these, auto transport by train is a great option. It offers some protection as your car will be in transit inside an enclosed cab. However, it might be exposed to vandalism or burglary inside the train, so that’s also something to consider.

Driving it Yourself

What’s safer than being the one in charge of handling your wheels? Doing so gives you complete control, and you won’t have anyone else to blame but yourself if something happens.

If you want to talk prices, the average cost of driving your car on a 2,000-mile trip would be around $320. This cost only includes fuel based on the latest standard mileage rate of 16 cents by the Internal Revenue Services. The most realistic timeframe to complete such a trip would be three days. If you sleep in a hotel along the way, your overall cost could reach upwards of $1000 or more, including food expenses.

Before you decide to hit the road, there are many other factors to consider with this method.

  1. You won’t be able to load a lot of stuff if you’re moving.
  2. You’ll have to familiarize yourself with road regulations if you’re moving across states.
  3. You’ll also have to factor wear-and-tear on your wheels as a cross-country move is a long trip.
  4. Lastly, you’ll have to sacrifice a week’s worth of salary to drive.

On the other hand, going on a road trip guarantees a memorable experience with all the sights you see along the way.

Hiring a Professional Driver

Just a bit more expensive than driving your vehicle yourself, a professional driver is excellent if you don’t have the time, expertise, or energy to drive long distances. Make sure to do your research, perform background checks, read reviews, and shop only from established sites. You can even ride with the driver if you don’t feel safe entrusting your keys to a stranger. As for the cost, the average for such a method is, at least, $900, including professional fees and other expenses like food, accommodation, and insurance. It might be cheaper than hiring an auto transport company, but you’ll risk mileage on your vehicle in return.

While there are many ways to ship a car affordably, each one comes with risks and benefits. Understand how a potential method works before spending your money.

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