Did you know that more than 50,000 people work in the vehicle shipping industry? The popularity of auto transport services has increased in the past 5 years, and more people than ever are using shipping services.

Are you planning a long-distance move? Do you move seasonally to escape extreme weather? Maybe you're heading off to college or have a high-value car that you need to be transported for you.

In all these situations, hiring a car shipping company is a great option. If you're looking for the best time to transport a car, keep reading below.

Shipping protects your car, keeps your odometer low, and saves you the hassle of driving long distances. Knowing when to transport your car could save you money on shipping costs. We've got all the information you need for a hassle-free experience!

Auto Transport Services

People have cars shipped for a variety of reasons: maybe they are moving to a new state, maybe they've ordered a car online and need it delivered to their home, or perhaps they have a classic car that can't make a long road trip on its own.

One perennially popular car shipping service is snowbird shipping. When winter hits the Northern U.S., "snowbirds" move from northern states to southern states (Florida and California in particular). Because many snowbirds take airplanes to their second residences, they need to hire a shipping company to handle their car.

When you have a car shipped, it is usually loaded onto a car transporter trailer. These open-air trailers can hold 12 cars. Each car is loaded using hydraulic ramps and tightly secured in place.

For specialty cars or classic cars, you might opt for an enclosed trailer instead. These trailers are great for cars that are easily damaged. They are also a good option if you don't want your car exposed to the elements while it travels.

When to Transport a Car

When you're deciding when to ship your car, consider timing and cost. When do you need your car delivered, and how much are you willing to pay?

If you don't need your car right away, you might save money by waiting to ship it. You can watch shipping prices and choose a time when transporting your car will be less expensive.

If time is more important to you, you might have to pay a little more. But you'll get your car delivered exactly when you want it!

Seasonal Fluctuations Explained

When it comes to transporting cars, certain times of the year are more expensive than others. That's because there's more demand for shipping services during the two "snowbird" seasons of each year.

The usual snowbird shipping season starts right after Thanksgiving. In late fall and early winter, northerners move to southern states. In April and May, they return home for the summer.

For this reason, October, November, April, and May tend to be the most expensive months for transporting your car. If you're a snowbird or you need to ship a car during these months you can expect to pay a premium price for shipping:

Expensive Months

In general, summer months are more expensive because warm weather is more hospitable to shipping. Drivers are busier in the summer than they are in the middle of winter, and it's much easier for them to ship cars without the added complications of ice and snow.

June, July, and August are busy and expensive shipping months. In general, shipments move very quickly in these months. The holiday break for the Fourth of July is a notable exception.

Christmas and New Year's are also busy times for the shipping industry. Transporting a car around these holidays will be expensive because so many people are using shipping services. The holidays are not the best time to transport your car -- avoid shipping during this time if you can!

Inexpensive Months

February is a cheap month for shipping. The holiday rush is over, snowbirds are settled, and fewer large shipments are made in the cold and icy weather. That means that there are more drivers available and ready to work at lower prices.

September and March are also inexpensive shipping months. There is no holiday or snowbird rush, the weather is good, and drivers are available.

If you're hunting for the best shipping deal for your car, patience is your friend. Rush shipping and fast turnaround times are always more expensive than slower deliveries made in off months. Planning shipments ahead will almost always save you money!

Keep Checking

Sometimes finding the cheapest time to ship your car is a matter of luck. Start looking at prices well before your expected shipment date. Keep an eye on online price calculators and take note of any fluctuations.

In fact, keeping tabs on prices a whole year in advance is a great strategy. It will allow you to note seasonal price changes and patterns throughout the year.

Nabbing a great deal has a lot to do with timing. Shipping companies need to fill trailers as they come in, and coordinating a large fleet of trucks is a complicated process. You might get a good deal if you fill a leftover spot on a trailer that a dealer needs to send off as soon as possible.

Remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful if you find a huge discount during a busy month. Car shipments are pretty much universally more expensive during high-demand months, and searching too hard for a big discount could get you scammed.

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Getting a Quote

When you're ready to schedule a car shipment, you should reserve a shipment time with your shipping company of choice. Depending on their current shipping load, the availability of drivers, and other factors, they'll give you a quote.

If you're not happy with the quote, shop around! You might find a better deal after a little searching.

Beyond finding the best time to transport your car, you should also think about how far you are shipping the car, how quickly you need it, and what kind of insurance is included. These are all important factors that play into the final price of the shipment.

Location and Distance

The further you ship a car the more expensive it will be. An online price calculator can help you estimate how much you will pay for the specific distance that you require.

As you might expect, some of the most expensive car shipments are for cars being shipped cross country or to Hawaii. For cars headed to Hawaii, the shipping cost will also include the cost of an ocean freighter to the islands!

If you live near a popular truck route, a major highway, or a big city, your shipping costs will be cheaper than if you live in a remote area. If you live in a rural area, try driving to the nearest city to have your car picked up by your shipping company. This might be a small inconvenience, but it will probably save you money.

If you live in the northern U.S., winter weather will also play a factor in your shipping costs. Depending on where you live, local shipping routes might become unusable when winter storms roll in. This leads to cost increases and slower shipping times.


Shipping insurance is a must-have for people who are having their vehicles transported. It protects you against any unforeseen damage and provides peace of mind. It is not legally required that you buy shipping insurance, but it's strongly advised by shipping companies.

When your vehicle is put on a truck, it faces the same dangers that anyone faces on the road. Bad weather, poor road conditions, collisions, and even theft are possible.

Auto transporters must carry their own liability insurance, which protects them against these risks. But for an added layer of security, it's never a bad idea to buy insurance for your individual car.

Before you send your car off with a shipping company, ask them about their insurance policy. What kind of damage is covered? Does their coverage have a limit?

This will help you decide if you need to buy extra insurance.

Rush Delivery

Expedited car delivery can be convenient, but this service comes at a cost. If you need your car rush delivered, expect to pay top dollar.

Even when you order a rush delivery, your date of delivery can't be 100% guaranteed. Like everyone else, truck drivers get sick, deal with mechanical issues, and have to deal with road construction and challenging weather conditions. All of these have an impact on your delivery time.

Timing and weather can also have an impact on delivery times. In general, winter deliveries are slower than summer deliveries. This is because of road conditions and inclement weather.

Paying for rush delivery in the summer will get you your car a lot faster, but it will cost you more than a slower winter delivery would.

Truck Driver Availability

The truck driver who transports your car, whether in a personal trailer or on a larger car trailer, is a seasoned professional. In addition to driving, they are usually also responsible for loading and unloading cars.

Drivers are in especially high demand this year, which puts a lot of strain on transportation companies. Driver shortages could increase your wait time and make your total shipping cost more expensive.

As you plan for your 2021 car shipment, expect to pay a little more than in previous years. The increase in price reflects the current shortage of qualified drivers and the high demand for shipping services.

How to Prepare Your Car for Transportation

Before you ship your car you should clean it and remove any valuables that you normally keep in it. That means that you can't fill your car with personal belongings or items you need moved. You'll have to rent a separate moving van if you have additional moving needs!

Cleaning your car before shipping it is a good idea because it means you can take the car out looking as good as new when it is delivered to you. You don't have to worry about washing it after delivery, which might be complicated and inconvenient if the car is being returned to a cold and snowy climate.

On a similar note, take your car for an inspection before you ship it. You don't want it to arrive at its destination with mechanical issues.

You should take pictures of the exterior and interior of your car. If you can, include a date and time stamp on the photos. If any dents or scratches show up during the shipping process you can prove that they were not there before your car was loaded onto the shipping trailer.

You might also want to take a picture of your car's dashboard to show the pre-shipping mileage. This provides peace of mind and can assure you that no extra miles were put on the car during its shipment.

Make a note of your tire pressure, too. If you are shipping your car from a hot climate to a cold one (or vice versa) your tire pressure will likely change.

Let Us Help

Shipping your car doesn't have to be a headache. Once you understand seasonal shipping fluctuations, you can make an educated decision about when to transport your car.

And when you use our online price calculator, you don't have to worry about being blindsided by the price. You can estimate exactly how much shipping will cost for you. We factor in variables like location, date, and the size of your car to give you an accurate quote.

When you're ready to transport a car, we'll pick it up right from your front door. It's all part of our commitment to providing the best shipping services at the best rates.

At Nexus Auto Transport, we want our customers to make an educated decision that's right for their specific situation. To find out more or to schedule your shipment, contact us today!

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