Car Shipping Rates: Money-Saving Tips for Car Transportation

July 10, 2020 Logistics, transportation of new cars on a two-level semi-trailer truck on a two-lane paved country road in the sunny day, side view,logistic and transport concept.

What’s the cheapest way to get your car across the country? Driving it yourself nixes the need for car shipping rates. That said, it’s rarely a feasible option, and it’s one that comes with unnecessary risk.

Not only will you add miles, wear, and tear to your vehicle, but you’ll increase your risk of getting in an accident. More than 90 people are killed in car accidents every day in the US. What’s more, two million drivers are permanently disabled in traffic accidents annually.

For these reasons alone, many experts agree that you should never drive your car cross-country.

With these sobering facts in mind, let’s explore how to make car shipping options more affordable. After all, the answer to the question, “How much does it cost to ship a car from one place to another?” is based on many variables.

Here are nine tips to keep car shipping rates low.

1. Get Your Timing Right

Like every other industry, the automobile transportation industry has a peak season. If you can avoid this busy time for the industry, you can save yourself a lot of cash when it comes to domestic car shipping rates.

What’s the peak season? For coast-to-coast car shipping, it’s from May to September. As for car shipments from north to south? The busiest time for these routes is the spring and fall.

If you’re in no particular rush to ship your car, you can save money by waiting for the peak season to pass. Of course, many people don’t have this luxury.

2. Select Open Transport

Let’s get one thing straight up front. If you’re transporting a classic ’62 Porsche 356 that you won at auction in Newport Beach, don’t opt for open transport. You don’t want to risk even the slightest road-related or weather-related wear and tear.

If you’re not overly concerned about the exterior getting rain-splattered or covered in road grime, however, going the open transport route will save you money.

Just know that your vehicle will travel uncovered. As a result, it could pick up damage from flying gravel, etc. If you’re okay with this level of risk, you stand to save up to 50 percent over enclosed transports.

3. Say Yes to Terminal-to-Terminal Transporting

Door-to-door service can be tempting. After all, who doesn’t want to have a truck driver show up at one house to pick up a vehicle and then meet you at another to drop it off? That said, you’ll pay for this convenience.

To economize, consider terminal-to-terminal shipping instead. You’ll have to drive your vehicle to and from each terminal, but it can help you nab a better transport deal.

Just bear in mind that many terminals charge for storing cars before they ship. So, avoid leaving your automobile at the terminal for too long, or you could end up paying additional fees.

What’s more, you take on risk when you go the terminal-to-terminal route. These facilities are unguarded, which can make cars more vulnerable to theft damage.

4.  Flexibility = Affordability

Have you ever searched for cheap plane flights? Then you already know about this next money-saving tip. Remaining flexible about car drop-off and pick-up dates means less expensive shipping options.

Inquire about the possibility of discounts for flexibility when it comes to shipping dates. They may be able to slash your final bill merely by asking you to drop-off and pick-up your car on days that make more logistical sense in terms of other shipments.

5. Comparison Shop

Shopping around for quotes when it comes to auto shipping can help you find a smoking deal. But buyer beware! If you base your company choice on little more than the lowest bid, you may be in for an unhappy surprise.

You see, the auto shipping industry is largely unregulated. As a result, there’s great diversity when it comes to customer service, the equipment used, and each driver’s experience.

If a quote’s too good to be true, it may be because the driver’s inexperienced, the equipment’s not up-to-snuff, or the company’s insurance policy is anything but customer-focused.

Instead of choosing a company simply because they offer the lowest quote, balance affordability with fantastic service. Get started now with this free car shipping rates calculator.

6. Research, Research, Research

How do you find a fantastic company to work with and a great deal? By doing your research.

Check out online reviews at Yelp and Google. Look at customer testimonials, and make sure that the company can deliver on its promises.

Go to the Better Business Bureau  and research how long the company has been in business. Find out if any complaints have been filed against them. By vetting the companies you work with, you can secure an experienced shipper for an affordable price.

7. Ship in Bulk

Why do people buy food in bulk? To get more for their money. The same holds true when it comes to auto shipping.

If possible, ship more than one vehicle simultaneously. Many companies offer savings for individuals who ship two or more cars at the same time.

Why? Because they don’t have to go to different terminals or houses to retrieve and drop-off multiple vehicles.

8. Keep Size in Mind

If you’ve got two family cars and are trying to decide which one to transport and which one to drive, keep size in mind. Smaller cars will always be cheaper to ship.

Of course, smaller vehicles often prove more fuel-efficient. So, you’ll want to factor this into the equation as you come to a decision. Nonetheless, you’re still likely to come out ahead by shipping the smaller car.

9. Make Adjustments to Your Vehicle

If you’re shipping a car that’s not running, save money by fixing it. Non-functioning vehicles cost between $150 and $200 more to ship than their running counterparts.

If your vehicle has after-market modifications, consider the added expense they bring, too. Simply removing lift kits, lowering springs, and large spoilers can save you approximately $100.

Affordable Car Shipping Rates

As you can see, there are many different ways to secure the best car shipping rates. So, keep these nine tips in mind as you start shopping car shipping rates.

Interested in learning more about the auto shipping options available to you? Keep reading to learn more about how car shipping cost gets calculated.