Cheap Car Transport: The Cheapest Way to Ship a Car

March 31, 2020 car carrier truck deliver new auto batch to dealer

You found the perfect car, but it’s across the country, and you will need to have it shipped to you. What do you do? Of course, your first thought is, “What is the cheapest way to ship a car across the country?” It’s not as simple as just Googling it. Just because you find a way to ship your car cheaply doesn’t mean that it’s the best way.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. What you really need to do is start researching auto transport companies and transport brokers. In fact, transport brokers have access to a network of 12,000 car carriers that run different routes all over the country. Why not let the experts hammer out all the details for you?

The first thing you need to do is research transport brokers. The best way to do this is to use Transport Reviews. If there’s a particular company you found, read the reviews to see what other customers had to say about their experience with that company.

The next thing you should do is contact the company to find out pricing, their company’s procedures, and what you need to do.

Your price quote will include a portion of the fuel cost for the large transport trucks, as well as a maintenance and operation fee, and the driver’s time. Multiply all that times the distance the vehicle will be transported, and your bill will definitely be more than just a couple hundred dollars like some places advertise. Truly cheap is just not feasible.

You may be asking yourself if it’s actually worth it to ship the car. We believe it is. Read on to learn all there is to know about shipping your vehicle across the country.

Open Air vs. Enclosed Transport

It all boils down to the costs of the different insurance policies when you are pricing car transport. Compared to enclosed trailer car transport, open trailer car transport tends to be less expensive. In an open car trailer, your vehicle is only covered up to $100,000, while for an enclosed car trailer, you can get up to $1,000,000 and no deductible for negligible damages caused by the driver. Your car will be fully covered in case damages occur during either choice of transport.

The abundance of open transporters operating on the road compared to the number of enclosed transporters works to your advantage price-wise. The pricing tends to be more competitive, and you can get a better rate by going with open transport.

Which Type of Car Will You Be Transporting?

Another factor in shipping cost is the vehicle size that is being transported. The vehicle’s weight will affect the shipping cost, with sedans costing less than pickup trucks and SUVs. However, older sedans such as Cadillacs and Lincolns are heavier and longer, making them take up more weight and space on the trailer. This will raise the cost of transport, as well.

Another factor that can add to your shipping cost is when a vehicle needs to be lifted, the height space on the truck will increase. This could potentially cause the truck to lose a spot where another vehicle could sit.

During transit, the trucks are weighed at weigh stations, and if their truck is over weight, they will have to pay extra. The extra costs will be passed along to you, so you will want to keep your personal items that are in your vehicle below 100lbs. By keeping your personal items light, you can keep your transport costs lower.

Some companies even offer a discount for multiple vehicles going from and to the same locations at the same time. The drivers benefit from this as well. They don’t need to make as many stops loading and unloading the vehicles.

Secured Parking Lots (Terminal to Terminal)

If you genuinely want to go the cheapest route to ship a car, then shipping terminal to terminal is the way to go. This is where the transport trucks pick up multiple vehicles at one time from one location and drop all of them off at another location.

This type of shipping can be challenging and even inconvenient. Loading vehicles at these types of locations can be challenging due to the congestion, the amount of loading space, and the wait time for loading vehicles.

This type of transport does have drawbacks. Because of the multiple-party transfers, possible damage to the vehicle increases. Also, the transit time is longer due to all the checkpoints the truck has to go through.

Door to Door Auto Transport

With door to door auto transport, your vehicle will be picked up at the address provided, or as close to it as the truck can get, and delivered to the address given, or as close to is as the truck can get.

By choosing open transport with the door to door transport, you will be choosing one of the cheapest ways to ship your car, as well as giving you peace of mind.

Cost of Shipping a Car

In today’s internet-driven marketplace, the need to ship items, such as vehicles, long-distance has increased. Whether you are relocating to a new home or you bought a vehicle online, you will discover that getting your vehicle to its new home can become expensive.

Along with fuel, you will need to consider maintenance. Although it can be expensive if you do your homework, you can find a transport company that will work within your budget.

Variables Affecting the Shipping Cost

There are several different factors that go into figuring the cost of shipping a vehicle. We’ll go over some of the main variables next.


The vehicle’s location and destination location will play an important part in pricing the transport. Major cities usually have more cars to load onto the transport trailer than smaller, remote cities. It costs more for an auto transporter to drive to the major city to the smaller or more remote city because the transport carrier will need to spend more money on fuel.

Vehicle Size

Another major factor in calculating the cost of shipping is the size and weight of the vehicle. Longer and taller vehicles tend to cut into the space where other vehicles could be loaded, causing the carrier to lose a spot. The same situation goes for heavier vehicles. If your car weighs more than an average car, the carrier can lose a spot because of that also.

Time of the Year, Snowbird Season

Customers that are shipping their vehicles to their summer homes and back again are most affected by this seasonal situation, mainly those that are shipping vehicles across the country, from north to south or east to west, during the winter and summer months.

Supply and demand drive the pricing for this type of seasonal shipments. For example, there may be ten times more vehicles that need to be shipped prior to the beginning of winter going south or west than cars going up north or east. This causes a shortage of auto transporters going south and west, whereas if you are sending vehicles the opposite way the cost will be cheaper, you could save anywhere from $250 to $400.

Exploring Your Car Shipping Options

Getting quotes is no longer time consuming or challenging. Thanks to the internet, you no longer need to call around to get quotes or even go to the business in person. The internet has made online searches easy and convenient, giving you access to transporters and brokers across the country quickly and easily.

Once you enter the specifications of your auto vehicle, as well as the from and to locations, you will receive your quote. If you choose to go through an auto transport broker, they have the ability to find you the best pricing amongst their network of transporters.

Beware of Cheaper Car Shipping Costs

In the auto transport business, you need to understand that you will get what you pay for. If a transport company quotes you a price that is far cheaper than the other companies, beware. These companies may be compromising quality. Also, beware of companies that charge unnecessarily high prices, they might be trying to take advantage of you.

Cost for Shipping a Car 1000 Miles

In order to get an idea of how much it costs to actually ship a car, here is an example. Used cars can be shipped on an open transport trailer, which has a minimum insurance coverage of $100,000 during transit. The price will vary depending upon the route, with some routes being more active and having more truckers available than other routes. Routes that are not near major cities or highways tend to cost more.

In general, a shipment of a regular-sized sedan from Naples, Florida, to Baltimore, Maryland, will cost between $500 – $750, depending on the timing and season of the shipment. For example, from April to May, care shipments from Florida to the North East Coast are at their highest due to the large demand for shipments during the snowbird season.

Another example would be shipping a car from California to Ohio. If it’s a regular sedan, the price will be around $900 for the standard price with a 1-3 day pick up window from the day the car is available to pick up. Transit time will be around 5-7 days, depending on whether it is a team of drivers or a single driver hauling 7-10 cars.

Meeting Your Needs

There is an excessive amount of auto transport companies that are claiming to be top-rated and the best all across the internet. How do you research and choose the one that suits your needs and your budget the best?

One of the problems with searching online is that the so-called auto transport providers are, in reality, lead generation websites whose purpose is to sell your information to car shipping brokers. You will then be blasted with phone calls, spam, and possible unethical sales practices.

With Nexus Auto Transport, you are getting a reliable and trusted auto shipping provider. Nexus has a network of 12,000 car carriers that run different routes all over the country. Once you give your dispatch agent your specific schedule, they will narrow down the available truckers, and negotiations between the broker and car carriers will begin. Your dispatch agent’s goal is to negotiate with available truckers and workout the pickup and delivery based on your schedule, along with negotiating the best price for your budget.

Our customers love us and trust us to take care of their needs, as well as meeting their budgets. We understand your vehicle is a valuable asset and provide quality service, always.