How Long To Ship A Car?

March 27, 2020 Highway transportation with cars and Truck

You may be asking to yourself, “How long to ship a car?” Here we will explain the basic process, as well as a few things that can affect your car shipping time.


How Long Will It Take To Pick Up My Car?


Once you’ve spoken to your carrier and made shipping arrangements, it should take about 2-7 days for pick-up, depending upon where the vehicle is located. The time span is shorter when the vehicle is located in a major city. However, if it is located in a remote area, it could take several days for the carrier truck to reach the vehicle’s location.


Your shipping company should give you a general “window” for pickup and delivery that includes the estimated pick-up date, carrier time, and delivery date. Please bear in mind, these will only be estimates. The only companies that can guarantee dates are the ones that actually own their fleet. If a company doesn’t own its own fleet, it cannot guarantee your pickup date.


How Long Does Delivery Take?


Once your vehicle has been loaded onto the carrier truck, there are several factors that go into calculating the shipping time. Some of the main factors include:

  • How far the car is being shipped
  • The time of year/season
  • The delivery location of the car


One thing you will need to take into consideration is the driver’s hours. Truck drivers are only allowed to legally drive 70 hours per week. This law ensures truck drivers remain well-rested and are able to drive safely at all times. As a rule of thumb, you can estimate that your vehicle will travel approximately 500 miles per day.


The delivery date offered by the shipping company will be an estimate based on perfect conditions. In the case of a delay, the shipping company will call to let you know what has caused the delay and give you a new estimated delivery date.


What Are Some Common Delays for Shipping?


There are a few issues that are out of the transport company’s control that could delay your shipping time. Here is a rundown of the most common issues that occur that will cause a delay in your shipping time.


Extreme Weather Conditions


Weather can be a big issue if you’re shipping to or from areas that are experiencing extreme weather conditions. Snow and ice on the roads, flooding, hurricanes, and tropical storms, these factors can slow down transport time considerably, delaying shipment.




More significant holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are often considered blackout dates for car shipping companies because drivers are scarce, and traffic is terrible. Expect delays during these holidays.


Unexpected Downtime


No car transport service can predict every event along a shipping route. Flat tires, accidents, and mechanical problems are a few of the main issues that can occur during transport.


Paperwork and late customers can also cause a delay in the delivery times since the vehicle trailers usually carry several vehicles at one time.

Reputable car transport services will call and let you know the cause of the delay and allocate you a new delivery date as soon as they can.


Road Delays


Unexpected traffic jams, construction, and road closures happen every day. While these issues may only cause a small delay of an hour or so, they tend to add up if they happen frequently during transport time.


How Long To Ship A Car Without Delays?


A general time frame for shipment and delivery is outlined below. Because each situation is different, we cannot guarantee this estimate to be accurate for your particular situation, as it is based on conditions being perfect.


  • Pick up at your location: 2-7 days
  • Travel time: 2-10 days
  • Total delivery time: 4-17 days


Due to the probability of delays, transport companies will rarely give you an exact time and date of delivery. Beware of any company to does! Transport companies will usually estimate the delivery of your vehicle within a three or four-day window.


If your shipment is delayed for any reason, the transport company will get in touch with you as soon as possible to give you a new delivery estimate. Some companies might even offer a discount if your vehicle arrives later than they estimated, but you shouldn’t expect it because not all transport companies do.


In order to receive an accurate estimate, you need to contact a few car shipping companies and decide which one can provide you with the best service. Each company will have questions for you to answer and will provide you with an estimate based on your information.


What You can do to Speed Up the Delivery Process


Planning in advance is the most important thing you can do to speed up the delivery process. One of the most time consuming and challenging aspects of your transport could be coordinating the pickup and delivery times of your vehicle.


You shouldn’t put off booking your vehicle transport until the last minute. We recommend booking your vehicle transport at least three weeks prior to the date you will want to take possession of it. The more time you give your transport company for coordinating the pickup time and location as well as the delivery of your car, the better the outcome will be.


Researching the transport company prior to making a commitment could potentially save you time and money. Look at the company’s reviews. What do other people who have used them have to say about their level of service? You can also check their Better Business Bureau rating. Another thing you can check out is their delivery and safety records on the FMCSA site.


If you need to, you can always call the transport company to find out exactly where your vehicle is during shipping. At that time, they will also be able to give you an updated estimate for the delivery date if there has been a delay. If you’re wondering how long to ship a car, they’ll likely have the answer.