Should You Ship Your Car or Sell It and Buy Another?

August 12, 2020 Woman working at home office hand on keyboard close up

Long-distance relocation involves many moving parts. From how to transport your personal belongings to finding the right neighborhood for your family. Another significant issue when it comes to relocating is whether to ship your car or buy a new one.

There’s no easy answer to this question. But weighing your options carefully will help you make the best choice for your unique situation. After all, shipping your car can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Yet, in most cases, it still proves the most cost-effective option.

With that in mind, here’s what you need to know before deciding whether to ship your car long-distance.

What to Know Before Shipping Your Car

Moving cars can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. As a result, some customers feel off-put by the thought of having them transported. However, it’s vital to remember that the costs of hauling a car will still be much cheaper than purchasing a new vehicle.

In fact, it’s almost always cheaper to transport your car than to sell it and purchase a new one. Particularly from a dealership.

That said, if you’re driving around in a beater that likely won’t make it another thousand miles, or you’re looking for a less expensive vehicle, it might be cost-effective to skip the shipping. But you’ll have to find a smoking deal on your next vehicle.

Check out our guide to shipping a car across country for more handy tips.

The Takeaway: Ship a Car Long-Distance

The takeaway? It almost always makes more sense to transport your car. That said, you’ll need to base your final decision on numerous factors, including:

  • How far you’re moving
  • How much your car is worth
  • How much would replacing your current vehicle cost
  • The size and make of your car

The best place to start? A complimentary, no-obligation quote. Get a quote for moving a car now.

Ship Your Car or Get a New One?

For many car owners, deciding whether to ship a car or buy a new one comes down to simple arithmetic. In other words, it involves collecting car shipping quotes as well as Kelley Blue Book values for your vehicle.

For example, it costs approximately $550 to ship a 2014 Ford Focus 500 miles. As for trading in your vehicle? It should bring in about $7,689 after 50,000 miles.

The choice becomes abundantly clear.

The same goes for other makes and models. For example, it costs approximately $660 to ship a 2011 Toyota Highlander 500 miles. As a trade-in, it’ll bring in about $12,300.

How Shipping Prices Fluctuate

Bear in mind, that car shipping prices fluctuate based on various factors. These factors include:

  • Seasonality
  • Popularity of a route between two destinations

As a result, the figures above can change at any time. Nonetheless, they provide a better understanding of the fantastic savings associated with automotive transportation. It’s obviously more affordable to ship a car than to purchase a new one.

While you might be able to break even by selling your vehicle and then purchasing a used one later, do you really want to deal with all of those hassles? Especially if you won’t necessarily be guaranteed a car that you know is reliable.

Do you know what the seven important questions that you need to ask before hiring a car transport company are? If not, it’s time to find out. Click here to get the full story.

Assessing the Value of Your Vehicle

What’s the best way to ensure shipping your car makes sense? Assess its value before deciding to transport it.

Consider factors such as how many more years of reliable service you think you can get from your vehicle. You’ll also want to factor in whether shipping your car will cost more than its total value.

As a rule of thumb, the older your car and the higher the mileage, the more advisable it is to sell your car and move on. Of course, when it comes to the classics and luxury sports cars, all bets are off.

Sentimental Value and More

Your car’s monetary value aside, sentimental worth should remain a critical aspect of your final decision, too. After all, if you’re in love with your vehicle and can’t see yourself driving anything else, you must factor in this into your final decision.

You’ll also want to consider whether or not you still have a few more years to pay off the lease. Or, if you’d like to bask in the experience of paying off a car loan in its entirety.

If you decide to sell your car and purchase a new one, you must also think about how long you’re willing to go without a car. Selling an automobile is a process that takes time. If you’ve never sold a car before, get ready to have your life complicated.

Other Factors to Consider

As for shopping for a new ride? It can prove a serious hassle under the best of circumstances.

After all, purchasing a new car means time spent searching for the ideal set of wheels while spending weeks or months without a car. Then, there’s the paperwork involved with purchasing the vehicle.

And the DMV lines… Yikes!

During a move, it can prove downright ill-advised. After all, do you really want to start car shopping in the middle of an interstate move? This factor alone steeps your current vehicle in greater value.

As you can see, shipping your car often represents the more pragmatic solution. Especially if your ride is in good condition, and you decide it’s worth keeping.

What to Know Before You Ship Your Car

Once you’ve made a final decision about whether to keep or sell your car, it’s time to explore the available options when it comes to auto shipping. For example, you can economize by opting for an open car hauler.

These double-decked auto transports remain a popular option that comes with many perks, including cheaper rates and plenty of service lines. Since cars are moved without much in the way of cover, however, expect your vehicle to arrive ready for a car wash.

Your car will be exposed to the elements throughout the duration of its trip. So, don’t be surprised when your ride arrives covered in road grime and dust.

For those with antique, luxury, or exotic vehicles, consider enclosed auto transport instead. It involves moving cars in soft or hard-sided shipping containers. As a result, they remain shielded from external forces during the trip.

Besides open versus closed carriers, you’ll also need to choose between door-to-door shipping and terminal-to-terminal shipping. Terminal-to-terminal service often comes with quotes that are too good to be true, and they are.

You see, terminal-to-terminal shipping requires transporting your vehicle to one terminal for pickup and another for delivery, so you’ll have to factor gas and other travel expenses into the final price. With door-to-door shipping, the truck driver will pick up and deliver as close to your residential addresses as possible.

You’ll also rest assured your car stays on the same trailer throughout the entire trip.

Choose the Right Auto Transport Company

Besides choosing between an open and enclosed auto carrier, you’ll also want to vet the companies that you’re considering. Make sure they’re on the up and up by checking out their Better Business Bureau ratings.

You’ll also want to make sure they check out with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hotline. The FMCSA hotline lets you inquire into past complaints as well as learn more about each shipper’s insurance record and license.

You should also invest some time checking online reviews. As you look over reviews, keep an eye out for customers whose situations most closely resemble yours.

Reading about others in a situation similar to yours is a fantastic way to get a feel for that company’s culture and where customers fit into the picture. Sites like Yelp and Google can help you explore reviews easily.

What are you ultimately looking for? An experienced auto shipper that consistently puts the customer first.

Streamlining Your Next Move

When it comes to a long-distance move, you’ve got many decisions to make. Not least of which is deciding to keep or sell your car.

While selling your car and buying a new one where you move might seem like a great idea on the surface, don’t forget about all of the hassles this option involves along the way.

After all, you must sell and then buy a new car, and these two processes take time and effort. You must also complete paperwork and jump through many DMV hoops before the sales get finalized.

For these reasons and many more, people who are relocating to a new city choose car shipping instead. Not only does it guarantee you have a daily driver within a few days of your big move, but it will also save you tens of thousands of dollars annually.

Ready for tips to help you with getting the best car hauling rate possible? Read our article on the average cost per mile to ship a car.