Terminal-to-Terminal Car Shipping Guide, by Nexus Auto Transport

September 22, 2020

Moving can be an exhilarating adventure. That said, it can also spiral into an expensive escapade overnight. After all, hiring a full-moving service can cost as little as $900 for a local move and more than $10,000 for a cross-country relocation.

That’s why you must stick to a budget. Besides financial creep, moves can also lead to many last-minute preparations that leave you both exhausted and stressed out. That’s why you also need to create a timeline and stick to it.

What’s another great piece of moving advice? Hiring a reputable company for terminal-to-terminal car shipping. Not only will this save you effort and energy, but it’s the most affordable way to move a car.

Keep reading to find out more about how auto shipping to terminals works and whether or not it’s right for you.

Terminal-to-Terminal Car Shipping: What to Know

Before we dive more specifically into what terminal-to-terminal auto shippers do, let’s take a quick moment to discuss your various car shipping options. When it comes to car carriers, you’ve got three choices:

  1. Enclosed auto carriers
  2. Open transport haulers
  3. Flatbed auto transports

Enclosed carriers represent your most expensive option. As a result, they’re generally reserved for collectible, vintage, and exotic cars. Considered the creme-de-la-creme of auto transport, they shield your vehicle from debris, weather hazards, dust, hail, rain, and more.

As for open carriers, they’re known as the standard carriers of today’s industry. They remain among the most economical options, particularly when coupled with terminal transportation services.

But your car won’t be protected from weather, gravel, road grime, and other commonly faced elements associated with driving on highways and freeways. Nearly 90 percent of automobiles get moved this way, and it’s an excellent option for daily drivers and commuter cars.

Flatbed transportation of vehicles proves very rare. As a result, it’ll cost you more than other options. You should also expect longer wait times throughout every step of the process, from dispatch to pick up and transport.

Door-to-Door vs Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping

You also have options about how, where, and when you’d like to get your car transported. Door-to-door shipping is the most popular means of moving a vehicle because of its convenience.

But there’s also terminal-to-terminal transport that could save you bucks in the long run. IF you don’t mind some inconveniences along the way.

Keep reading for tips to help you arrange auto transport for your automobile.

What Is Terminal-to-Terminal Car Shipping?

Terminal-to-terminal auto transport, as the name suggests, starts and ends at a terminal. A terminal is a regional storage facility for cars. These facilities usually sit in or near large urban centers.

Terminal-to-terminal auto shipping proves less convenient than door-to-door shipping.

Why? Because instead of having your car picked up and delivered to locations near the two residential addresses that you stipulate, you must make arrangements to have it dropped off and picked up at terminals.

Terminals are regional storage facilities where automobiles are stored. These facilities are usually located in or near major cities. In other words, the trucker that you work with is just responsible for shipping your car from one terminal to another.

You’ll get assigned terminals near your two stipulated locations. But if you live in a rural area, this fact could result in significant drive time. As a result, many see it as a less attractive option.

Nevertheless, it remains the single most cost-effective means of auto transport service available to consumers.

Why? Not only is it easier on drivers, but it permits them to combine shipments headed to the same part of the country. It also saves them significantly when it comes to time per delivery.

You’ll see these conveniences translated into savings for you.

When Terminal-to-Terminal Auto Shipping Makes Sense

Are you more concerned about staying within a specific budget or convenient pickup and delivery? If it all comes down to money for you, then terminal-to-terminal shippers may be right for you.

What are some other advantages of going with transport to terminals? Depending on the company you work with, you may not need to leave and pick up your car from a terminal at all.

In some cases, it’s as simple as setting up meetings at times and in places that are convenient for both you and your driver. In these instances, you can bypass terminals altogether.

Yes, meeting points won’t be as close to your residence as door-to-door shipping, but if you live in a bigger city, there are likely many convenient places to meet up.

Advantages of Terminal-to-Terminal Auto Transport

What are some other benefits of going with terminal-transportation services? You’ll have far greater flexibility when it comes to drop off and pick up of your vehicle. You can even drop off your car well in advance, which might make moving that much easier for you.

And if you’ve got a vehicle that’s damaged or doesn’t run? Then, you’ll likely need to secure towing or forklift services. In such an instance, you’ll want to go with terminal-to-terminal car shipping.

What’s more, if you need a place to store your car for a while before you can pick it up again, going the terminal route will help there, too.

Things to Consider Before Car Shipping

We’ve already briefly discussed how vital it is for you to create and stay within a moving budget, and terminal transportation services can help you do this. That said, you’ll need to be aware of a handful of disadvantages associated with car transporters, too.

Problems with this form of car transport include the fact your automobile will remain unattended at both terminals. This fact will make it slightly more vulnerable to environmental and accidental damage. And make no mistake, your ride will get exposed to the elements.

You’ll also be at higher risk for vandalism and theft of property within your car. That’s why we highly recommend removing all personal belongings before shipping any automobile.

While there are different types of terminals in transportation, most have 24/7 security and surveillance. But you should still understand these added risks.

Other Considerations When Deciding on Auto Transport

To enjoy reduced costs for terminal-to-terminal car shipping, you’ll also need to make arrangements to get a lift after dropping your car off at the terminal or meeting point. If the expense of getting to and from a terminal proves too much, it could negate savings.

Remember that most companies also charge you storage fees based on how long your car sits in each terminal. These typically run from $15 to $35 per day.

What’s more, your car will get handled by more than one driver as opposed to door-to-door shipping, where you always work with one hauler.

You’ll want to weigh these cons carefully before deciding on how to have your car transported.

Is Terminal-to-Terminal Car Transport Right for You?

When it’s all said and done, terminal-to-terminal car shipping is an excellent option for those who need to drop off and pick up their vehicles on specific dates and at certain times. You can set up these meetings without the necessity of coordinating with a driver.

Besides not having to wait for pick up and delivery, the terminal also provides a handy place to store your vehicle.

But what if you’re unable to drop off your vehicle at the terminal? Does that mean you’ll have to miss out on these savings? Not necessarily.

Inquire with auto shipping companies about the possibility of arranging a local towing company for drop off. Many shipping companies have excellent local connections and should be well-positioned to help you.

Caveats When It Comes to Terminal Auto Shipping

Keep in mind that the savings you’ll see with terminal-to-terminal auto shipping often get offset by car storage fees. Scheduling can also be much trickier. After all, most terminal-to-terminal car shippers require a full load before transport begins.

Some transport companies are also limited when it comes to the types of vehicles they move. These limitations include vehicles that are lifted or modified. So, you’ll want to inquire about these potential issues in advance.

If you’ve got a high-end car, you’re also out of luck. Terminals don’t include enclosed trailers. As a result, they’re not ideal for moving vintage or classic cars.

The Economics of Terminal-to-Terminal Auto Transport to a Terminal

As you can see, it’s a mixed bag when it comes to the pros and cons associated with terminal-to-terminal car shipping. The drawbacks often outweigh the benefits in the eyes of many people looking for auto shipping options.

If the bottom line means everything to you and you don’t mind some of the inconveniences associated with terminal auto shipping, though, it might prove the ideal option for you.

Are you interested in comparing the price tag for terminal-to-terminal auto shippers versus door-to-door transport? Check out our calculator now for a complimentary, no-obligation shipping quote.