10 Questions: Cost of Car Shipping, Answered

5 min to read

The cost of car shipping has several factors. 

As the person paying the bill, Montway wants you to better understand how it’s calculated.  Working with a trusted company is typically the best (or only) way to ensure you’re getting a fair rate. 

Montway Auto Transport has an intuitive online quote calculator that can provide instant auto shipping quotes. Knowing what factors contribute to that quote, however, is the first step toward understanding the cost of car shippingKeep scrolling to see some of the most common questions about the cost of car shipping. 

What are the general rules?

  • Larger vehicles usually cost more to ship than smaller ones.
  • Shorter trips will cost less than moving your car from one state to another.
  • If you need your vehicle to reach its destination ASAP, you’ll likely have to pay a little extra.

It’s important to consider the size and weight of a car, as this will have a direct impact when calculating the cost. A larger vehicle, such as a Chevy Tahoe or a full-size SUV similar to it, will take up much more room on the transport truck than a Honda Civic.

Since the larger vehicle is taking up space that may otherwise have been used for another fully-paying customer, the shipping rate is going to be slightly higher. If your vehicle is heavier than the average car, that will also increase the price since transport trucks have weight limits they must adhere to.

Keep reading to get a headstart on asking yourself all the right auto transport questions.

Should I ship with a small or local car transporter?

There are thousands of auto transport companies. And guess what? All those car transporters are vying for your business locally and nationwide.

Companies like Montway, an auto transport management company, work with networks of thousands of truckers. Some smaller or local companies operating smaller car carriers — or single vehicle flatbed carriers — can get your vehicle from Point A to Point B, but delivery time could be slower.

In addition, small car transporters are likely to increase the cost of car shipping for cross-country shipping. Most likely, this is because they don’t often execute these types of longer routes and might not have the resources in place to fulfill your shipping order on time.

All in all, shipping with a bigger company is usually going to be the better call.

Should I ship with a larger auto transport company?

Probably. You should be wary of local auto transport companies offering to move your vehicle for a cost of car shipping that eye-opening low.

There’s a chance they might not be able to find a trucker to deliver your car for that price, which means you could be left paying more or looking for a new car transporter. And, on top of everything else, you’ll probably have to go through hoops to get your deposit back if you paid one.

Large auto transport companies that operate nationwide work with heavy-duty trucks that carry a dozen cars at a time. As mentioned in the last paragraph, small or local companies might not be able to offer all the resources that an established company like Montway can. And when you’re considering the cost of shipping a car, it’s crucial to remember: you’ll “get what you pay for.”

And when you’re paying to keep your car safe, paying for quality service is actually the safest alternative.

Is the cost of car shipping less from a major city?

Most likely. Pickup and dropoff location will play a big role when you’re scheduling your transport. If you live in a major metropolitan area, there are many trucks coming in-and-out of your city to deliver loads. Since these areas are heavily populated, there are more opportunities for truck drivers to pick up more cars…and make money. This generally means lower prices for customers.

Is the cost of car shipping more from a rural area?

Again, most likely. When traveling along a more frequently traveled route, cars will generally get there faster and for less money.

Shipping route logistics are kind of like airline routes. Because the flights between big cities are frequent, you can usually wait to buy tickets until the very last minute (and not pay an arm and a leg for it).

Flying from a small, regional airport? If you’re booking that last minute, you’re probably best going with a bigger company.  Fewer options mean more money out of your pocket — yet another reason to go with a larger company over a small one.

Another general rule of thumb: the farther your vehicle goes, the higher the cost of car shipping (in gas costs alone). When you consider the extra hours it will take for the trucker to get there, you’ll see why the cost of car shipping tends to be higher from a rural area.

What if I need to ship a car ASAP?

Rush delivery means paying top dollar. As you can probably imagine, people who need to ship their vehicles immediately will most likely pay a little more.

Auto transport companies can move as many cars as they do because they spend a great deal of time coordinating pickups and deliveries for not only maximum efficiency. It’s certainly possible to get expedited service (whether that’s a quicker pickup, faster delivery, or both). You’ll pay more for that extra effort of a car transporter company jumping through hoops to make the delivery happen, and happen fast.

The best-case scenario involves booking as far in advance as you possibly can. Once you know you’ll be relocating, begin looking at auto transport companies and getting quotes immediately so you can take your time choosing a transporter.

Is the cost of car shipping more expensive in summer?

Shipping during the summer is pricier, especially if you’re shipping from the city.

People will tell you that shipping a car in the winter months is always more expensive, but if you transport your car across country in the summer and it’s leaving from a major city, you may find that your route is the exception.

Many auto transport companies charge more in the hottest months of the year when vehicles are being picked up or delivered to urban centers. This is because there is a higher demand for shipping in cities in the summer months and the fact that the roads between major destinations are more congested with travelers. More congestion means truckers are spending more money on fuel.

Is the cost of car shipping more expensive in winter?

Possibly. The cost of car shipping tends to be a little more during winter. 

Why? Because there tends to be a lower demand for auto shipping in the wintertime, so some auto transport companies will reduce their prices to attract customers.

Given the effects of weather, you might assume that shipping would be less expensive in wintertime in the south. But, the fact is that more people (including the retiree population) head south during the winter for warmer weather. Some auto transport companies raise their rates simply because there is increased demand as snowbirds schedule their bi-annual shipments.

If you’re shipping from or to a place with harsh weather, you can transport your car across the country in an enclosed carrier, but this will always cost more.

Should I use an enclosed trailer?

It is less expensive to ship by open transport because the vehicle is exposed to the open air, weather and other outside elements.

Customers that ship classic cars or high-value luxury or sports vehicles may prefer enclosed transport, however.  This means their vehicle is protected by the elements such as sun, wind, rain, and more during transport (and therefore is more expensive than shipping by open transport).

This doesn’t mean this method is less safe though. Most new vehicles being shipped to car dealerships are shipped by way of open transport.

How much does it cost to ship a car with a military discount?

Here at Montway, we make it easy by streamlining pickup and delivery, giving you around the clock updates on your vehicle, and handling the details so you can focus on getting settled in.

We also offer a minor discount for active and retired personnel. If military car shipping is something you’d prefer not to do — and you’re driving your car across the country — you can claim Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT) when you drive your own vehicle from one duty station to another.

Ready to transport your car with Montway?

Our car shipping advisors are available by calling (888) 666-8929 to answer all your questions.