Best way to ship a car across country

Best way to ship a car across country

If you’re moving house to a new location, relocating to a new city because you’ve got a promotion, or heading south or north for some better weather have you made plans for shipping your car? If you’ve got to get your vintage Dodge to the car shop across the country, do you know your options?

Moving a vehicle across several states can be a challenge, but not if you’ve read this article first. We’re going to help you decide how to ship a car across country by giving you all the options.

SHIPPING METHOD TRANSIT TIME COST RISK STRESS
Auto transport management company Reasonable Reasonable Low Low
Drive yourself Reasonable Low High Very high
Tow it yourself Very long High High Very high
Hire a professional driver Very long High High High
Have a friend or family member drive it for you Reasonable Low Reasonable Reasonable
Ship it by train Very long Low Low High
Transport it by plane Short Very high Low Low
Use a terminal-to-terminal carrier Very long High Low High

Shipping a car across the US with the help of an auto transport management company

Cross country car shipping

The best way to ship a car across country is with an auto transport management company. There are several reasons why it’s at the top of the list:

  • Costs much less than any other option;
  • It’s quick and simple to arrange;
  • They will pick up your vehicle and deliver it to a location of your choice;
  • They can tailor the service to meet your needs;
  • Multiple vehicles can be shipped;

What is an auto transport management company

An auto transport management company manages the entire shipping process from start to finish. Their services include coordinating the car shipping process, keeping clients updated, handling any hiccups that might occur, and making sure your vehicle is delivered on time and you are happy with the service.

An auto transport management company like SGT Auto Transport takes care of your car for you, from quote to final delivery.

Why auto transport is the best option

All the other cross country vehicle shipping options listed below seem very appealing but none of them compare with shipping a car across country with an auto transport company. You don’t have to stress about any other expenses. The price you get when you request an instant quote is fully inclusive. You don’t have to worry about the hidden cost of wear and tear either.

Choose auto transport and you’re not going to spend hours behind the wheel, get stuck in traffic, run the risk of being involved in a car accident, or be constantly worrying about the weather.

Another big plus is that this service is door-to-door. You get to pick the location for the pick-up and delivery. It could be right outside your door, if it’s safe and legal to do so. 

How much does it cost to ship a car across country?

The price is one of the most important factors. Without all the relevant details it’s difficult to put an exact price on your auto transport service. Many factors have to be taken into consideration, for example the type of car and the distance it has to travel. Other factors include:

  • The time of year
  • The current price of fuel
  • Whether your carrier is being picked up and delivered to a remote location or in a city
  • The type of auto transport service you prefer

If you want an exact price for your auto transport service, use our online instant quote calculator, or speak directly with one of our shipping advisors.

How long does it take?

On average, an auto transport truck and trailer is able to cover several hundred miles in a day. How long it takes for them to deliver your car depends on the distance they have to travel. It might be a couple of days or weeks.

If time is of the essence, there are services you can use such as an express auto transport service or a guaranteed pick-up service.

What are the options when it comes to auto transport services?

When you make enquiries about an auto transport service, they will ask you what type of service you’d prefer. The options depend on individual companies but they could include:

  • Open car transport
  • Enclosed auto transport

Open vs. enclosed auto transport

Open car transport is the most affordable option for most owners. They transport your vehicle in an open trailer and while this means it’s exposed to the elements, it’s a perfectly safe and secure option.

Enclosed auto transport costs between 30% to 40% extra, but they transport your vehicle in a trailer that has four sides and a roof. We typically recommend this service for owners of expensive, custom, antique, and unique cars.

How to ship a car across country

All it takes is three easy steps.

Get a quote and book your order

You can get a free instant quote using our online instant quote calculator. If you’re happy with the price, you can make your booking. You confirm the details with the company and they make the booking.

There are two options when it comes to paying. Pay once in full with a credit or debit card, as soon as they have assigned a carrier to your shipment. The other option is a discounted cash rate. They take a small partial payment when your vehicle is dispatched. Then you pay the balance when you receive your vehicle.    

Your vehicle is picked up

The carrier will contact you before the pick-up date so that they can schedule a convenient location and time. When the carrier arrives, you inspect your vehicle with the driver and note its condition on the Bill of Lading. You’ll get a copy of this document, so remember to bring it with you when your vehicle is delivered.  

You receive your vehicle

They will contact you again a few hours before the carrier is due to deliver your vehicle. This call is to make sure you’re going to be available to receive the delivery. When your car arrives, inspect it carefully and compare the condition with the copy of the Bill of Lading. If everything is in order, you sign the Bill of Lading to receive the car and pay any money that you owe.

An auto transport management company makes shipping a car across country a walk in the park. Once they have made all the arrangements you can sit back and wait for your delivery.

Drive your car yourself

Drive a car across country

For many people, this is the option they’ll consider first. The basic cost is on the cheap side and is a great idea if you’ve got the time. However, there are extra costs that you have to factor into the equation.

Unless you’ve got someone to share the driving, you’re going to need to take stops along the way. You’re going to need to stay somewhere overnight, and then there are meals and drinks to consider.

Other costs involved with driving yourself include filling the gas tank, and possibly road tolls, but this depends on the route you take.

As well as the cost, you’ve also got to remember that if you drive long distances, it can be stressful and dangerous. How long it takes to drive a few thousand miles is going to depend on the weather, road, and traffic conditions.    

Transport your own vehicle using a trailer or dolly

Along similar lines to driving yourself, there’s always the option of transporting your own vehicle using a dolly or trailer. This might be particularly appealing if you’ve got more than one vehicle you need to ship.

One advantage of transporting your own vehicle in this way is that you might be able to carry extra cargo. However, this does depend on the weight limit of the trailer.

There is a huge disadvantage to this option, however. Do you have any experience of towing a car? It’s really not something you should do without any experience. Towing a car can take a lot of getting used to. When it comes to reversing and maneuvering, it takes a lot of practice and skill to get it right.

Another downside of this option is that you’ve got additional costs to pay. Just like driving a car yourself, there will be the cost of accommodation, food, and gas to add to the cost, as well as the cost of hiring a trailer. 

Hire a professional driver

Did you know you can hire a professional driver to drive your car across country? There are many companies that provide such a service or you could hire someone directly without using a third party.

The difficulty with this option is finding a reputable company or individual driver. Your car is probably one of the most expensive possessions you owe, so you need someone you can trust and rely on.

Whether you work with a company or hire a driver directly, the cost is often much higher than using an auto transport company. Add the hidden cost of unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle and the final price is even higher.  

Have a friend of family member drive your car across country

Ask around and you’ll probably find a friend or family member who will be willing to drive your car for you. It sounds like a very budget friendly option, especially if you’re certain you can trust them to drive your car safely and sensibly. Another obvious advantage for anyone relocating is that you can pack extra luggage into the vehicle and save on your removal fees.

This option sits at number 5 in our list because there are some disadvantages. You may have to ask your insurance company for additional insurance to cover another driver. There’s also going to be additional wear and tear on your vehicle. And how is your friend or relative going to get back home again? You’ll have to cover the cost of their return journey.  

Cross country vehicle shipping by train

Ship a car with a train

Shipping a car across country is possible by train. The cost is sometimes cheaper, but not when you compare it with booking an auto transport service. Rail services cover most major routes, but you do have to get your vehicle to a station and then collect it at the other end. Both these additional journeys are going to add to the overall cost.

One big downside of shipping a car across the US by train is that it typically takes a long time. The additional expenses you have to pay also means it can work out to be more expensive than using an auto transport management company like SGT Auto Transport.

Another disadvantage is that a rail auto transport service is not as flexible as an auto transport service because trains have to run on a defined route and have a fixed timetable.  

Use a terminal-to-terminal carrier

A terminal-to-terminal car transport service is not as common as it used to be but it still deserves a place in our list. They use terminals for storing vehicles while they are waiting to be transported. Generally, they are located near airport terminals in many of the large cities across the United States.

It is usual for more than one company to use a terminal, from which they collect and deliver vehicles. They offer this type of service because it saves them time, money, and effort as they don’t have to worry about driving around picking up and delivering vehicles.

Additional costs are what puts this option at number 7, together with the inconvenience of having to take your car to the terminal and pick it up when it’s ready. You may also have to pay storage fees. Another big downside is that it takes much longer for a car to be shipped in this way.

Transport it by plane

Ship a car with a plane

This option is last on the list because it is the most expensive. It’s very safe and secure but comes with a high price tag. Owners of expensive, luxury, high-end, custom, classic, antique, or vintage cars might consider it, especially if shipping a car overseas. However, enclosed auto transport is a far more affordable option and is just as safe and secure.

If you ever need to ship a car across country, please get in touch with our shipping advisors here at SGT Auto Transport. Call (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat option. They’ll be able to give you a free instant quote and answer any questions you might have.

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