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14 Ways to Offset the Cost to Transport a Car


The cost of shipping a car across country is something you might be worried about. In this post, we’ll put your mind at rest. The cost of car transport is actually quite affordable. In addition, there are plenty of ways you can save a few bucks.

We want you to get the best possible deal from your car shipping experience, so make yourself familiar with the following money-saving tips. 

Book open car shipping rather than enclosed auto transport

When it comes to shipping a car, there are generally two options. You can choose an enclosed or an open car carrier. The differences between the two are pretty simple, but the key one is the cost to transport a car.

An enclosed carrier is typically between 30% and 40% more than an open car carrier. This is because the service offers additional protection for the vehicle. Regardless of the weather and the road conditions, with an enclosed car shipping service your car is delivered in the same condition it was picked up. 

If you want to ship a luxurious sports car or classic collectible, for example, choosing an enclosed trailer is the best option, even though it costs more. 

On the other hand, if your car is an everyday ride and has no special features or unique accessories, an open trailer is what you should consider. 

Open car shipping is a more affordable option and much easier to arrange than enclosed auto transport. 

If you want to know the average cost to transport a car, why not try our instant quote calculator?

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Choose a local company over a popular one

Another option for saving money on your car transport costs is to look for smaller auto transport companies. They tend to focus on regional moves rather than national ones. 

It’s likely that a local company will have lower overhead costs which they can pass onto their customers. You might also find they offer specials and discounts on their services which makes them even more competitive.  

Check the running condition of your car

A real money saver is to ship a car that’s operable rather than one that’s not running. If an auto transport company has to load an inoperable car, you’re likely going to have to pay additional charges. These will be to cover the cost of specialist equipment such as hydraulic lifts. 

We always recommend that you have a mechanic inspect your vehicle before you ship it. That way you’ll ensure there are no issues with the car and save money should any repairs be needed. 

Consider terminal-to-terminal shipping

You might not be aware, but it is possible to choose not to have your car picked up and dropped off at your address. Door-to-door is the way most people choose to ship their vehicles, but there is another option that could save you quite a few bucks. 

With terminal-to-terminal shipping, you drive your car to the terminal nearest your home. There it is loaded onto a truck and taken to a terminal that’s nearest to your new address. This option is easier for the auto transport company and can reduce the number of miles for your trip. In turn, this saves you money.

We should point out that this option requires some careful planning because you have to transport your vehicle to and from the terminal at both ends of the transport. 

Choose popular pick-up and delivery locations

This is an effective way to save money on shipping a car. In the auto transport world, carriers like to operate along popular routes. These routes tend to be between big cities across the country. By big cities we mean major metropolitan areas such as San Diego, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, Austin, New York, Atlanta, and other similar cities. These areas are popular because there are lots of people and more loads for carriers to ship. 

If your preferred pick-up and delivery location is off the beaten track, it will be more expensive to ship your car. Carriers that service customers in rural areas have to spend more time getting to these out of the way locations. Maintenance, time, and fuel are all major day-to-day expenses for a carrier. The more the carrier has to spend to get your vehicle, the more it will cost you. 

Change your pick-up or delivery location out of the boonies and opt for a major metro area and you could save hundreds on your shipment. 

Standby shipping services

Standby auto transport services are good way to save some money, but it’s only going to work if you’re not pressed for time. Generally, people move their vehicles as soon as they know they have to. It might be because of a move or because you’re selling the car to someone else. Whatever the reason, people tend to need car transport services immediately. 

However, there are people who might benefit from standby shipping. This is where you pay a low price because it’s better for the carrier to run without an empty slot on their trailer. Carriers with an empty spot will gladly take lower-paying loads because it’s money on top.

If you don’t need to ship your car right away, standby might be an option for you. This is especially true during the summer months when prices are at their highest. If you don’t need to move your vehicle right away you can choose standby shipping and simply wait until the right opportunity comes around.    

Ask whether you can expect any additional fees

Some auto transport companies include hidden fees that you won’t find anywhere until you accept a quote online or over the phone. These charges might be to cover terminal handling fees or fuel surcharges. 

If you want to avoid any surprises, make sure to ask upfront when you finalize your quote in person or over the phone. It’s also advisable to get a written copy of your quote so there are no misunderstandings at a later date.  

SGT Auto Transport guarantees our prices are all-inclusive. There will be no surprises we guarantee. 

Be flexible with your pick-up window

If you’re flexible when it comes to the time frame for picking up your vehicle, it makes it easier to find cheaper rates because they can be influenced by supply and demand. 

In addition, it’s not just about the pick-up and delivery time. It’s also the dates. When you arrange your car shipping earlier, it opens the door for better prices and potential discounts. If you wait until the last minute, you could end up paying a higher price.

Smaller is more economical

The number of places on an auto transport trailer is limited and the journey depends on the vehicles. Big cars occupy more space so cost more money. 

Smaller cars are lighter and could save space on the trailer, providing more room for extra cargo and saving the transporter the trouble of moving a large and heavy shipment.  

Compare prices

It pays to shop around because different auto transport companies not only have varying prices, they might also offer reduced rates in certain circumstances. 

Check with your local shipping companies as they might offer reduced rates for new or returning customers. They might also be running some promotions that you might be eligible for such as student discounts, military discounts, or reduced rates for snowbirds

Choose the best time to ship your car

How much it costs to ship a car depends on the time of year. There are peaks and troughs in the auto transport industry and this affects prices. 

If you want to take advantage of the lowest rates, choose to ship your car during non-peak times of the year. Try to avoid holiday times such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. Other peak season times include spring and summer break. 

Ship more than one car simultaneously

An increasing number of households have more than one vehicle. If you’ve got more than one car, you can save money by shipping them at the same time. A shipping company might give you a discount if you book multiple cars on the same trip. 

The more cars a carrier can transport in one day, the less it costs them to provide that service. This means they can offer lower rates.

If you’ve got friends or family that also need to move their rides across country, this is another easy way to save cash on car transport costs.   

Ask whether there are any discounts

When you contact a shipping company, remember to ask whether there are any discounts you might be eligible for. 

SGT Auto Transport offers discounts for the following:

  • Military personnel, active and retired, and their families
  • Health workers
  • Students
  • Senior citizens
  • Sunday discount

Choose discounted cash rate

Cash is King in the auto transport world. When you make your booking you’ll be presented with two payment options. The first option is to pay the full amount with a credit or debit card. The second option is Cash on Delivery or Cash Discounted Rate. A partial payment is taken and the rest is payable on delivery with cash, a cashier’s check, or money order. 

Whether you want to ship a large or small vehicle, a standard or luxury car, always try to make the best of it. Here at SGT Auto Transport, we offer the most competitive prices for the best possible service. Call (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat option.


How can I save on transport costs?

You can save money on auto transport costs in the following ways:

  • Choose discounted cash rate
  • Take advantage of any discounts
  • Ship multiple cars
  • Choose the right time to ship your car
  • Compare prices
  • Ship a smaller car
  • Be flexible with your shipping dates
  • Ask about additional fees
  • Choose terminal-to-terminal shipping or standby car shipping services
  • Choose more popular shipping routes
  • Pick open rather than enclosed car shipping

Is it cheaper to ship or drive a car?

For short distances, it’s cheaper to drive your car rather than ship it. However, for longer distances, the benefits of shipping your car are greater. 

What is the cheapest way to ship from state to state?

Open car transport is the cheapest way to ship a car. 

What is the cost to ship a car to Hawaii?

It costs between $2,000 and $2,500 to ship a car to Hawaii from the mainland US. 

How much does it cost to ship a car to Florida from Illinois?

The cost of shipping a car from Illinois to Florida depends on the type of vehicle you want to ship and the timeframe In addition, the time of year, type of auto transport service, and whether there are any special requirements, also affect the cost of shipping a car between Illinois and Florida.    

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