Cars Travelling Across Country

How Long Does Car Shipping Take - A Quick Guide


There are lots of questions people ask about car shipping. One of the most common is how long does car shipping take. It’s perfectly understandable that you don’t know what to expect when it comes to the car shipping time frame and that’s the main reason we’ve chosen to write this post. 

After reading this post about car shipping time estimates, you’ll come to understand why we can’t be exact when answering that question. There are just too many variables, and delivery times can vary. However, we can give you an approximation, so let’s start there.

DistanceAverage transit time (calendar days)
0-200 miles1-2 days
200-600 miles2-4 days
600-1000 miles3-5 days
1000-1500 miles4-6 days
1500-2000 miles5-7 days
2000-2400 miles6-8 days
2000+ miles7-9 days


Now you’ve got something to work with, it’s time to look at some of the things that can affect your car shipping delivery time.

Factors that affect the time it takes to ship a car across country

The times we’ve given above are all rough estimates. The actual time it takes will depend on some very important variables.


This variable probably goes without saying, but it’s still worth a mention. How long to ship a car depends on the distance between the pick-up location and delivery location. The longer the distance, the more time it will take an auto transport carrier to deliver a car.

It doesn’t really matter how fast you want your vehicle to be delivered. Realistically, you can’t expect a car to be shipped from New York to California in just 2 days.  

Pick-up and drop off locations

The location of both the pick-up and delivery also play a critical role in the car shipping delivery time. Generally, locations in metropolitan areas are easier to access by car shipping companies compared to more rural locations. 

A carrier will take less time to transport a car if they only have to drive along main highways and interstates. When they have to deviate from the main route or deal with hard-to-reach areas, it only increases the car shipping time frame. 


Car shipping delivery times also depend on the time of year. The peak season is May to September and during this time period, transit times are shorter because there are more car transport trucks traveling around the country because of increased demand for auto transport services. 


Bad weather conditions can hamper the progress of a car shipping company. Snow, rain, hail, thunderstorms, and strong winds increase transit times and cause delivery delays. For auto transport companies, safety is a priority so drivers are forced to drive much slower when the weather is severe. They may even be forced to stop and wait until the weather is more suitable and safe for driving. 

Road conditions

Road conditions are one factor that can be very unpredictable. Road closures due to construction work, traffic jams, temporary detours or driving accidents can further delay transit times.  

Extra stops

The average car transport carrier can transport up to 9 vehicles at the same time. What this means for you is that if the driver has to make several stops along the way, the total car shipping time will increase. 

Driver’s hours

For safety reasons, the Department of Transport mandates that truck drivers rest for a certain amount of time before continuing their car shipping journey. 

Transportation method

One of the fastest ways to ship your car across the country is to use an open car carrier. They will probably have to make stops along the way to pick up other cars, but it’s the most common auto transportation method so you should be able to book one much faster. 

Finding an enclosed carrier will take much more time and money, because only around 10% of auto transport is done via enclosed carriers.  

How to ship your car faster

Now you know how long car shipping can take, on average, let’s see if we can offer up some suggestions on how you can decrease the total car shipping time frame. 

Plan ahead

If you want to avoid wasting time make sure you book the services of an auto transport company around two weeks before the scheduled pickup date. It’s best not to wait until the last minute to arrange your car transport. The process requires lots of planning and coordination if you want it to go smoothly. 

If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a top-rated car shipping company that will pick up your car in less than 5 days. That way, you’ll be speeding up the whole process. 

Do your homework in advance

Spend some doing your research and it’ll pay dividends in the end. Check out multiple car shipping companies before you pick one that meets your needs. Make sure to read lots of customer reviews so you’ll get a better idea of the quality of the service they provide. 

Use open car transport

An open car transport service is generally quicker compared to enclosed vehicle shipping. The reason for this is that the number of enclosed carriers is much smaller. You’ll find it much easier and faster to book a car shipping service with an open transport carrier. Also, it’s by far the cheaper option if you want to ship your car to another state. 

Opt for guaranteed pick up or express car shipping

Guaranteed pick up is a service you can rely on if your pushed for time and need to make specific arrangements for transporting your car. Book with SGT Auto Transport and it’s possible to make your booking with a 24-hour window. With express auto transport, your vehicle will be picked up in 1-2 business days. Both these options, however, will cost a little more. 

If you want to learn more about car shipping, click here.

Alternatively, you can speak with our dedicated shipping advisors who will do everything they can to make your car shipping service as swift as possible. We have an online instant quote calculator you can use to find out the cost. You can also call (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat.


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