Yellow luxury car get ready for shippment

Choosing the Right Time to Ship a Car - Your Complete Guide


If you’re not forced to ship your car at the last minute and have plenty of time to plan, there is a right and a wrong time for car shipping, especially in terms of the cost. 

Of course, it’s not always possible to plan because your job might be relocating in the winter or you’ve got to move to take care of a loved one. Such situations can happen to anyone and you might not have any say about the time of year you need to ship a car. 

However, if you have some control over the time of year you transport your vehicle, you’ll be pleased to learn there is a best time to ship a car across country.

If you’d like to know more, keep reading this guide and you’ll find all the answers. 

The perfect time is possibly not today!

As you learn more about the auto shipping industry, you’ll come to understand that there are a few hard and fast rules you should try to stick by. 

One of the most important, in terms of time, is that the best time to ship a car tends not to be immediate unless you have no choice. Much like all other service industries, there are high overhead costs. For this reason, car shipping companies tend to plan as far ahead as possible. Booking transport for your car last minute is possible, but it tends not to be the cheapest option. 

Ideally, try to book as far in advance as possible. As soon as you know you need to move your car, start doing your research. Don’t rush your decision and examine all your options, but the faster you decide on a reliable auto transport company and make your booking, the better. 

Tips for choosing the best time to ship a car  

When it comes to shipping a car, there are lots of variables that have to be taken into consideration. Many of these variables you can’t control. For example, the weather might not meet expectations or the roads end up being less than ideal.

The following tips will be useful if you’re ever looking for an auto transport service and wondering about the best time to arrange things. We aim to help you have the best auto transport experience possible. 

Winter months are best avoided if possible

You’re probably thinking, well that’s pretty obvious, but it still deserves a mention. The problems with winter weather are often overlooked because not all parts of the US experience truly bad winter weather driving conditions. This makes it easy to forget that your car may need to travel across areas where the weather makes driving more challenging. 

Transporting cars in the winter increases the risk of car accidents. It can also lead to delays in delivery times. Your car might also arrive looking a little grubby because the roads can get very dirty in the winter and are also covered in salt. What this means is that you should give your car a quick wash as soon as it’s delivered to reduce the risk of any damage to the paint. 

Other reasons you should avoid winter if possible include the cost and increased turnover times.  

Shipping last minute can be expensive

You might be hoping you can get your car shipped ahead of a winter storm that’s on the horizon or before the bad weather starts. Be prepared for it to cost a pretty penny if you want to jump the queue and ship your car ahead of all the others.

If you can be flexible, try and plan ahead of time because this will likely save you money. Shipping a car last minute can significantly increase the price. You also need to be aware that not all companies offer rush transport services. Their availability tends to be very limited. 

If you can plan at least a few weeks in advance, whatever the season, you’re sure to get the best possible auto transport experience. 

Summer services are more expensive in the city

Many people are unaware that summer services can be more expensive. Summer driving has to be easier so you can expect the best possible price, right? 

Actually, this is not strictly true. The weather is much better admittedly, but auto transport companies have to bill for congested roads, traffic jams, and high-traffic hours. It’s not really something you can avoid. Instead, aim to transport your car in spring or just before the middle of summer. This avoids any charges for driving congestion on the summer roads. 

Try to avoid snowbird season (unless you’re a snowbird)

Unless you’re a snowbird, you might not appreciate that spring and fall shipping can get quite busy at certain times. A snowbird is someone who heads south in the fall to avoid the cold winter months in the north. In spring, they tend to head back north where it’s going to be cooler. 

What this means for car shipping companies is that things can get busy, mainly during the few weeks that snowbirds are on the move. When auto transport companies are busy, it can lead to delays in pick-up dates and deliveries. This won’t be a big deal for everyone, unless you’re moving to a remote location and don’t want to be without your car for a few weeks. 

There is a benefit to shipping your car during snowbird season and that’s in terms of pricing. It’s often better if you can catch a ride on a trailer that’s loaded with cars. Seasonal prices tend to be lowest at these times of the year. 

If you can wait an extra few days for your car to be delivered, you’ll probably save some money. 

Take into account fuel prices

As we all know only too well, fuel prices go up and they also go down, although not quite as much. In addition, there tend to be seasonal variations in the cost of gas at the pumps.

As far as the cost of fuel goes, summer is the worst time of the year and can lead to higher costs for auto transport services. It won’t amount to much if you’re shipping your car to the next state, but if you want to ship your car across the US, it could add up to a sizable amount. 

If you must ship your car in the summer, just be prepared for increased fuel prices and budget for this in your auto transport arrangements.   

The first week of a New Year is not ideal

One of the busiest times of the year for auto transport companies is the beginning of a new year. Roads can get very congested and busy as people return home after the holiday season. In addition, there are fewer companies offering transportation services because their drivers have been enjoying holiday vacations with their families.

If you plan to ship your car at the beginning of the year, be aware that it’s not the cheapest time to ship a car. There tend to be fewer transport companies to choose from. 

Wait a week or two and there will be a cut in the cost of auto transport. Regular routing opens back up as drivers return to work and the traffic situation eases.  

February is an excellent time to ship a car

February is typically a slow month for auto transport providers. It’s still technically winter in many places, but across the US in general, the weather has started to improve. In addition, winter driving conditions tend not to be an issue anymore, and traffic is reduced.

Be very wary of auto transport companies who don’t reduce their rates during February. You don’t want to end up paying high season rates because you weren’t aware it’s a slow part of the year. The prices are not going to be dirt cheap, but they’ll be better than summer transit prices in and out of the city. 

Do your research carefully and don’t be tempted to contact the first auto transport company you contact. Get a handful of quotes and see who is offering the best rates. 

Get the ball rolling by using our online quote calculator. Simply provide a few basic details including the type of car you want to ship and you’ll get your quote instantly. 

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The Fall is another good time for car shipping

Fall is another great time to ship your car. In fact, it’s probably the best time. September, October, and November driving conditions are good for most of the US. There’s less traffic on the roads because all the kids are back at school. People aren’t traveling or vacationing quite so much either. Gas prices also tend to come back down in the fall making fuel costs lower for your chosen auto transport company. 

If you’re ready to make your booking, speak directly with our shipping advisors at (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat option. 


What time of year is best to ship a car?

The best time of the year to ship your car is when it suits you best. However, if you want to pin us down to one specific time, it has to be the fall. Driving conditions are favorable, there’s less traffic, and few people are vacationing. 

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

The distance between New York and Florida is more than 1,000 miles. How much it will cost to ship your car between these two cities depends on the service you choose and the type of car. However, an average estimate would be between $700 and $800. If you want an accurate quote, please contact us directly.  

What time of year is it cheapest to transport a car?

The cheapest time of the year for transporting cars tends to be the winter because there is much less demand.

Is it better to ship a car open or enclosed?

Enclosed car shipping is a safer option because your car is transported in a closed trailer and better protected against bad weather and road debris. However, it does cost between 30% and 40% more than open car shipping.

How can I save money on car transport?

If you want to save money on car transport, you should do the following:

  • Pick the right time of the year
  • Be flexible with your shipping dates
  • Pick open car transport
  • Ship more than one car
  • Get multiple quotes and pick the best value

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