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What is the Fastest Way to Ship a Car?


Nowadays, it’s possible to ship a car anywhere in the continental United States. The standard time frame for a distance of 2000 miles is around 9 days. It’s a challenge to be more specific because there are various variables that must be considered. 

It doesn’t take much to upset the timeline. For example, an unexpected snowstorm, a road closure, or flat tire has the potential to add hours to a journey time. 

We appreciate there are times when you might be in a rush. For example, you’re planning to move to a different state at the last minute and you need your car in time for work. The fastest way to ship a car is by air cargo, but it’s so expensive that most people can’t afford it.

Luckily, there are things you can do to speed up the standard auto transport timeline and this is what this post is all about. If you’re looking for fast car shipping, you’re in the right place.     

How long does car transport take?

In the following table, you’ll find some average transit times for a variety of distances. 

DistanceAverage transit time in 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


The transit times above are just meant as a guideline. Being exact about time is exceedingly difficult when it comes to providing an auto transport service. There are many factors that can affect how long it takes to ship a car from point A to point B. They include the following:

  • Distance: The longer the distance between the pick-up and delivery location, the longer it will take. Cross-country car shipping takes much longer than a short hop across state lines. 
  • Vehicle type: Odd-shaped vehicles and high-end cars require specialized transport which often takes longer to organize.  
  • Location: Carriers can provide a fast auto shipping service when the pick-up and delivery locations are in or near a metropolitan area or alongside a major interstate. Rural locations take longer to reach.
  • Issues on route: Carriers will find their progress hampered when they encounter heavy traffic, road construction, or detours. 
  • Weather: The weather can have a massive impact on the time it takes for a carrier to deliver your car. Snow, ice, hail, tornados, hurricanes, and thunderstorms all affect the flow of traffic and could hold up your delivery. 
  • Extra stops: A car truck and trailer can hold up to nine vehicles. If the trailer is at full capacity, it will take longer to deliver your car if you’re not at the front of the line. 
  • Driver’s hours: The Department of Transportation sets a limit on the number of hours a trucker can be on the road. For safety reasons, the limit is currently set at 70 hours per week. 

So, what are your options if you need to book fast vehicle transport? You could choose express auto transport or guaranteed pick-up service. Let’s explain what each of these are.  

Guaranteed pick-up service

Guaranteed delivery dates are almost impossible to achieve, however, a guaranteed pick-up is a whole different ball game.

If you’re pushed for time and need to make specific arrangements for fast vehicle transport, you can make your booking with a 24-hour window, compared to the standard car pick-up service window of within 1 to 4 business days from the first available shipping date. 

To find out how much this option costs, you need to contact our shipping advisors for a personalized quote. Call (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat option.

Get a free, instant quote 

Express car shipping

Another option, if you’re looking for fast car transport, is express auto transport. This auto transport service is for occasions when time is of the essence, and you want to get your car shipped super quickly. Quick car shipping is available, and your vehicle will be picked up in 1-2 business days.

A guide to getting your vehicle ready for shipping

There are things you can do to ensure the car shipping process is smooth one, and one of the most important is making sure your vehicle is ready for shipping.

Here is a list of the things you should do to get your car ready:

  • Wash your car: When your vehicle is collected for transport, a key part of the process is the vehicle condition report. You’ll find this much easier to complete if your vehicle is clean. With a vehicle condition report, you and the auto transport driver thoroughly inspect your vehicle for any existing damage. You’ll be looking for dents, scratches, and dings and any you find will be documented in the report. 
  • Clean the interior: Vehicles are secured during the transport service, but they still get jostled around. That’s why it’s a good idea to clean the interior and remove any items that are not secured, for example, spare change, air fresheners, chargers, and cables. 
  • Take photos of your vehicle: Once you’ve cleaned your car, it’s also a clever idea to take some clear photographs of your vehicle’s condition. Take photographs of all areas of the car, not just the damaged areas. Also, make sure you take photos from a variety of angles. 
  • Remove any toll tags: If you use a toll tag in your car, it may pick up a fee when the carrier drives past the toll gate. The toll gate isn’t going to recognize that your car is on a trailer, so to prevent any issues, it’s best to remove it from your car. Another option is to deactivate it.  
  • Disable your vehicle’s alarm: All modern vehicles have an alarm. These can be activated by the slightest bump so it’s better to disable it during the car shipping process. That way, it’s not going to annoy the truck driver if it keeps going off. 
  • Check for leaks: Fluid leaks can be a problem when you ship your car so it’s best to check there aren’t any and get them fixed if you find one. If a carrier spots a serious fluid leak, they may refuse to ship your car. Smaller leaks are not such a problem, but it’s best to inform the driver so they can place your car on the bottom level of the trailer. 
  • Remove or secure any custom accessories: If your vehicle has custom accessories such as side-view mirror, an antennae, bike or luggage racks, or custom spoilers, make sure they’re secure or remove them. This will reduce the risk of damage to your vehicle and the accessories.  
  • Check the tires, radiator, and battery: Before your vehicle is shipped, check the tires are at the correct pressure, the battery is fully charged and secure, and the radiator is topped off with antifreeze. 
  • Repair any engine or mechanical problems: You’ll have to pay more for your car shipping service if your vehicle is inoperable. It’s therefore best to ensure your car is in good running order.   

Other things you can do to ship your car faster

Other things you can do to get your car shipped faster include the following: 

Plan ahead

Try to make your car shipping arrangements at least two weeks in advance. When you do this it gives the auto transport company sufficient time to find the right carrier at the right price. As well as possibly lowering the cost of your vehicle shipping, it might also shorten your delivery window. 

Use open rather than enclosed transport

Open car shipping is a faster shipping method than enclosed shipping. It’s much quicker to reserve a place on an open carrier because there are more of them. On top of saving time, you’ll also save money because enclosed car shipping costs 30% to 40% more than open car shipping. 

Meet the driver

You may be able to shave as much as a day off your delivery by meeting the driver near a well-traveled freeway or big city. However, this tip only applies if you live in a rural area. 

Beware of guaranteed delivery

Be very wary of an auto transport company that promises a guaranteed delivery date. A legitimate company will only give you an estimated window because it knows there are many factors that can affect the timeline. 

If you like what you’ve read so far and want to make the necessary arrangements, first use our online quote calculator to find out how much it might cost. You can then finalize the arrangements by speaking with our shipping advisors at (864) 546-5038 or by using Live Chat.


How long does it take once a car ships?

It usually takes between 1 and 9 days for a car to be delivered once it’s picked up by a carrier. However, the actual time depends on the distance and a variety of other factors. You also need to consider the time it takes for a carrier to pick up your car. This can vary depending on the availability and location of a carrier. 

How do I ship a car quickly?

The quickest way to ship a car depends on your destination and budget. Air freight is the quickest when shipping a car overseas, but it’s very costly. Generally, the quickest way to ship a car is to book an open car carrier.

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