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Winter vs Summer Car Shipping: The Differences for Seasonal Residents


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

It’s not always easy to predict when you’ll need a car shipping service. Unfortunately, the shipping industry is greatly affected by the weather and also the seasons.  Each type of weather and time of the year poses unique challenges.

However, understanding these challenges and how the seasons affect most auto transport companies will allow you to plan your schedule and avoid any problems. 

What to expect when shipping a car in winter

The winter presents specific problems for auto transport companies. Heavy snowstorms, for example, can be a concern for the best car shipping company. 

It’s not unusual for vehicle shipping companies to err on the side of safety and wait until the roads get cleared before continuing with their car shipping services.

Even if the snowfall is light, it can still be a nightmare for car shipping companies. In addition, if you’ve booked open car transport, you can’t expect your car to arrive clean. However, you do have an option if you’re worried. Book with an enclosed auto transport company, and your car is 100% protected from the weather. 

On the other hand, if you have to move your car in the middle of winter, the smart move is to book with the best car shipping company you can find. Compared to driving yourself, there’s no risk of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with snow all around you. It also gives you peace of mind.

Depending on which route you choose, the cost of shipping in the winter is often much lower. This is because winter tends to be the low season in the auto transport industry.     

Is shipping a car in summer better?

In many ways, the car shipping process is much smoother during the warm summer months. There are few delays due to the weather, making the car shipping process much faster for everyone involved. 

When comparing winter vs. summer, the summer months are also more convenient. During the summer, people tend to feel more relaxed. If you need to take some time off for moving and car shipping, June, July, and August are better months to do it. If you’ve got kids in school, this is particularly important. 

However, if you ship your car across certain states, you may still have to wash it when the carrier delivers it. During the summer, it\s the warmer states that can be a problem. Florida, for example, sees quite a lot of rain, while California and Texas can get super dusty. Of course, dust and rain are not a real issue for the car per se, but for some people, having to wash their car can be a hassle. 

If you’re wondering, “How do you ship your car, and is there a better time to do it?” Summer definitely has the upper hand. It’s far more convenient, the transport is faster, and there’s no snow to contend with. 

It sounds like there’s no contest when it comes to winter vs. summer car shipping. However, there is the issue of car shipping prices to consider.  

How do seasons affect car shipping prices?

Auto transport prices vary depending on which auto transport service you prefer. What’s important to understand is what goes into the final quote to ship a car. There are many factors that affect auto transport prices that remain the same. For example, vehicle make, and model, modification, vehicle condition, distance and location, and the type of transport all affect the cost. 

However, one key factor is supply and demand. The price to ship a car depends on supply and demand fluctuations, and these can vary considerably in different months. 

The price of auto transport depends a lot on how many people need auto transport at any given moment. Just think about the season people tend to prefer when relocating. It’s the summer, so during that time, demand rises, and prices shift accordingly.

This is a simplified way of looking at the situation, but it does an excellent job of explaining inevitable fluctuations in costs. However, as you might expect, this rule has some exceptions. For example, winter prices increase rather than drop, as you might expect on specific routes.  

The snowbird phenomenon

Not everyone enjoys the cold winter weather in the north. Some people do everything they can to escape it. When fall is getting close, they pack up their belongings, close their homes for a few months, and move south. Winter doesn’t have quite such a hold in southern states. 

As they are often referred to, Snowbirds move from northern states to places like Florida, California, Texas, and several other warmer states. 

When spring arrives, the demand for relocations is in the opposite direction. People moving in such a way often leads to a spike in demand for car shipping along those routes. As you’d expect, this demand drives the fees up during these seasons due to limited carrier supply. 

Preparing your vehicle for shipping

It makes little difference whether you’re shipping your car in the winter or the summer. However, you must prepare it for the auto transport journey. Here are some things you should do:

  • Get the exterior of your car cleaned: you must make sure the exterior of your vehicle is clean before you ship it. You and the driver have to inspect your vehicle for existing damage. If your car is dirty, you might struggle to check it thoroughly.
  • Remove any personal items: Cargo insurance doesn’t cover any personal items lost or damaged in your vehicle while it’s being shipped. If you decide to leave items in your car during transport, remember you do it at your own risk. 
  • Be there for the pick-up and delivery: You should be present for both the pick-up and delivery of your car to give/receive the keys and sign the Bill of Lading. If you can’t be present, you can appoint someone over the age of 18 to act on your behalf. 

Shipping your car is always easy, regardless of whether you ship during the summer or winter. There are just a few considerations, such as price and transit time, that tend to fluctuate seasonally. 

Regardless of when you plan to ship your car, get an instant free quote before you do anything else. If you want to ship your car anytime in the future, get a free quote from us today online or by calling (864) 546-5038.

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