Shipping a Car Across the Country vs. Selling and Buying Another Vehicle
7 Methods of Auto Transport
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
There are many reasons why you might need to move your car from one location to another. You might be relocating because of a promotion, upsizing or downsizing because of a change in circumstances. Perhaps you’ve just bagged yourself the deal of the century on a tasty new car that’s located on the other side of the country.
Moving your car can be challenging, whatever the reason and you’re bound to be wondering about the best way to ship a car. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to ship a car and all you need to do is decide which one suits you the most.
In this post, we’ll explore 7 options, examine their pros and cons, and help you make the right decision when it comes to the best way to ship a car across country.
1. Drive your car yourself
Driving your car yourself is possibly the most obvious solution and it also seems like it might be quite fun, until you look a little closer and examine the logistics.
If the distance you need to travel is relatively short, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider it an option. However, when you need to travel more than a few hundred miles, there are other things you’ll need to think about when making your decision.
Imagine you’re relocating from New York to San Diego. That’s a distance of almost 3,000 miles which might take a while to drive. If there are two drivers, you could cover the distance in around 48 hours, but that’s quite a mammoth journey.
If there’s only one driver, the trip will take much longer and involve several overnight stays along the way. You’ll have to pay for 5 nights in a motel room as well as the cost of food, drinks, filling the gas tank, and possibly even road tolls.
If you’re traveling to collect a car that you’ve purchased online, you’ve got to factor in the cost of getting there in the first place.
- If time isn’t an issue, you can make the journey into a road trip.
- You’ll have the option to stop along the way.
- You’ll get to soak up the American scenery.
- There’s the option of taking time out to visit interesting attractions along the way.
- When you compare the cost with hiring an auto transport company, you’ll end up paying much more because of other costs you have to factor in.
- You’ll be adding extra miles to your car’s odometer along with unnecessary wear and tear.
- Long distance driving can be dangerous.
- Driving for long periods of time can be very stressful.
- The success of your journey is very much dependent on traffic conditions and the weather.
- It can take a long time.
2. Hire a driver to drive it for you
Another viable option is to hire a driver to drive your car for you. There are several different companies that offer this kind of service. On the other hand, you could employ someone directly, without using a third party. You’ll find people offering this kind of service in your local ads, CraigsList, or Fiverr.
- It’s a very personal service.
- You may be able to hitch a ride.
- You’ll have the option to transport extra luggage.
- Specialized insurance is an option.
- It’s a relatively fast service.
- Compared with cross country auto transport, you can expect to pay much more.
- Unnecessary wear and tear.
- You’ll have to do lots of research if you want to find a reputable company or individual driver you can trust.
3. Ship your car by rail
It’s a very simple process to ship a car by train, but it’s not an option too many people would think about. It’s quite a cheap option, but not in comparison to cross country vehicle shipping. The only difficulty is that you’ve got to get your vehicle to the train station and then be there to collect it at the other end. Unless you live locally to a train station, you may have to travel several miles.
- Shipping by rail costs less than other options.
- Trains have a low carbon footprint so they’re better for the environment.
- Most major routes are covered by rail services.
- You’ll have the option to choose either open or enclosed transport, depending on the value of your car and your budget.
- Shipping by rail is not a door-to-door service. You’ll have to travel to deliver and pick-up your vehicle from a designated station.
- The additional cost of delivering and picking up your car from the station increases the cost.
- Trains run to a schedule, on defined routes and times, which means the service is not so flexible.
- You won’t be able to transport any personal items in your car.
4. Use an auto transport management company
You’ve probably already heard of auto transport companies, but an auto transport management company takes the service up another level.
When you’re doing your research for an auto transport company, you’ll notice that Google is happy to direct you to an option known as an auto transport management company. It happens to be what SGT Auto Transport is, so we’re well qualified to explain the service.
The service we provide, here at SGT Auto Transport, falls somewhere between the two we’ve just looked at. We’re able to manage the complete shipping process from start to finish. Our service includes:
- Taking your booking
- Getting in touch with some of the top-rated car transport companies
- Coordinating the vehicle shipping process
- Keeping you updated throughout the process
- Resolving any issues that might arise
- Making sure your vehicle is delivered according to the schedule
We’re able to provide an online instant quote, or you can speak with our shipping advisors for a tailored quote.
Choose to work with an auto transport management company, and we'll do everything for you. From the moment you get in touch, you can rest assured your vehicle will be in the best of hands.
Auto transport management companies are also able to offer a nationwide service, thanks to our extensive network of carriers we’re connected with.
What are the transport options?
The carriers that we use provide two main options for our customers. You can choose between open or enclosed auto transport. Which one is right for you? Let’s explain the difference between the two.
Open car transport
Open car transport carriers are the ones you see on the highway countless times. Open car shipping accounts for around 90% of car transport services and is one of the cheapest ways to ship a car from state to state.
Open car carriers transport vehicles in an open-air trailer. Carriers can move as many as ten cars at the same time. The vehicles on the trailer are exposed to the elements, road, and traffic grime, but it is still a very safe and secure way of shipping your car to another state.
Enclosed auto transport
Choose enclosed auto transport when you want to send a car to another state, and your car is completely protected from weather conditions, debris, dirt, and other elements. This service costs between 30%-40% more than open auto transport but is recommended for owners of unique cars such as classic, vintage, custom, luxury, or high-value vehicles.
There are two other auto transport options you might be interested in:
- Express car shipping: If you need to move a car from one state to another at the last minute or be at a specific location by a deadline, this is the service that will meet your needs. When time is of the essence, and you want your vehicle shipped super quick, express car shipping means a carrier will pick your vehicle up in 1-2 business days.
- Guaranteed pick-up: You make your booking with a 24-hour window, which is perfect if you need to make specific arrangements or are pushed for time.
- We provide a comprehensive service.
- Once you get in touch we make all the arrangements.
- The auto transport service is managed on your behalf, from start to finish.
- You get a nationwide service.
- It’s one of the easiest ways to ship a car.
- The cost of hiring an auto transport management company is a little higher than some other options, but it’s worth the added expense for the peace of mind you get.
5. Use a terminal-to-terminal carrier
A terminal is where auto transport carriers collect and deliver vehicles. Vehicles are stored in terminals until the carrier is ready to transport them. Quite often, there will be more than one company that uses the same terminal and you’ll typically find them near airport terminals. In addition, they are in many large cities across the United States and just off many of the major highways.
Carriers use terminals because it saves time and effort and they can combine shipments going to the same area. When a carrier uses a terminal, they don’t have to waste time driving around to collect and drop-off vehicles.
- If you’re not available to collect your vehicle, you can nominate a third-party.
- It’s a very safe and secure service so you’re guaranteed peace of mind.
- Because the terminals are often located outside city limits, you’ve got to travel those extra miles to deliver or collect your vehicle.
- The additional miles you’ve got to travel is going to make terminal-to-terminal auto transport more expensive.
- If your vehicle is waiting for any length of time there will be storage fees to pay.
- Can take longer than cross country car shipping with an auto transport management company.
6. Have a friend or family member drive it for you
Quite often, there will be someone close who is willing to lend a helping hand and drive your car for you. It’s very budget-friendly, and one of the cheapest ways to ship a car cross country. You know the person you’re trusting to drive your car, which has to be a good thing. You’ll also be able to pack extra luggage in the vehicle, and the driver might not mind you tagging along.
- One of the more affordable options.
- You know and trust the driver.
- You’re able to transport personal belongings.
- You may have to pay for additional insurance coverage for the driver.
- There’s the cost of extra wear and tear to consider.
- Are you certain about the driving skills of your friend or family member?
7. Use an air transport company
One of the quickest ways to ship a car is by airplane. It also happens to be one of the safest. The airplane is an enclosed carrier which means your car is well protected and packed. There is little chance of your car moving around so there is less risk of it getting scratched or damaged. It’s not going to be exposed to the elements, dirt, insects, or birds.
It sounds like an ideal option until you find out how much it will cost. It’s so expensive that only a few individuals will be able to transport a vehicle using this method. It’s a good option for executives going to a meeting, conference, or short term vacation that want to take their car with them. They’ll be able to travel on the same flight as their car and it’ll save time at their final destination because they won’t need to stress about arranging car hire.
- It’s a safe and quick way to transport your car.
- Your car is completely protected from the elements.
- It’s way out of the price range of most people.
SGT Auto Transport is a nationwide auto transport management company with years of experience in the industry. We’ve been shipping cars across state lines for several years. If you want to make arrangements to ship a vehicle to another state, get in touch today.
Want to get a quote for shipping your vehicle? Get one instantly here.
If you’re ready to make your auto transport arrangements, please give us a call at (864) 546-5038 or use our option.