This could be a tricky question. When you are relocating due to work or family you will most likely need to ship your car. If you are moving cross country driving your car can be dangerous and you need to think about hiring an auto transport company. The cost of transporting a vehicle across the country depends on a few major factors.
Cost to Transport a Car Cross Country – Factors:
1. Distance and Location
The distance your car will travel affects the cost to transport a vehicle. More miles mean more expensive shipping service in general. Yet, shipping a car 2000 miles across the country is not always the most expensive service. Quite often automobiles that need to be transported to a small rural town cost more to ship just because the vehicle is located at a remote area away from a major highway. Therefore, the distance is not always the decisive factor. A vehicle going from a major city such as Chicago to a major city such as New York will cost less to transport than a vehicle going to a small remote town in New York state. The location as a factor is therefore important to keep in mind. Every time you need to ship a car from or to a remote area it may cost more to transport if it is away from a major highway.
2. Vehicle type as a factor
The vehicle make and model is the second factor that affects the price substantially. Smaller vehicles would cost less to transport, while bigger and heavier automobiles will cost more. Small compact sedans such as Honda Civic or Fit, or Toyota Yaris, could cost slightly less than a mid-size sedan like Honda Accord. The average prices for small sedan to be shipped across the country would be around $750 – this is west to east coast car shipping rate. The same size vehicle, moving east coast to west coast would cost around $1100. Therefore, the price of transporting a car across the country will change based on the direction you are going. Read further to learn more about how seasonality affects the prices additionally.
3. The condition of the car
The condition of the automobile also affects the price greatly. Running and not running vehicles cost differently to transport. The auto transport companies consider a car running when it can move on its own power. When this is the case, it will cost less to transport. A non running vehicle is when it can’t move on its own power. This will make it difficult to load and unload and in most cases will require a forklift at pick-up and delivery. This means that a non running automobile will cost more to transport than one in a running condition. It is always a good idea to request a few car shipping quotes and compare.
4. Vehicle modifications
When the car has been modified such as lifted or lowered, or with larger tires than normal, this will further affect the price to transport it. In most cases modifications mean that the usual weight and size will change and thus the price to transport the vehicle. Modifications affect the carrier’s total weight of the trailer and because of this the price to ship the vehicle goes up. The size and the weight of an automobile matter a lot in the car transport industry and it affects the car shipping cost.
5. Type of transport – open or enclosed
The main types of auto transport are via open and enclosed trailer. Most companies consider open auto transport the standard shipping method that most customers choose. This type of transport is less expensive and the most requested by private customer and auto dealerships. Enclosed auto transport is the preferred method for sports, luxury and classic cars. The enclosed trailers offer more protection to the vehicle because the vehicle is fully covered, which protects from weather and road elements. Enclosed auto transport service is more expensive than the open also because only about 10% of the auto shipping fleet in the US is enclosed and for this percentage the demand is high. Therefore it is a good idea to shop around first and the book an enclosed service. Moving a vehicle from Los Angeles to Miami, in the winter (2013), in an open carrier will cost $750 while the enclosed shipping will cost $1200.
Seasonality affects certain routes every year and the cost to transport a vehicle often goes up. For instance, shipping a car to some of the Southern states such as Florida, Arizona and Texas could get more expensive during the snowbirds season every spring and winter. if you need to transport a car across the country, from let’s say Massachusetts to Florida, the prices will go up in the winter because the “snowbirds” move to the South and the demand for auto transport is very high at that time of the year. Shipping a car from Boston to Miami in the early winter will cost around $800 while the other way around will cost about $500 for an open trailer.
7. The current price of fuel
The fluctuation of the fuel prices also affects the total cost of auto transport. This is a factor we should not forget about. Today the price to transport a car from Chicago to Los Angeles could be around $1200 and the next week it could be close to $1300. Therefore, keep in mind that the quickly changing gas prices affect the auto transport prices.
A reliable auto transport company will make you aware of all the factors currently affecting the prices. It is important that you ask questions and research the industry before scheduling your auto transport services. If you are moving across the country and need to move a vehicle ask your household mover to recommend an auto transporter. Most moving companies work with preferred car shipping companies and this will make the process easier for you.
Posted on Dec 10, 2013; Last updated: Jan 23, 2015
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