Know About Car Shipping Cost Factors

Ankit Shah
Sakaem Logistics

If you can't drive a car, how do you get from Point A to Point B? If you need to ship a car across the country, there are many options available. Some of these factors include the specific type of car and the distance of the shipment.

Shipping a car is a process that usually requires a truck, but there are some other options. The most common way to ship a car is a spot on a car transporter, which can haul up to 9 vehicles at a time. These semi-truck rigs save money in comparison with private driveaway services.

Car transport rates per mile vary based on the total mileage. It's about $2.00 per mile for anything less than 200 miles, then it dips down to an average of $0.58 per mile for long-distance moves that are over 1,500 miles. An enclosed carrier comes at a premium price tag of 40% more than open carriers. It also provides more protection and security.

Have you ever wondered how much it costs to ship a car? The cost varies depending on the size of the vehicle, terminals (terminal shipping refers to the customer being responsible for dropping off and picking up at terminals that are relatively close), etc.

When you get quotes, always make sure to get at least two. If a quote includes a price range, it's likely the final cost will be on the high side of that range. To save time and frustration, make sure you've done enough research. For cost-effective and straightforward service, go with a company that specializes in shipping and delivering cars for a living.


When it comes to shipping a vehicle, the miles make a huge difference. Let's say you want to ship a car from Kentucky to Maine. The more miles, the more it will cost. But let's break it down: whether it's a 200-mile move, or a 2,000-mile move, the driver will charge the same amount to pick up and drop off a car.

Shipping carrier types

Carriers, like open-air or enclosed, have their own advantages and disadvantages. But with open-air car carriers, it's cheaper to ship - about 40% less expensive than enclosed carriers. Open-air carriers can ship more cars versus an enclosed carrier, spreading the operating cost for carriers to operate. With open-air car shipping, you can get up to 10 vehicles at one time. Enclosed carriers only ship 6 vehicles per shipment.

One big difference between open-air and enclosed carriers is the cost. Open-air carriers carry around 250,000 dollars in cargo insurance coverage, whereas enclosed carriers carry up to one million dollars. Enclosed carriers are great because they protect your goods from the outside elements, like the weather.

Vehicle conditions

It is much more difficult for car carriers to pick up inoperable vehicles. When your car will not start up and drive onto the truck, it is inoperable. Carriers are required to spend more time and energy on the pickup and drop off of inoperable vehicles.

If your vehicle is carrying 6-8 cars that are disabled, the cost will be much higher. If your car doesn't roll, brake or steer, it'll be considered inoperable. You'll need to arrange a forklift to take it off the truck and put it back on again.

Vehicle types

All car haulers are regulated by the Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on how much they can haul. For example, if you have an F-350 that weighs 7,000 pounds, then you can expect to pay twice what a truck with a 3,500-pound capacity would cost to ship.

Car haulers often maximize their loads and the money they can make on a route, but this also might cause your vehicle to require extra space. This increased cost will result.


Shipping cars takes time. It's costly to go out of your way to pick up or drop off a car on the beaten path. If you are shipping a car on a popular route, it will cost less because time equals money. The carrier will not have to drive out of his way to pick up or drop off a vehicle.


The auto-transport industry is similar to other industries in the sense that supply and demand dictate price and pick-up times. One of the most important factors in determining how many cars can be put on one truck at a given time is the number of cars driving in any one direction.

As a result of increased demand, the price of shipping cars rises. If there are very few cars to ship, carriers will not be interested in that route. However, for more lucrative routes or during rush seasons like winter, the price of shipping cars will increase.


If you need to get your car picked up in a hurry, then expedited car shipping is the way to go. The only downside is that it costs 30-40% more than standard car shipping. Expedited car shipping is perfect if you need your vehicle picked up on a specific date. If you are looking for peace of mind, then expedited shipping is for you.

Be sure to get confirmation from the car shipping company you hire that if the expedited dates of delivery are not met by the carrier they hire, you will be refunded, at the very least, the difference of what you paid for expedited versus Standard shipping.


There's a lot that goes into auto transport pricing. The quality of the company and the carrier working on the move, for instance. If you want to get an accurate price estimate, consider the quality of the company and the carrier they hire. A company charging less than average might not be reliable. They may not have equipment or insurance.

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