Customer Reviews

A Breakdown of the Cost of Car Shipping

Posted on 01/14/2019

Jump to:
Why auto transport costs what it does
Distance
Type of vehicle
Fuel prices
Shipping time
Shipping method
Season
Beware of super low prices when shipping your vehicle
Conclusion

the-cost-of-car-shipping

Why auto transport costs what it does

 
When it comes to determining the cost for a product, companies usually just figure out what the product costs them to produce then mark it up, so they can profit. There usually aren’t too many unusual things that factor into the total cost of the product. It’s mainly just the particular company’s overhead cost plus the mark up.
 
However, vehicle transport is different. There are a bunch of different variables that factor into the cost of your auto shipment. The price you end up paying is carefully calculated using all of these different factors.
 
What are the “variables” that affect auto transport prices? Well, the primary ones are:
 

  • Distance
  •  

  • Type of vehicle (make and model)
  •  

  • Fuel prices
  •  

  • Shipping time
  •  

  • Shipping method
  •  

  • Season

Distance

 
Distance is the most obvious factor in the price of shipping your vehicle. Quite simply, the further you need to ship your car, the more it will cost. Keep in mind though that the other variables mentioned above could make a longer distance car shipment less expensive than a shorter one if they all fall into line together (E.g. time is no issue, it’s during the fall, it’s an average sized car and fuel prices are low).
 

Type of vehicle

 
The make and model of the car matters, for the most part, because different vehicles are different sizes. Thus, some cars require additional labor and handling if they’re larger than usual and it will cost extra to ship these larger vehicles.
 

Fuel prices

 
As we all know, fuel prices fluctuate throughout the year. As demand increases for fuel in the summer months, the supply decreases. As a result, the price of fuel increases. That is one thing to consider regarding fuel prices.
 
However, you also need to consider that current global events at any given time can occasionally affect the price of fuel. Remember, about ten years ago, fuel prices in the United States rose to about four dollars and fifty cents during the summer of 2008. This had to do with the turmoil in the middle east at the time as well as the financial crisis the country was facing back then. Car shipping prices rose much higher than normal and it was a direct result of the sky rocketing fuel prices at the time.
 

Shipping time

 
We always advise anyone thinking of shipping their car to plan as far in advance as possible. This way you can avoid the additional cost of an expedited car shipment. You should also plan to be without your vehicle for between one and three weeks depending on how far you are shipping it. When you request any sort of expedited option, your cost will increase considerably.
 

Shipping method

 
Choosing an expedited shipping option, as mentioned above, can also fall under the umbrella of a shipping method. However, when you talk about shipping method with regards to auto transport, it generally means you are talking about things like enclosed transport, top load versus bottom load or air versus ground.
 
When you choose anything other than ground transport on an open-air carrier without a preference for top or bottom load, you will incur an additional fee or series of fees (depending on how many extras you choose). Not all of these fees are equal. For example, choosing to ship your vehicle via air will cost you thousands more than if you ship on the ground. However, if you choose top load over bottom load, it will only cost an extra hundred bucks or so.
 

Season

 
The time of year in which you choose to transport your vehicle will have a moderate effect on your final price as well. The season during which you ship can affect several things which will then have a direct effect on your cost to ship.
 
Carrier availability is one such thing. Depending on when you choose to ship, carriers may be in high demand and that would then drive the cost of shipping up. This generally tends to be the case during the summer months. Also, as mentioned earlier, fuel prices are affected by the time of year that you choose to ship. If fuel prices are higher, your price will also end up being higher.
 

Beware of super low prices when shipping your vehicle

 
You should also be aware of the bait and switch pricing scams. There are a few “fly by night” auto transport companies that will deliberately under-cut the competition by a wide margin, then when you ship with them, they will inform you of “additional fees” once your car is in transit. If you refuse to pay, they will hold your vehicle. It will take time and money with legal action to get your car back. So, when your looking for an auto transport quote you see most companies have about the same price quoted but then you see that one company has a quote for half the price of the next lowest quote – do not book with that company.
 

Conclusion

 
There’s a bunch of different things that will affect the price of shipping a car: Distance of the shipment, the make and model of the car being shipped, the time of the year that you ship it, which method of shipping that you use to ship it, fuel prices during the time at which you ship it, whether or not the car is operable and more.
 
It can be nearly impossible to try and estimate an auto shipping price yourself with all these different things at play. That’s why when you’re interested in getting an estimate for your car shipment, any reputable auto transport company will give you a free quote. These quotes are pretty accurate as well. Sometimes, circumstances may change, and the quote might end up slightly lower than the final price to ship. However, you’ll know this before you pay or have to hand your car over.

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A Breakdown of the Cost of Car Shipping

Posted on 01/14/2019

Jump to:
Why auto transport costs what it does
Distance
Type of vehicle
Fuel prices
Shipping time
Shipping method
Season
Beware of super low prices when shipping your vehicle
Conclusion

the-cost-of-car-shipping

Why auto transport costs what it does

 
When it comes to determining the cost for a product, companies usually just figure out what the product costs them to produce then mark it up, so they can profit. There usually aren’t too many unusual things that factor into the total cost of the product. It’s mainly just the particular company’s overhead cost plus the mark up.
 
However, vehicle transport is different. There are a bunch of different variables that factor into the cost of your auto shipment. The price you end up paying is carefully calculated using all of these different factors.
 
What are the “variables” that affect auto transport prices? Well, the primary ones are:
 

  • Distance
  •  

  • Type of vehicle (make and model)
  •  

  • Fuel prices
  •  

  • Shipping time
  •  

  • Shipping method
  •  

  • Season

Distance

 
Distance is the most obvious factor in the price of shipping your vehicle. Quite simply, the further you need to ship your car, the more it will cost. Keep in mind though that the other variables mentioned above could make a longer distance car shipment less expensive than a shorter one if they all fall into line together (E.g. time is no issue, it’s during the fall, it’s an average sized car and fuel prices are low).
 

Type of vehicle

 
The make and model of the car matters, for the most part, because different vehicles are different sizes. Thus, some cars require additional labor and handling if they’re larger than usual and it will cost extra to ship these larger vehicles.
 

Fuel prices

 
As we all know, fuel prices fluctuate throughout the year. As demand increases for fuel in the summer months, the supply decreases. As a result, the price of fuel increases. That is one thing to consider regarding fuel prices.
 
However, you also need to consider that current global events at any given time can occasionally affect the price of fuel. Remember, about ten years ago, fuel prices in the United States rose to about four dollars and fifty cents during the summer of 2008. This had to do with the turmoil in the middle east at the time as well as the financial crisis the country was facing back then. Car shipping prices rose much higher than normal and it was a direct result of the sky rocketing fuel prices at the time.
 

Shipping time

 
We always advise anyone thinking of shipping their car to plan as far in advance as possible. This way you can avoid the additional cost of an expedited car shipment. You should also plan to be without your vehicle for between one and three weeks depending on how far you are shipping it. When you request any sort of expedited option, your cost will increase considerably.
 

Shipping method

 
Choosing an expedited shipping option, as mentioned above, can also fall under the umbrella of a shipping method. However, when you talk about shipping method with regards to auto transport, it generally means you are talking about things like enclosed transport, top load versus bottom load or air versus ground.
 
When you choose anything other than ground transport on an open-air carrier without a preference for top or bottom load, you will incur an additional fee or series of fees (depending on how many extras you choose). Not all of these fees are equal. For example, choosing to ship your vehicle via air will cost you thousands more than if you ship on the ground. However, if you choose top load over bottom load, it will only cost an extra hundred bucks or so.
 

Season

 
The time of year in which you choose to transport your vehicle will have a moderate effect on your final price as well. The season during which you ship can affect several things which will then have a direct effect on your cost to ship.
 
Carrier availability is one such thing. Depending on when you choose to ship, carriers may be in high demand and that would then drive the cost of shipping up. This generally tends to be the case during the summer months. Also, as mentioned earlier, fuel prices are affected by the time of year that you choose to ship. If fuel prices are higher, your price will also end up being higher.
 

Beware of super low prices when shipping your vehicle

 
You should also be aware of the bait and switch pricing scams. There are a few “fly by night” auto transport companies that will deliberately under-cut the competition by a wide margin, then when you ship with them, they will inform you of “additional fees” once your car is in transit. If you refuse to pay, they will hold your vehicle. It will take time and money with legal action to get your car back. So, when your looking for an auto transport quote you see most companies have about the same price quoted but then you see that one company has a quote for half the price of the next lowest quote – do not book with that company.
 

Conclusion

 
There’s a bunch of different things that will affect the price of shipping a car: Distance of the shipment, the make and model of the car being shipped, the time of the year that you ship it, which method of shipping that you use to ship it, fuel prices during the time at which you ship it, whether or not the car is operable and more.
 
It can be nearly impossible to try and estimate an auto shipping price yourself with all these different things at play. That’s why when you’re interested in getting an estimate for your car shipment, any reputable auto transport company will give you a free quote. These quotes are pretty accurate as well. Sometimes, circumstances may change, and the quote might end up slightly lower than the final price to ship. However, you’ll know this before you pay or have to hand your car over.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the vehicle shipping process.


When determining your car shipping cost, there are a few factors that we take into account in order to provide you with an accurate price quote. The mileage between the origin and destination is the biggest factor that contributes to your total rate. In addition to the distance of your relocation, another factor is the type and condition of the vehicle being shipped. The final factor is the date that your vehicle will be ready for transport. There are also additional options, such as enclosed carrier and top-load service that can be added to your shipment at the time of booking for a higher level of service. Read more about how much it costs to ship a car.

To get a quote for shipping your vehicle, you can either use our instant online car shipping quote calculator or you can call (888) 422-7584 to receive a quote from one of our car transport pricing specialists. In order for us to calculate your quote we will need to know the location you are shipping from and to, the type of vehicle you would like to ship, and the date your vehicle will be ready.

The transit time for your shipment is based mostly on the mileage between the pickup and delivery location. Generally, every five hundred miles will add one day to the transit time - so for a 1,000 mile transport, the transit time would be 2-3 days. Check out our estimated transit times for a detailed view of approximate delivery times.

Yes, online tracking is available to you 24 hours a day and is updated in real time. Upon scheduling your shipment, you will receive a unique booking number that will allow you to track the status of your shipment online. Your tracking portal will also give you the ability to live chat with a shipping agent that can answer any questions you may have regarding the status of your shipment.

All shipments include basic liability coverage during transit. Comprehensive insurance options are available for an elevated level of shipment coverage during transit. You will be able to select a level of coverage during the booking process. If you have further questions regarding insurance options give us a call.

We accept all major credit cards, electronic transfer, postal money order, and bank/certified check for the deposit or full pre-payment of your shipment. If a balance is due upon delivery, it can be paid directly to the driver and can be paid in either cash, bank/certified check, or postal money order.

Yes, there must be someone present to release and accept the vehicle, provide keys to the driver and sign the initial and final inspection reports. This person can be anyone over the age of 18 that you trust with releasing or accepting your vehicle.

You may transport personal belongings in your car, as long as their total weight does not exceed 100 pounds and they are stored in the trunk or back seat (below the window line). Please keep in mind that personal belongings are not covered by insurance if they are reported as damaged or missing.

To get a quote for shipping your vehicle, you can either use our instant online car shipping quote calculator above or you can call (888) 422-7584 to receive a quote from one of our car transport pricing specialists. In order for us to calculate your quote we will need to know the location you are shipping from and to, the type of vehicle you would like to ship, and the date your vehicle will be ready.

The further in advance you schedule your shipment, the more likely we will be able to meet the time requirements you desire. For best results, we suggest scheduling your transport at least 2 to 3 weeks in advance. Expedited shipping options are available in order to accomodate shipments that require . You can always give us a call and ask one of our car shipping experts what your options are in terms of the schedule for your car transport.

The driver will get the car transporter as close to your door as he can legally and safely get. In most cases, the driver will be able to pickup and deliver directly at your door. Some cities may have restrictions on large trucks that prohibit them from driving into residential areas. Auto transport trucks are large and need lots of room to maneuver and turn around, so if access to the pickup or delivery location is restricted by narrow streets, low-hanging trees or tight turns, the driver may ask that you meet at a location nearby with a large parking lot, such as a grocery store.

Open transport is the most common car shipping method. There are two types of open-air transporters. The Majority of shipments are be made with 8-10 car carriers. Smaller carriers which hold 2-3 cars are used for shorter more local moves. There is broader network of carrier availability for open-air carriers since they are used more often. We suggest choosing enclosed shipping methods when shipping classic, luxury or exotic vehicles. Enclosed transporters guarantee maximum protection from exposure to any open-air elements on the road. We suggest booking your enclosed transport in advance since there is limited carrier availability. Read more about the difference between open and enclosed transport

RoadRunner Auto Transport specializes in shipping all types of vehicles such as sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans, oversized vehicles, antiques, classic cars, motorcycles, construction vehicles, inoperable cars and boats. If you are not sure whether or not we can ship your vehicle, you can give us a call to find out what we can do for you.

You should have about a quarter of a tank of gas in your car at the time of shipment. This leaves enough for the car to be loaded and unloaded but doesn't add much additional weight.

The Bill of Lading is a very important document used by car shipping companies that documents any pre-existing damage on the vehicle during the time of pickup. It also serves as a record of your contact info and the official agreement for transport. If you want to file any insurance claim regarding your shipment you will need the Bill of Lading.

Top load service is when your car is placed on the higher deck or level of an open auto transport trailer. This is considered to be preferable to the bottom load because the cars on the lower deck are at risk of possibly having fluid from the cars above leak on them.

Make sure your car has been completely cleaned, both inside and outside. This is particularly important because this will help the driver conduct their inspection in order to assess any pre-existing damage on your vehicle. You will also want to make there are no additional personal items in the vehicle unless you intend to ship those with the vehicle (remember those items must total less than 100 pounds combined and be kept below the window-line of the vehicle). Be sure to inform the driver of any special circumstances concerning the vehicle. Finally, make sure there is a quarter tank of gas in the car at the time it is picked up for shipment. Visit our car shipping checklist to make sure you are prepared for your vehicle shipment.

Yes, we can ship vehicles that are in non-running/inoperable condition. When inoperable cars are shipped, a special auto carrier is required that makes use of a winch which is connected to your car and slowly and safely pulls your vehicle onto the carrier. There is an additional fee for inpoerable vehicles because of the special equipment and extra work involved with securing the vehicle onto the transporter. You can select the inoperable option on the online booking form or inform your shipping agent if you make your reservation by phone so that the proper arrangements can be made to accomodate a non-running vehicle.

We offer open car shipping and enclosed car shipping services. Open car shipping is used much more frequently and is the type of auto transport that you see on the highway where carriers are hauling vehicles on two decks that are exposed. Enclosed car shipping is when your vehicle is shipped in a trailer which has walls and a roof, they look like a larger version of a regular eighteen-wheeler. This method is recommended for luxury, exotic or classic cars.

Door-to-door car transport is the full service delivery of your vehicle directly from the door at the pickup location to the door at the delivery location. Our drivers do their best to get as close as physically and legally possible to the pickup and delivery locations, but in certain instances there may be restrictions preventing them from being able to safely reach your door. Our transporters need ample space to maneuver and load/unload your vehicle. If your street is too narrow, or if there are hazards such as low lining trees or power lines, drivers may ask that you meet them at a location nearby where they can safely load or unload your vehicle, such as a large parking lot or shopping center nearby.