6 Common Questions About The Car Shipping Process

Shipping your car to your far away winter escape can be a simple and fruitful experience.

It’s that dreary time of the year again, and all you want is for summer to return. What better way to escape the tyranny of winter than to move somewhere warm — somewhere like Florida — if not just for a while?

While that may sound like a great idea, simply picking up and moving to a new city is not an option for most people. Some thought and planning need to go into it, especially if there is a car you want to bring along. 

So, how do you get your car to a faraway place if driving is not an option? Ship it!

In this article, we answer the most-commonly asked questions about the car shipping process so that you have a better understanding of how people who move down south for the winter ship their cars.

How Long Does It Take To Transport a Car?

Yea, I know — the sooner you get your car, the better. The first thing people usually want to know is how long the car transport process takes.

The good news is that it doesn’t take as long as you probably thought. The turnaround time for distances under 1,000 miles is estimated at 2-3 days, not including the 1-3 or 3-5-day window needed to pick up the car.

If the destination is 1,000-1,750 miles away from the pickup point, the process can take 4-6 days. 

Expect 7-10 days for 1,750-2,500-mile-long trips, while anything longer than 2,500 miles can take anywhere from 10 to 14 days.

Open Car Transport or Enclosed Auto Transport?

How a vehicle is transported is one of the biggest cost variables in the shipping process, and certainly one requiring much thought.

Of all the car transport variables that must be considered, choosing whether to go with open car transport or enclosed transport will be your biggest decision.

Of the two, going with an open transport carrier will be your cheapest bet. However, realize that because the carrier has no cover, your vehicle will be exposed to weather conditions and debris while on route. 

Enclosed auto transport car carriers are more expensive but protect your vehicle from the elements. This option is ideal for anyone looking to ship an exotic car, a classic car, or any other high-value vehicle.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car?

In addition to the method of transport, other variables that determine the overall cost of shipping a car include location, vehicle size, and time of year.

Where are you located, and where are you going? There is a higher demand to transport vehicles between major cities, so you will end up paying a bit more if the transport carrier has to incur extra cost in fuel to load your car in a smaller remote town.

With vehicle size, the bigger or heavier the vehicle is, the more space it takes up in the transport carrier and the more weight it adds, making it more expensive to ship.

It probably wouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s usually people most affected by the winter and summer months that ship their cars. 

Number 1 Auto Transport, a car shipping company that handles many Florida car transports, told us, as the winter season nears (Sep-Nov), there are ten times as many cars transported from the North to the South or East to West than the reverse.  

This increase in demand during those months raises the price.

When Do I Pay for The Car Shipping Service?

The car shipping industry offers many different payment options. For most individual customers, a small percentage of the total amount is usually charged via debit/credit card once the vehicle has been loaded onto the car transport carrier, with the remaining balance due once it has been delivered.

For dealerships and other corporate accounts, an invoice is submitted once the car has been delivered, and payment can be submitted by check, ACH-wire, or credit card.

Should I Prepare my Car for the Auto Transport Process?

It is advised that you clean your car before shipping, seeing has having a clean car makes it easier to spot chips, dents, scratches and other cosmetic damage.

Also try to have no more than a quarter of gas in the tank to cut weight, and remove any toll tags from your car or windshield. 

You don’t want to risk having your tag charged when the car passes the tolls when being shipped.

What Should I Do When the Car Transport Carrier Arrives?

When the car transport carrier arrives to pick up your car, inspect the vehicle together with the driver. He or she will mark any damages he might see on the inspection report. 

You should also take pictures of the car to document its condition before it is carried away.

Once the vehicle arrives at its destination, you and the driver should perform the same inspection process that you did at the pickup location. 

Any damage that is detected should be marked on the inspection report, which is the only proof that can be submitted for an insurance claim.