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Should You Drive or Ship a Car? 2 years ago

If you’re preparing for a long-distance move, one of your decisions could be whether to drive or ship a car you own to your new home. Each method has pros and cons, but one may work better for your situation. Before you make your decision, get the facts on what goes into long-distance car transport.

Although driving your car may be an option for your move, using a car transport service can make the moving process much easier. If you choose to ship your car, Sherpa Auto Transport is a great option and can connect you with the right auto shipping carrier for your needs.

In This Review:

Drive or Ship a Car: Pros and Cons

There are many factors to consider when you’re choosing between driving or shipping your car. Depending on the distance, the physical and financial costs of driving can prove to be more hassle than the cost of hiring an auto shipping company.

Car breakdowns, hotel stays, and gas prices can greatly affect the cost and experience of driving your car to your new destination. A long-distance drive also adds mileage and wear and tear to your car. Shipping your vehicle can help you avoid all the added stressors and ensure your car arrives safely.

However, you still might be more interested in driving your car rather than shipping it. Keep the following pros and cons in mind as you make your decision.

Pros and Cons to Driving Your Car

  • You set the pace
  • Can be a fun road trip
  • Allows you to move personal items in the car
  • Fuel costs and other expenses, such as hotels
  • Takes more of your time and energy
  • Adds mileage and wear and tear

Shipping your vehicle brings a different set of factors to consider.

Pros and Cons of Shipping Your Car

  • No added wear and tear or mileage
  • Convenient and saves time
  • Pay only for shipping costs
  • Options such as enclosed shipping can be expensive
  • Pickup and delivery dates are estimates
  • Limited to 100 lbs of personal items stored in the vehicle

What to Know About Car Shipping

Whether you’ve got a cross-country move or a shorter journey to a new home, shipping your car is a great way to simplify a potentially stressful situation. Knowing your vehicle will be well taken care of and won’t rack up more mileage can bring peace of mind.

If you choose to drive your car, you’ll have to consider the factors that come with driving long distances, which may be less predictable. Gas prices, food costs, and possible hotel stays could be expenses during your journey. Also think about how your car would hold up and the mileage you’d add.

However, if you choose to ship your car, there could be other things you’ve never dealt with before. It’s important to understand the car shipping process before you make your decision. That way, you’re fully informed of how auto transport works and what to expect.

The Car Shipping Experience

The first step in the auto shipping process is to get a free quote. By getting car shipping quotes online, you can see what you’ll likely pay for your shipment and compare prices.

Once you choose a car shipping company or a broker connects you with an auto transport carrier, you’ll arrange a pickup time and location. After a full inspection of the vehicle, including photos of all sides and the roof, your car will be loaded onto a transport trailer. It’s also a good idea to take a picture of the odometer showing current mileage.

Depending on the car shipping company you work with, you may be able to track your vehicle throughout its journey. You’ll have other contact information to stay in the loop if tracking isn’t available. As your car nears its destination, the company will contact you to set up a drop-off time and location. After a final inspection and signing of a bill of lading, you’re all set.

Car Shipping Services

There are two types of delivery when it comes to auto transport services. Your selection will be based on your budget and flexibility and the auto shipper you choose.

  • Door-to-door shipping: Door-to-door service is usually the best shipping option if you’re moving from one home to another. Door-to-door transport means your car is picked up from and then dropped off as close to each address as possible.
  • Terminal-to-terminal shipping: This is your best option for cheap car shipping and involves pickup and drop-off at predetermined locations. This method requires flexibility in getting to the drop-off point.

When you choose Sherpa Auto Transport, you’ll have door-to-door shipping for your convenience.

Types of Auto Transport

You also have two options for how your vehicle is shipped. Your budget will determine your choice here, but you’ll also need to consider how much protection you want from road debris and bad weather.

  • Open auto transport: This is the most common and cost-effective way to ship your vehicle. Your car will be exposed to road hazards and adverse weather conditions, but open shipping is the fastest option.
  • Enclosed auto transport: Shipping your vehicle in an enclosed carrier is preferred if you have a luxury or classic car. This method takes longer since there aren’t as many enclosed trailers available, but it offers extra protection from the elements.

What to Look for in a Car Shipping Company

The first thing you should look for when choosing an auto transport company is experience. Connect with a carrier that has expertise in a variety of transport methods. It’s also important to find a company that offers:

  • Low rates
  • Locked-in quotes
  • A proven track record of safety
  • Positive customer reviews
  • Registration with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Typical Car Shipping Costs

Car shipping rates can vary significantly. The distance, your car’s size, the time of year, and several other factors will determine the price you pay. Here are Sherpa Auto Transport’s price ranges for open carrier vehicle transport of an operable vehicle.

Shipment Mileage Price per Mile
0 to 500 miles $1.32 to $2.75
501 to 1,000 miles $0.88 to $1.55
1,001 to 1,500 miles $0.70 to $1.23
1,501 to 2,000 miles $0.60 to $1
2,001 to 2,500 miles $0.53 to $0.84
2,500+ miles $0.48 to $0.74

Popular Auto Transport Routes

Sometimes, seeing routes gives you a better idea of how your shipment might compare. Here are some popular car transport routes and the price ranges for them. Your price could vary depending on shipment details and market conditions.

Route Price per Mile
New York City to Los Angeles $0.56 to $0.72
New York City to Miami $0.98 to $1.20
Los Angeles to Miami $0.48 to $0.66
Los Angeles to New York City $0.48 to $0.71
Miami to New York City $0.65 to $1.20
Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles $0.49 to $0.69
Chicago to Los Angeles $0.61 to $0.88
New York City to Houston $0.80 to $1
Los Angeles to Atlanta $0.48 to $0.74
Chicago to Phoenix $0.68 to $0.92

Enclosed auto transport, transporting an inoperable vehicle, and other details will likely make your shipment more expensive than the rates shown here.

Why You Should Choose Sherpa Auto Transport

Sherpa Auto Transport is a great resource for your car shipping needs. With accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and an A+ rating from the organization, we have a solid reputation in the industry. Customers on the BBB also give us an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.

Locked-in Quotes

Our Price Lock Promise ensures the price our team quotes you is the price you’ll pay for your shipment. If the original quote is too low to secure a carrier, we’ll contribute up to $300 to make up the difference.

Clean Car Guarantee

If your car arrives dirty after a shipment with us, we’ll reimburse you up to $20 for your car wash. All you need to do is mail us the receipt for your car wash, along with your bill of lading.

A Network of Top-Notch Carriers

We’ve built and maintained a trusted network of elite auto transport partners. Our vetting process doesn’t end with one job. We continually evaluate carriers to make sure they live up to our high standards.

Drive or Ship a Car FAQs

Should I drive my car or have it shipped?

With fuel costs and other expenses, you may find that driving your car is no cheaper than having it shipped. Shipping your vehicle also comes with greater security and protection from the elements, especially if you opt for enclosed car transport.

Can I fill my car when I ship it?

Sherpa allows up to 100 lbs of personal items stored in the trunk area of the vehicle and stowed below the window line. Note that Sherpa is not responsibile for items left in the vehicle during transport.

How long does it take to ship a car?

Depending on the distance, you can expect your shipment to take seven to 10 days. If you’re making a cross-country trip, it could take two weeks or slightly longer to receive your car. Weather conditions and road hazards could affect the timeline as well.