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How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car? | Sherpa Auto Transport 3 months ago

You’ve decided to transport your vehicle, so now you’re wondering how long does it take to ship a car. This guide will provide insights on the car shipping process and help you understand how long it takes to ship a car.

Key Takeaways

  • In general, car shipping can take anywhere from one day for short trips to a week or longer for cross-country shipments. Ocean transport and specialized vehicle shipments will add on more time.
  • When you receive a quote from Sherpa, we provide estimated transit times based on the mileage of your shipment and your selected pickup window.
  • Once a carrier is assigned to your shipment, you will be provided with a narrower estimated window for both pickup and delivery.
  • For customers in a hurry, you can opt for an expedited pickup window. 

What Affects Car Shipping Timeframe?

While a number of factors can impact how long it takes to ship a car, here are the main ones:

Car Shipping Route

The longer the distance between your pickup and drop-off locations, the longer your vehicle will take to arrive. Shipments up to 500 miles may only take a day or two, but a cross-country transport could take over a week. Shipping to Alaska or Hawaii can take three weeks or more due to the sailing schedules of the ships.

In addition, rural locations for pickup or drop-off may increase transit time as it can be more challenging to access the specific area.

Pickup Window

Your specified pickup window will influence the timeframe of your vehicle transport. Our standard pickup timeframe is a five business day window. We also offer expedited pickup windows for our customers in a hurry, with two business day and three business day windows available for an upcharge.

Type of Vehicle

Larger and specialty vehicles, such as motorcycles, RVs, ATVs, and farm equipment, take longer to transport. Sherpa Auto Transport ships cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and motorcycles

If you have a classic car or luxury vehicle, consider enclosed auto transport for peace of mind. Enclosed trailers can only fit one or two vehicles, though, so the shipment could take extra time.

Time of Year

Bad weather conditions can slow a transport vehicle down significantly. If, for instance, the car hauler is driving through a part of the country that experiences heavy snowfall in the winter, roads could become impassable, adding significant time to the shipment.

Additionally, demand for shipping increases significantly in January and during the summer, so finding a carrier to ship your vehicle may take longer during those times of year.

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How to Ship Your Car Faster

Plan Ahead of Time

We suggest receiving a quote and booking your shipment as soon as you think you may need car shipping services. By locking in your shipment early, our team has advance notice in securing a reputable carrier to meet your pickup window. 

Expedited Pickup Window

While its most cost-effective to select our standard five business day window for pickup, offer expedited pickup windows for customers that are in need of a quicker vehicle shipment. Keep in mind that expected pickup windows do require an additional charge.

Choose Open Transport

Most customers opt for an open trailer for their auto transport. These are the large, open-air trailers you may be used to seeing on the highway. We suggest opting for an open trailer for your vehicle shipment since there are more carriers available for this type of shipment as opposed to enclosed trailers.

Speak to an Expert

If your shipping timeframe is key, it helps to be flexible on other aspects of your shipment. For example, are you willing to pay a bit extra for our expedited pickup window? Are you able to meet the carrier at an easier pickup or delivery location? Our auto transport experts can provide suggestions and a customized solution to best meet your vehicle shipment priorities.

How Does Car Shipping Work?

It typically takes between one and ten days to ship a car, but the length of time depends on a few things. To figure out how long it could take to ship your car, you should first be familiar with the car shipping process. We’ve broken it down step by step below.

Get A Free Quote

Before getting a quote from Sherpa, you should consider:

  • Your vehicle’s year, make, model and operability
  • Desired pickup window
  • Preferred pickup location and drop-off location
  • Preferred transport type (open vs. enclosed transport)
  • Your name and contact information

To get a free quote from Sherpa, you can either use our online instant quote tool or call us to speak to an auto transport expert. All of Sherpa’s quotes are backed by our Price Lock Promise, ensuring that the price you’re quoted is the final price you’ll pay.

Lock in Your Vehicle Shipment

Once you’ve received and reviewed your Sherpa quote, you can book your auto transport online in the matter of minutes. You are not charged anything at the time of booking. Instead you’ll make an initial payment once we secure a carrier for your transport. Once your shipment is complete, you’ll pay the remaining balance in full to the carrier.

For customers who opt to pay for their shipment in full by credit or debit card, the total shipment price will be charged at the time that we secure a carrier for your transport.

Prepare Your Vehicle

Once your pickup date is confirmed, you’ll prepare your car for shipment. Here are the steps you need to take to make sure your vehicle is ready:

  • Inspect your vehicle for dings, scratches, and dents.
  • Limit personal items to 100 lbs or less, stored in the vehicle’s trunk or below the window line.
  • Top off all fluids and make sure your car battery has charge.
  • Reduce your gas tank (tank should be no more than a quarter full).
  • Remove any loose parts (antenna, spoiler, hood ornament) and EZ Pass / toll collectors.
  • Ensure you have a set of keys to provide to the carrier.

See our vehicle preparation guide for additional recommendations.

Track Your Shipment

Sherpa provides frequent and proactive updates on the status of your shipment. In addition, you will be provided with the direct contact information for the driver or contracted carrier company for seamless communication during transit.

Vehicle Delivery

Sherpa’s services are door-to-door, which means the assigned carrier will deliver your vehicle as close to the specific address as possible. At the time of delivery, you or someone else 18 years or older will need to inspect the vehicle again for any damage that may have happened during transit. You’ll then sign a Bill of Lading and pay the carrier the remaining balance in the form of cash or certified check.

Why You Should Choose Sherpa Auto Transport

Sherpa Auto Transport is a leader in the auto transport industry. Our company specializes in shipping standard vehicles, as well as high-end and exotic cars. We offer door-to-door delivery, open and enclosed auto transport, and frequent updates on the status of your shipment.

Here are just a few reasons why you can trust us with your vehicle shipment.

Price Lock Promise

Through our exclusive Price Lock Promise, Sherpa locks in the price you’re quoted as the final price you pay for an auto transport. If the quoted price isn’t enough to secure a carrier for your job, we’ll cover up to $300 of the difference to ensure your shipment is locked in. With our Price Lock Promise, you never need to worry about bait-and-switch pricing since your quoted amount is locked in.

Our Reviews and Reputation

We measure our success based on the feedback we receive from our customers. We’ve received thousands of five-star customer reviews and boast a 4.9 out of 5 Total Review Score, a summation of feedback across the leading consumer review sites.

We’re proud to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and hold an A+ rating from the organization, the highest possible distinction. In addition, we are recognized as a leading car shipping company by experts at Forbes, US News, and USA Today.

How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car FAQs

How long does it take to ship a car 2,000 miles?

In general, shipments of distances between 500 and 2,000 miles can take between two and seven days. You can expect car shipments of 500 miles or less to take a day or two.

How long does it take to transport a car across the country?

It can take around seven to ten days to transport a car across the country. The amount of time it takes to ship a car depends on several factors, including road conditions, the type of vehicle being shipped, and what weather conditions the carrier encounters along the way.

How long does it take to ship a car from the East Coast to the West Coast?

It takes around seven to ten days to ship a car from the East Coast to the West Coast. This can vary depending on things such as the route the auto transport carrier takes and whether you choose open or enclosed transport.