The Cheapest Way to Ship a Car

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The Quick Answer: The cheapest way to ship a car state to state, across the country, or even locally (over 400-500 miles) is with an open carrier and dealing with a real car transport company. It is fast, safe, and saves the most money. Open carriers are readily available everywhere, as a result it makes them not only the least expensive, but the fastest available. Transport brokers have access to multiple carriers which speeds up the process.

Cheap Car Shipping for 2022

Everyone wants cheap car shipping, however making price your only objective can lead to serious problems down the line. The concern is that in the car shipping industry, you will find that there is much you have to be aware of when hiring car shipping company.

Whether you're moving your vehicle across town or cross country, whether you're a business or a individual person, we've prepared ways to help you save money when transporting your vehicle while not sacrificing the outcome. We've compiled some ideas for finding the cheapest way to ship a car regardless of where it's coming from and going to, your specific situation, and your budget plan.

carrier full of cars on a road
Open Carrier Filled with Vehicles

Is Shipping Cheaper than to Drive a Car?

If you are traveling only a short distance, driving your car is always less expensive than shipping it if your route is less than 400-500 miles. Looking at in the prospective of time and money, you can cover a 400 mile drop miles in around 6 hours. Your fuel and food expenses will be minimal, and you won't have to pay for lodging because you get there the same day. Start by getting an instant quote to see where you stand.

That changes however if you are trying to move multiple vehicles or an inoperable (non running) vehicle or if you need to add a food and hotel budget for a longer trip.

What is the Cheapest Way to Ship a Car?

Most importantly, moving your car direct with an auto transport company and not getting bids from a lead farming site goes a long way. It helps when electing open transport is the cheapest way to ship car. You may either hire a car shipping company to carry out the task for you or do it yourself. Doing it yourself depends on various factors.

How Can I know if Driving is Cheaper for Me?

You may not be sure if picking from car shipping companies to get your car home. There's an easy seven question checklist you can go by to determine if driving will be the cheaper of the two options or if you will pay extra (or rather pay) to have it shipped:

  1. How much will fuel cost?
  2. How much will lodging cost?
  3. What is my time worth to me?
  4. Do I feel safe driving long distance?
  5. Am I ok with driving on long desolate roads? (long distance)
  6. Will my car make it safely to the delivery location?
  7. Do I feel safe renting a car shipping trailer to pull my vehicle? (usually inop)

Is Open Auto Transport Cheaper than Enclosed Auto Transport?

The price of car transportation varies based on the method you use to transport your vehicle. With auto transport companies, there are two primary methods to ship a vehicle: an open-air trailer or an enclosed trailer. Open-air car transport is the least expensive of the two. That's why it's the best choice for cheap car shipping. They account for nearly 90% of the auto shipment business. You have a greater chance to find an open carrier car shipping immediately and at the lowest possible price. Enclosed trailers are naturally more expensive because the are sealed off from the outside world. They are however ideal for project cars that aren't ready to be exposed to the elements, high value vehicles, classic cars, a luxury car, exotic cars, and more. The shipping price will differ but may be well worth it if you require enclosed transport.

Is Open Carrier the Best Fit For Your Vehicle?

Open carrier is best for most vehicles that are what you would call daily drivers from the 2 different auto transport options. These vehicles see rain and are exposed to the elements on a regular basis. The same thing happens on an open carrier. Your vehicle may come to you with some dust, etc. However, is your car is garage kept 24/7, a classic car, put away in the winter, or does not see any kind of unfavorable weather? Then you might consider the more expensive option.

Also, when dealing with modified vehicles, some won't load property on a regular open carrier. If your vehicle is over 7 feet tall, 8 feet wide, and otherwise oversized they need a special kind of open carrier.

My Vehicle Doesn't Run is this OK?

Yes, as mentioned before we do take inoperable vehicles and salvage vehicles. It doesn't matter what the condition it is as long as they either roll and steer without anything holding the wheels from moving or there is loading / unloading assistance with either a fork lift or tow truck on site at each end. Carriers do not drag cars on to their trailers or carry boom / crane or forklift. You still benefit from door to door service.

How to Get Cheap Car Shipping When Using a Car Transport Company

Get More than One Quote

Getting multiple quotes from various reputable companies is key when it comes to being able to find cheap car shipping. Instead of just choosing the cheapest car shipping company, do some research. Selecting the wrong company can become costly when moving especially with something like moving a car cross country. It's really the easiest way to gauge pricing and helps you avoid bargain deals that leave high and dry. Prices should be close to each other, usually within $100-200 with reputable transporters. Whether you contact auto transport brokers or carriers to ship a car, you can do so directly for their rates, getting at least 2-3 prices to go by.

Be Flexible with Time and Locations

If the locations for the pickup and the delivery are in outlying areas that are difficult to access or away form major cities where there are many more carriers looking for vehicles, you'll pay more to transport your car as drivers pick the vehicles they ship based on what rate is being paid and the distance to other vehicles. So, for example if your car is far upstate in New York, yet there are dozens of cars near Long Island, then the carrier needs to be paid more to go the extra distance and also to travel away from the pool of easily available vehicles. Imagine going to the furthest grocery store for one item, instead of going to store next door for your whole shopping list.

Not being restrained by a specific timeline is also great for getting a great rate. If you are willing, you can request to lower shipping cost by using a standby rate. This means your pick up will vary depending on when prices come down in your area and a qualified carrier will likely request the vehicle. When that is depends on the area and how long customer are willing to pay the higher rate you don't agree with. Keep in mind even working with the best car shipping companies will not let you avoid paying the fair market price.

Use an Auto Transport Broker For Pricing and Fastest Pickup

The great thing about auto transport brokers is that they can tap into thousands of carriers across a vast network of thousands of independent carriers. They usually are the majority of cheap car shipping companies. They are the most see auto shipper online. Working with brokers can be the cheapest way to ship a car, but pick who you work with using a great deal of caution.

There are unfortunately various brokers that make it commonplace to bring you in with a lower than possible price and then request additional money from you because they could not get a driver to agree to that price. Al though they appear to be the cheapest car shipping companies, know that the cost is up to the carrier pickup up the vehicle. Even if a carrier can be found for such a low rate, it may take a great deal of time or you may wind up dealing with a car carrier company that will easily cancel as quickly as they booked it. Additionally, they may do a horrible job. Rates for car transport will vary depending on mileage, vehicle size, vehicle weight, the route, and fuel rates.

Is Terminal to Terminal Still Available?

This is listed on many auto transport company's list of options and would normally be even cheaper depending on your location. However, terminal to terminal shipping has really become hard to find. Brokering has taken over nearly all of the auto shipping business, and carriers picking loads from brokers don't keep want to keep vehicles, usually. It takes a good amount of extra work for a broker to find a carrier in either location that has a yard they actually use for customer cars. Additionally it is even less likely a carrier would have a yard at your destination as well. That means storage would need to be added to the price and that alone will make it more expensive than door to door transport. You may however have luck by hiring a carrier directly if you can find one. Also, keeping personal items at terminals is also risky if choosing to put any in your vehicle using this shipping method.

Can I Hire a Carrier Directly?

You can absolutely hire a car shipping carrier directly. Finding an open carrier directly can be the cheapest car shipping option. Unfortunately it does take a lot of time, research, and patience. This can be for shipping a car cross country as well as state to state. Not only that, in searching online you will always run into brokers because the most popular shipping sites will be broker sites.

In fact, car carriers won't have even a website or a phone number listed anywhere. They do not want to deal with the sales portion of the business but just the car shipping portion because they simply don't have to. With a broker, the work has been done for them and they have a vehicle that is sitting on a marketplace like Central Dispatch for which they can take the vehicle with just a click.

We also will say that a carrier can also not be cheaper directly because of situations with brokers. In some cases, carriers will try to make more money because the customer believes they are paying for something superior. That is a concept to keep in mind!.

Key Benefits of Using Open Car Carriers

They Are Easily Available On The Most Routes

Open Air Carriers are everywhere. There are nearly 18,000 open carriers nationwide. There is little chance you have not seen them. They have the cheapest car shipping costs in the auto transport industry. They are on the highway and at nearly every rest stop or at a dealer to load vehicles. Because of the capacity and versatility of this type of auto transport service, they are the most common.

Competitively and Affordably Priced

Because they the most common of the available car shipping services, they can carry a large number of vehicles at a time and that makes the business competitive. The vehicles onboard divide the cost of what the carrier expects to earn as well as the fuel prices to get the vehicles there as well. Typically, open carriers can take as many as 8-10 vehicles at a time but the exact number depends on the kind of the vehicles and the length of the route. They are the choice of cheap car shipping companies for these reasons and also because they:

Ship Door to Door

Since these carriers are versatile and convenient and since they usually are stationed in one location, they can deliver vehicles with door to door shipping. This can be to your home or even business location as long as the car shipping trailer can fit on your street.

Are Fully Insured

Insurance coverage is mandatory for all auto carriers in the country. The Motor Carrier Division of the Department of Transportation regulates the auto shipment sector in the country. It makes it necessary for auto carrier companies to buy insurance coverage of a minimum $250,000 for the vehicles they transport and $750,000 for liability insurance coverage. The insurance company takes claims made off the Bill of Lading only. So always make sure if damage is there, it must be signed off by the truck driver.

Low Cost and Good Service Can Mix if it's The Right Auto Transport Company

We go over picking the right auto transport company in detail. But in summary, before you even get into picking from the prices you received, know that, reviews and reputation is key. A legitimate shipper has insurance, is licensed, and is at least BBB Accredited. You have a lot to pick from whet comes to car shipping options, all with door to door delivery.

Be careful with that amazing deal. Their agreement may leave room for hidden fees and their service could be lackluster to say the least. You will most likely go way past your planned delivery date. You may see delays in getting picked up or see your car shipped at all.

It's important that you find the company, not that they found you. If they called you from some marketing list, it's usually a sign of trouble. You may have noticed that this industry can have intrusive marketing that uses unwanted calls and texts.

We think it's critical to be honest and upfront about anything we do. If all you care about is the overall cost to ship a car, we are not the cheapest way to ship a car because we will not cut corners to offer a low quality service.

Why National Express is Your Source for Cheap Car Shipping

If all you care about is the overall cost to ship your vehicle, we are not the cheapest way to ship a car because we will not cut corners only to offer a low quality service.

There's a lot of logic behind our philosophy, since we charge for our services in a way that ensures vehicles are picked up and delivered safely and quickly, with excellent customer service. We don't take weeks to pickup and deliver your vehicle or stop returning your calls when you hire us. Our goal is to make the entire shipping process easy and convenient. Use our car shipping calculator to get a price instantly 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It's paramount to have regular communication, honest and reliable customer service, as well as the expertise to know what it takes to ship a car. It's a lot of work to try to save money by either driving or searching for a carrier willing to work with you directly. In many cases, you will have a hard time knowing what to look for in a carrier. That's where we come in.

Don't just take our word for it; read some of our other reviews on Google, Angie, the Better Business Bureau, and TransportReviews.com to see what others have said about us. We provide prompt pick up and delivery with our quick door-to-door transportation, full and totally open communication throughout the journey, and of course the cheapest possible price to get your vehicle shipped, reliably.