How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car?


Auto Transport usually takes 1-7 days from the day the vehicle is loaded on the trailer to when it arrives at its destination. The first available shipping date (ready date) is 1-3 days, or up to 5 days for last minute. We offer expedited car shipping for vehicles needing pickup in 24 hours or less.   

six car carrier pulled by a dually

From Your Order Date to Loading (Pick Up)


If you are looking at our standard rates, it’s 1-3 days from the first day we can come get the vehicle or up to 5 days when booked at the last minute. Once your vehicle is scheduled for pickup we recommend a 24 hour window (1 day +/-). This will help account for delays or if they are early.

If you need your vehicle picked up within 24 hours, we recommend going with our expedited service options. Please note this will get you a faster pickup, but travel times are based on limits by the DOT, so the vehicle will not arrive faster in most cases. See below.


Once Your Vehicle is Loaded (Vehicle Picked Up)


The distance of your shipping will determine the timeframe.  Here’s a simple breakdown:


Miles to/fromDays Until Delivery
0-3001 Day
301-5001-2 Days
501-10002-3 Days
1001-15003-4 Days
1501-20004-6 Days
2001-25006-8 Days
2501+7-10 Days


Carriers have limits on how long they can drive without a required break. They can drive up to 14 hours and are then required to rest 10.  If driving for 7 days, they must take a 34 hour break before getting on with their route. Carriers can travel 300-500 miles a day hauling vehicles. The exception is team drivers (1 truck, two drivers), but this is not typical.


Is the Length of Time It Will Take Guaranteed?


In most cases the length of time is reliable. But it is important to note that something as simple as a road closure or tire replacement can add time. Then there’s traffic, time of year, and bad weather. Combine these together and you have delays. These are in many cases completely unavoidable. It is always a good idea to be ready and give yourself extra time for the unexpected.


How Can I Make Sure it Doesn’t Take Longer Than it Has To?


Plan ahead. Most auto shipping is last minute. Meaning, a carrier that is coming to your area will organize to pick up vehicles just a couple of days before arriving. This is so to take advantage of what is available at the moment they are getting there. So that means most vehicles will be scheduled up to 3 days prior to the carrier getting to the area. Keeping this in mind, you should book no later than 2 weeks ahead, but no less than 3 days before your preferred pickup date.

Ready to Get Started with National Express?

Our professional team of trained advisors is ready. Call 800-284-7177 to speak to yours now.