While shipping a car can be a costly and difficult process, it does not have to be.

Yes, it is true. Driving your car is cheaper option for short distance trips. For some circumstances including longer distances however, shipping your car may be a better solution than driving.

In cases when shipping a vehicle is necessary, here are four tips for making your car shipment as cost effective as possible. In this article we will highlight 4 factors affecting the cost of shipping your vehicle, show how to save money, and make the best decision for shipping your vehicle.

Service types for auto transport

Most auto transport companies, including Guardian Auto Transport, offer a range of services for vehicle transport. Open, enclosed, and expedited auto transport are three of the most common service types offered in the industry.

The most popular and cost-effective option for shipping is open auto transport (link to open auto transport page).

[Over 95% percent of vehicle shipping trailers in the industry are open air trailers, and most dealerships use this type of trailer when transporting new cars.]

A large network of open air trailers means that there are plenty of drivers ready to take on loads, making the prices much lower and more competitive for open auto transport.

Enclosed trailers, by comparison, are much more limited throughout the country and cost about 40-60% more to book for a load than open trailers.

Seasonal Changes

Auto transport is a seasonal industry and prices tend to fluctuate throughout the year to match market demand. Like any other industry, peak season in auto transport is a more expensive time of the year to ship your vehicle.

From the beginning of the summer until the end of the fall is considered the high season in auto transport. During the warmer months, there is a large influx of people who relocate and ship their vehicles.

Winter is considered the low season, and prices typically decrease during the colder months of the year. Although winter is considered the low season, some routes in the northern states increase in price due to winter weather conditions. For example, tough weather conditions and mountain travel in the winter make shipping a car through the Rocky Mountains more expensive in the winter.

There are certain routes in throughout the United States that have their own high and low seasons. Shipping your vehicle to the south from the mid-west or the northeast is more expensive in the fall because it is a snowbird route.

A snowbird is a retiree that ships their car to a warmer climate for the winter and comes back home for the summer. Snowbirds ship their vehicles back to the mid-west and the northeast in the spring, making shipping north more expensive in the spring.

Timeline Flexibility

Your timeline for shipping your vehicle will impact the price you will have to pay for transport. If you are flexible with your pickup and delivery windows, then you will be eligible for a better shipping rate.

A standard shipping window is 1-5 days from your first available pickup date. If you have more time to have your vehicle picked up, you save more money when shipping.

In the case that you need a guaranteed pickup date or have only a 1 – 2 day window for pickup from your first available, you will need to use our expedited auto transport service, which is more expensive than standard shipping.

Pickup and delivery location matters

Quoted prices will differ based on your pickup and delivery locations are in metropolitan or rural locations. If your pickup and delivery locations are within 50 miles of a major city, your rate will likely be lower than if you schedule transport to or from a rural city.

Some customers choose to drive to the nearest large city to save on auto shipping costs. Metro areas tend to be cheaper because there are more customers shipping from larger cities, and carriers prefer to pick-up cars in the smallest possible radius. If a carrier is required to travel far from an interstate highway or a large city, your quoted price will be higher.

Shop around for car shipping Quotes

While a low quote may seem appealing at first, keep in mind that auto transport is a service industry. You get what you pay for.

Sub-par auto transport companies will bait you with low quotes and leave you with a terrible experience, don’t trust us, read their reviews. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

The best practice for choosing an auto shipper is to research the company first, make sure they are reputable and reliable, and then see what they are willing to do to bring your shipping rate down.

Shipping your car does not have to empty out your wallet. Use these tips to ship your car and you will be on your way to having a cost-effective shipping experience!