The Long Haul: What is the Best Way to Ship a Car?

best way to ship a car

Did you know that there are 253 million cars and trucks on U.S. roads? Some of those cars and trucks are taking cross-country or cross-border trips to reach their final destination.

If you need to transport your vehicle to a distant location, read on. In this post, we’ll look at the best way to ship a car including how to ship cars by rail, road, water or air.

Keep scrolling to learn more.

How to Ship a Car by Rail

One of the best car shipping methods is by train. First of all, shipping a car by rail is faster than using roads.

Railways are more direct and have fewer obstructions than roads such as traffic, construction, and red lights.

Train accidents are extremely rare. So, shipping your car by rail is one of the safest methods to transport your vehicle.

Plus, your car will travel in a covered compartment and only be handled during on and off-loading. The rest of the time, the vehicle is being safely transported over designated railways without impediments.

Shipping A Car By Plane

Air freight is the most expensive way to ship a car. It is also the quickest for international or long distances.

Often, the cost to ship a car by air freight costs several times more than the value of the car. That is why air freight for cars is often used for rare, custom, antique or exotic cars with sentimental value.

One of the perks of shipping by plane is that it can take just a day or two to get the car to the new destination. Even if it across the globe.

If you choose air freight, you also have the option of shipping other cargo and personal items. You might as well take advantage of it if you are paying the high price.

Finally, shipping a car by air freight is safe and direct. Most shipments go directly to the destination. That means your car won’t be sitting on a truck overnight somewhere on the road.

Shipping a Car by Boat

Shipping a car by boat can be very expensive. The best way to ship a car by boat is to use a professional international car shipping company.

There are many reliable auto transport companies in the US that have experience shipping cars all over the world.

One of the benefits of shipping by boat is that it gives you a faster oversea delivery. And they protect the value of your vehicle under their insurance policy.

These companies also know about foreign import policies and overseas deliveries.

If you are relocating to another part of the world, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that everything is being taken care of.

Shipping a Car by Transport Truck

Many car shipping companies transport vehicles by this service.

However, shipping a car by truck is not like shipping a package. Domestic deliveries take around four weeks. International deliveries may take as long as 8 weeks from the drop off date.

Tip: Leave as little gas in your car as possible before shipping. Less than half a tank is ideal. Gas is heavy and transporting cars with full tanks of gas may overload the transport truck.

There are various decisions you can make that will affect your cost, the car’s safety, and the delivery date.

Choose Your Service

If you decide to ship your car by truck, you have two options. You can have your car picked up from your address and dropped off to your final location. This is called door-to-door service.

The other option is the terminal-to-terminal service. In this case, you drop off and pick up your auto from a designated terminal location.

This option is cheaper because it is less work for the transport company. On the other hand, it also means that your car could be parked outside at the terminal until the transport company has a full load.

Covered or Uncovered Carrier?

Your next decision is about what kind of truck you want your vehicle to be transported in.

An uncovered carrier is always less expensive.

Yet, your car will be exposed to dirt, rocks and the elements as it rides in the open to the new destination. Your car is at higher risk for dents and scratches as it travels in the open air on the highway. Learn how to maintain your car’s matte paint job even when road debris gets in the way.

Choosing to transport your auto in an enclosed carrier gives your vehicle more protection, but it can cost up to 60% more. If you are transporting an expensive car or if your car will be passing through rough, rocky roads you may prefer an enclosed carrier.

If you choose an open carrier, you can pay more to have your car travel on the top deck. This gives your vehicle a bit of added protection from road debris. It’s not much more money in most cases and also protects your car from car fluid leaks of cars travelling on the top deck.

Choose Between Scheduled Pickup or Open Transport

Your final decision is whether you are flexible on delivery or not. If you choose open transport, your car will be shipped when the carrier is headed toward your destination and has a spot for your car on its truck.

This could add days or weeks to your delivery date but is less expensive. On the other hand, a scheduled pick up will give you a specific date when your car will be at the final destination.

Bottom Line on Best Way to Ship a Car

We hope this guide has helped you decide on what is the best way to ship a car for your specific situation and budget.

Want to learn more? Now that you know all the shipping methods you can choose from, read more about how to find the best car shipping companies today!