How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car? Here’s the Answer

March 23, 2018 / Posted in Moving Basics
Eva Johnson

Digital nomad born in New York but currently living online, Eva knows everything there is to know about packing and moving.

Moving to another place is a life-changing event, and to settle in quicker, you might need your car. How long does it take to ship a car to a new home is on top of all FAQ lists when it comes to the matter of auto transport. It comes second only to the question of all questions – the cost.

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There are many factors that affect the timeframe

Shipping your car can prove to be crucial for the start of your new life in another city or state. Even more so if you’re moving from a small town to a big city, where mobility is vital. So stay with us to get a detailed and thorough answer to the question of when you can expect your beloved four-wheeler at your new address.


How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car – Time and Conditions of Delivery

It is conventional wisdom that auto transport services should be booked a few weeks in advance. That way, both you and your chosen shipper can prepare for transportation. Also, if you’re moving in summer, the peak of relocation season, expect longer waiting time. That goes for both short and long-distance moves. Summertime is the busiest period regardless of whether you hire shippers to take your vehicle to the next town or for transporting cars from state to state.

Pick up and Delivery Options

Your choice of pickup and delivery options will make the first significant impact on the date (and the cost) of shipping. Standard pickup window is not included in the total transit time and takes somewhere between two and seven workdays after the booking date. On the other hand, express shipping means that your car will be collected in one to three days. When the express option is available, which mostly depends on the route, pickup and delivery dates can be guaranteed. It’s no surprise that express shipping comes at a more substantial cost, but it is convenient for longer hauls when the car is urgently needed.

When it comes to delivery time, it largely depends on the estimated transit time, which can be influenced by many factors such as weather, traffic, and other carloads. Besides, delivering a car to your doorstep will take longer than if it is left at a terminal. Let’s take a closer look at the factors that affect the delivery time.

Starting Point Matters for the Question of How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car

The point of origin is important for the estimation of the duration of the haul. It’s not the same if a truck has to steer off the main roads to get to you, and if the car is loaded at the terminal in a big city.

Distance Is the Key

Distance is one of the main factors that affect the cost of auto transport, as well as the duration of it. Hundred miles or so make an immeasurably shorter trip than a couple of thousand miles. And with a trip over a greater distance, come more opportunities for something to go wrong. Weather conditions or traffic may slow the truck down, or work on the road, and there is also a legal limit to the hours per day that truckers are allowed to drive. All that can significantly affect the duration of the trip, since shipping a car cross country is a much more complicated endeavor.

The Itinerary Plays Its Part, Too

Driving along the interstate or highway is quick. Driving through country roads may not be so. So do a bit of research, and compare the quotes. A longer pick up window can be rewarding in terms of faster delivery.

speedometer in the car
The delivery time mostly depends on the distance

Ask for a Vehicle Shipping Quote

The shipping quote is one thing you should always ask from an auto shipper. It’ll give you an idea about the costs, but also the time it may take for your vehicle to reach your new home.

Always Ask for an Estimate of the Duration of Vehicle Transport

Besides the quote, you should also get an estimate of the duration of the trip. It usually takes from one to two days for short hauls to ten to fourteen days at most for cross-country shipping. The longer the distance, the more potential delays you can expect, thanks to traffic, bad weather, or other stuff that companies like to refer to as acts of a higher power. Also, bear in mind that your trucker may take days off if your auto transport date coincides with a holiday.

Reading customer reviews may be a good way to learn whether a company keeps to its estimates. Word of caution, though. Always take reviews with a pinch of salt, and learn how to recognize fake reviews.

girl working on a laptop
Read reviews and choose a reliable transport company to ship your vehicle

Keep In Touch With Movers

Good communication with a trucker is of the essence when it comes to transporting your car, including the pickup and delivery. With a few calls at the right moment, you’ll be able to coordinate to a much higher degree.

You will, for example, get a heads up a few hours before the truck reaches its final destination. The final call from the driver may come when he’s near you, so you know the exact date and place to come to pick up a vehicle. Of course, never underestimate the powers of traffic jams. And if you’re unable to collect your car at once, it can safely spend some time in storage at the nearest terminal.

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