Moving Across Country with a Vehicle

When it comes to moving, having to transport your car can be a burden on top of your already extensive moving checklist. Although boxing up your household goods or hiring a full-service moving company to assist with your move are familiar endeavors, shipping a car cross country while moving may be a foreign concept to some. How do you do it? How much does it cost? These are likely some of the questions you’re asking yourself if you’re wondering what the best way is to move cross country with a car.

You have a lot to consider when you need to ship a car cross country. While you may already know that you want a cost-effective vehicle shipping company, you need to keep in mind insurance, transparency, and timing. With that said, we’ve assembled everything you need to know about how to get your care to your desired destination – wherever that may be.

Consider Your Options

The first step in determining the best way to move cross country with a car is to consider your options. At this point you may already have all your household goods and furniture covered, all that’s left is to figure out how to get your car from point A to point B. There are several ways to transport a vehicle from one side of the country to the other. Before you commit to hiring an auto shipping company, make sure that you weigh all of your options first.

  1. Drive the Car Yourself

Although many choose to ship their car when moving cross country, driving it yourself is still an option to consider. However, this option may not end up saving you as much money as you’d like to think. Not to mention, all of the unnecessary miles and wear and tear that the vehicle is going to accrue from being on the road for thousands of miles. For many, especially those who own vintage, antique, or high-valued cars, this is a deal breaker.

Here are some of the costs that will likely add up if you choose to drive your car when moving cross country:

  • Lodging
  • Food
  • Gas
  • Vehicle maintenance

Of course, handling the transport of your car yourself will cost you time, which many simply don’t have. The approximate distance from coast to coast is between 2,500 and 3,500 miles and it’s not recommended to drive more than 500 miles in a day. This means that you’ll have to dedicate several days, if not an entire week, to transporting your car cross country.

While hiring an auto transport company can be pricey, shipping your car tends to be well-worth the price when your cross country move is over 500 miles – as is the case with a cross country relocation.

  1. Tow the Car Behind a Rental Truck

You’ve likely seen rental trucks, like U-Haul, towing a car behind it on the freeway. This is another option you have for getting your car cross country during your move. Many cars can be hauled on either a tow dolly or a car trailer, however, there are exceptions. If the car you need to transport cannot be towed on either, you need to rent a flatbed car trailer.

The following table compares some estimated costs for hiring an auto transport company vs. towing the car for a cross country relocation:

MethodEstimated Price (cross country approx. 2,500 miles)
Auto Transport Company$1,250
Tow Dolly$950
Car Trailer$500

Although towing your car cross country tends to be cheaper than opting for a car shipping company, it is not as convenient. Also, there are serious safety issues to consider, including the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to tow a car if you don’t have experience.

  1. Sell the Car

If you don’t have the time or money to drive, tow, or hire an auto shipping company to transport your car, you may want to consider selling it. Thanks to the internet, nowadays there is very little work that goes into selling a car. As an added bonus, selling your car will give you more funds to use towards moving expenses – or the purchase of a replacement vehicle when you get to your new destination.

Keep in mind, selling your car is a very drastic option. While it may work for some, it’s only recommended if you really don’t have the money to transport the car. Or, you may choose this option if you were already thinking about getting a new car in the first place.

Why Ship Your Car Cross Country?

Although towing a car may have less upfront costs than hiring an auto shipping company, there are many other added expenses involved in driving cross country, whether you’re towing the car or physically driving it. In fact, it is much more convenient and worth the price when moving over 500 miles. Since cross country moves are thousands of miles long, you’ll probably save money if you decide to have your car shipped by professionals.

Shipping your car is also both safer and healthier for the car. Whether you choose to have it transported on the back of an open trailer or in an enclosed transport truck, the car won’t experience any unnecessary wear from having to drive all those miles. Therefore, if you’re moving cross country and you’re already hiring professional movers to transport your household goods, ask if they provide auto shipping or recommend a company that you could use.

Having your car shipped cross country by a professional auto shipping company is faster, safer, easier, and sometimes cheaper than driving it. This makes shipping, arguably, the best way to move a car cross country.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car Cross Country?

Unfortunately, like moving, it can be difficult to estimate an exact cost to ship a car cross country. The price will vary greatly based on a number of factors, such as:

  • The vehicle’s size. In general, the bigger and heavier the car, the more expensive it is to ship.
  • The distance. Overall, it tends to be more expensive per mile when shipping shorter distances. The price per mile goes down slightly as the distance increases. For example, moving a car 1,000 miles may cost you an average of $750, whereas, transporting the same car over $3,000 will likely cost you about $1,300.
  • The vehicle’s condition. Some auto shipping companies ship all types of vehicles, while others only specialize in high valued cars. The overall condition of your car could impact the price you pay to have it shipped.
  • Open carrier vs. enclosed truck. You have two main options when it comes to shipping a car cross country: open and enclosed. Enclosed shipping is a premium option, offering the utmost protection for your vehicle. As such, this option is much more expensive than opting for an open carrier.
  • Pickup and drop-off locations. The location where your vehicle is both picked up from and dropped off at will impact the overall price. In most cases, you can expect it to be more expensive for remote locations. Whereas, major metropolitan areas are more cost-effective.

Ultimately, the best way to move a car cross country may not be the same for everyone. Weigh your options and consider all the details. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for the safest and most convenient option, shipping your car is the ideal choice.

Still unsure about the best way to move cross country with a car? Give us a call at (888) 908-6496 today! One of our moving experts will be happy to answer any questions you have and help outline all your options.

Written by Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving.

If you have any questions about moving, our services, or anything else you think he may be able to help with, you can contact Chris by emailing him at Chris@threemenandatruck.net

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