Open trailer on a road overlay

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car Across the Country

Posted in Car Shipping on January 30, 2023

Moving cross country can be a stressful process, and it’s important to understand all aspects of the journey. One key question many cross-country movers have is how long does it take to ship a car. Shipping your vehicle is often an essential part of cross-country moving, so understanding the timeline can help you plan your move more effectively.

A big part of moving preparations is good planning for each step you need to do along the way, so you need to know how long each step will take so you can arrange other things after. This is why it is important to know how long car shipping lasts so you can organize your move and your life according to those numbers.

How Does Car Shipping Work?

When it comes to cross-country moving, shipping a car is often the most cost-effective and convenient way to ensure that your vehicle makes it safely from one destination to the other. No matter if you hire cross-country movers for a car shipping service or a professional auto shipping company the process will be the same.

In the end, which one you will hire depends on your needs. If you are relocating to another state and need to ship your car, the most convenient way is to book movers. But if you only need to transport a car from one point to another, you can go with an auto shipping company as well. The process for car shipping varies depending on the services you select, but generally includes these steps.

Step 1 - Hire Professional Help

First, you’ll need to contact a professional cross-country moving services and hire them for car shipping and to relocate you to another state. To start the process regarding the car shipping services, you must provide information about your vehicle, such as its make and model, and when you need it shipped.

Step 2 - Pick-up

Next, your car will be picked up by a professional driver who has extensive experience with cross-country car shipping. The driver will transport your vehicle securely in an open or enclosed trailer that is designed to protect it while in transit.

Step 3 - Transport

After that, your vehicle will travel cross country until it arrives at its destination. The amount of time this process takes depends on the distance between the pickup and drop-off locations, as well as any delays due to weather or other factors. In general, cross-country car shipping can take anywhere from a few days to up to three weeks.

Step 4 - Delivery

Finally, your car will be delivered back to you at the specified location once it has arrived at its destination. At this point, you’ll be able to drive your vehicle home and start settling into your new area.

Here Are All the Factors That Can Affect Your Car Shipping Time

When planning a move to another city or state, there are a lot of things you need to consider and do before the actual moving day arrives, and in many aspects hiring a moving company will save you a lot of time and energy. Luckily, car shipping is one of the aspects that can be done by professional long-distance movers so you don’t have to. You will need to make some preparations, but we will get on that later. Note that things can be unpredictable when cross-country moving, in most cases due to outside factors even the most reputable long-distance moving can not prevent from happening. Here are the factors that can influence your vehicle transportation time.

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Distance of the Move

Logically, the time needed to ship the vehicle will not be the same if you are relocating from the West Coast to the East Coast as it would be if you are relocating to the neighboring state. The distance of your move can greatly affect the car shipping time. Generally, it takes longer to ship a car when you are relocating farther away from its origin. This is because the amount of time it takes for the auto transporter to deliver your vehicle increases as the distance gets greater.

Shipping Method

The mode of transportation used for shipping a car from one point to another will also impact the time it takes for delivery. For example, if you choose airfreight as your vehicle’s shipping mode, it will only take a few hours for delivery since your vehicle will be delivered via plane. However, using air freight also can be quite expensive, and thus many people opt to use ground transportation instead. Ground transportation usually takes around 1-2 weeks, but it is much more affordable than air shipping.

We already mentioned that there are two types of ground transportation options – an open and enclosed trailer. An open trailer is a popular option, where your vehicle will be on a trailer with other vehicles and exposed to outside conditions. This option is usually faster because most people use this one. The enclosed trailer will cost more and on the trailer will be up to four vehicles. This option is usually a bit slower because the company will have to wait for the trailer to be full before shipment.

Seasonal Factors

Seasonal factors can influence the time of vehicle transportation by far. For example, if you are relocating in summer, which is the peak season for all moving companies, you will have to wait among thousands of other clients for your turn. Also, if you are relocating in winter, especially during the holiday season, you can expect delays too. But winter is tricky because of the weather conditions as well, and snowstorms can block roads for weeks. So if you are relocating to a different climate, especially a cold climate, make sure you know road conditions on time so you can book car shipping accordingly.

Pick-Up and Delivery Locations

There are also pick-up and delivery options that can influence the time when you will see your vehicle. There is door-to-door pick-up and delivery where your vehicle will be delivered to your new home. Naturally, this will be the fastest option. If you take terminal-to-terminal, the shipment time will be the same, only that you will have to take additional time to go and pick up your car from the nearest terminal. But companies that have been in business for years, like Cross Country Movers, have terminals in every major city in the country, so it shouldn’t be a problem to pick up your car this way either.

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car? The Average Time with Cross-Country Movers

The average car shipping time for people relocating from the East Coast to the West Coast and vice versa and hiring car shipping services from a moving company typically takes one to four weeks. But one of the benefits of car shipping with your movers is that your car and moving truck will arrive at a similar time. However, this varies based on a number of factors, such as the size and weight of the vehicle, where it is being shipped from and to, the time of year, weather conditions, route availability, and more. Here is how long it will take for a car to be shipped, depending on the distance.

Distance Average time
From coast to coast 7-10 days
Half of the country 3-5 days
Three-quarters of the country 5-7 days
Interstate or neighboring state 1-3 days

Here Is How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping

Like you need to prepare for movers in other aspects, the same is with your car. Preparing a car for shipping requires a good understanding of the process and is an important way to ensure your car arrives in good condition. To begin, make sure that all personal items and important documents have been removed from the car and that any windows, sunroofs, or convertible tops are secured in the closed position. Make sure to clean out the interior of the car and remove any loose parts such as floor mats, CD players, or other removable items.

Next, check the engine for any mechanical issues that may cause problems during transport. Make sure all fluids are topped off and inspect the tire pressure to make sure it is at an appropriate level for shipping. Check for leaks in the engine, transmission, and any other components. If you find any leaks, fix them prior to shipping.

Before the car is loaded onto the transport vehicle, take pictures of it from all sides to document its condition in case of an issue during transportation. Make sure that all dent damage or other existing issues are noted on the bill of lading.

It is also important to make sure the car is secure and disable all alarms that may be triggered during transport. Make sure to remove the key from the ignition and place it in a safe location. Lastly, contact your auto insurance provider before shipping to ensure there are no gaps in coverage while the vehicle is being transported.

A man checking his car before cross country moving
Don't forget to thoroughly check your four-wheeler before the shipment

Tips on How to Find Reliable Movers for Car Shipping Services

Finding a reliable moving company can seem like a challenging task. But, with a few simple steps, you can know your move is in good hands.

First, do your research! Research is key when it comes to finding the right company. Check out reviews of the companies you’re considering and see if they offer the services you need. Make sure the company is licensed and insured, so you don’t have to worry about any potential issues during the move.

Ask for recommendations. Talk to friends or family who may have had a positive experience with movers, and get their opinions on which companies are trustworthy and offer quality service. This can be especially helpful if you don’t have the time to do thorough research.

Get multiple quotes for car shipping services and compare them. Different companies may offer different services or pricing, so getting a few quotes can ensure you get the best deal and most reliable service possible. Make sure to ask about any extra fees that could come up, as well as any potential discounts.

Finally, ask the company questions and get all the details you need before signing a contract. Make sure you understand everything they’re offering and that they have a clear process for handling issues that may arise during the move.

Moving Cross Country and Car Shipping Is the Fastest with Reliable Movers

Moving cross country and having your car shipped can be a daunting task, but with the help of reliable movers, it doesn’t have to be. Whether you are looking for an experienced team who will take care of all the details or just need basic transportation services, there is sure to be a car shipping service that fits your needs at Cross Country Movers.

The key is doing research ahead of time so that when it comes time to make decisions about how long it takes to ship a car and which company best suits your budget, you know exactly what options are available. With some planning and patience, moving across the country can go as smoothly as possible. So make sure you ask ua for a free quote for car shipping today!

Daisy Wilson

Daisy was born in Salt Lake City and in her free time, she writes about moving and watches Charmed.

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