Tips To Save Money On Car Shipping

Shipping a car can often feel like navigating a maze of costly options, leaving you wondering if there’s a secret path to savings. Get ready to explore a journey where saving money doesn’t mean cutting corners, but being a savvy, informed customer. 

In this guide, tips to save money on car shipping, we unlock the mystery, offering you practical, easy-to-follow advice to trim down those expenses.  

To save money on car shipping, compare multiple quotes, book in advance, and choose off-peak seasons go for open transport be flexible with dates and use terminal-to-terminal shipping.

Factors Driving Up Car Shipping Costs

1. Seasonal Demand and Timing

The cost of car shipping fluctuates throughout the year, largely influenced by seasonal demand. Peak seasons, typically from April to September, coincide with higher prices due to increased demand. 

This period often includes the summer months when many people move, and the ‘snowbird’ season when individuals relocate to warmer climates for the winter.

2. Distance and Location

The distance between the pickup and delivery locations is a primary factor in determining shipping costs. Longer distances generally lead to higher prices due to increased fuel consumption, driver hours, and wear and tear on the transport vehicle. 

3. Type of Transport Carrier

The choice between open and enclosed transport carriers significantly impacts the cost. Open carriers, which are more common and can carry multiple vehicles at once, are typically less expensive. 

In contrast, enclosed carriers offer more protection from the elements. Shipping a car in an enclosed carrier can cost up to 50% more than using an open carrier.

4. Vehicle Size and Weight

The size and weight of the vehicle being shipped also play a crucial role in pricing. Larger and heavier vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks, take up more space and add more weight to the carrier, leading to higher costs.

5. Service Type and Flexibility

The level of service and the flexibility of the shipping schedule can influence the cost. Door-to-door service, where the vehicle is picked up and delivered as close to the specified locations as possible, is more convenient but often more expensive than terminal-to-terminal service.

Effective Tips To Save Money On Car Shipping

1. Be Flexible with Dates

Flexibility with your car shipping dates can lead to significant savings. By allowing a window for pickup and delivery, you enable carriers to optimize their schedules, fitting your vehicle into their existing routes more efficiently. 

This adaptability is especially advantageous when shippers seek to fill trailers on less frequented routes or dates. 

2. Lighten Your Vehicle

Lightening your vehicle before shipping can lead to noticeable cost savings. Carriers often base their prices on the weight of the vehicle, as heavier loads require more fuel and exert more wear and tear on their transport equipment. 

By removing personal items and any non-essential weight from your car, you effectively reduce its shipping weight. 

3. Check for Discounts

Seeking out discounts can notably lower your car shipping expenses. Many companies offer special rates for various groups. AmeriFreight, for example, provides discounts for senior citizens, military personnel, students, first responders, and medical personnel. 

These targeted discounts can lead to significant savings, particularly for eligible individuals. American Auto Shipping also offers a variety of discounts, and it’s advisable to inquire directly about any specific savings, especially if you’re shipping on a budget.

4. Use Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping

Choosing terminal-to-terminal shipping can be a cost-effective solution for car transportation. This option, though less handy than door-to-door service, offers notable cost benefits. 

In this method, you’re responsible for delivering and retrieving your car from specified terminals, typically situated in or around major urban areas or key transport centers. This choice bypasses the additional fees that come with the convenience of door-to-door delivery.

5. Verify Insurance Coverage

Confirming insurance coverage is a crucial step in car shipping. It’s essential to make sure that the transporter’s insurance policy covers your vehicle during transit. 

This safeguard can protect you from incurring unexpected expenses in the event of any damage. 

6. Avoid Expedited Shipping

Steering clear of expedited shipping options can lead to substantial savings when transporting your car. These faster shipping services are typically offered at a premium, significantly increasing the overall cost.

Unless there’s an urgent need to receive your vehicle quickly, opting for the standard shipping timeline is more budget-friendly. 

7. Compare Multiple Quotes

Shopping around and comparing quotes from different car shipping companies is a smart financial move. 

Each company has its own pricing structure, services, and special offers, so getting multiple quotes can give you a clearer picture of the market rates and options available. 

8. Stay Informed About Hidden Fees

Staying vigilant about hidden fees is crucial when arranging car shipping. It’s important to understand the full cost of the service upfront to avoid unexpected expenses later. 

Being proactive in asking these questions can save you from unpleasant surprises when it’s time to pay, ensuring a smoother and more financially manageable car shipping experience.

9. Prepare Your Car

Preparing your car before shipping is a key step in avoiding extra costs. It’s similar to prepping your home before a long vacation – a little effort upfront can prevent issues later on. 

Start with basic maintenance checks: ensure the battery is charged, fluids are topped up, and there are no leaks. Also, document your car’s condition with photos or a video.

10. Choose Off-Peak Seasons

The off-peak season for car shipping generally spans from December to February. This period sees a dip in demand, primarily due to the post-holiday slowdown and the challenges posed by winter weather, making it less appealing for moving or buying vehicles. 

Consequently, car shipping companies, facing reduced bookings, often lower their rates to attract customers.

11. Book in Advance 

Booking your car shipping well in advance is a strategic move that can lead to significant cost savings. 

This approach allows carriers to plan their schedules more efficiently, and they typically reward this foresight with lower prices. Last-minute arrangements, on the other hand, can be costly due to the urgency and limited availability.

12. Select Open Transport

Choosing open transport carriers for your car shipping needs can lead to substantial cost savings. Open carriers, which are the most common type used in auto transport, can be significantly more affordable than their enclosed counterparts.

13. Negotiate the Price

Negotiating the price with your car shipping company can be an effective way to reduce costs. Just like haggling over a used car or bargaining at a market, there’s often room for negotiation in auto transport. 

Shipping companies might have flexibility in their pricing, especially if you come armed with lower quotes from their competitors. 


Saving money on car shipping doesn’t require cutting corners on quality. By implementing strategic approaches such as booking during off-peak seasons, opting for open transport, and being flexible with shipping dates, you can significantly reduce costs. 

Comparing quotes and negotiating prices are also key in finding the best deal. Preparing your vehicle properly and understanding the insurance coverage ensures that you avoid unexpected charges. 

Remember, each choice, from the type of transport to the timing of your shipment, plays a crucial role in managing expenses. With these practical tips, you can ensure a cost-effective and efficient car shipping experience.