Cheap Car Shipping Tips That Could Put Money Back In Your Pocket

Posted on
4 min to read

Searching for cheap car shipping? Look no further. In this post, we’re going to show you how to affordably get your vehicle transported anywhere in the country so you can feel confident you made the smart, budget-friendly choice.

After 14 years in the auto transport industry and helping successfully deliver over 492,000 vehicles, we’ve learned where you can safely cut costs and still get your vehicle to the desired destination.

So whether you have a cross country move on the horizon, are headed to Hawaii (or back to the mainland), or just bought or sold a vehicle, these cheap auto transport tips could potentially save you thousands in unnecessary fees and costly expenses.

But before we get into the cost-saving tips, let’s first discuss the factors that affect the price you pay when you ship your vehicle. It’s important to understand these factors so you can fairly judge the price you’re quoted.

What factors affect auto transport prices? 

Shipping Distance

The first and biggest factor that impacts the price you pay to ship your vehicle is how far you need to move it. If you’re moving it one state over, that’s obviously going to be a lot cheaper than moving it from New York to Nevada. Of course, the reason for this price isn’t just the distance. You’re paying more because an expert driver is dedicating more time and manpower to transporting your vehicle safely from one place to another.

Even still, auto transport is more affordable than many people think. With prices as low as $1.96 per mile for short distance trips (1-500 miles), you could move a vehicle 300 miles for as little as $588. It’s no drop in the bucket. But it’s often more affordable than people think, especially if you plan ahead (more details below). To see how much your trip would cost based on the distance you need to move it, use our free, no-pressure quote generator.

Vehicle Size

Another factor that impacts the price you pay is the size of your vehicle. Bigger vehicles like trucks cost a little more to ship than smaller vehicles like compact cars.

This has to do with the amount of room the vehicle takes up on the freight and the type of cars the company you’re working with specializes in hauling.

But prices don’t just double when the size of your vehicle doubles. And you should be highly skeptical of any company that makes this claim.

That’s why we at Montway work with networks of thousands of fully vetted and insured transporters. Some smaller or local companies operating smaller car haulers — or single vehicle flatbed carriers — can get your vehicle from Point A to Point B, but might not move your specific vehicle type, and delivery times could be slower. Look for transparent pricing around vehicle size.

Open vs. Enclosed Shipping 

When you transport your vehicle, a key decision you have to make is whether you will ship it open or enclosed.

Open shipping simply means that the car will be exposed to the elements as it’s taken from point A to B.

Enclosed shipping is the opposite. The vehicle is put inside a sealed auto hauler.

Open is the most common shipping method and generally recommended for most auto transport, especially if you’re looking to ship on a budget.

But if you have an expensive car, a classic or a vehicle that’s in pristine condition that needs to be preserved, enclosed is an option for you. Warning: Enclosed shipping comes with a 40-50% price jump, but can make sense if you’re moving an expensive vehicle.

Seasonal Fluctuations

The time of year can also impact your vehicle shipping costs. Even if you’re not experiencing rain or snow, the driver may face these elements on his way to your vehicle’s end destination.

These seasonal changes in the weather can impact the time on the road, come with added risk, and therefore impact your ability to ship your vehicle cheaply. Just be aware of seasonality when you’re considering cheap car shipping options and know that if you can move your shipping date, you could save money. Get in touch with one of our chat agents to figure out the best time to ship your vehicle.

Drop-Off and Pick-Up Points

When you ship a vehicle across state lines or the country, it’s most likely going on the bed of a big truck. And those big trucks can’t easily get down small roads and tight spaces. Choose your pick up and drop off points carefully. Sticking to major metropolitan areas and big parking lots makes it easy for trucks to onload and offload the vehicle. That may mean a bit of driving for you but it could result in several hundred dollars back in your pocket just by choosing your pick up and drop off spots carefully.

All these factors contribute to the price you pay and how much you save. That said, here are some of our best car shipping tips proven to help you save money.

Cheap Car Shipping Tips

1. Book your vehicle shipment in advance. 

Sometimes you need to ship your vehicle ASAP and there’s no way around it. That’s why we have a network of thousands of fully vetted and insured transporters ready to help you ship your vehicle cheaply today.

But much like the difference you pay for a last-minute airplane ticket and one booked months in advance, booking your vehicle shipment earlier often results in savings.

If you need any help, get in touch with one of our no-pressure booking agents via live chat in the bottom right hand corner. They’ll make sure you’re trip is set no matter when you need it scheduled for.

2. Only used enclosed car shipping if you absolutely need to

Over 90% of all vehicles are shipped via open transport. Even new vehicles going to car dealerships often travel via open transport.

Why’s that? For starters, insurance mitigates a lot of the risks you face by hauling your vehicle. So the chances of you going out of pocket for damages drops dramatically just by working with insured carriers. Secondly, there are covers and special tapes you can add to your vehicle as added insurance to protect you from potential damage.

That’s why we recommend open transport for the vast majority of customers. It’s an instant savings of 40-50%.

3. Cheaper is not always better: Work with a car shipping company that has your best interests in mind

When you’re looking for cheap car shipping, it’s tempting to go with the cheapest vendor. But in our experience of helping haul over 492,000 vehicles and working with 382,000+ customers, we’ve learned that there’s a difference between cost and value. Cost is what you pay. Value is what you get. And sometimes those are two totally different things. For example, if you choose a cheap auto transport quote, but the company didn’t securely attach your vehicle or carry the proper insurance, you could end up with a damaged or totally lost car and be on the hook for the bill. On the other hand, if you choose a top-rated auto transport company, like Montway, your car will get from point A to point B without breaking a sweat. It’ll get where you want it to go — totally protected.

If want to ensure you get the best price possible, let our expert team guide you through every step of your car or truck’s move. We require $0 upfront and are always a call or click away.

Get a quote with our car shipping calculator or get in touch with a person using our Live Chat or via phone at (888) 666-8929.

Get an instant quote


Man looking at his laptop

Guide to Selling a Car with Edmunds

Posted on 12/14 2023 3 min to read
Understanding Your Pick Up Date

Understanding Your Pick Up Date

Posted on 08/19 2013 1 min to read
Gen Zers leaning on the side of a convertible overlooking the ocean.

4 Tips For Selling Cars to Generation Z

Posted on 05/04 2023 3 min to read
Map of the United States with a route from New York to Florida highlighted

Ship a Car from New York to Florida with Montway Auto Transport

Posted on 11/07 2023 6 min to read

Shipping Personal Items In My Car

Posted on 07/12 2018 2 min to read
Members of the military shaking hands in front of American flag.

PCS and POV shipping: What You Need to Know

Posted on 07/28 2022 2 min to read