Why Do Car Shipping Prices Change?

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When it comes to shipping your car, it’s important to understand the factors that determine pricing. When a customer requests a quote, they receive pricing based on the current market, so it’s not a guarantee that the price will remain the same. That doesn’t mean prices will always increase either—depending on when you request a quote and when you book an order, your price could fluctuate up and down based on several conditions. 

In this blog, we’ll explore key factors that influence car shipping costs, helping you make an informed decision.

Seasonal variations

One of the most significant factors impacting auto transport prices is the time of year. For instance, during the snowbird season, when individuals migrate to warmer states to escape the winter chill, auto transport services to these destinations become more popular. As a result, the demand for shipping to such locations increases, which may lead to higher costs.

Another high-demand period is moving season. The national moving season starts in May every year and lasts roughly through September. This is when most Americans are packing up and moving to a new house, meaning many of them are shipping vehicles as well. During this time, vehicle shipping prices may increase along with moving services. It’s important to keep track of these seasonal variations and plan accordingly.


Similar to seasonal variations, weather can have a significant impact on trucking operations and prices. Sudden weather events, natural disasters or extreme conditions like hurricanes, blizzards, mudslides and tornados may increase rates for auto transport services. When shipping your car, keep an eye on the forecast and remember that it can have an impact on price.

Trucker availability

Additionally, the availability of truckers at a given time plays a crucial role. When truckers are in high demand, prices may rise due to the increased competition for their services. However, choosing to ship your car during less busy times can potentially result in a more economical quote.

Fuel prices 

The cost of fuel is another significant component influencing car shipping prices. Fluctuations in gas prices directly impact the overall expenses associated with transporting vehicles. Keep an eye on diesel fuel prices at the pump, as it will have a direct effect on how much it costs to ship a car. Factors like these can’t be controlled by the truckers, brokers or trucking companies and must be factored into the price of services.

Personal items in the vehicle

When you ship a vehicle with Montway, you’re allowed to include 100 lbs of personal items in the vehicle free of charge (some restrictions may apply). It’s very important to carefully weigh your extra luggage, as anything over the allotted weight will be subject to an additional cost. This is because the weight of individual vehicles affects the safety of the auto transport carrier. A vehicle over its allotted weight may require the carrier to rearrange their truck, costing them additional time and money.

Modifications to the vehicle

Because auto transport trucks have specific measurement and weight requirements for their loads, modified vehicles can affect the price of your shipment. If your vehicle’s weight, length, height is outside of normal parameters, it could require specialized equipment or expertise to safely load onto the carrier. This extra equipment will occasionally come at a higher cost. 

If your vehicle is modified or has very low ground clearance, it may require a lift gate to be loaded onto the trailer. In most cases, lift gates are only found on enclosed transport carriers which are more expensive than open transport carriers. 

Tips to save on car shipping

While some factors are not in your direct control, there are certain things you can do for a lower price tag on your car shipping service. Be flexible with your timeframe—if possible, ship your vehicle during an off-season when fewer people need to transport vehicles. 

If there is any severe weather forecasted along your shipment route, shipping your vehicle before the weather event occurs could save you money. Once the weather passes, orders for auto transport typically increase, resulting in higher rates.

If you’re in a rural area, consider meeting your driver in a more densely populated area closer to a city or metropolitan area. This will make it easier for the trucker to pick up or drop off your vehicle without deviating from their planned route. It can also be very difficult (or impossible) to navigate large auto transport trucks on narrow, rural roads.

The cheapest way to ship your car is to opt for open transport over enclosed. Open transport is a safe, efficient, popular and affordable transport method used by the majority of auto transport customers. The alternative method, enclosed transport, does offer added protection from outside elements but it typically comes with a higher price tag. 

Continue reading for more cheap car shipping tips

In the world of car shipping, understanding the variables that affect pricing will help you make informed decisions. Montway’s free online quote calculator provides instant estimates for your shipment based on your shipping needs and the current market. 

An image collage featuring a map of the United States, a car hauler truck, and person looking at a computer screen

At Montway, we prioritize transparency and strive to empower our customers with the knowledge needed to select the best auto transport services for their needs. Our logistics team is always working to provide the most fair and timely estimates. If you’ve requested a quote in the past, and are still considering shipping your vehicle, it’s smart to get a more updated estimate as prices could have changed. Prices are valid for 24 hours on Montway.com.

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