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Car Shipping FAQ: How Quickly Can My Car Be Shipped?

Subscribe December 26, 2013
Car shipping process | Choosing an auto shipper | FAQs | Industry Information

Justin just got a huge job promotion – going from middle management to senior management was something he had been working on for years. Now that his hard work has finally paid off, he needs to move from Dallas to Los Angeles in five days.

The company is taking care of his household goods but it's his responsibility to get his two cars and motorcycle to L.A. as quickly as possible. How quickly can he arrange to have his cars with him in an area known for people in cars?

The good news for Justin is that car shipping can be arranged on his schedule, but for a price. Typically, most auto transport companies will ship a car from one side of the country to the other in two or more weeks, depending on the time of year and weather.

Factors Impacting Car Shipping Times

Outside of the distance of the move, the time of year that you are moving will have the most significant impact on your shipping time. At large majority of people move in the summer (when the kids are out of school) which limits the capacity of both household goods movers and car haulers. So if you're moving in the summer, the options for expedited service may be limited. If you're moving your vehicle during the winter, especially if it's moving between northern states, winter weather could delay things, as drivers will not be able to continue the trip if the roads are hazardous.

You will also want to know if the car shipping company is a broker or a carrier. A broker will be farming out your move to a carrier, so typically will not be able to reliably offer specific scheduling information until you book your order. On the other hand, if you are working directly with a carrier, they can provide specific scheduling and availability because they have direct control over the dispatching of the car carrier. The carrier will know which and how many trucks are available for your shipping route and when they are expected to arrive in the destination city.

In Justin's case, he is moving both a motorcycle and automobiles. Because motorcycles are typically moved on different types of carriers than cars, it is likely that the motorcycle may move on a different schedule than the cars. However, if Justin only needs one of his vehicles at destination in the tight time frame, it would be cost effective for him to ship his primary vehicle using an expedited service and ship the other vehicles on a slower (and less expensive) standard schedule.

The last significant factor effecting shipping time is the origin and destination locations. Shipping vehicles from major metropolitan areas can help with transport times and cost, as there are more car carriers available moving between major cities than to rural areas. Many carriers only run their trucks directly from from the origin location directly to the destination location. If either location is in a rural area, you may have to wait until a truck in available in your area for the vehicle to be picked up. Other companies, like DAS, has local service centers in most major metropolitan areas. In that case, you can drop your vehicle off at the service center on your schedule or have the vehicle picked up on a specific day and brought back to the local service center for you. The vehicle is then securely stored at the service enter until the long distance car carrier arrives to take it cross country. This type of service is particularly convenient for anyone moving in a tight schedule and needs the picked up quickly (same or next day) or needs pick up on a specific date. Imagine the headache if your household goods are packed and loaded on the moving van, your flight is scheduled to get you to destination, but your car carrier is delayed by a day or two or more.

Tips for Shipping a Car

If you're planning to move your vehicle quickly, there are a few things you need to remember, though:

  • Check with your auto insurance company as soon as you know you're moving your vehicles to ensure you have adequate coverage, just in case something happens along the way.
  • Don't skip doing your homework just because you're in a rush. The cheapest quick move isn't necessarily the best quick move. Make sure to check references, ratings and insurance coverage provided by the vehicle transport company before making your choice.
  • Don't assume your vehicle will be at your new location as soon as you are, even when it's a quick transport. If you're flying to your new location, remember it will take several more days for your vehicle to arrive, regardless of how quickly the auto transport company has agreed to ship it to you. You will still need it at your old location until just before you leave, so timing is important on both ends of the move. If you are moving multiple vehicles, like Justin, you may want to get one vehicle shipped out early and have your other vehicle(s) trail behind. That way you can minimize your time without a vehicle at destination.

Another Happy Car Transport Customer

For Justin, he was able to get his house packed up and moved within the five-day window and his vehicles were picked up the day he left for his new life in L.A. It only took four days for his cars and motorcycle to arrive, just in time for a fantastic trip up the Pacific Coast Highway on the motorcycle. It was well worth the extra he had to pay for a quick turnaround, he said, and he'd do it again in a minute.

If your move requires special scheduling or handling, remember to call DAS and our sales specialists can help you tailor your auto shipping service to match your needs and budget.

Testimonials

No issues to report, service was dependable and reliable. Our car was available before the scheduled date! Very much appreciated!
T. Rosenthal
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