What's the Best Way to Ship a Car?

Justin Pritchard
by Justin Pritchard

So what’s the best way to ship a car? Whether you need to move a vehicle across the state or across the country, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to vehicle transport solutions.

Whether you’ll ship an exotic sports car in an enclosed carrier, or your trusty family sedan to its new home via open transport, you’ve got plenty of choices for consideration—and each comes with its own pros, cons, advantages, and price point.

But what’s the best way to ship a car?

That’s a question with many answers—and in simple terms, the best way to ship your specific car to its specific final location is the via the method that best meets your schedule, preferences, and budget.

You’ll need to do a little research and investigation in advance of shipping your car or truck. Thankfully, using the services of a proven vehicle transport expert makes it quick, easy and painless to find the best way to handle the job.

The company that’ll physically move your ride to its new location is called the carrier—and you’ll want to use a website like carshippingcarriers.com to find one that’s credible and experienced. Be sure the carrier you choose is licensed, bonded, insured and compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a branch of the Department of Transportation (DOT) that oversees vehicle transport.

Consider going online to check the Google Review and Facebook Ratings of the shipping carriers you’re considering for added peace of mind. Ensuring you’re using a reputable and optimally-qualified carrier is a great first step towards a successful transport.

Next, plan to spend some time with a representative from the carrier in question, via phone or email. There’s some back and forth required, and many details to arrange and double check. Sites like carshippingcarriers.com provide an overview of the quoting, ordering, and transportation processes to help guide you along the way, and to provide an idea of what to expect.

After making contact to set up the job, record details including pick-up and drop-off dates, the carrier representative’s direct contact information, and the shipping quote itself. For the best experience, it’s ideal to work with a single carrier, because using more than one adds complication, cost, paperwork, and may result in delivery delays.

The carrier will be in contact with you shortly before the transport arrives to pick up your vehicle. First, you’ll fill out a vehicle inspection report with the transport driver, which accurately records the vehicle’s condition before it’s loaded up. This process repeats when the vehicle is delivered: you’ll get a call or text from the carrier or transport driver just prior to vehicle delivery, the driver will unload your vehicle from the transport, and you’ll go through another inspection report to confirm a satisfactory delivery.

There are numerous means of physically transporting your vehicle, ranging from an open 10-car carrier, to a 3 to 4 vehicle HotShot trailer, to a specialized and enclosed single-car transport that your vehicle rides solo.

Which method is best? That depends on what you drive, what you’re willing to pay, and how flexible your schedule is.

Photos by Nicholas Dutko.

When price is the primary factor, the best option might be to ship via a 4 to 10 car carrier. This tends to cost less because operating costs are spread across more customers, though you may have to wait longer before your vehicle is delivered to its final destination– since high-capacity carriers often have numerous stops to make along the route.

Shipping via this method may require customers to have some flexibility, too. Delivery may happen within a few-day window, rather than on a specific date, depending on factors like distance and weather.

Note that on a higher-capacity carrier, your vehicle is ‘out in the open’ and exposed to the elements– though it’s not being driven, so there’s no wear and tear.

Owners of classic cars, project cars, exotic or luxury cars, or show-cars may prefer added protection. For them, enclosed car transport via a single-vehicle trailer is often best. It ensures the vehicle is concealed from prying eyes, totally protected from the sun and rain, and that the vehicle goes straight to its final destination with no other stops along the way. Though this method is faster and offers more protection for specialized vehicles, it’s also more expensive.

At least one other option exists between low-cost, high-capacity shipping, and specialized single-vehicle transport. That option is to ship your car on a lower-capacity open trailer, where it will take a ride with 2 or 3 other vehicles. Shipping via a lower-capacity trailer, like a HotShot trailer, will see your vehicle arrive faster, since less stops are required along the way. This may be your best choice if you’re short on time, but still want to keep costs down.

For more information on the best way to ship your specific car to your specific destination, get in touch with one of Car Shipping Carriers’ experts today.

Justin Pritchard
Justin Pritchard

Justin Pritchard, an award-winning automotive journalist based in Sudbury, Ontario, is known for his comprehensive automotive reviews and discoveries. As a presenter, photographer, videographer, and technical writer, Justin shares his insights weekly through various Canadian television programs, print, and online publications. In 2023, Justin celebrated a significant milestone, airing the 600th episode of his TV program, AutoPilot. Currently, he contributes to autoTRADER.ca, Sharp Magazine, and MoneySense Magazine. His work as a technical writer, videographer, presenter, and producer has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2019 AJAC Video Journalism Award and the 2018 AJAC Journalist of the Year. Justin holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) from Laurentian University, which he earned in 2005. His career in automotive journalism began that same year at Auto123.com. Since then, he has written one of the largest collections of used car buyer guides on the internet. His passion for photography, nurtured from a young age, is evident in his work, capturing the scenic beauty of Northern Ontario. Living in a region with a particularly harsh winter climate has made Justin an expert on winter driving, winter tires, and extreme-weather safety. Justin’s significant achievements include: 2019 AJAC Video Journalism Award (Winner) 2019 AJAC Road Safety Journalism Award (Runner-Up) 2019 AJAC Automotive Writing (vehicle review topics) (Winner) 2019 AJAC Automotive Writing (technical topics) (Winner) 2018 AJAC Journalist of the Year You can follow Justin’s work on Instagram @mr2pritch and YouTube @JustinPritchard.

More by Justin Pritchard

Join the conversation