Is It Better to Have My Car Shipped or Drive It Myself?

It’s a question we hear on a regular basis.

Is it cheaper/safer/easier to have my vehicle shipped cross-country, or should I drive it myself?

Because we’re an auto transport company, you probably expect our answer to be yes/yes/yes. But it’s not that simple. The answer depends on you, your vehicle, and your destination.

Car Shipping Logistics

First, what’s your agenda? If you have a deadline when you need to be at the new job, time could be a factor. Having a vehicle transported on a carrier is a secure form of transportation, but there is a window for delivery. Your carrier will give you a range of dates– say, between October 4 and 12. If you’re in a hurry, maybe you should drive.

On the other hand, how do you feel about driving thousands of miles? If you are 25 years old, it’s probably a dream come true. If you are a retiree, you might find better things to do with your time– not to mention that you’ll need more frequent rest stops than your grandson would.

Second, what sort of condition is the vehicle in, and do you want to put the extra mileage on it? If it’s a vintage BMW in mint condition, spare the car.

Have it transported in an enclosed carrier so that it arrives at your destination only a few weeks– not years– older. On the other hand, if you’re driving a trusty sedan or van and you don’t care much if you add another 2,000-3,000 miles to the odometer, you don’t need to opt for shipping.

Third: your destination. If you’re traveling from Portland, Maine to San Diego, how much do you love driving? Three thousand miles divided by 500 miles/day means six days on the road. If you sightsee, or just take a half-day break, it could be a week or more. Do you really have that much time on your hands?


If on the other hand, you’ve never seen the country and you like the idea of sailing in a prairie schooner, go for it. A co-pilot would help but you still don’t want to figure on more than 500 miles/day. Any more than that will make you feel that the car seat is imprinted on your . . . . soul.

shipping car across countryThere’s also the cost.
Don’t think you’ll save much money by driving.
Triple-A estimates the cost of driving at 60 cents/mile, while the IRS allows deductions of 56 cents/mile for business travelers. Besides the added mileage on the car, you’ll pay for gas, oil, meals, motels, tolls . . . oh, and you’re taking time off work? This is starting to add up.

At least with a good car shipping company, you’ll know exactly how much the move will cost– and your car will arrive safely, as young as the day you last saw it.

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