Shipping FAQ's

Shipping FAQ's

How Much Does It Cost To Ship Your Vehicle?

Whether buying at an auction sale or licensed used car dealer like I AUCTION CARS. Shipping a car by truck and trailer is a cost-effective, safe, and secure method that can save you the time, mileage, and wear and tear associated with driving it home yourself. Most cars shipped are domestic, USA only. However, IAT recommended vehicle shippers can easily ship globally as well. Before booking car transportation, though, it helps to understand how the trailer type, car size, time of year, pickup and delivery locations, and other factors will impact your overall cost.

What Is Vehicle Shipping?

Car shipping is nothing more than moving a car from one point to another, be it cross-town, cross-state, or cross-country. While shipping by plane, train, and ship are also options with their own pros and cons, shipping by trailer is a proven, popular, and practical approach due to its relative affordability and the widespread availability to car transport companies.

Related Costs of Vehicle Shipping

Factors impacting car transport costs include car size and weight, transport distance, delivery speed requirements, time of year, trailer type, and pickup and drop-off locations. Others include operating condition, insurance coverage, and applicable discounts. Distance is arguably the biggest factor. Generally, expect to pay USA destinations from $1.00+ mile. Better discounts are available when shipping longer distances.

Car Size

Along with distance, car size has a notable impact on cost. A compact car, for example, can cost anywhere from 20 to 50 cents less per mile to transport than a larger, heavier SUV or mini-van that requires more trailer space and more fuel-related costs for the transporter.

Trailer Type

Most car transport companies offer open and enclosed trailer options. Shipping via enclosed trailer can add 30% or more to the overall cost. This extra cost buys protection from dirt, rocks, hail, snow, ice, and other damaging elements. Enclosed trailers also provide an extra security layer that’s particularly beneficial when the transport involves overnight stops. Although open trailers offer less protection, they’re typically more cost-effective because the transport companies often will transport multiple vehicles at once.

Delivery Speed

Generally, the more proactive and flexible you are in scheduling pickup and delivery dates, the better price you can book. That said, many transport companies provide premium services that support last-minute or expediated transport, albeit with anywhere from a few hundred to more added to the final price. This is optional decision of the person who orders the shipping.

Does the Vehicle Run?

Whether your car is operable or not often impacts shipping costs. A vehicle that doesn’t run, steer, or brake, for example, will require a winch or other special loading equipment as well as labor on the transporter’s part, all adding to the end total cost. When a vehicle doesn’t run the typical type of transportation is an open trailer with up to three spaces. There is much more work involved for the shipper when the vehicle does not run or is inoperative. There are fewer of these type shippers available as well so the additional impact may also be time. During these COVID and limited shippers overall it is important to note that costs and times are heavily impacted with this type of transportation of vehicle.

Pickup & Delivery Locations

Remote pickup and delivery locations or those involving navigating more demanding routes will usually inflate overall shipping costs. Transportation involving heavily trafficked urban areas or especially busy roads can do the same, although such areas do also provide generally greater availability to transport companies. Another related factor involves terminal-to-terminal or door-to-door options, with the former being less expensive but requiring more overall logistics planning, and the latter being costlier but more convenient. Persons requesting shopping for shipping should know the option of terminal to terminal, door to door, commercial delivery, and residential delivery. All these factors change the costs of shipping a vehicle.

Time Of Year / Pandemic

Summer months are often peak times for car transport. In part, that is because there is less risk of inclement weather and related damage, the season your vehicle is shipped can be an additional factor in shipping of your vehicle. Please note the Current Global Pandemic may be a factor for availability, cost, pick up and delivery times.


When you’re ready to transport your car, turn to IAC APPROVED Shippers’ platform, which handles more than a billion dollars’ worth of car and heavy equipment transportation annually. IAC APPROVED SHIPPERS are always available to their car buyers to shop, and all estimates contain no hidden costs. You’ll have access to tens of thousands of vetted, experienced, bonded, and insured transportation and logistics experts with car hauler trailers, flatbed, hot shot, step deck, RGN, Landoll, and double drop trailer options to get your car moved affordably, safely, and on time.

At IAC APPROVED SHIPPERS, have direct contact to the shipper (RECOMMENDED - I.e., FR8STAR) and most times will have a concierge that will walk you from the start to finish. This is a comforting service that we at IAT believes all persons buying a vehicle should seek out. You remain in complete control throughout and can designate loads as urgent or time-sensitive, plus note any drop-off/pickup requirements, special load instructions, and preferred loading/unloading methods.