7 Most Common Factors Used to Calculate Car Shipping Costs

December 17, 2021 Supercheap

Starting the process of vehicle transport can be daunting. But knowing how it works will help you choose what is suitable for you.

The first step is to find out how much it will cost. The price will vary depending on several factors and understanding what these are and how they play into your shipping costs can be tricky.

So in this guide, we’ll explain the differences between the types of car transport and many other factors that decide your car shipping cost.

7 Factors That Decide Your Car Shipping Cost

1. The Type of Car Transport Services

 The Type of Car Transport Services

There are four main types of car transport based on the pickup and delivery locations:

  • Door-to-door: You request pickup and delivery at locations of your choosing.
  • Depot-to-depot: You request pickup and delivery at specified depots closer to your home location.
  • Door-to-depot or depot-to-door: You request pickup at either depot or your home address and delivery at the nearest depot or home address.

While many think that the depot pickup or delivery costs are cheaper, it isn’t always so. The further away from your pickup and delivery locations are, the more expensive it will be. This is true for two reasons. First, because long-distance travel is more expensive. Second, because long-distance travel is slower.

And so, if your depot is farther away than your delivery address or pickup address, then you’ll be paying more than door-to-door. However, many use depots because of the ease of car transport and the flexibility of pick up or drop-off at their convenience.

2. The Location of the Pickup and Delivery

The Location of the Pickup and Delivery

The geography of your locations also plays a major role in your car shipping costs. Simply put, if you are in a rural area that is out of the way or in a major capital city that is difficult to get to, then costs will likely be higher. If you are in direct access to a capital city, then costs will likely be lower.

It is mainly due to the availability of resources and the ease of getting the car delivered to you.

3. The Chosen Vehicle Carrier

The Chosen Vehicle Carrier

There are three leading vehicle carriers you can choose from for shipping cars.

  • Open car carriers: They carry cars on open flat decks that are exposed to the elements.
  • Enclosed car carriers: They carry cars on enclosed trailers that protect them from the elements.
  • Containerized shipping: They carry cars in large enclosed shipping crates.

Among these, most usually use an open truck or enclosed truck for interstate car transport and containerized shipping for transporting the car to another country.

If you’re moving to a nearby place and you can opt for open trucks if the weather conditions permit. And this will cost you less than enclosed carriers. On the other hand, open trucks are more susceptible to damaging the car during transit. So you need to consider these options along with the risks while calculating your car shipping costs.

4. The Distance of the Car Transport

The Distance of the Car Transport

When your car is shipped long distances, costs can vary significantly. The distance it has to travel is one of the major factors that affect pricing, but it’s not the only one. You also have to consider fuel costs, weight limits, and surcharges as well as your final destination.

In fact, there’s one thing that many don’t consider. The more miles it travels, traditionally, the less you have to pay per mile to get it there. Shorter trips are more expensive. When weight and height matter—which is why you’d want to ship in the first place—the costs rise dramatically; but you can make sure your vehicle gets where it needs to go for an affordable price if you consider various transport companies and choose one with the best rates and experience.

5. The Size of the Car

The Size of the Car

Your car’s weight and size affect how much it will cost to move your vehicle.

The heavier it is, the more fuel it takes to transport it, and that’s going to ultimately cost you money. Also, heavier cars take more manpower and equipment to load and unload. So, SUVs will have higher charges to get transported than sedans.

And when your car is bigger than the normal size and takes up more space, then it’s going to cost you more. Sometimes, bigger cars can take the place of another vehicle in the carrier, and therefore, you’ll have to pay accordingly.

6. The Condition of the Car

The Condition of the Car Supercheapinterstateremovals

If your car is damaged and has some missing parts or faulty parts, it can increase the shipping cost. It’s because the transport company will need to use specialized equipment and more workforce to load up your car on the truck and drop-off safely when the vehicle isn’t in a condition to utilize.

A vehicle is considered inoperable or in an undrivable condition if it:

  • Has no working brakes, steering, or lights.
  • Has no control of its steering or brakes.
  • Has no power to operate its windshield wipers, radio, heater, or defroster.
  • Fails to pass safety inspections.
  • Has no dashboard warning lights

Many transport companies also refuse to transport inoperable vehicles if your vehicle is inoperable.

7. The Time of Shipping

The Time of Shipping

There are certain summer months when the demand for relocation is very high. And your car shipping costs will be higher during the period.

On the other hand, if you choose to ship in the winter when it costs relatively less, you may have to manage in the nasty cold climate, which can prove quite difficult and longer to transport your car safely.


Every vehicle transport service is different, so it’s important to think about the specific aspects of your vehicle shipping needs. What type of car will you be shipping and what type of truck will you be shipping it in? Will your vehicle be driven to the terminal, or will you be shipping it via depot? Will you need your vehicle to be transported on a specific date?

Getting clear answers to these questions will help you calculate your car shipping cost.