Blog Car Talk Moving Your Car Long Distance – What Are Your Options?
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Moving Your Car Long Distance – What Are Your Options?

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Moving hundreds or even thousands of miles can be very stressful and can get complicated quickly. Driving your car the whole way can add to the stress of a long-distance move. If you have more than one car, odds are you will need to split up your family during the long haul as well.

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The Move Itself

You also need to do a lot of planning and preparation. In general, you should start planning a move at least three months in advance. However, that is the recommended minimum. For example, if you are reading this and have decided on a move six months from now, it will make life easier if you start planning now. Any moving or shipping companies that you choose will be happy to book a date that far in advance.

Research Moving Companies

The first thing you should do in terms of planning your move should be researching potential moving companies. You can use sites like angieslist.com or moving.com, or you can simply do a Google search using keywords such as “(your town name) moving companies”. Finally, you can ask for the recommendations of people around you that you trust. Regardless of the method you choose, pay close attention to past customer experiences and reviews.

Once you find a company that is trustworthy, reputable, and local to your current location, you should give them a call and discuss the details of your move. Once you feel comfortable and happy with everything, you should book your move with them.

Preparing for the Move

After that, the actual preparation will begin. You will need to start budgeting for the move, figuring out what to do about changing things like your mail delivery, schools, insurance, details and more. Make a list of everything that needs to be changed and complete at least one task a day for a few weeks.

Finally, the day of the move will arrive. Your moving company of choice should handle all of this. You will just be tasked with getting your cars and family members to your new destination. But what if you do not want to make that long, possibly all day long, drive? That is where shipping your car or cars comes in.

Your Options for Getting Your Car to Your New Home

You have three primary options for getting your cars to your new home: driving, shipping, or hiring someone to drive it for you.

Driving Yourself

The cheapest option you have will be to drive the trip yourself. However, many people think this will be a lot cheaper than any other option and it turns out to be only a bit cheaper. People tend to forget the cost of gas for the long trip. Depending on how long the trip is, you might also need to factor in the cost of lodging as well as stops for food. With this option, you will obviously also need to take on the task of driving each of your vehicles yourself

Hiring a Driver

Hiring someone to drive the car for you is another option. It is pricey though. This will always cost you more than any other option. Plus, your car will still suffer the depreciation of driving hundreds or thousands of miles. On the plus side, it will allow you to fly to your destination plus it will likely be slightly quicker than shipping your car.


Car shipping is a more affordable option than hiring someone to drive your car and more convenient than driving yourself. In fact, most car shipping companies offer door-to-door shipping meaning that your car or cars will be picked up at your current home and dropped off at your new home. When you ship your car, once your shipment is booked and shipped, there will be very little left for you to do which will free you up to concentrate on the other parts of your move.

Car Shipping 101

Shipping your car is the most sensible option for a long-distance move. It will allow you to concentrate on the most important parts of the move in the months leading up to the big day. It will also allow you and your family to travel in maximum comfort on the day of the move on a train or plane.

Research and Booking

So, you might wonder what shipping your car will entail exactly. It is actually quite easy. You just need to choose a company, book your shipment, and do some easy preparation for your shipment. Car shipping is similar to moving in that you should plan to book your company at least a month ahead. Two months ahead is ideal although no company will discourage you from booking your shipment further in advance than that. You can always book your shipment with less notice than a month, but you might need to become flexible on your shipping dates in that case.

Research Car Shipping Companies Online

As far as choosing a company, you should go about it the same way you chose a moving company. Do some online research. See what an auto transport company’s reputation is on sites like Google and TransportReviews.com. Positive customer reviews will give you more peace of mind. After that, you should visit that company’s website to get a free quote. The quote will include an estimated shipment cost as well as an estimated shipment timeline.

Book a Shipping Date

Once you are satisfied with the price and transit time of your quote, give the car shipping company a call and book your shipment. If you are doing so in advance, you should have no issues getting your preferred shipping dates. When your car is picked up and dropped off, you will need to be present to sign off on both as well as give and receive the keys. This also means that you should schedule your shipment, so your car arrives at your new home after you do.

Be aware that when you get your pickup and drop-off dates, these will be parts of two to three-day windows. This means that If your car shipment is scheduled to be July 30th a three-day window would mean it could be picked up any time from July 29th through July 31st. The same goes for your delivery date. You can always call your particular car shipping company and discuss the details with them.


Clean Your Car

After you have your car shipment booked you can go back to focusing on the rest of your move. Then, the week of your car shipment, you will need to do a bit of easy preparation. You will just need to get the outside of the car cleaned so that your car shipping driver can conduct a visual inspection for pre-existing damage. After that, you will need to remove any personal items from the vehicle. The reason for this is that if any personal items get damaged or are lost during the shipment, they will not be covered by the car shipping insurance.

Make Sure Your Car Runs Properly

Most importantly, your car must be running properly in order for you to ship it. If the engine is not running or if you a flat tire, for example, your vehicle transport driver will not be able to drive the car onto the carrier. This could likely result in a shipping cancellation. If that happens, you will likely get charged a cancellation fee, and you’ll need to re-book your shipment as an inoperable car. This requires a special truck with a winch that can load cars that are not running. This will, unfortunately, cost you an additional several hundred dollars and more waiting time.

If you want to be sure that your car is ready and in tip-top shape, you should get any outstanding issues repaired before your driver arrives to pick it up. A repair will likely end up costing much less than the cost of a cancellation fee plus the cost of booking an inoperable car shipment.