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The Factors that Impact Car Shipping Costs


Car transport costs are not one-size-fits-all. They vary for every city, car type, season, and transportation method, among others. Before you start finding a car shipping company, you need to have a clear understanding of how shipping costs are calculated and what you need to prepare beforehand.

Main factors affecting car shipping costs

Trip distance

The longer the distance, the higher the total cost. Most shipping companies charge on a base price per mile basis. Additionally, international car transport rates might vary from ground vehicle shipping.

Vehicle type and size

Rates will also depend on the amount of space your vehicle will take up. Smaller, lighter cars are easier and cheaper to ship than heavier ones. Longer and taller cars also entail extra vehicle transport adjustments, which could hike up your total bill. Roof racks, larger tires, and other vehicle modifications can also influence your total bill.

Open vs enclosed

Open auto transport is cheaper but might not be as safe as enclosed transport. That said, open transport truck is the standard method of shipping a vehicle. It’s also the most budget-friendly option on the market.

While enclosed transport may cost more, it offers greater security for owners who wish to ship luxury or delicate vehicles. It provides vehicles an extra layer of protection against dust, weather, and road debris.

Other factors to consider

Operational status

Vehicles in good condition are often cheaper to transport than inoperable ones. If your car is unusable but still retains the ability to steer, roll, and brake, a truck or forklift may be needed to winch it onto the trailer. This will likely increase the cost of shipment.


Shipping prices rise in the snowbird season as this is often the safest and most convenient time to transport vehicles. Carriers don’t have to struggle with severe weather conditions, which results in fewer delays.


Shipping to and from rural areas tends to cost more than in metropolitan areas due to limited carriers. The lack of shipping companies nearby also leads to longer wait times for pick-up and delivery. Bigger cities usually have more trucks available, which means rates are often significantly lower.

How to get a shipping quote

To get the most accurate car shipping quote, ensure you have the following details at the ready:

  1. Vehicle pick up and delivery destination
  2. Earliest available car pick-up date
  3. Transport type (open or enclosed trailer)
  4. Exact vehicle specifications (year, make, and model)
  5. Operational status

Having all this information on hand ensures faster and seamless processing. For more tips on shipping preparations, read our car transport guide today.

The All American Trucking and Transport Advantage

Whether you’re relocating to a new city or buying a car from another country, it’s important to find a carrier that will ship your vehicle swiftly and safely.

Since 1994, we’ve been providing reliable car transport services in California. We’re based in the San Francisco Bay Area but can transport cars, trucks, boats, and specialty vehicles all over the world. We never require a deposit and we have direct 24-hour contact with all of our drivers.

To request a quote, call us at (650) 777-0933 or e-mail us at

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