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Should I Drive or Ship My Car When I Move?


Are you excited for the big move? Whether you are moving for a new job, a change of scenery, or another opportunity, don’t let the logistics of your to-do list overshadow this exciting new chapter. It can be hard enough to plan a big move when you’re deciding what furniture to bring, but for car owners, there is another logistical question to ask: should I drive or ship my car when I move?

We understand how this could be a predicament; paying someone to transport your car is an added expense to an already costly move. But there are many factors to consider, and even if driving your vehicle seems like the cheaper option, it could be more expensive in the long run. To see which option is best for you, here are five questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to drive or ship your car for your big move.

How will this impact my car’s health?

For many of us, our car is an investment of our time, money, and emotions. Your car may be an expensive, well-maintained classic. Or maybe your car is a hand-me-down from an older sibling in which you’ve made years of memories. Perhaps your car was a thoughtful gift from a loved one. Maybe it has been a passion project for you that you’ve poured months of your time into. Or maybe it is just a car that you bought with your hard-earned money, and you want to be sure it lasts you for years to come.

Whatever connection you have to it, you want what’s best for your car.

Driving your vehicle, especially over long distances, does take its toll (pun intended). Whether it’s the hours you’ll have to spend on the road with your engine working overtime or the long exposure to the elements, long drives chip away at the car’s health.

When you ship your car, it protects your vehicle’s systems. You won’t have to worry about the wear and tear on your engine or tires, and your car will arrive to your new home in exactly the condition you left it in.

If your car has an expensive paint job, an enclosed truck may be something to consider. Though this option is more expensive, it will keep your car from getting scratched or damaged from road debris and natural elements and could end up saving you money in touch-up costs. Either way, using a car transport service is likely best to protect your car’s health.

Will it be safe for me to drive my vehicle this far?

Long-distance driving can be more difficult than one might assume. When you spend hours on the road multiple days in a row, your mind and body can become exhausted. Drowsy driving leads to 100,000 police-reported crashes and over 1,500 deaths each year (NHTSA). It’s important to be sure that you take every precaution if you decide to drive your car when you move.

On the other hand, professional truckers and long-haul drivers are much more experienced with these types of trips. If you decide to ship your vehicle, it will be in the hands of an experienced driver who is familiar with the routes, comfortable with adjusting to changing road conditions, and who knows how to keep themself and their cargo safe.

For people who are moving on their own, we strongly suggest shipping your vehicle for your safety. However, if there will be multiple drivers in the vehicle when you move, drowsy driving may not be as much of a concern since passengers can take turns driving and keep each other awake and focused on the road. If you’d like more tips on how to avoid drowsy driving, check out the CDC’s guidance.

If your top priority is safety for both yourself and your car, transporting your car across country is the better choice.

How much will this affect my car’s mileage?

If you’re worried about your car’s mileage, chances are you’re considering one of two things: selling your vehicle or keeping your vehicle as long as possible.

If you are interested in selling your car, driving it a great distance is definitely not advised. Mileage is one of the main determining factors when assessing your car’s value. It’s best to limit your drives to weekly trips to the grocery store, not cross-country road trips. Shipping your car will preserve your car’s mileage and lead to a more lucrative deal when you do decide it’s time to sell.

Driving your vehicle when you move also hurts your car’s longevity. No matter how well-maintained a vehicle is, each part still has a set number of miles or duration of use before it becomes unreliable and needs to be replaced. If you are still hoping to get years of use out of your car, the best option is to ship your vehicle.

Do I have enough time?

Driving long distances takes time – a lot of it. You’ll have to factor in a realistic estimate of just how many miles you can drive per day. Think of the rest stops, lunch breaks, hotel check-ins, and gas stations. These all take time, not to mention your ability to drive reliably for long periods.

For your safety, we recommend that you spend no more than 8 hours on the road per day, including breaks and rest stops. Usually this translates to 450 miles or less per day.

Now think of your trip. How many days on the road would that be? Can you take that much time off work? Do you want to spend your time off work on the road, or would you rather be settling into your new place? If time is of the essence, having your car shipped is the best option.

How much will it cost?

Finally, there’s cost. Even if you consider the cost of gas, road snacks, and hotels, driving is almost always cheaper than using a car transport company. However, it costs more than money to drive your car. Your time, energy, and protecting your investment are big considerations here.

There’s also the fact that you need to have your car fully serviced to make sure it’s ready for the long drive. Having your car break down in the middle of the Interstate can easily cost you more than what shipping it would.

When you consider all of the factors presented above, you can see just how much driving your car can really cost. To save yourself time and energy, as well as avoiding potentially significant servicing or repair fees, it may be best to have your car shipped when you move.

Bottom line

For shorter moves, it may be a better option for you to drive your car. It will likely be cheaper, and as long as you have another person driving with you, safety should not be a huge concern.

Your investment, time, energy, and safety are crucial considerations to make when you are moving your car a greater distance. For these reasons, we recommend using a car transport company to ship your vehicle for longer moves.

Safe shipping with moveauto

At moveauto, we have over 25 years of experience in vehicle transport, serving families and individuals moving long distances and fulfilling commercial contracts for auto dealers and private businesses. Our business is built on trust, transparency, and customer communication. Want to learn more about moveauto? Call us at (800) 886-7135 or shoot us an email. We look forward to assisting you!

You can also read our complete guide to car shipping here.

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