Shipping vs. Driving: Debating Methods of Transporting a Vehicle
As human beings, we like things to be easy. Maybe not so easy that there are no challenges in life, but easy enough to where the things we have to do don’t always feel like chores. And the same is true when transporting a vehicle.
The auto shipping industry can certainly be challenging for those who aren’t privy to how it works. We’ve written plenty of times about how you can take advantage of how the industry works to make your experience better. Of course, there’s also only so much you can to make things easier for you.
Luckily, there are a few ways when it comes to shipping vs. driving and different methods of transporting a vehicle. We’re going to go over the pros and cons of different shipping methods and let you decide which is best for you.
An Overview of Driving vs. Transporting a Vehicle
Relocation of anything is an integral part of human history. The story of the human race, more than anything, comes down to relocation. Coming out of Africa, the Silk Road, exploring the oceans, Manifest Destiny – the running theme in each of them is relocation of something.
There are a lot of different reasons to ship a vehicle, but the most common is a move. And typically, when you’re moving, the further you have to move, the more difficult it becomes. Transporting a vehicle instead of driving it yourself can make a world of difference in the ease of your relocation, if only by giving you more time to focus on other things.
But auto transportation isn’t the cheapest thing out there. It’s not terrible – considering the state of the world today, transporting a vehicle isn’t all that expensive right now. But still, it’s an expense that is not easy for most to handle without a bit of planning.
When you ship a car, you need to plan for it. First, you have to find a company that can do it for a reasonable price. They also need to be able to work with your schedule and the dates that you are available. Also, you need to make yourself available, sometimes for entire days at a time. That is not necessarily the case if you were to drive the vehicle yourself. However, both require careful planning, especially if the distance to be traveled is high.
There are positives and negatives for both transporting a vehicle and for driving it yourself. We’re going to be going over a few of them in this article.
Pros and Cons: Time and Transporting a Vehicle
One of the most significant advantages of shipping a car as opposed to driving it is time saved. Especially true for longer journeys, driving that distance can be detrimental for your wallet and your time management. Auto shippers drive for a living – they haul cars on big trucks and do it all day, every day. One could argue that they are professionals when it comes to long-distance transportation, and experts should be trusted.
Car transport truck drivers know their routes and know them well. They understand the intricacies of the road, what parts to avoid, and shortcuts to take. They can typically get from coast to coast in just 5-7 days. You may think that’s a long time, but keep in mind that long-haul truck drivers have laws to abide by that limit how fast or far they can go in a day. The fact that they can usually complete a cross-country trek in just a week is impressive.
That 5-7 days may be longer than your 2-3 days to go cross-country, but that’s 2-3 days you won’t be driving. It’s days that you won’t have to worry about your vehicle or how you’re going to move it. That kind of peace of mind, especially during the middle of a stressful interstate move, is handy.
Pros and Cons: A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
It’s hard to talk about transporting a vehicle vs. driving it without talking about the costs associated with both. Either option will carry some expense with it; the question is, what are you willing to pay?
Let’s talk about the cost of auto transport first. There are a lot of different factors that go into the price you pay to ship your vehicle, starting with the distance between pickup and delivery. Mileage tends to be the driving factor when it comes to the price you pay to have your vehicle transported. It’s simple: shorter distances usually will cost less than longer distances. Long-distance shipments, such as coast-to-coast, will require more.
Augmenting these costs further is the kind of vehicle you are shipping and where precisely the pickup and delivery locations are. Small cars cost less to ship, whereas big pickup trucks and SUVs cost more to ship. Typically, the larger the vehicle, the higher the auto transport price tag. Costs go up as well when it comes to weight. Heavier classic cars tend to cost more than a lighter modern vehicle simply because they were built differently and weigh more.
There is also the cost of fuel. Auto transporters include their overhead costs in what they charge you to ship your vehicle. As a result, prices are considered all-inclusive. But when you drive the car yourself, your fuel costs are going to be only as high as your fuel mileage. If your vehicle gets 22 miles per gallon on the highway, that’s not bad, depending on the size of your tank. But that’s not the only cost you need to think about, especially for long-distance drives. Where will you sleep? What will you eat? Hotels and restaurants cost money, and between food, fuel, and lodging, you could end up paying far more than you would if you shipped the vehicle instead.
Pros and Cons: Wear and Tear
We’ve talked about time, and we’ve talked about price, but what about maintenance? Maintenance is one thing that every vehicle requires, no matter what. Your car needs oil changes; it needs tire rotations, it needs checkups and tuneups and regular servicing if you want to keep it in peak condition. What wears on a vehicle the most? Driving it.
Auto transport trucks are built to withstand the rigors of the road. They have a high maintenance threshold, sure, but that’s par for the course. With any freight company, maintenance of fleets and vehicles gets tied into their overhead, so those prices are, again, built into the price you pay for shipment.
Unlike when you ship a vehicle, any wear or tear that you put on your car when you drive it is going to have to be paid for by you. For distances of only a few hundred miles, where you can take a day and get the driving done yourself, maybe it won’t be so bad. But, when it comes to a cross-country trek, you’ll need an oil check before you leave, and another when you arrive at your destination. And that’s just the surface – tire rotations, tune-ups, all of those will need doing once you’ve finished driving.
All of that costs money – and time – and that’s money and time that you may not have.
When you ship your vehicle, though, your car doesn’t touch the road except during loading and unloading. In other words, shipping saves all of the mileage you would put on the odometer if you were to drive it. You avoid having to do an oil change and a tire rotation when you ship instead of drive, not to mention other wear and tear maintenance that will be specific to your vehicle. In this regard, shipping seems like a better option.
Whatever You Choose, You’re Right
We’re not here to say that shipping your vehicle is better or worse than driving it. We merely want you to be informed. Having all available information will go a long way to making your shipment easier.
Shipping a vehicle can be less stressful and less time consuming than driving it yourself. It can also be more expensive and can take longer than driving it yourself. It all depends on numerous different variables that will be different for everybody, but what everyone can do is compare prices and available services.
If you fill out our free quote request form, you’ll get an immediate quote to ship your vehicle. It’s an all-inclusive price that won’t go up. In turn, you’ll have a good idea of what you’re up against in terms of cost. You can then use that information to compare the price of driving the vehicle yourself. You can get a free quote via our online quote form, or you can call us any time during regular business hours to speak to one of our representatives.
Our representatives can answer questions, give you a quote, and explain more about the auto transport process and what goes into transporting a vehicle. So no matter what you decide, give American Auto Shipping a call and see what we can do for you.
Since 2007 Dave has written all the content and blogs for American Auto Shipping and during this time added the duties of customer support and transport logistics.
He currently resides in Washington with his three kids and their mom and cat. A fan of Marvel movies and good stories, when not shipping cars Dave can be found working on his novel, enjoying a good book or playing some tournament HALO.
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