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Cost of car shipping: Factors and how to save

Before you go and ship your vehicle, it’s important to understand how much it will cost, the factors involved in the price estimate, and how to save money in the long run.

We’ll also cover how to find a reputable car transportation company, what to look for, and what to avoid.

While shipping a vehicle can seem like a daunting task, a few tips can save you a lot of trouble down the road. Below we’ll get into everything you need to know about car shipping!

Factors that Go Into the Cost of Car Shipping


The average car shipping cost is around £900, or around £.90 per mile when using a typical shipping distance of around 1000 miles. Depending on the type of shipping you’re doing, international or domestic, the rate per mile can change drastically.

The more miles you cover, the less you will pay per mile. You can also work with a flat fee if you’d like, but you may want to keep it at a per-mile rate to keep everything as fair as possible. Every transport company works differently, so you’ll need to speak with them to know the rates you’re getting.

Rates can fluctuate from £.50 to £1.35 depending on the type of time of year, type of shipping, weight of the vehicle, and even delays due to weather. The best move when working with a car transport service is to get a flat quote before you sign any contracts, so there are no surprises.

If you’re unsure what costs you will incur, you can always try to get a free quote from a service like A1 Auto Transport Inc. This way, you get an idea of the estimated cost before you go ahead with any transports you have in mind.

Type of Shipping

The type of shipping that you decide to go with will also affect the cost of the car shipping. The most common type of car shipping is open trailer shipping on a car transporter. Domestic shipping is the most economical form of shipping as the trailers can fit up to 12 vehicles at once.

The downside of open trailers is that they are just that: open. If your vehicle is a luxury vehicle, then you may not want to go with an open trailer, even if it is cheaper. The more expensive option is enclosed trailers, which only hold up to 5 vehicles depending on the size. The vehicles are protected from the outside world (and any onlookers).

If you have more money to spend and want to protect your vehicle from any weather damage or potential accidents, then you’ll want to go with an enclosed trailer. The cost of shipping is going to be much more if you’re planning to ship your vehicle overseas using enclosed shipping.

Time of year

The time of year is also a factor when it comes to vehicle shipping. The best time to transport a vehicle is usually during September and October, as the weather is fairly mild and there are not a lot of shipments during this time of year. The reason is that many people move during spring and summer. Fewer people are travelling and are at home, so there are not too many people on the road which means transport happens faster domestically.

Winter is worse because of weather factors and delays around the holiday season, while summer sees more families on the road vacationing, as well as a lot more packages shipped on international routes. Cargo ships are also packed during the lead up to Christmas, making it more expensive to ship anything as well.

Vehicle Size

The size of your vehicle also comes into play, as the more the vehicle weighs, the more fuel is used, and that cost is passed onto the consumer. A typical sedan will cost around £450 to £1750 per 1000 miles. 

For a pickup truck or SUV, expect to pay around £850 to £1950 depending on the time of year. Remember the more miles being traveled, the less you’ll have to pay per mile, but the reduction in fees is not as much as you’d expect from longer travels.

What to look for in a transportation company?

You’ll always want to go with a well-reviewed transportation company. If they fail to have an online presence, this could be a red flag. It’s best to never work with a company that won’t agree to a flat rate, as they may try to raise the price at the last minute to your detriment.

You can always contact the Department of Transport to double-check if the company you’re inquiring about is licensed to run and operate in the UK region. Not all companies are created equally, and when dealing with your vehicle, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

Posted in Advice