Door to Door Car Shipping vs. Terminal to Terminal

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What is the Difference Between Door Door Car Shipping and Terminal to Terminal Car Shipping?

When shipping a car, customers have two basic options for transporting their vehicles. They can use a door-to-door car shipping service or a terminal-to-terminal car transport method. Each of these auto transport services has its unique pros and cons. Below are some facts to help you decide which service works best.

Door-to-Door Car Shipping Service

What exactly is a door-to-door car shipping service? When a shipper is arranging to have their car transported and has given the car carrier a residential/home address, the transporter will try and come as close to the address as possible to load/unload the car. On some occasions, depending on the truck size, street/neighborhood layout, amount of low-hanging trees, the trucker might request for you to meet up the block or in a shopping center to prevent him from either getting stuck on a side street or from damaging cars that are already loaded on his truck from low hanging trees.

Can I transport my vehicle door to door?

It is possible to transport your vehicle door to door, but it also depends on the truck (carrier) delivering the vehicle. If there are low-hanging trees, this adds to the risk factor of double-decker trucks carrying cars on the top deck. The branches would scratch the vehicle resulting in damage.

Depending on the neighborhood layout, sometimes it is not feasible for a vehicle to be delivered to the actual address. Smaller streets prevent drivers from being able to turn around and unload vehicles. Smaller trailers have an easier time getting into tight spots on shorter routes. The trailer will not hold the usual nine cars on these specific routes but a lesser amount.

What Are the Advantages of a Door-to-Door Car Transport Service?

  • The car carrier/truck will pick up or deliver the car close to your provided address.
  • You can have the car loaded or unloaded without asking someone for help to meet the car carrier.
  • The car will be loaded or unloaded once. The customer will then inspect the vehicle’s condition directly with the car transporter, who will own the car during the entire time it’s being transported.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Door-to-Door Car Shipping Service?

  • When choosing to transport your car via a door-to-door car shipping service, it requires someone to be available to give the keys and the vehicle to the driver. That might become difficult for someone with a busy work schedule who can’t wait at home or the carrier’s office. Without someone to meet the carrier, the vehicle owner won’t inspect it before loading it properly.
  • If the address provided for loading or unloading is far from a highway or major city, and it is not commonplace for carriers to pick up or deliver many vehicles, the cost to ship a car might be a bit higher. The car carrier will have to spend more time/gas to go off his route to pick up or deliver the vehicle.

Terminal-to-Terminal Car Transport Service

What is a terminal-to-terminal car transport service? When a car is shipped from one terminal (parking lot) to another terminal lot. Customers will drive and drop their vehicles off at an airport and pick them up from another terminal. A car carrier/trucker will load his truck at one terminal and unload the entire load at another terminal.

What Are the Advantages of a Terminal-to-Terminal Car Shipping Service?

  • Suppose a customer has a busy schedule and can’t find the time to meet the auto transport carrier. In that case, it might be more convenient for the customer to drop the car off at a terminal, especially with the Covid pandemic.
  • The rate to ship a car via a terminal to a terminal would be cheaper than a door-to-door service because it’s much easier for a car carrier to load and unload his entire tuck in one place.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Terminal-to-Terminal Car Shipping Service?

  • The terminal location might be far from the customer and force the customer to figure out how to get home once dropped off at that terminal. The same problem exists at the destination; the airport might not be close to where the customer resides, forcing the customer to find a way to get to the terminal.
  • If the vehicle owner gets delayed and cannot pick up the vehicle promptly, the terminal might start charging the customer storage fees if it’s not picked up by a specific date.
  • When a car is shipped via a terminal to a terminal, the vehicle passes through a few different parties when it reaches its destination. The car might be moved around the airport a couple of times before a car carrier comes to load it, same on delivery. If the car gets damaged, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly who or when it occurred—making it very difficult to figure out who’s responsible for it.


If you have questions about Door Door car shipping or Terminal to Terminal auto transport service, please get in touch with us at 855-422-4141. If you are interested in a free car shipping quote, fill out the form. Check out our many 5-Star Transport and Google reviews and see why we are among the best car shipping companies around.