How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car?

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How Long to Ship a Car?

Shipping a car is not necessarily an everyday event – so we’re sure you have plenty of questions that need to be cleared up before you commit to shipping your vehicle. As with many decisions in life, money and time are two of the biggest factors in making your decision. When we talk to potential clients, the question “How much will it cost to ship a car?” is often directly followed by “How long does it take to ship a car?”.

While we can’t provide a to-the-minute estimate, as every situation is different,  our team at Number 1 Auto Transport can give you an idea of the factors that determine how long it takes to ship a car, truck, or SUV.


The most obvious factor, the further the drive, the longer it will take. As our team at Number 1 Auto Transport Group operates with safety and security in mind, all of our carriers and drivers follow the posted speed limits and operate according to the USDOT’s Hours of Service Regulations. Ensuring proper rest breaks and on/off duty rules means drivers are always careful and alert on the road.

Realistically, this means that transit time – from the day of loading to the day of unloading – will range from 400 to 500 miles per day, depending on the route. While our team members can have a great time rolling across the flat plains on clear, high-speed highways, they can lose time on winding mountain climbs and through crowded metropolitan areas.

So don’t expect that we can overnight a car across the country, but expect that we can provide a reasonable and accurate estimate of the shortest possible time from pick-up to delivery.

Location, Location, Location

Just as in real estate, location matters quite a bit. Some areas are harder to reach than others. The closer a location is to main highways, interstates, and metropolitan areas, the more likely there will be easy access for carriers. Rural areas, with rough and winding roads, tight passages, and low clearance areas, present a greater difficulty delay. At Number 1 Auto Transport Group, we provide our customers’ exact location pick up and delivery.

We can help mitigate location issues by working with you to find a safe, secure meeting spot close to a major roadway. Whether it is your business, car dealer, or shopping center, we will work with you to find the optimal location to help minimize the timeline to ship your vehicle.

Vehicle Type

The type of vehicle being hauled and the vehicle doing the hauling will impact how long it takes to ship a car, truck, motorcycle, or SUV.

Larger vehicles like vans, large trucks, and truck chassis need larger trailers and heavy-duty equipment. If you’re looking to move construction equipment, that’s even more specialized. This means having limited means of transport, trailers that may be hard to schedule, or limited space.

The same goes for hauling in an enclosed hauler versus an open-air hauler. There are many more open-air haulers on the road today. There are nearly ten times more available open-air trailers, from single-vehicle and single-level trailers to car carriers. Enclosed trailers, while available, often take longer to schedule and can take a little more time in transit. Particularly for classic cars and high-end vehicles, some of which have tight clearances or particular care needs.

The good news? Once your vehicle is loaded and secure, the travel time for enclosed or oversized vehicle haulers isn’t notably longer than with your average open-air carrier.

Time of Year

In terms of the volume of work and the general weather around the country, the time of year definitely impacts how long it takes to ship a car.

Auto transport companies see more transport requests from late spring through early fall than through the winter. With so many vehicles being transported, finding and scheduling openings is easy. At the same time, better weather means the carriers are more likely to have clear sailing from pick-up to drop-off.

Fewer vehicles are being moved in the winter, so fewer spots are available on the road, meaning it may take longer to schedule a transport. Winter also brings cold weather that makes loading and unloading more difficult, and that can bring road conditions that need greater caution, slowing down the transporters. Vehicle safety always comes first, so our drivers will take the necessary precautions to ensure your car, truck, or SUV arrives in mint condition, even if it means a slower trip.

The Unexpected

Murphy’s Law – “Things will go wrong in any given situation if you give them a chance.”

For us, that includes severe weather conditions that pop up, including rain, snow, hail, thunderstorms, and more. At Number 1 Auto Transport, our drivers always operate with the safety of your car in mind. We can explain a day late; we can’t explain a damaged vehicle. If our drivers feel that slower travel or even stopping and sheltering is the best option for ensuring your vehicle arrives in the same condition as when you handed it to us, they will do so.

There’s also the issue of impromptu route changes. Whether it is due to construction that didn’t show up in route planning ahead of time, natural disasters, unexpected heavy traffic, accidents, or other “Acts of God,” all sorts of headaches can crop up. These can add on hours or even days, depending on severity. We are constantly working with drivers and other sources to minimize the potential for unseen delays.

Here at Number 1 Auto Transport Group, we will work with you to provide the closest possible estimate of how long it takes to ship a car. By reaching out to our team and planning for your pick-up and delivery needs, we can answer “How long does it take to ship a car?” plus any other questions you may have about the equipment, processes, and options available to make your vehicle transport as secure and effortless as possible! Contact us today!

Have Questions or Need a Car Shipping Quote?

Number 1 Auto Transport is an auto transport service company specializing in transporting all vehicles door to door. We offer the highest quality customer service at the most reasonable and honest rates. Please email us or call 855-422-4141 for a FREE  CAR SHIPPING QUOTE to ship your car.

We look forward to giving you quick answers to any questions you may have!