Shipping A Vehicle is Shipping A Vehicle, Right?
Well, not all vehicles are created equal. This means that every vehicle has different considerations when it comes to transport. We’ve talked about covered versus open-air transport, and special considerations you should take when shipping automobiles including high-end vehicles and motorcycles.
There can also be differences when it comes to shipping a sedan versus shipping an SUV or pickup truck. In most cases, it’s not a matter of the time it will take, but the technology and equipment that needs to be used and the cost of the transport. So, what causes the difference in pricing when shipping a sedan versus an SUV or pickup truck?
The weight of the vehicles being transported affects the transporting process in a number of ways.
- Heavier vehicles require more fuel on the part of the towing vehicle.
- Vehicles with higher weights will often bring the transport’s speed down, either through sheer mass or the driver may need slower speeds due to safety concerns. Either way, this lengthens the transport time, and more time on the road means a higher cost for the hauler.
- Heavier loads cause greater wear and tear on trailers and components.
- Auto transporters must adhere to the rules of the road, including strict weight limits. This could lead to the hauler having to haul a load that is short a vehicle or two if some of them are heavier. Not being able to fill all spots means that the hauler either has to raise the price per vehicle, or risk losing money on the transport.
- Heavier loads require larger vehicles with larger engines and stouter frames.
All of these factors mean that carriers need to charge heavier vehicles such as pickups, large SUVs, and vans a higher rate. While the average sedan weighs in at around 3,400 pounds, with full-size sedans being a bit heavier, the average SUV weighs in at 4,800 pounds, with some heavy-duty, full-size SUVs getting close to 3 tons. That really adds up when you start loading multiple vehicles onto a carrier
Overall Size Matters
It’s not just the weight of a vehicle that matters. The different measurements of a vehicle can all throw their own individual wrench into the works when it comes to transport. Dimensions of vehicles and the trailers used in transport don’t always work together.
Automotive carriers only have a finite amount of space in or on the trailers they use to move vehicles. This means that while smaller sedans can be parked nose to tail throughout a standard carrier, longer vehicles – in particular those over 300 inches in length, like some vans, full-size SUVs, and pickup trucks – need careful structure in the load. A large pickup truck most likely will take up 1 ½ spots on a trailer forcing the carrier to lose a spot if they aren’t able to find a much smaller vehicle to fit in the remaining spot.
In some cases, these extra-long vehicles will cause the carrier to have to try and find a super-compact sedan to balance the length overlap. If the hauler can’t find a compact vehicle to even things out, they’ll have to charge an additional fee.
Especially if you have a pickup truck with dual wheels in the rear, the width can be a factor when it comes to finding a hauler and getting the pricing for hauling your vehicle. The average trailer is built for the average-width vehicle – and even a little bit wider. But those large pickup trucks, as well as wide SUVs such as Hummers and some older full-sized SUVs, might not fit between the supports of the upper deck. These may require custom hauling that can drive the price up.
The bridges and roadways of the country put a limit on just how high a vehicle can be, so hauling tall vehicles can also impact how a vehicle is hauled and the cost. Traditional open-air trailers can stack two vehicles, one on the upper deck and one on the lower. The average SUV or pickup truck is around 6 feet in height, but some can be higher – raised trucks, vans, and more. To keep auto transporters from ending up on a “Fails” video, where we cringe as the top rack is crushed under a low bridge, many carriers will make an effort to stay on the safe side and leave tall vehicles for single-level carriers.
Auto Shipping Methods
As you can tell from the above, sometimes you may need to consider alternative shipping methods to the average open-air trailer when you need to transport a truck or SUV versus a sedan. For extra-wide vehicles, sometimes a flatbed or being towed behind a hauler is the best option. The same goes for taller vehicles, with single-level flatbed hauling being the best option. Long vehicles sometimes face the same dilemma – although they can fit on the standard trailer.
When it comes down to it, shipping a sedan will almost always be cheaper than shipping an SUV or pickup truck. What has made them long a favorite of buyers and drivers – the right size, lightweight, easy to maneuver – makes them easy and relatively inexpensive to transport from one place to another.
The difference in pricing when shipping an SUV or pickup truck is justifiable, and for the shipper, is worth it to know that the price is higher to ensure the safety and success of the transport! After all, at the end of the day, getting your pickup truck or SUV to the next point in your travels in mint shape is what matters most. That’s why you’ll want to work with our team at Number One Auto Transport, where we are experienced in shipping sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks, and finding the lowest cost, most reliable methods regardless of which one you are transporting!