How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car?: Auto Transport Tips (2022)

How long does it take to ship a car? If you’ve ever wondered how long it takes a car to get from one state to another, this is where you’ll find out. The most important consideration after auto transport cost is how long does it take to ship a car?

Delivery time is critical if you need your car to start a new job or meet family responsibilities. You want a definite delivery date. But can you get one?

The transport method, season, and travel route all affect the transportation timeline. Be wary of transport companies that guarantee specific pickup and delivery dates. There are too many variables to promise an exact delivery time.

But what if your car must be in a certain place at a certain time?

No worries. If you understand the process you can plan ahead to move a car on your schedule.

(Video) How Long Does It Take to Ship A Car

Table of Contents

How to ship a car across to a new city.

Keep reading for details on different shipping methods and time frames.

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car?: Auto Transport Tips (1)

Types of Auto Transport

First, let’s review the different types of auto transport services. Each choice influences the transportation time.

(Video) Top 5 mistakes to avoid when hiring an Auto Transport Company to Ship Your Car

Here are five options for ship a car to a new city.

Drive The Car Yourself

  • Ready for a road trip? The best choice, if you’re moving a short distance is to drive the car yourself. It’s cheap and you’ll always know where your car is.
  • Of course, if you’re moving to another state or the opposite coast, this is harder.
  • Will you transport your car separate from your furnishings or tow them behind you? If you hire movers to transport your belongings it may be easier to drive the car yourself.

Hire a Professional Driver

  • If you don’t want to load your car onto an open-air trailer, consider hiring a professional driver. Some commercial transportation companies offer professional driver services. The company insurance covers the driver.
  • You can ride along with a professional driver. Pack your personal belongings in your trunk. You don’t have to drive, but you and your car arrive together. Professional driver services handle insurance for the driver and the trip.

Hire a Freelance Driver

  • Yes, it’s a thing. You can hire a freelance driver to move your auto. Freelance drivers are college students, travelers, and retirees. These drivers offer a reasonable fee. Be sure to choose based on a referral or recommendation.
  • You can negotiate the timeline when you hire a professional or freelance driver.

Ship Your Car on the Auto Train

(Video) How long does it take to ship a car? #shorts

  • Amtrak’s Auto Train is an option if you’re moving along the East Coast. The train travels from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, FL.
  • Cars, motorcycles, and SUVs are welcome on the train. Pack your vehicle with your belongings, then load it onto the auto train. You must travel with your car as a passenger on the train.

Professional Auto Transport Company

  • Hiring a professional auto transporter is a popular choice. You don’t have to drive the car yourself. You also don’t put miles on your car.
  • Professional auto transport moves the car on an open-air trailer or in an enclosed truck. The size of your car, travel distance, and other factors determine the cost.
  • Shipping in an enclosed truck is more expensive than an open-air trailer.
  • But, it protects your car from the elements and potential damage. That may be worth the cost if the car travels across the desert in summer or in severe winter weather.
  • Always check that the company has a license and insurance. It’s wise to study online reviews. Can your car dealership give you a referral? Visit the Better Business Bureau website.
  • Now that you know your transport options, let’s talk timeline.

How Long Does It Take To Ship a Car?

Once you place a transport order it takes a few days to ship a car. Commercial transporters call it the pickup window. Transit time begins after the transport company has possession of the auto.

Delivery estimates use normal drive time. Factoring in the variables listed below, delivery can take between two days and a month.

Let’s take a closer look at the delivery variables.


(Video) 5 Tips For Shipping a Car When Moving Out of State | Move Car Auto Transport

  • Where is the car now and where is it going?
  • If the car is shipping to or from a major city it’s easier to pick up and deliver. That’s because commercial transport vehicles and drivers are nearby.
  • It takes extra time and effort to send a team to pick up or deliver an auto in a remote or rural location. The added mileage and effort adds to the cost and delivery time.
  • If you’re in a rural area you can meet the trucker in or near a metro area to reduce the cost and speed up shipping.
  • The same goes for delivery.

Transportation Distance

  • How far is the car transport?
  • The transit time increases with mileage. Moving a car a few hundred miles takes a few days. Transporting a car from Maine to California can take one or two weeks.

Time of Year

  • Commercial auto transport companies are busiest from late Spring to early Fall. There are more trucks moving across the United States during the warm months.
  • If you ship a car at the height of summer vacation travel, it may move faster. More trucks on the road mean they’re available for pickups and deliveries.
  • It may take longer to transport a car during the winter when fewer trucks make deliveries.


  • Snow, sleet, rain, high winds, tropical storms, and more along the route can delay delivery.
  • Good weather and light traffic can mean your vehicle arrives early. It’s important to plan for the chance your car delivers ahead of schedule.

Travel Route

  • Another factor in delivery time is the travel route. Are you moving a car along major highways and interstates? It’s faster than transporting a vehicle on less traveled roads.
  • Door-to-door delivery means your car goes to the desired location. But, it may take longer if the route is rural or remote.

Expedited Shipping

(Video) Auto Transport - Tips You Should Know When Hiring an Auto Transport Company

  • What if there’s no leeway on the date you must ship or receive your car? It’s more expensive, but expedited shipping is available. Talk to the auto transport company to arrange a guaranteed date for pickup or delivery.

Final Tips for Choosing Auto Transport Services

  1. Need a professional auto transport company for yourself or an important customer? Weigh all the options outlined here. Don’t base the decision on cost alone.
  2. Partner with a licensed, insured transporter. There may be exclusions in cargo insurance. It’s important to have your own car insurance, too.
  3. Request a quote and ask how long does it take to ship a car. Then you can plan delivery to fit your budget and schedule.
  4. Compare reviews and recommendations. Choose the company that delivers great service along with the vehicle.

What Affects the Time Required to Ship a Car?

Due to unanticipated delays caused by atypical routes or the time required to pick up the vehicle, the total shipping time by the provider of car transport services may be extended. The factors influencing time are:

  • Stops at different locations: Nobody enjoys them, yet they do occur. When it does occur, carriers can often repair the problem quickly, resulting in just a little delay.
  • Highway Conditions: Your vehicle may need to traverse a major route that is undergoing construction; thus, you should anticipate a delay.
  • Traffic: As previously indicated, traffic is unavoidable. So are weather conditions, particularly if drivers must drive more cautiously to prevent collisions and maintain the safety of their cars.
  • Locations for Pickup and Return: Where will the car be delivered and picked up? If both sites are in neighborhoods that are difficult to maneuver, or if they are in rural regions where the driver must be off the major highway, the shipping time of a vehicle may be affected.
  • Truck Failures and Mechanical Problems: A car carrier may carry several vehicles to multiple delivery locations.
  • Route Length: Obviously, the longer the journey, the longer it will take to transport a vehicle.


How long does shipping take for a car? ›

It takes about two weeks to deliver a car. However, timelines can be shorter or longer depending on your delivery location, auto transport company, and shipping method.

How long does it take to unload a vehicle carrier ship? ›

Just unloading the ocean vessel can take 1-3 business days, because many ships have more than 10,000 containers on board. An FCL (Full Container Load) shipment will be available for pickup after the container is unloaded and placed in the arrival port's container yard.

How long does it take to ship a car from Seattle to Anchorage? ›

How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car from Seattle to Anchorage? It takes approximately 6-7 days to ship a car or truck from Seattle, WA to Anchorage, AK.

How long does it take to ship a car from East to West Coast? ›

The estimated transit time from the east coast to the west coast is about 7 to 10 days. At delivery, the carrier inspects the vehicle again, and you pay any remaining balance.

How long does it take for a car to get from port to Dealership 2022? ›

Generally, it can take four to six weeks for dealers to get new cars in the shops from factories. Sometimes, the shipments might be held longer to fill the shipping container.

Can you put things in your car when you ship it? ›

It is not illegal to ship personal items in your vehicle when it is being moved by a shipping company. There might be some personal items that you cannot remove from your vehicle. Some shipping companies will also allow you to put other items in your vehicle that you want to move with your car.

How many cars fit on a car transporter? ›

In the United States, car haulers typically carry anywhere between 2 to 9 cars at a time.

How many cars fit on a car carrier ship? ›

How are Cars Shipped By Sea? Ocean vessels that specialize in shipping cars have been built to hold up to 8,000 vehicles, although most are designed to transport between 4,000 and 5,000 vehicles.

How long does a ship stay in port? ›

Other cruise lines, particularly ones that focus on destination immersion, offer overnights in port, which means you could be there for as long as a couple of days. The standard, though, is somewhere between five and nine hours, with a morning arrival and late afternoon departure.

How long does it take to ship a car from California to Hawaii? ›

In general, shipping a vehicle from California to Hawaii takes around 7-14 days.

How much does it cost to ship a car from Florida to Alaska? ›

The cost of shipping a car from Florida to Alaska is $1800-$2500 on average.

How long does it take Ford to ship a car? ›

If everything is in stock, your order will be shipped in one to two business days.

Why are cars taking so long to be delivered? ›

Demand for new cars has skyrocketed, but the people buying them are left waiting weeks and even months to drive them off the lot. It's partly because of a global shortage of microchips that are key to most makes and models.

Is there still a delay on new cars? ›

Buying a new car in 2022 will be a little more time-consuming than normal. Production issues caused by Covid-19 and global semiconductor shortages mean that your brand new motor could take weeks or months longer than usual to arrive on your driveway.

How long does it take to ship a car from NJ to CA? ›

Shipping a car from New Jersey to California takes about 7 to 10 days. Various factors could affect the shipping times and this means that shipping time is always an estimate. Open auto transport is usually faster and cheaper due to high availability.

What is the current lead time for new cars? ›

Based on current data, the average lead time for a brand-new vehicle is seven months, however lead times vary between models, manufacturers and month-to-month.

How long does it take a car to clear customs? ›

Typically, customs clearance takes less than 24 hours, however, there are times where it can take several days or weeks for goods to be inspected.

How are new cars transported to dealerships? ›

According to the American Association of Railroads (better known as the AAR), each year, freight rail moves nearly 75% of the new cars and light trucks purchased in the U.S. Plus, they serve most of the 70-plus automobile manufacturing plants across North America, including those in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and ...

Does car need to be empty when shipping? ›

Can You Pack Stuff Inside Your Car or Trunk and Ship it? Yes, you can ship your car with things inside of it. As of now, the Department of Transportation has not outwardly said car shipping companies can ship personal or household items in a car being transported.

What should I watch for when shipping a car? ›

10 Things to Know Before Shipping a Car
  • It is risky depending on your method of shipment. ...
  • Reading reviews is not a waste of time. ...
  • Beware of auto transport brokers. ...
  • Never give a deposit. ...
  • Never base your decision on price alone. ...
  • Be aware of insurance policies. ...
  • Make your scheduling needs known. ...
  • Preparing your car for transport.

Can you put stuff in trunk when shipping car? ›

Although it is legal to ship items in your vehicle or trunk, many companies prefer that you do not as there is always a risk of theft or damage to the items during transport. Most companies recommend that you remove all personal items from the vehicle prior to shipment.

Has a car ever fallen off a car carrier? ›

Brand New 2023 Range Rover Decapitated After Falling Off Car Carrier And Colliding With Honda. A brand new Range Rover being transported through Paramus, New Jersey, fell off the back of a car carrier on Thursday morning. In the ensuing chaos, a Honda Accord was hit causing an injury, says photographer Boyd A.

How are cars tied down on ships? ›

Each vehicle is lashed with a minimum of four nylon tie-down straps that are looped through removable hooks at the bumpers or on the frame. (Larger vehicles need more straps, as do those parked perpendicular to the keel, a placement that lets the body move more on its suspension.)

How heavy is a car transporter? ›

Empty mass – 400 kg. Maximum Gross Weight 1600 kg. Estimated payload 1200 kg.

What is the largest car carrier ship? ›

MV Tonsberg is the world's biggest ro-ro vessel owned by the shipping and vehicle logistics company Wallenius Wilhelmsen based in Norway. Constructed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, it was launched in 2011 and is currently sailing under the flagship of Malta.

Are cars shipped by air? ›

Transporting your car by plane may sound like the fastest and safest method, but as with any car shipping option, you'll find both advantages and drawbacks. Using a plane for shipping a car across the country is usually more expensive than the average cost of a new car, but it's a viable option for the right client.

What car chips are in shortage? ›

Ford Motor (F) says chip shortages are still an issue. Toyota Motor (TM) sees shortages lasting at least through the third quarter this year, while General Motors (GM) expects the shortage impact to last into 2023. Automotive production is likely to remain below pre-pandemic levels through 2024, Jewell said.

How do ships stop at port? ›

When at harbour or port, station is maintained by mooring lines that tether the ship to the berths. Some ships in certain cases can also use anchors as a braking mechanism, but it would only help in reduction of speed, and is not as abrupt as that of crash stop method.

What is port day? ›

A port day is when your cruise goes ashore, docks, or tenders at a port of call or private island. During this time you are free to explore the area on your own, do an organized tour either through the ship or booked independently, or stay on the ship and take advantage of reduced capacity.

Do ships drop anchor in a storm? ›

Sea mariners know something that can help a leader in the grips of a tumultuous crisis. When a storm rises upon a ship at sea, the wind and waves can threaten to sink it. If the storm rises when the ship is in a harbor, an anchor is dropped from the bow (front) to secure it to solid ground below.

How long do cars take to clear customs? ›

0 - 1 week: vehicle purchased to be finalized and moved to the port for shipping. 2 - 4 weeks: waiting for the next ship. 2 weeks: shipping. 1 week: customs clearance.

Why are cars taking so long to be delivered? ›

Demand for new cars has skyrocketed, but the people buying them are left waiting weeks and even months to drive them off the lot. It's partly because of a global shortage of microchips that are key to most makes and models.

How do I track my new car delivery? ›

How do I track my car shipping? You track your car shipping by contacting your broker and asking about your vehicle's location. The best auto shipping companies can often give you an estimated delivery time frame even if the driver doesn't have an active GPS tracking device.

How long does it take Ford to ship a vehicle? ›

If everything is in stock, your order will be shipped in one to two business days.

What happens when a car arrives at port? ›

Upon arrival at the U.S. port, cars are unloaded from the cargo ship and placed in a storage lot to await pickup by a car hauler, a type of trailer or semi-trailer built to transport passenger vehicles. Typically, they can hold up to nine cars at once.

What year car can go to Jamaica? ›

The country of Jamaica only allows vehicle imports for BRAND NEW vehicles and vehicles that are NOT MORE than SIX YEARS OLD.

How long does it take to get from Toyota dealership to port? ›

Order-To-Delivery is typically 15-30 days (depending on distance from plant). 5. Customers have access to see availability on .

Are there any car manufacturers not affected by the chip shortage? ›

Top 7 Cars Unaffected By The Chip Shortage
  • 2021 Hyundai Sonata.
  • 2021 Jeep Compass.
  • 2021 Nissan Titan.
  • 2021 Nissan Altima.
  • 2021 Ram 1500 Classic.
  • 2021 Nissan Sentra.
  • 2021 Volvo XC60.
  • 2021 Ford Expedition.
1 Sept 2022

Can you track car delivery by Vin? ›

No, you can't really track shipments even if you have the VIN.

Will new car prices drop in 2022? ›

Used car prices are already starting to drop as the market cools, having seemingly peaked in early 2022. On the other hand, new vehicle prices are unlikely to drop in 2022 due to persistent inflationary pressures. “There's still a lot of inflation bubbling up in the new vehicle supply chain.

What happens when a car is not delivered on time? ›

if they are not deliver the vehicle as promised earlier, you can file a consumer case before the Consumer disputes redressal forum against their deficiency of Service. or file a case before the civil court for specific performance.

What does it mean when a car dealership says a car is in transit? ›

If your vehicle is in transit, it means a designation for vehicles that have come off the assembly line but have not yet arrived at the dealership. Depending where the model line is produced the vehicle can arrive at the dealership within 3-30 days.

How long are people waiting for new cars? ›

The average wait times for new cars

According to Forbes, the average wait time for a new car can be four to twelve weeks. Depending on what vehicle you want, you could be waiting even longer than that.

How long are Ford orders taking? ›

Placing a Ford factory order is a no-hassle experience because you can select the exact specifications for a current model or one that is about to be released with assistance from our knowledgeable sales staff. The process takes an average of about three+ months.

Who does Ford ship cars with? ›

Why Ford Owners Trust Number 1 Auto Transport to Ship Their Cars. Number 1 Auto Transport is the best auto transport company for shipping high-performance vehicles such as the Ford Mustang, Ford Shelby, Ford Pickup, as well as many other Ford models.

How long does it take to ship a f150? ›

Once its built and no wait on a chip then 3-4 weeks for delivery to dealer via rail/truck.


1. How To Ship A Car Correctly
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2. Car Transport How Long Will it Take with We Will Transport It?
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3. Tips and Tricks for Auto Transport and Car Shipping
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4. Shipping a Classic Car Enclosed ? Top Tips On What To Look Out For
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