Transporting My Car Versus Driving It

Moving to a new locale can be an exciting but exhausting experience, and, in addition to questions of packing up and closing down one household as well as establishing a new one on the other end of your move, you may need to consider what to do with your vehicle.


Driving your car to your new location can feel like an adventure; after all, you get to see new parts of the country and have the autonomy to stop when and where you want. But there are times when shipping your car provides the better option. Here are some factors to consider before choosing whether to drive your own car or to have it shipped to your new home.

  1. Cost: It is almost always cheaper to drive your car than to ship it. But for long trips, you do need to consider the price of gas, per gallon mileage of your vehicle, distance (500 miles per day is the recommended maximum), cost of hotel stays, and food costs. The average cost to ship a car cross country in an open carrier at the beginning of 2022 was roughly $1,400. However, rocketing gas prices will have changed that dramatically. Be sure to get several professional quotes for current pricing and compare that to the cost of driving the route yourself.
  2. Type of car: Prices for transport vary based on the size and weight of your vehicle as well as the time of year you want to ship. You may also have a collector car or high-end vehicle that you want to protect from wear and tear or damage. This will require closed container shipping, which is more expensive.
  3. Distance: A short trip of a couple hundred miles or so, may only take a day and makes for an easy drive for you. But longer trips are not only more exhausting and expensive, but may cost you days away from work that you don’t have. You will want to weigh whether it is more feasible to take a multi-day drive on your own or to ship your vehicle and use a rental while you wait for it to arrive.
  4. Wear and tear: Depending on the age of your vehicle, you may not want to rack up the mileage of a cross country trek. Engine, tire, and component wear may all become factors in your decision.
  5. Time: Shipping a vehicle can take 9-16 days depending on length of trip and other factors, so you’ll have to decide whether renting while you wait for a shipped car to arrive is the best option or taking the time to drive your self works better.
  6. Multiple Cars/multiple drivers: If you have more than one vehicle, it can either be a necessity to ship one or may be, because of additional costs for multiple drivers, the cheaper option to ship. However, if you have one vehicle and multiple drivers, even a cross country trip can be done fairly quickly on your own.

Ivan Young is a writer in partnership with Checkworks business and personal checks.

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