After the question, “how much does it cost to ship a car,” the second most popular question we get asked is, “how long does it take to ship a car?” Once a vehicle is picked up it can usually be delivered in 1-7 days barring no unexpected delays along the shipping route.
This doesn’t take into account unusual shipping routes or the time it takes to pick up a vehicle, which will add to the total time it takes to ship a car. In this article, we’ll break everything down so you have a solid understanding of the time it takes to get your car from point A to point B.
4 Key Factors that Affect the Time it Takes to Ship a Car
Before we dive into more specifics and ultimately answer the question, how long does it take to ship a car, there are four key factors that affect shipping times that you need to be aware of. They are:
1. Route Distance
This is probably obvious, but the longer the route, the longer it’s going to take to deliver a car. Once your vehicle is picked up, a transport of a few hundred miles will only take a day or two, while transporting a vehicle across the country will take anywhere from 5-7 days.
Where is the vehicle being picked up and where is it being delivered to? These two locations will impact the times it takes to ship a car. If either location is in or near a metropolitan area, or along a major interstate, it will be much easier and quicker to get your vehicle shipped.
By contrast, if either location is in a remote or rural area it will take more time for our dispatch team to schedule a truck to get to those remote locations as most trucks are running routes along interstates and major highways, or between metropolitan areas.
3. Vehicle Type
Some vehicles take more time for our dispatch team to find the proper type of truck to ship them. For example, if you have an extra-large vehicle, such as a commercial cargo van or dually truck, it may take a little more time to find a truck that has a trailer (and a spot available on their trailer) that can accommodate it.
If you have an expensive or rare vehicle, such as a classic car or a Lamborghini, you will likely be looking not only for an enclosed trailer but a driver that specializes in hauling these types of precious vehicles. It will take additional time to find those types of trucks.
4. Time of Year
Peak moving season for car haulers and moving companies are in the warmer months. Starting in late spring and ending in early fall, transport companies are busy all over the country. If you’re shipping a car around these times, it may be picked up sooner due to the number of trucks going back and forth across the U.S. If you’re transporting your car in the winter months, it may take longer to arrange for the pick up and delivery of your vehicle.
Now that you know the four general factors that can impact car shipping times, let’s get into the specifics as it pertains to scheduling pick up and delivery and then put it all together so you know how long it will take to ship your car!
Scheduling the Pick Up
Once an order is booked with us, the first thing our dispatch team has to do is schedule the pick up of your vehicle. The type of vehicle being shipped and the shipping route itself will determine how much time that takes to do.
If you are shipping an expensive or classic car that requires an enclosed transport it may take a little more time than if you have a “regular” car that can be hauled on an open trailer. If the vehicle is being shipped on a popular route or along interstates or major highways, it will take less time to find a driver than if it’s being shipped on a route that takes the driver in remote or rural areas.
Regardless, we can typically get a driver scheduled to pick up a vehicle in 2-8 days (and in most cases on the lower end of that range). Sometimes we can get a pick up scheduled in a day or two and still other times it can take up to eight days. Again, it just depends on the type of vehicle we’re dealing with and the route it’s being shipped on.
Scheduling the Delivery
Once our dispatch team has the pick up date scheduled and has communicated that with you, then the actual shipping time falls in the hands of the driver we assign the transport to. On average, drivers can drive around 500 miles per day given speed limits and various government regulations that limit how much time drivers can spend on the road each day.
A good rule of thumb to follow to determine the actual shipping time is to divide the total miles of the transport route and divide by 500.
Let’s say the route distance is 1,500 miles. If you divide that by 500 you get 3, as in 3 days shipping time. Then you’ll want to add a day or two for unexpected delays that can occur such as weather, traffic, construction, truck breakdowns, and potential delays in the pick up and delivery of other vehicles along the route. In this example, the total shipping time would be approximately 3-5 days.
Can I Specify Dates for Auto Transport?
This is a common question we get asked. Unfortunately, specifying a pick up date or delivery date isn’t possible. As mentioned above, there are various factors that have to be worked out at the beginning of a transport order before we can determine what the specific pick up or delivery dates will be.
All we can “guarantee” is that we’ll have your vehicle picked up within 2-8 days of when you place your order with us. Knowing that, you should plan accordingly. If your vehicle is ready to be picked up on October 15th, for example, we’ll have it picked up anywhere between October 15th and October 23rd (within 2-8 days).
Once our dispatch team has your transport order assigned to a driver, we’ll know the pick up and delivery dates and will communicate them to you immediately.
That’s what makes J&S unique from other auto transport carriers, we communicate regularly with our customers throughout the shipping process. In addition to notifying you immediately of the pick up and delivery dates once we have your transport assigned, we provide a 24-hour notice on pick up and delivery, and a 1-2 hour notice from the driver on pick up and delivery. And if there are ever changes in the schedule, we let you know about them immediately. You will never be in the dark and you will never be caught off guard!
How Far in Advance Should I Book a Car Transport?
We recommend you book an order with us 3-10 days before your car can be picked up, but not more than 2 weeks in advance. We typically get drivers assigned to our transports within 2-8 days we we don’t need a lot of advance notice.
If you do book an order more than 2 weeks in advance, we won’t start working on scheduling it until your pick up date is about 10 days out. The reason is drivers don’t schedule their loads much further out than that. We’ll still call you immediately after you place your order to confirm all the details and to answer any of your questions, we just can’t start scheduling it until about 10 days out from your pick up date.
Putting it All Together: How Long it Takes to Ship a Car
It’s time for the rubber to hit the road and answer the question – how long does it take to ship a car?
If you include the time needed to schedule the pick up and the actual time on the road, it takes 6-12 days to ship a car.
Keep in mind, that time range is an average and not the rule. If you have a small car being shipped only a few hundred miles along a popular route, it could be picked up and delivered within a day or two!
On the other hand, if you are shipping a commercial cargo van with an extended roof from Blaine, WA to Miami, FL, it could take all of 12 days and then some. That time range also doesn’t apply when shipping to Alaska or Hawaii. Shipping times to those locations is a topic for another article which we’ll be writing about soon.
How J&S Transportation Provides Prompt Delivery
If you want your vehicle shipped promptly, it’s imperative you work with an auto transport company with experience. J&S Transportation is primarily a car carrier with our own fleet of trucks, but we are also a licensed broker. We have over 20 years of experience in the auto shipping industry and we have shipped over half a million vehicles.
With our experience and knowledge as both a carrier and a broker, along with the relationships we have built with trusted carriers across the country, we can get vehicles shipped as quickly as possible. J&S strives for two things: unparalleled customer service and prompt (and safe) delivery!
And please don’t take our word for it either. We encourage you to read our online reviews on third party sites such as TransportReviews.com, Google, and the BBB. Browse our website to find out why you should work with us and be sure to check out our customer testimonials too.
If you’re still not sure if we’re a good fit, shop around. Get quotes from other companies and check out their online reviews and websites too. We’re confident after you do, you’ll be back getting an instant quote from us!
Want to Know How Long It Will Take to Ship Your Car?
Get an Instant Quote and Then Request a Personal Delivery Forecast!