How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car?

The mere thought of shipping a car may be unbearably intimidating to the average car owner. Unfortunately, the shipping process is inevitable for those looking to relocate cross-country or overseas. If you’re planning on moving thousands of miles across the country, driving your car may not be a realistic option, as most working professionals haven’t accrued enough vacation time to take four days off of work for a cross-country road trip. 

If you’re a busy working professional and a parent to multiple children, time is of the essence. You won’t want to displace your fussy children for a four-day road trip. Streamline the process by hiring the professionals. 

Thankfully, in this day and age, hiring an automotive transportation company for car shipping doesn’t usually call for a massive time commitment. Professionals like Guardian Auto Transport (a California auto shipping company) make it easy to schedule the pickup and delivery times. With their glowing reviews and unparalleled customer satisfaction rating, you can rest assured that your vehicle is in safe hands from start to finish. 

How long does the auto shipping process take?

If you’re wondering how long it takes to ship a car from point A to point B, admittedly, the answer is rarely straightforward. There are all sorts of factors that come into play, meaning it’s not unusual for delivery times to differ substantially. Companies generally retrieve cars in spans of between two and seven days total. Once the carrier is full, your shipping provider will be able to estimate a date of delivery by accounting for distance traveled, average shipping duration, and customs processing times. 

If your carrier has to travel up to 200 miles, your vehicle will likely arrive at its destination after one to two days total. If your shipping provider has to travel anywhere in the range of 200 to 600 miles, expect a span of two to four days. A car that’s going between 600 and 1,000 miles may be en route for between three and five days. 

If you’re shipping your vehicle to a location that’s between 1,000 and 1,500 miles away from your starting point, then the journey may call for four to six days. Trips that cover 1,500 to 2,000 miles may take five to seven days. If you have a long-haul trip totaling to 2,000 to 2,400 miles, expect a delivery time of six to eight days from the day of departure. If your carrier has to travel a minimum of 2,000 miles, the trip could take between seven and nine days. 

Logically, the more the distance traveled, the lengthier the trip and the higher the costs incurred. While there may be exceptions, generally speaking, a longer-distance trip will never cost less than a trip consisting of fewer miles. 

Factors that may come into play

As indicated previously, there are a handful of different factors that may influence car shipping times considerably. Distance, without a doubt, is the first one. If your car is traveling a considerable amount of miles, your vehicle won’t arrive overnight.

Time of year

When calculating the total cost of shipping and travel duration, consider the specific time of the year. Unbeknownst to most car owners, the season of shipment will affect travel time and cost tremendously. Unfortunately, snowstorms can slow down auto shipping processes, as your carrier will have to decrease the trailer’s speed to avoid life-threatening car accidents. The same logic applies to other environmental components such as hail, rain, and intense winds.


While estimating your vehicle’s arrival date, don’t forget to account for unforeseen delays related to road conditions. Your car may need to cross a major highway that’s in the midst of in-depth construction work. If your carrier does encounter these obstacles, it may lead to a considerable delay.

Traffic patterns

Traffic is yet another influential factor in the car shipping process. If your car must pass through a bustling metropolis that’s a haven for daily traffic jams, this part of the journey may slow things down quite a bit. Consider the possibility of serious accidents, too. If an unfortunate situation like an accident arises, it may interfere with travel and set-back your vehicle’s arrival date by several days.

Multiple stops

Be sure to take note of the possibility of different stops, as well. It isn’t unusual for auto transportation carriers to have multiple vehicles loaded on the trailer. Multiple vehicles imply numerous stops. Understandably, different stops can delay the process, as the transporter will have to backtrack for delivery purposes.

Rural vs. city

It’s also important to note the different locations for pickups and factor this travel time into the estimated duration. If these locations are located in communities that are difficult to access, that can influence things considerably. For example, if one vehicle’s destination is nestled in the countryside, a carrier may have to travel unpaved roads. Due to the size of the trailer, these unleveled paths can be challenging to navigate.

In summary

Sadly, It’s nearly impossible to guarantee arrival dates when shipping a vehicle cross-country. If you want the process to run as smoothly as possible and avoid delays, you can take action. As a first step, you can meticulously prepare your car. Once you do that, you can speak with the transporter to establish rock-solid plans related to pickup times and drop-off dates. Ample preparation can make a massive difference in the car shipping process, so act accordingly. 


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Written by Virily Editor

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