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October 9, 2019

Shipping cars during your move: 4 factors to consider

  • Long Distance Moves
Shipping your car can alleviate some of the risk inherent in long-distance moves.

So, you're getting geared up for a long-distance move. There's one question you're probably turning over in your head. Should you ship your car or drive it to your new home?

Some people don't have a choice. If you're moving across oceans, you'll have to either ship or sell your car.

Others might be tempted to strike out on a classic American road trip, but moving might not be the time for such an adventure. Driving your car cross-country for a move could be less Jack Kerouac and more Mad Max.

When you move, shipping your car could be more convenient than driving.When you move, shipping your car could be more convenient than driving.

Here are four factors to consider when you're deciding whether to ship your car for a long-distance move.

1. How does the timing work out?

It takes about 42 hours of straight driving to get from Los Angeles to New York City. Depending on how far you're moving, you could be spending days at a time on the road if you drive your car yourself.

Your move comes with some predetermined parameters in terms of move-in and move-out dates. In addition to your time on the road, tack on at least a day each for packing and unpacking on either end of the journey. 

So, can you afford the time it will take you to drive your car the full distance of your move? Will you need to take additional days off of work to drive?

Every situation will be different, but we all know that last-minute moves are not beyond the pale. Consider your schedule carefully before you opt to drive your car.

2. What risk is involved?

Let's think about that trek from LA to New York again.

You'll drive through the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountains during that trip. You'll traverse a wide range of weather systems during that time, especially depending on the season. You'll rack up a massive number of miles on your car.

Obviously, your mileage may vary depending on the specifics of your move, but it's worth considering whether you'll be doing some of what the Car Care Council calls severe driving, and to decide if the risk is worth it for you, your cargo and your vehicle.

3. How much will it cost?

This consideration might seem obvious at first, but as with anything, the hidden costs can start to pile up fast.

Think again about the miles you might rack up on your car and the potential damage to the vehicle that could result from the long drive. Do these risks significantly impact the value of your car? You should also factor food and lodging into the total price tag. If you'll have to take uncompensated time off work, be sure to include that amount as well. Factor in gas too, and add in some extra fuel expenses if you're using your personal vehicle to haul extra items for the move.

Of course, shipping your vehicle isn't free, and transportation will cost you no matter what you do. However, these numbers are relatively stable one-time expenses, and they'll be easy to use as a comparison point when you're crunching the numbers above.

4. What's most convenient?

This is the big question, and in some ways, it sums up all of the other points.

It gets a little bit trickier when the whole family is moving. That means you don't have just your schedule to worry about, but everybody else who's taking the trip too. Maybe your spouse could drive the car while everybody else flies or takes a train, but you'll also want to consider if everybody should be together when they're settling in to a new environment.

Whether you sign up with us to ship your car or you're interested in other moving and packing services, contact your local Atlas Van Lines agent for help with your move today, no matter how near or far the journey.