How to Use a Car Shipping Cost Calculator

Brantley Kendall

18 Nov 2021 3 years ago

Preparing to ship a car across the country can seem a tedious task. You may not know how much it will cost you to get your car your starting point to its destination. You also may not know all the factors that contribute to determining the final price you’ll receive as a quote. This post will cover the benefits of using a car shipping cost calculator to get an estimate. You’ll also learn how car shippers estimate the cost provided to you. Let’s jump in.

Car Shipping Cost Calculator

How to Use a Car Shipping Calculator?

Using a car shipping cost calculator is simple. You can check our instant car shipping calculator. Once you’re on the page, you’ll see the first page of the form you’re asked to fill out to receive your first estimate. To start, you’ll need to provide the zip codes for where your car is traveling to and from. You’ll also need to choose whether you’d like to use “open” or “enclosed” shipping. If you are unfamiliar with the terms “open” and “closed” shipping, don’t worry. We’ll be covering the two shipping methods in the next section. You can also click here to learn more.

For now, bare in mind that closed shipping always costs more than open shipping. And if you’d like to, you can get a free quote for both shipping types to get a full sense of what the price differences are.

After you put in the basic details of where your car is shipping to, and from, you’ll click “Get a Free Quote.” The shipping company will then request a few more details about the car you’re trying to ship. You’ll need to provide the make and model of your car as well as your shipping timeframe. You’ll also need to provide your email address and/or phone number. The figure you receive from the car shipping cost calculator is only an estimate. The finalized number gets provided by an agent. When they contact you, they’ll outline the cost of your shipment. They’ll explain what factors are causing you to see the estimate you’ve received. They’ll also ask you if there are any premium services you’d like to pay for such as expedited shipping. You’ll have to pay extra if you need your car shipped faster than what they offer for basic service.

But expedite service isn’t the only thing that will affect your shipping price. Let’s take a look at the different factors that determine the quote you receive.

How Location Influences Your Price Quote?

The first big factor that will determine the cost quoted to you for your car shipment is your location. Both where you are shipping to and from. The distance your car has to travel is one of the key factors determining your price. The further your car has to go, the more you’ll have to pay.
But there are also smaller factors related to location that also influence the price you pay. For instance, if you live in a more rural area, the quote you will receive will be higher than if you lived in a city. The reason for this is because in rural areas businesses have less competition. When there are fewer companies making bids to transport your vehicle.
The location also affects the price because of the amount of resources companies need to use. When you’re in a city, it’s less difficult for a company agent to reach your home. It’s also easier for you to reach a car shipping carrier’s drop-off location. But, if you’re in a rural area where an agent uses more resources to reach you, it’ll reflect in the price they charge you.

How Does Your Chosen Shipping Method Influence Your Price Quote?

The shipping method you choose will also play a large role in determining your overall cost. As mentioned earlier in this post, there are two primary ways to ship your vehicle. Open shipping and closed shipping.
When you use open shipping, your car gets loaded onto the back of a truck with other cars. The cars are all secured, and then the truck travels across the country to each car’s next location.

Closed shipping is more protected than open shipping. Your car is still loaded on a rack with other cars, but there’s one key difference. The cars get placed within a container attached to the truck. This means that if the trucks run into any inclement weather, none of the vehicles will get damaged.
The rule of thumb for choosing a shipping method is tied to the cost of the car. It’s safer to send economy vehicles using open shipping but closed for luxury cars. It’s also important to always keep in mind how far your car will be traveling and under what conditions.

Take a look at the table below to see how both shipping methods and distance influence the price you’ll pay.

Distance Average costOpen transportEnclosed transport
150 miles$470$350$590
550 miles$750$550$950
1,000 miles$1,150$900$1,400
1,050 miles$985$720$1,250
2,750 miles$1,300$1,050$1,550

How Does the Weight and Size of Your Vehicle Effects Cost?

Another one of the key factors determining the cost of shipping your car is the weight and size of your vehicle. Shipping companies take different approaches toward charging for the weight of your vehicle. Some companies provide a flat rate that is dependent on the make and model of your car. What you pay will depend on whether you are driving a basic car, SUV, or truck. Other companies take a more technical approach to measuring the exact weight of your car.
Either way, you’ll want to make sure know how the weight and size of your car will influence the price you pay.

Take a look at the table below to see how weight and size affect the price you’ll pay when shipping your car.

Vehicle TypeAverage Weight (pounds)Estimated Cost per 1,000 miles
Midsize SUV4300$0.86
Mid-sized Pickup Truck4300$0.86
Mid-sized car3500$0.75
Compact car3000$0.59

Is Your Car Operable or Inoperable?

Car shipping companies can ship both operable and inoperable cars. You may not see the car shipping cost calculator asking if your car is operable or not, but that’s not a problem. The reason quotes provide a price range is because they account for these addons. Once you get in contact with an agent, they’ll be able to share with you the additional charges you’ll have to pay.

How the Service Type You Choose Effects Your Price Quote?

As alluded to in the section above, beyond choosing how your car ships, you’ll also need to choose how it’s picked up. The majority of car shipping companies offer several different types of shipping methods. You can visit Sakaem’s website here to learn more about each, but here’s a quick summary of the top three.

  • Home to Home

This transport method involves transporting your car from your old new to your new home. An agent from the company will meet you at your old home, retrieve your car, and prepare it for shipment. From there, your car will get transported to your new home and dropped off in the driveway. (As long as you don’t live in an inaccessible rural area.)
Alternatively, if you need to transfer your car to someone, you can use the home to friend service to do so.

  • Dealership to Home

When choosing a dealership to a home you are able to have your new car sent to your home from the dealership. Using this method saves you the hassle of going to the dealership to get your car after you’ve purchased it.

  • Auction to Home

This service lets you have your vehicle delivered to you after purchasing it from an auction. Similar to a dealership to home, an agent of the company will retrieve your vehicle and bring it to you at your home.

There are many other places you can have your car transferred to. It will depend on your needs and the company you use to complete your shipment. Sakaem has a wide variety of shipping services they provide. Their main goal is to simplify every customer’s shipping experience.

How Do Shipping Seasons Effect Price Quotes?

The time of year is something else you’ll need to consider when reviewing your estimate. The car shipping cost calculator is able to pull data related to how the season influences price.
The summer is when the majority of cars get shipped. This is because it’s easier for cars to travel across the country during the sunny season. But, the ease of shipping also causes for there to be a higher shipping demand. These high demands can lead to price increases as well as less availability. Those hoping to ship their car may find themselves subjected to higher fees. These fees link to demands as well as offsetting costs for road congestion. With a surplus of shipping companies out on the road at the same time, trucks burn more fuel in congested areas.

The winter months are also a difficult time to ship a car. Companies will often raise their prices to offset the money they lose during the off-season. Beyond this price increase, they also need to spend more money to deliver a car. The winter season brings inclement weather, delays. and road closures. Each of these different factors increases fuel costs for the company.

Because of these different seasonal factors, it’s best to plan your shipment ahead of time. If you’re shipping during the summer, you’ll want to try to beat the rush. If you’re shipping during the winter, you’ll want to bare in mind the added costs of doing so.

For additional suggestions on how to plan to ship your car, consider reading this article

How Does The Company’s Travel Route Effect the Price You Pay?

Earlier, you learned about how your location influences the price you pay to ship a car. The car shipping company’s travel route will also affect how much you must pay. If you’re located in a more populated area, it will lower the cost of shipping your car. When car shipping trucks pass through cities, they often have other cars to pick up and drop off. The constant influx of cars to ship and drop off lowers the cost for you. The more cars that are being shipped, the less you bear the cost of the trip yourself.

Cars located in more rural areas are oftentimes not shipped on trucks carrying a full load of cars. This, in turn, requires each person shipping a car to pay a higher price.

How Do Fuel Costs Influence Car Shipping Prices?

The price you’re quoted by the car shipping cost calculator also ties to the current prices of fuel. As the price of gas either increases or decreases does the cost of shipping a car. It’s important to remember this, as it may influence when you choose to ship your car.

What Are COVID19’s Effects on Car Shipping Costs?

The current global pandemic has also caused the price of shipping a car to increase. The pandemic has caused car shipping companies to have to take additional precautions. The lockdowns and precautions occurring across the country have increased car shipping prices.


As you can see, the price you receive as a quote by car shipping calculators has many layers. The price you pay is not only linked to the price of fuel, the distance you are traveling, and the size of your vehicle. You also have to take into account the season, the price of fuel, the current pandemic, and your service type. The more you understand the shipping process, the easier you’ll understand the cost.
Once you understand the cost of shipping a car, you’ll be able to make an informed decision when you go to ship your car.

Brantley Kendall