Understanding the Cost to Transport a Car

By · October 31 2020
Understanding the Cost to Transport a Car

Thinking of transporting your car? Sounds like a road trip. But in reality, there are things that can complicate it especially when moving long-distance, moving from one island to another, or moving multiple cars with only one driver. In this case, you might consider hiring a carrier to transport your car. Figuring out how much it will cost to transport a car is what first comes to your mind then.

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Car transport price is hard to nail down. There are a lot of factors that could affect its cost. Understanding how carriers calculate it will help you plan an efficient and cost-effective car transport. Below are some of the major factors that generally affect car transport cost.


Are you moving your car locally or across the country? This is the most common factor that affects the cost when transporting your car. The farther you want to move your car, the more it will cost because of increased labour charges, fuel charges, ferry costs, and tolls.

Car Type (Size, Weight, and Modifications)

The type of car is another big factor that affects the cost of its transport. A compact car will take a smaller space in the trailer or other hauling device; thus, it is cheaper to transport, compared to transporting an SUV, van, or truck. A small car also weighs less than a big car, thus it requires less fuel to haul.

Has your car been modified from factory standard? If you are to transport a modified car, you should inform your carrier as this requires special handling and can affect the cost of the transport. If the car is lifted or lowered, the carrier will need to adjust the trailer level to accommodate the non-standard vehicle height. This requires more effort on the carrier, making the cost higher.

Condition of The Car

If your car is in running condition, it is easy for the carrier to load it on and off the trailer, so it will not require additional cost. But if your car doesn’t run or start, this will require additional time and effort on the carrier in order to winch, push, pull the car on and off the trailer. For this reason, it is more costly to transport an inoperable car.

Type of Transport

The most cost-effective type of transporting a car is through an open trailer. An open trailer is typically a double-decker type of vehicle that can carry up to 10 cars on two separate levels. Open trailer ships more car in one trip, so the carrier can spread the operational cost, making the transport cost cheaper, that is why this is the most popular choice of transport. But you have to keep in mind that when selecting this type of transport, your car will be exposed to the elements during transport, making it more susceptible to damage.

If your car is highly valuable, you would want a safer way to transport it, and that is through an enclosed trailer. Using an enclosed trailer, your car will not be exposed to outside elements, which is a big pro. But enclosed trailers are smaller compared to an open trailer, having only a capacity of up to 6 cars. And because it holds fewer vehicles on a trip, its cost is higher by 40% to 60% than an open trailer.

Popularity of the Route

Major cities have more carriers servicing the area and more routes that are easily accessible making the transport easier and faster. Time equals money, so the easier and faster your car can be transported, the cheaper the cost you have to pay.

If you are to transport your car in a rural or less popular area, the carrier has to drive out of the main route to pick up or drop off your car. This will add up to the cost because of the additional gas the carrier will incur.

Timeframe Flexibility

If you want expedited car transport, then you will be paying more. This will require fast, yet proper route planning making the cost higher. If you are flexible with the pick-up and delivery date, carriers can properly organize the transport to make it more efficient, making the cost relatively cheaper.

Season of the Year

High demands during peak seasons can make the transport cost to spike. This is because carriers have to balance the demand with their ability to fulfil the delivery within their customer’s timeframe. But if you are to transport your car during off-peak season, it will be less expensive because demand is lower. Carriers will offer favourable cost to attract more customers just so their trailers will not stay inactive.

Planning ahead of time will help a lot in reducing the cost when transporting your car. Make sure to do plenty of research about the carriers and the options they offer. But doing the research can be a challenge too. Using a platform like Wise Move, which will connect you to a network of local and national car transport companies in New Zealand, will make it easier for you to find your carrier.

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