Did you know that there are seasonal fluctuations in car transport? These fluctuations will affect everything from the cost of shipping your car to the time it’ll take from door to door. This seasonal fluctuation is influenced by:
- Direction of shipping
- Availability of equipment and drivers
While you may not have a choice as to when you ship your car, if you’re looking for the cheapest and safest way of doing it, it’s good to understand how these seasonal fluctuations might affect your decision-making.
We’re here to help. We’ll look at this from the busiest to least-busy transport seasons, so you can make the best decision for your situation. We have a lot of information to share, so to start, here is a visual to help you out:
Peak Season: June, July, & August
Each year, an average of 40 million people move homes in the United States. 80% of those moves occur between April and September, with the highest number of moves occurring during the months of June, July, and August.
What does this have to do with shipping a car? Often, the easiest option when moving an entire household long-distance is to ship your car as well, working with a qualified car transport company to ensure the safety of your vehicle. This means that, in addition to lots of moving trucks on the road, these three months are also peak season for car shipping companies.
Summertime, And The Driving Is… Not So Easy
The weather is warm. Kids are out of school and families have more flexibility. Companies often choose to relocate employees during the summer months—because it makes it easier on the families. July is also one of the highest months for car sales—suggesting more cars needing to be shipped. College students come home (at the end of May or in early June) and then pack up again in August—sometimes shipping their vehicles.
This increase in demand leads to a slight increase in prices in every direction. The variations in pricing you might find will depend on the company, the type of vehicle, and whether you choose open or enclosed transport—but overall, the pricing range will be similar throughout this season.
Be warned, though, that shipping during this period could also mean an increase in wait time. With more vehicles to pick up and drop off, there may be some delays. In addition, truck drivers often choose to be with their families over July 4th, which means that there are fewer shipping trailers available, and further potential delays in shipping cars.
Backlog & Catchup: Mid-December thru January
Ah, the holiday season. It can bring out both the best and the worst in people. Tensions are high, perfect car-shaped presents are in demand, and the transport drivers and shipping company employees often want to spend time with their families.
Add to that the potential for frigid weather, snowstorms, and icy roads that shut down routes and make driving riskier. This means fewer drivers, and less equipment on the road.
Add snowbirds into the mix—the people moving to warmer climates to avoid those frigid temperatures. Most snowbirds head to states like Florida, Arizona, Southern California, Alabama and Texas just after the holidays. Of course, they often want their cars to meet them there.
What all this means is that, the last 10 days of December and the first 10 days of January are stressful times for auto shipping. A backlog builds (and won’t clear until the end of January), things slow down, and prices go up. To avoid this, either expect to pay even more for your shipment, ship earlier in December, or wait until the end of January.
The Return of The Snowbirds: April and May
Car shipping picks up (after a lull in February and March) when the snowbirds return North. The skies are clear, and the weather is beautiful. Transports heading North become full (which means longer wait times and higher prices). Heading South becomes cheaper because there is less demand in that direction. Basically, it’s the opposite of what happens in January.
If you choose to ship at this time and have a strict timeline, you may pay a little more, but it’ll definitely be worth it.
The Ease and Deals of Autumn: September thru November
Between September and the end of November is an excellent time to ship your vehicle.
Numerous factors influence this. The days are bright, and the weather is mild. The mad rush of summer has slowed down. College has already begun, so except for perhaps the beginning of September, most college students have already shipped everything they need.
All this means that, between the months of September and November, you can get lower costs and faster service to ship your car long distances. Be aware that drivers also want to spend time with their families over Thanksgiving, which can lead to a slight slowdown of shipping. Things pick up again quickly until the stresses in mid-December.
Less-Expensive Lull: February thru March
Perhaps the least expensive time to ship a vehicle comes after the January backlog has cleared, in February through March. Between cold weather, school, and snowbirds settled into their warm winter nests, there are simply fewer people shipping their cars at this time of year.
Many auto shipping companies lower their rates between 10-15% at this time. However, weather delays, closed routes, icy roads, higher risk of accident means that there could be a wait for your vehicle. You may also want to take out extra insurance because the risk of accidents is higher at this time of year. A slightly pricier alternative that will protect your car from the weather is to invest in shipping in an enclosed carrier—the safest option year-round.
Ship Year-Round With ShipLux
The decision as to when to move your vehicle depends upon a lot of variables, including when you need your car at your destination. You will also need to make decisions as to how you want it shipped (enclosed vs. open), and any special needs for a vehicle. In order to make these decisions, you want to work with a company that has transparent pricing, and provides premier services.
Reach out to the experts, and find the people who you want to entrust with your vehicle. Compare companies and costs, routes and risks. Seek advice from a company like ShipLux. Explore our services, and get a car-shipping quote.
With a little planning, you will soon be driving your own car wherever you are.