Often, the decision of when to ship your vehicle across the country depends on why you’re shipping it. If you’re moving for a job, or school, or anything that has a specific timeline, then your best option is to get quotes from reputable companies and go from there.
However, it is important to understand that timing affects many things, including price and how long it may take for your car to be shipped. There are seasonal fluctuations in auto-shipping that affect prices, time, and even the best direction for a move.
In the event that you have flexibility in your shipping, we’re here to help you answer that somewhat complex question: “When is the best time to ship my car?”
Auto shipping, along with related costs, is affected by these things:
- Location (pickup and dropoff points)
- Available equipment and drivers
Here are two charts to help you see all the variables in one place:
Read on for more explanation of how things shift throughout the year.
Holiday Backlog: Mid-December-January
We actually start at the end of the year, because Mid-December is the beginning of a seasonal fluctuation in the auto shipping industry. Like most of us, many transport drivers want to spend time with their families during the holiday season. This means fewer drivers and less equipment available.
In addition, during this period frigid weather, snowstorms, and icy roads in many parts of the country means higher driving risks, and potential route closures.
At the same time, orders come in from snowbirds planning their trips to warmer climates like Arizona, Florida, Southern California, and Texas. In a normal year, Florida alone has between 900,000 and 1 million seasonal residents (mostly retirees) who come during the coldest months of winter.
Many people want to head to warmer climates just after the holidays. Car shipping requests come in, but drivers may not be available. This leads to a backlog of orders that often doesn’t clear until the end of January.
Winter Lull: February-March
Once shippers have cleared up the backlog, there is somewhat of a lull in auto shipping. Snowbirds have settled into their warmer homes. Students are back at school. Many auto shipping companies lower their rates between 10-15% at this time.
However, the weather can still be variable. This can affect shipping times, as well as the safety of your vehicle. If you choose to ship your car during these months, you might consider investing a little more on an enclosed carrier, to ensure your car arrives safely.
As the weather warms up at the end of March, some snowbirds may head back to their homes in the north. This means that prices reverse, with increased costs going to cars being shipped from south to north.
Spring Snowbird Migration: April-May
The weather is lovely. The skies are mostly clear. The snowbirds make their mass migration back to their homes up north. Transports become full, and there are plenty of cars shipped along the nation’s highways.
- Costs increase if shipping from south to north
- Costs decrease if shipping from north to south
- There may be some delays in shipping time because so many vehicles are being shipped
- Investing a little more in expedited shipping will help you get your car more quickly if you have a strict timeline
Summer Peak: June-August
Peak auto-shipping season arrives with the warm weather and freer times of summer. Kids are out of school. Families have more flexibility. Companies often choose to relocate employees during the summer months. College students head off to their new adventures at school. Many choose to move during the summer because it makes it easier to expand your social circle in the warm weather, and it’s even easier to find a house on the market.
All in all, you will find lots of cars being shipped near and far. With more vehicles to pick up and deliver, there could be a slightly longer wait time before your car arrives.
With the increase in demand, there will usually also be a slight increase in price. All routes will be about the same, however. The variations in pricing during this time will depend on distance, type of vehicle, and type of transport. If you are shipping a car during this peak season, it’s best to get a transparent quote from a reliable company like Shiplux.
Fall Deals: September-November
When September comes around, the weather cools, kids are back in school, college has already begun. The days are bright and the weather is decent. The demand for car shipping lowers as well.
All this means that between the months of September and November, you can often get lower prices and faster service to ship your car long distances. While there may be a slight slow down over Thanksgiving, it usually doesn’t cause the same challenges as the backlog that will begin in December.
Flexibility, Good Questions, and Planning
The decision as to when to move your vehicle depends upon a lot of variables. There are many questions that influence your choices:
- Is there flexibility as to when you need your car to arrive?
- Where and how far are you shipping your vehicle?
- How much do you want to spend?
- Are you willing to spend a little more to expedite your shipping, ensuring the car arrives safely and on time?
The best way to answer these questions and make good decisions is to reach out to experts. 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 in your new home state.