You are considering shipping your vehicle. You’ve seen the prices of how much it may cost you, and now you are wondering if it is worth it or should you get behind the wheel yourself? Read on to know!

When you want to move a vehicle from one location to another, you have two options. You can drive your car, or you can ship it. It sounds like a simple choice, but it’s not. You need to think about many factors like cost, time, safety, and the vehicle’s condition.

Plus, it also depends on how comfortable you are in driving your car long distances vs. transporting it. This guide will dive deep into driving vs. car shipping comparison so you can make a better choice.

Driving Vs. Shipping Your Car – Which One is Better?

If you’re wondering which one is better between both, then first establish what’s the meaning of better for you? Better is subjective; you need to decide what your preferences are?

If you prefer saving money then driving is better. If you prefer a convenient, time-saving, safe, and hassle-free experience over a few hundred extra bucks, shipping is way better. Let’s quickly compare both car shipping and driving yourself below:

Car Wear and Tear:

Every part under the hood, tires, brakes, suspensions, and interior areas are affected when you drive the car. In fact, the more miles your engine burns, the faster it’ll require maintenance and change of oil; not doing so can lead to bigger mechanical problems in the car.

That said, an average American drives their car 1,000 miles every year on average. However, if you put all of that load in a single day by driving instead of shipping, you can imagine what it’ll do to the car’s condition. It may not show immediately, but you can expect to spend a good chunk of money on repairs when it does.

When you ship the vehicle, it stays parked on a hauler, so there are literally zero miles of driving. 

Winner: Car Shipping 

Effect on Car’s Financial Value:

A vehicle’s financial value is directly connected to its physical and mechanical condition and how many miles it shows on the odometer.

If you drive thousands of miles in one go instead of shipping it, not only will this cause physical and mechanical damage, but it’ll rack those miles on the meter.

So when you decide to sell it, it won’t fetch as much money as it could have with the better condition and lesser miles. 

Winner: Car Shipping

Which is the Fastest?

Driving thousands of miles to cover long distances requires a lot of time, especially if you don’t know the routes that well and don’t go long-distance driving that often. You might not be able to drive more than 500 miles a day; if you do, it’ll be risky and may not leave you in the driving condition the next day. 

So if you are driving to another state and the distance is 1,500 miles, you may need 3-4 days to arrive there. It can be more if you’re not familiar with the route or are not used to driving that long. However, you may still reach there faster than a car hauler, but the difference may be of 2-3 days only at best. 

Winner: Driving

# of MilesCar Shipping (Duration)Driving Yourself (Duration)
500 Miles2-3 days1-2 days
1,000 Miles4-5 days2-3 days
1,500 Miles5-6 days4-5 days
2,000 Miles7-8 days5-6 days
2,500 Miles9-10 days6-8 days

If you are covering 500 miles a day and if we add one day extra for road blocks, traffic jams, or car breakdowns, then it may take you 1-8 days to drive 500 to 2,500 miles. Car Shipping, on the other hand, may take 2-10 days for 500 to 2,500 miles.

Safety of You and Your Car:

Statistically speaking, every mile you drive, the likelihood of getting in a car crash increases. Though this doesn’t mean you’re always at risk when driving around your city, the risk definitely increases when you’re going long distances involving highways, motorways, bridges, and unfamiliar areas. 

Furthermore, thefts are a common occurrence in the U.S, with over 810,000 vehicles stolen in the U.S in 2020 alone. But even if you avoid this, what’s stopping someone from stealing any part of your vehicle when it’s parked outside of a motel you’re staying in during your drive? This is exactly why many people prefer shipping their vehicles instead of driving themselves. 

Winner: Car Shipping

Convenience and Ease:

You already know this one. Driving long distances is never easy on your back, neck, hips, and arms. The need to be constantly alert and sit in the same position can do damage to your health. It will take a few days for your body to recover from this, and if you need to bring the car back as well, get ready to have your body go through the same again.

Besides damage to your health, driving yourself means being actively involved in the process, which will consume a big chunk of your time. And if you’re driving across the border, then dealing with all the paperwork, getting customs clearance, and meeting other regulations can be quite a hassle. A car transport company saves you from all of this. You can relax while the carrier does all the legwork.

Winner: Car Shipping

Which One is Cheaper – Car Shipping or Driving?

This is where things may become a little ambiguous because many people believe shipping the car is a lot more expensive than driving. Keep in mind that driving on your own comes with expenses of its own, and you may only have to shell out a few hundred bucks extra when shipping.

Things like gas, accommodation, car repairs if it breaks down, loss of financial value because of wear and tear, and several extra miles on the odometer come with driving the car. 

Winner: Driving But With a Slight Margin

Let’s Compare The Costs – Car Shipping Vs. Driving:

As mentioned above, there’s not a very drastic difference between the cost of shipping a car and driving it by yourself. But to help you understand how much of the difference is there and what cost factors are involved, we’ve prepared this table for you. Let’s take 1,000 miles distance as an example which would require you to drive for two days at the very least.

ExpensesCar ShippingCar Driving
Accommodation$90 (for 2 days meal)
Food$92 (For 2 days)

Note: For fuel, we’ve used 25 miles per gallon for a sedan, which is the typical average on highways. So for 1000 miles, we’ll need 40 gallons, which means $4.460 x 40 = $178.


Bottom Line: Car Shipping Over Driving Any Day!

It might seem like driving the car by yourself is better, and it can be if the distance is too short, like a couple of hundred miles. However, when we’re talking about city-to-city or state-to-state move, getting a car transport service is clearly a better option. 

Transporting your vehicle guarantees safety, convenience, no wear and tear on your car, and in many cases, faster delivery.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I drive the car across the country?

You can if it’s connected to your country via road and the total distance is only a few hundred miles. However, dealing with customs inspection, meeting regulations, and filing paperwork is not worth the hassle. Cross-country car transport takes care of all of that for you.

Is there anything else I should know about before deciding which method of transport I want for my car?

You should know which transport method is the fastest, safest and fits your budget. Shipping via truck is safe, fast, and cheap. On the other hand, transporting your car using a plane is faster but a lot more expensive.

How much does it cost to ship a vehicle?

The car shipping cost depends on how far your vehicle needs to go and its weight and dimensions. The cost for 0-500 miles is typically $1/mile, but it keeps decreasing as the number of miles increases. For instance:

  • 500-1000 miles = $0.75/mile
  • 1,000-2,000 miles = $0.60/mile
  • 2,000 to 2,500 miles = $0.40/mile

Why is car shipping so expensive?

Car shipping might seem expensive on paper, but seeing all the benefits like safety, convenience, no wear and tear, and no effect on car’s value, it is a much better option than driving the car yourself to several hundred or thousand miles.

Easy Auto Ship Can Help You Move Your Vehicle at Economical Rates:

If you are looking to transport your car, bike, boat, RV, truck, or any heavy load from one location to another, we can help. The best part is that we offer lower than industry average prices without compromising the quality of service and customer support.

Easy Auto Ship is more than equipped to handle your auto shipping needs, whether you need to ship within the city or state across the country. So call us right now at (888) 259-6046, or use the instant quote calculator to receive free car shipping quotes.

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