Shipping a vehicle across the country takes careful planning and adequate time for transit. In this article, we’ll explore typical transit times for cross-country vehicle shipping and factors that affect delivery schedules.
Standard Transit Times
Most professional auto transport companies estimate 7-10 business days for cross-country shipping by enclosed car carrier truck. However, there are some variables that could shorten or extend this timeframe.
East Coast to West Coast
For vehicles traveling between the East and West coasts of the continental US, plan for a standard transit time of 7-10 days. This allows 1-2 days of driving time each way with time for rest breaks, refueling stops, and potential weather delays or traffic along heavily trafficked interstate routes.
North to South or Vice Versa
Shipping between northern and southern states typically takes 5-8 days. Routes between the Midwest/Northern states and Southern states are a bit shorter than full coast-to-coast journeys.
Factors that Can Slow Delivery
While auto transport companies aim to keep to standard time estimates, there are certain conditions that could cause delays:
- Severe weather – Heavy snowstorms, ice storms, flooding or hurricane conditions can slow or stop overroad driving.
- High traffic volume – Holiday travel times like around Memorial Day or July 4th bring more congestion.
- Accidents or road construction – Incidents that block or reduce lanes on major interstates hamper throughput.
- Inspection delays – Extended border crossing inspections or checks at weigh stations eat into driving hours.
- Mechanical issues – A breakdown of the transport truck needs repair before continuing.
It’s generally best to build an extra 1-3 days of buffer time into your estimated delivery window to account for potential delays outside the carrier’s control.
Factors that Can Speed Delivery
On the other hand, certain conditions may allow a vehicle to arrive sooner than projected:
- Ideal weather – Smooth sailing with no major storms or interruptions.
- Light traffic – Off-peak travel times see fewer congestion slowdowns.
- Multiple drivers – Some carriers use a relay system with multiple drivers to maximize driving time.
- Direct interstate routes – Avoiding trips through major metro areas improves throughput.
- No inspections – Speedy border or weigh station processing without secondary checks.
But in general, it’s never a good idea to book very tight arrival deadlines, as speedier arrival cannot be guaranteed based on variable transport conditions.
Other Factors to Consider for Timing
Adding 1-2 days is recommended to account for coordinating the pickup if being transported from a private residence, as well as potential delivery delays/rescheduling if being delivered to a home versus a commercial lot.
Exporting a vehicle from or importing it into the US requires additional customs clearance time. Plan an extra 3-5 days on average for international shipments beyond domestic time estimates.
Transporting large RVs, boats, exotic cars or multiple vehicle batches in an enclosed carrier may require additional routing considerations and longer drive times.
Confirming Your Transit Window
Remember that estimated arrival windows are just that – estimates. The shipper should provide a projected delivery range based on normal transport conditions. Confirm this projected timeline understanding potential for delays.
Ask for updates during transit. Reputable carriers will provide tracking access or periodic status emails. Prompt communication helps manage expectations if dates need to shift.
With realistic estimated timelines, the right preparation and communication throughout transit, long-distance vehicle shipping can go smoothly despite traveling across multiple state lines. Just be sure to plan ahead and build in flexibility to account for typical auto transport variables.