Exploring the Different Car Transport Methods

car transport in a truck

How often do you transport your car from one location to another? The most likely answer is ‘rarely’. In fact, this might be your first time. So, when it comes to transporting a car, you should know the different car transport methods available to you. This includes trucking, air transport, sea transport, and rail freight. However, the most frequently used method is ground transport. No doubt, it is also the cheapest.


Vehicle transport services are ideal for those who seek efficient transport of their vehicle while also saving money. When you consider trucking, you can expect your vehicle to arrive in a trailer hitched to a large truck. Transporting vehicles is dangerous labor. Thus, expert pickup truck drivers are recruited to perform it for you. They take care of the loading and unloading, as well as provide storage facilities along the way. 

You can either choose open-air car transport or an enclosed one that will ship your car in an enclosed vehicle carrier with walls and a roof. Open-air car transport is less expensive, but it exposes your vehicle to potential harm from roads like rocks and pebbles, and weather conditions like rain and hail. This method may sound good if you want to save money but aren’t too concerned about the car’s condition following delivery. But if you prioritize the safety of your car and wish to ensure it arrives in pristine condition, reach out to Transporting Highway. We offer top-quality services at the most competitive prices. 

Transport through Air 

If your vehicle is urgently needed at a place, this option will significantly cut down any transit time. Where it takes seven days to be transported through ground shipment, it will take only one through the airplane. Moreover, if your car has a high value, this method ensures maximum safety of your vehicle during transportation. By doing so, you select the most expensive method of transportation while ensuring vehicle delivery safely.

Transport through Rail

Shipping vehicles across the country by train is becoming increasingly common because it is less expensive than traditional means like trucking. While the total cost of transportation through rail may be less than shipping on a truck, the cost per mile is always more than the truck. This transportation option is suitable for vehicles weighing less than ten tons. The rail routes that run across the country are limited to a few cities only. Another potential concern is that it can accommodate up to 320 vehicles at one time. This means you’ll have to wait for your car to be loaded when you arrive and unloaded once the train reaches its destination. The whole train schedule can take hours, sometimes even 24 hours!

Transport through Sea

Transportation by ship includes a range of vehicles starting from the common cars to the large ones like trucks and semi-trucks. The very large ones like heavy-duty wheeled, truck trailers, and agricultural equipment all fit into the cargo vessel as well. This method is very efficient and comparatively less expensive if transporting vehicles across countries. The most common method used is roll-on/roll-off shipping, or RORO shipping. This has an advantage of speed in terms of duration compared to lift-on/lift-off shipping. However, the most important advantage to have in this method of transport is security while the vehicle is being transported across countries. Theft can occur in other methods of transport.

Terminal-to-Terminal vs. Door-to-Door Service

When you opt to transfer your vehicle with a car transport company, you are likely to receive door-to-door service. This implies that your car will be picked up from and delivered to the exact address that you provide. The other service provided is terminal-terminal. This involves dropping off and picking up your vehicle at selected terminals like train depots or airports. Terminal-to-terminal car transport is not as common as door-to-door transport, but it remains an important element of the auto industry today.

Specialty Vehicle and Shared Container Transport

Specialty vehicle transport is about providing transport services to vehicles requiring extra care and management such as motorcycles, oversized vehicles, and military cars. Motorcycle transport can take place in enclosed carriers as well as open-air trailers. On the other side, oversized vehicle shipping always takes place through open-air flatbed carriers. Inoperable car shipping also takes place for cars that do not run at all. Additionally, cars that do run but are not well enough to be driven onto a car carrier are also transported using this method.

A shared shipping container is often referred to as a groupage service. It is utilized by clients whose shipments cannot fill a container. Shared shipping containers are the perfect alternative if your vehicle is small and you do not want to pay for a whole container. It only demands payment for the space your assets occupy in the container. Multiple clients bring their vehicles in this container and split the cost, making it cost-effective and a great option to consider.

Factors Affecting Car Shipping Rates 

Several factors influence the cost of car transport, including: 

  • Distance: The longer the car has to be carried, the more it will cost.
  • Type of Vehicle: It influences the cost of shipping. For example, transporting a premium car will be more expensive than transporting a regular car.
  • Time of Year: Transportation costs rise throughout the holiday season due to increasing demand.
  • Shipping Method: Open-air transport is less expensive than enclosed transport.
  • Shipping Company: Depending on the transport company you select, some are more expensive than others.
  • Additional Services: They can add to the cost.


Various methods of vehicle transport will have various advantages and disadvantages. Some approaches are faster, cheaper, and simpler than others. Which method suits you best is determined by what you value most. If convenience, cost, and scheduling flexibility are your priorities, transporting your car with a car shipping company is the ideal option.

The best advice here is to choose Transporting Highway which handles car transportation efficiently and makes the process quick and easy. Being one of the most trusted companies, our services will offer you peace of mind. Your involvement in the whole process will be minimal and you will be able to keep track of your vehicle’s transport from start to end.


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