How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car?

There are four stages to the car shipping process.

One of the first questions anyone has when it comes to shipping a vehicle is “how long does it take?” Like anything else, that depends. The entire transport process for a 1,000-mile shipment can take up to 6-7 days to execute. Each stage requires significant planning to avoid any delays, but there are numerous unpredictable obstacles that can cause disarray.

Think of it like the Olympic relay competition. Each athlete’s performance affects the entire team’s outcome. One error or delay can cause an entire domino effect.

To break it down, there are four stages to the car shipping process.

  1. Pre-trip planning
  2. Pickup arrangement
  3. In-transit
  4. Delivery arrangement

Pre-Trip Planning Process

The pre-planning process begins after you book the car transport service. Then, an automotive logistics professional will begin planning how the shipping assignment will work. They have to find a spot with a driver that has available space, going in the right direction.

This process generally takes 2-3 business days for a transfer between two urban locations. However, it can take 3-5 days if the origin and/or destination are smaller cities.

Pickup Arrangement

Once the pre-trip planning is solidified, and your vehicle has a spot on a truck heading in the right direction, it’s time to make pickup arrangements. The pickup process entails arranging time with the individual to pick up the vehicle at the individual’s home. However, if access for a large truck is not possible, they will be made for a different pickup location.

The car transport company’s goal is to fill the entire truck with vehicle shipments traveling a similar route. Car hauler equipment varies in sizes from 2-9 vehicle spots. Coordinating pickups can take 1-3 days to complete. This time frame is based on the availability of the individual and on the amount of time it takes the transporter to fill the truck.


Once the vehicle is in-transit, the truck driver can generally travel 500 miles per day. So, for a 1,000-mile trip it should take approximately 2 days. Drivers have to follow US Department of Transportation regulations called “Hours of Service.” These regulations limit the amount of hours a commercial driver can operate a truck.

Transporting vehicles is a complex process and there are several events that can delay the shipment. Some issues are quite obvious, like traffic congestion or adverse weather conditions. Other delays like previous drop delays in-route can also delay your delivery.

Delivery Arrangements

Finally, the driver will arrange your delivery at the receiving location. The location of these arrangements depend on the accessibility of the delivery. The driver will either deliver to the individual’s home or arrange a different delivery location.

Arranging a delivery date can take a day depending on a few factors. The final time can fluctuate depending on the individual’s availability to meet the driver. In addition, it is affected by the driver’s ability to meet the schedule.

As you can see the entire auto shipping process has numerous opportunities to encounter delays and create headaches. A 1,000-mile trip could take 6-7 days or up to 10 days to execute. Very careful planning by auto transportation companies, precise routing, and proactive communication are all key to successfully completing the relay.

Why It Matters

During the height of the pandemic, many people relied on having everything delivered: groceries, household supplies, hand sanitizer, and more. Amazon Prime became everyone’s best friend, who doesn’t like free 2 day shipping? Question is…are we more enamored with 2 day shipping or simply having the convenience of delivery?

If something doesn’t come in 2 days, (most of the time) you don’t cancel the order. Do you really NEED a strawberry huller by Tuesday? You may, in fact, need some things for special occasions. However, if an item arrives on Wednesday, you are equally pleased with your purchase.

The main need is communication and convenience. Oddly enough, the same can be said for any item that you have shipped, including a car.

Carpool Logistics

At Carpool Logistics, our experts leverage technology to optimize the entire car shipping process. We strive to reduce the total shipping time frame, save on transportation cost, and reduce carbon emissions.

We use our proprietary optimization engine to efficiently consolidate and route multiple vehicle shipments. In addition, our digital matching algorithm assigns vehicles to car carriers with available space. We keep in touch throughout the process with our mobile technology. This gives you status notifications and real-time tracking of your vehicles in transit.

We are on a mission to reinvent car shipping and reduce carbon emissions.

Learn more about Carpool Logistics here.  ©2021 Carpool Logistics

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