The timing of car shipping can greatly affect the cost of the service, and one frequently overlooked factor is seasonality.
Seasonal changes significantly impact the auto transport industry, affecting prices due to shifts in demand and related factors.
Spring and summer are ideal for auto shipping, but high demand during the peak season may lead to higher rates.
In contrast, fall and winter offer cost-effective options with lower demand but slower shipping due to bad weather conditions.
In this article, we will discuss how seasonality influences car shipping costs and provide tips for saving money while ensuring your vehicle is shipped safely to its destination.
How Seasons Affect Car Shipping Costs
Seasonal changes have a substantial impact on the auto transport industry.
The time of year is always factored into your car shipping quote, as prices can fluctuate due to changes in demand and other factors.
Seasonal Shipping: Spring & Summer
The warmer weather makes the entire shipping process smoother, and it’s an ideal time for household moves, especially between May and September.
However, it’s important to consider that high demand during the peak season can drive overall car shipping rates higher.
If you can be flexible with your schedule, you might find more competitive prices on certain shipping dates compared to others.
Seasonal Shipping: Fall & Winter
Shipping your car in the fall and winter can be a cost-effective choice due to the lower demand during these seasons.
Auto transport companies often compete to fill their trucks, resulting in lower prices.
However, remember that the bad weather conditions during these months can slow the shipping process.
- Truck drivers need to exercise maximum caution on slippery and icy roads.
- Road closures due to severe snowfalls can lead to further delays.
Seasonal Peaks and Dips
The Peak of the Season: June, July, and August
This period coincides with the busiest time for household moves in the United States.
Many people prefer to ship their cars while moving to a new home, leading to a surge in both moving and car shipping activity.
Additionally, summertime sees an increase in demand for car sales, with more cars needing transportation.
College students heading back to their educational institutions after spending time at home also contribute to the high demand for car shipping services.
The combination of all these factors can lead to slight increases in shipping prices and potential delays due to the greater volume of vehicles being transported.
Holiday Aftermath: Mid-December and January
Many people might want to surprise their loved ones with the gift of a car.
Moreover, snowbirds, who move to warmer climates during the winter months, contribute to the demand for car shipping services.
Weather conditions, including icy roads and snowstorms, further complicate the shipping process, leading to road closures and risky driving conditions.
The period from mid-December to early January can be particularly hectic, with potential backlogs that might take until the end of January to clear.
During this time, prices may increase, and shipping times might be longer.
Seasonal Movers Flying Home: April and May
While demand dips in February and March, the industry picks up again in April and May as snowbirds start returning to their homes in the north.
This influx of transport requests leads to fuller shipping capacity, resulting in longer waiting times and potentially higher prices, especially for those heading north.
Conversely, if you’re heading south during this period, you might enjoy cheaper car shipping rates due to lower demand in that direction.
The Best Time to Ship Your Car: September and November
If you have the flexibility to plan your car shipment, consider shipping your car between September and November.
The weather remains favorable during this time, and the peak demand from the summer months is starting to slow down.
Additionally, most college students have already completed their moves by this time.
As a result, shipping prices tend to be lower, and services are faster during this period.
However, keep in mind that around Thanksgiving, some drivers prefer to spend time with their families, leading to a slight slowdown in shipping.
February and March: A Dip in Demand
After clearing the backlog from January, the demand for auto transport services significantly decreases during February and March.
As a result, many auto transport companies offer reduced prices during this time, which could lead to cost savings for you.
However, be prepared to face challenges such as closed roads, weather delays, higher accident risks, and icy roads, which can cause delays in car shipping.
High Season: Car Shipping Tips
If you find yourself needing to ship your car during the peak season, here are some valuable tips to help you secure a better price and smoother service:
Be Flexible with Dates
Different shipping dates may have varying prices, so consider being open to multiple options to capitalize on better deals.
Consider Alternative Pickup and Delivery Locations
During high season, certain pickup and delivery locations may experience more traffic and congestion, which can affect shipping costs and timelines.
Check with the shipping company for alternative pickup and delivery options that could be less busy and more cost-effective.
Choose the Right Transport Type
Opting for open car transport can save you money, as it is generally more affordable than enclosed car shipping.
Unless you have a luxury, classic, antique, rare, or custom car that requires extra protection from weather conditions and road hazards, open car transport should suffice.
Also, consider terminal-to-terminal transport as it may offer cost savings.
Book in Advance
During the peak season, demand for car shipping services is high, and carriers may fill up quickly.
To secure a spot and potentially get a better price, book your car shipment as far in advance as possible.
Avoid last-minute bookings, as they may lead to higher costs and limited availability.
More valuable tips when shipping your car…
- Research Multiple Car Shipping Companies: Don’t settle for the first car shipping company you come across. Take the time to research and compare multiple reliable auto transport companies.
- Prepare Your Car for Shipping: Before handing over your car to the shipping company, make sure it is clean and properly inspected.
Check our full article on how to properly prepare your car for shipping: Car Shipping Guide: How to prepare your car for transport.
- Communicate Clearly with the Carrier: Provide all necessary information about your car to the shipping company accurately. This includes the make, model, and any modifications affecting its dimensions or weight.
- Understand the Insurance Coverage: Ensure that the shipping company offers proper insurance coverage for your vehicle during transit. Read the terms and conditions of the insurance policy to understand what is covered and what is not.
To gain comprehensive insights into insurance coverage while transporting your car, be sure to explore our detailed article titled: Car Shipping Insurance – A Comprehensive Guide 2023.
- Be Patient and Flexible: High season can lead to delays due to increased demand and potential logistical challenges. Be patient and understanding if there are slight delays in the shipping process.
Understanding the impact of seasonality on car shipping costs can be a game-changer when planning your vehicle’s transportation.
By being aware of the peak and off-peak periods, you can make informed decisions to save money and ensure a smoother car shipping process.