How Can I Ship a Car I Bought Online?

autotrader car shipping

Updated: 06-22-2020

Today’s car buyers are typically a tech-savvy bunch, which explains why an estimated 15 million cars are sold on the internet every year. Services like Autotrader car shipping have become incredibly necessary as a result. Purchasing a vehicle online is easy, and there are no salespeople to haggle and no dealership fees to fork over, making it appealing to buyers of all types. Plus, web-based car browsing means you’re able to search for a wider variety of auto body shops and car dealerships than the used lots in your city or town could ever offer. Online car buying is of great interest to collectors of rare and hard-to-find cars especially.

Seems like a pretty sweet deal, right? Unfortunately, there’s one aspect of shopping online for cars that many first-time buyers don’t stop to consider: getting their new car to its final destination. And while Autotrader car shipping might be an option, first-time online buyers might not know about it yet.

The Problem with Online Car Shopping

But the biggest drawback to purchasing a new, used or collectible vehicle online is how you have to coordinate the shipping to get it from Point A (the seller) to Point B (your driveway). A new car delivery service can seem complex to someone who’s never done it before. Even Autotrader car shipping, which is a service that’s widely popular, can be complex for first-time buyers. Say your seller lives in Seattle and you’re all the way in Upstate New York. How can you even begin to figure out the logistics of that car, truck or motorcycle shipping route?

You could always fly out to Seattle, then drive the car cross country back to Syracuse, but that’s a 7,200-mile trip. If you want to do car home delivery yourself, it’s going to cost you. The national average cost of gas these days is hovering around $3.27 per gallon, making it an $8,800 return trip (not even factoring in the cost of the plane ticket). And you thought your last visit to your local auto body shop was expensive. Suddenly, vehicle home delivery sounds like a much more convenient (and much more affordable) option. Whether you’re looking at home delivery used cars salespeople use or you’re looking at working with a newer company, this is typically the most viable option.

Here are the basics of getting your new ride from the seller’s lot to your driveway.

Choosing a Carrier

There are a few options you can go with when it comes to covering your car, truck, or motorcycle shipping needs. First up are open multi-carriers which can transport scores of cars all at once, which slows down the pace of the service but offers an affordable price. So while your new car delivery will undoubtedly arrive, it might take a bit longer than you’re willing to wait. Similarly, enclosed multi-carriers tend to be safer, more dependable auto shipping options, but they can often be significantly more expensive. There are also hotshots, which are smaller carriers engineered for only a few cars — but these tend to be the most expensive of all. So where does that leave you when you’re trying to figure out how to make new car home delivery work for you? Fortunately, there’s a solution to this dilemma.

Working with a Broker

Car transport companies will always allow their carriers to fill up before sending them off to their destinations. This makes sense, as these services need to be able to make as much money as they can. In order to get a spot guaranteed in one of the carriers, though, you’ll likely have to go through a broker, someone who coordinates empty spots between the carriers and consumers like you. A broker is going to be one of your best resources when it comes to getting your new car delivery on time and at an acceptable price. That being said, it’s important to plan your car shipping strategy with a broker as soon as humanly possible. Waiting too long will have consequences on more than just how long it takes your car to arrive. This is where prices tend to get a bit steep, no matter whether you’re focusing on auto, truck, or motorcycle shipping. The more last-minute the purchase, the more you’re going to have to pay a broker to get you a spot.

Before you take any steps toward shipping a new or used vehicle, it helps to understand exactly what the process is going to entail. And before you start worrying about what to check when taking delivery of a new car, make sure you have all of your vehicle shipping ducks in a row first. Consider this an overview, not a step-by-step guide. For more information, get in touch with an experienced professional auto shipping company today.

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