How to Move Your Car Long-Distance

how to move your car

You’re looking for a home in another city, or maybe in another state. You have a lot to plan. Getting all of your family members and belongings safely from one home to the other will create some challenges. But have you thought about how to move your car or cars? Many people choose to drive to their new home. However, if you have many other things on your mind and multiple vehicles, you may find yourself wondering how to make it all work. Here are some tips on how to move your car or other vehicle safely over a long distance.


Move Your Car Yourself

You could choose to hitch your car to your moving truck and haul it to your destination. There are a couple of advantages. One is, you get to keep it in your possession all the time rather than trust someone else with it. You can pack it full of boxes, too. And, if you are taking multiple days to move, you might stop along the way. During those stops, you might want a car for short trips around town to replenish food and other supplies.

Consider the disadvantages, too. You will need to know how to correctly and safely hitch the car to the truck. And, according to company Driven to Deliver, you may take safety risks. They say, “A single car on a trailer is more likely to be stolen than multiple cars on a car hauler’s rig. It’s also common for a moving truck hauling a car to also be broken into, so everything you are moving is at higher risk when you try to haul your car by yourself.”

If you do move your car yourself, check with your insurance company in advance to learn what is covered in case something does happen.


Hire a Driver

Companies that move cars generally specify that the car must be empty of belongings. However, some specialized, smaller companies offer to move other items, including pets. Be sure to thoroughly research any company you choose and get references.

One way to move your car is to hire someone to drive it. There are companies who provide this service. Find options via Google or a service like Angie’s List. Check the reviews. The website uShip allows you to enter the year, make, model, and other details to receive quotes from shippers. They advise providing a complete and accurate description for the fastest response.

Some people choose to hire an individual, say a college student who needs affordable transportation back to school. Proceed with caution if you choose this route. Conduct background checks and, even if you know the person, thoroughly research insurance needs. Find out whose insurance company is on the line if there is an accident or theft. Know in advance what is covered.

Remember, also, that driving the vehicle means extra miles and wear-and-tear. Decide whether that loss in value outweighs the cost savings over shipping.


Ship Your Car

You may simply hire someone to ship your car. According to USA Today, this is the most popular option. Numerous companies offer this service. They may ship your car on an open-air truck, a more affordable option, or an enclosed one, which costs more.

When you ship a car, you may have the option of having it delivered right to your door. In other situations, you may need to pick it up at a central location in the nearest major city. Plan ahead. You will also need to allow ample shipping time. Since these companies sometimes move many cars at once, they don’t take the most direct route. You may need to wait one to three weeks.

Finally, make sure you can meet the car when it arrives. Ask how far in advance they will give you the arrival time. You will want to meet the delivery driver in person and visually inspect the car for any damage.

Tipping is not expected for car shippers. However, Riley Auto Transport says, “a driver on a car carrier will be highly appreciative if they do receive a tip, even if it is a small one.”


If You Drive

The simplest way to move your car is to simply drive it. If you do decide to drive the car yourself, think through all contingencies. You may need multiple family members to drive multiple vehicles. You may drive through areas with no cell phone reception, so communicate in advance. Plan any stops ahead of time.

Before you drive away, get your car thoroughly inspected. Allow ample time ahead of the move in case you need any repairs or replacement parts. Make sure everything is in working order, fluids are topped off, and your tires are in good condition. Get the battery tested, too, especially if it’s more than four years old. Carry a spare tire and replacement fluids.


Your Car’s New Home

If you move to a new state you will need to register your car there. The length of time varies by state, but you will generally have a matter of weeks. When you pack to move, make sure you keep your car registration and insurance paperwork accessible so you can find it easily.

Next, your car may have to pass emissions standards in your new state. Research these ahead of time, especially if you have an older car. Take into account the cost of the test.

If you have an especially large car or one that absolutely must be kept protected from the elements (such as a highly valuable collector’s car), think about these needs when you buy a new home. Make sure you’ll be able to store all of your vehicles safely and easily.


It takes a lot of planning to make a big move. But once you consider all of your options you’ll make the right choice for you and your family to move all of your belongings safely. Soon you’ll be settled into your new home and planning your housewarming party!


PHOTO:, via Wikimedia Commons / CC 3.0