Should You Drive or Ship Your Car When Moving?

For many individuals, a car is one of their most valuable assets. Making sure it gets to your new home takes careful planning and consideration, whether you end up driving it yourself or hire a professional moving company.

Green SUV on highway in forest

You’ve accepted the job offer. You’ve given two-week’s notice to your current boss. You’ve signed the lease on a comfortable 2-bedroom apartment just minutes from the office. You are physically, mentally and emotionally ready to move across the country and start a new life. But, then there’s your car.

What should you do in this situation? Your first thought may be to just get in and drive. While that’s certainly an option, it would be smart to consider every factor before hitting the road.

Length and cost of your trip

Distance should be at the top of your mind. If you’re moving within state lines and won’t be crossing a lot of treacherous terrain then driving your vehicle may work just fine. However, if you need to transport a car overseas, then shipping immediately becomes the better, and only, choice.

Both methods of transportation will come with various costs. For driving yourself you need to think about how much gas will cost. If the trip is longer than a day then you will need to account for food and lodging expenses. In the event you opt to have your car shipped to your new home, then you will most likely need to fly, which can also be expensive. The best approach is to sit down and work out a budget for each type of transportation option. Weigh the costs of each and try to be as realistic as possible.

Condition of your car

Once you have created a budget, it would be wise to think about other factors that could affect your ultimate decision. Is the car you need to move older? Does it have any delicate parts or attachments? How many miles are on the odometer? Would it be safe to drive the car by yourself? You may not want to risk damaging your car or putting unnecessary wear and tear on it by driving hundreds of miles. At the end of the day, a car is an investment, and keeping that investment in good shape is never a bad idea.

Let’s say you do decide to drive your car yourself. Before you start your trip you should make sure that your car has been inspected, fluid levels are adequate, the oil has been changed recently and that none of the warning lights on your dash are blinking. Additionally, check that your tires have enough air and tread to handle any and all conditions. Storing an emergency first aid kit and tools to change a tire in your trunk is also important. You never want to be caught in a bind without a lifeline. Also, be sure that your license, registration and insurance are all up to date. Letting those expire is a surefire way to get a ticket or have to pay a hefty fine. Don’t add to your list of expenses.

Consider the pros and cons of driving or shipping your car

That’s not to say there aren’t major advantages to the DIY approach. Being able to travel with your personal belongings or make stops on the way to your destination can be convenient, especially if you need to pick up a passenger or an important item.

Yet, being able to travel at your own pace comes with a catch: you need to line up your arrival with the furniture and belongings being delivered to your new home. If you aren’t there to meet them, many moving companies will refuse to drop off your possessions and may even charge you a missed delivery fee.

Should you decide to hire a professional to move your vehicle, be sure to get quotes from multiple providers so that you can compare prices. It also helps to know how long it will take for the car to be transported from point A to point B. If you happen to be moving overseas, then don’t forget to research what regulations other countries have when it comes to transporting a vehicle from the United States or vice versa. Some nations and localities will ask you to pay a tax to have your car brought over.


For many individuals, a car is one of their most valuable assets – not to mention the emotional value they often hold. Making sure it gets to your new home takes careful planning and consideration, whether you end up driving it yourself or hire a professional moving company.

If you would like to learn more about what Hilldrup offers when it comes to having a vehicle transported, call us or visit our website. Since you’re reading this, chances are you’re already here! Go ahead and click the blue “Schedule a Free Quote” button in the top right corner, choose from the options that fit your preferences best and enter your info. It’s that simple!