What’s the Average Cost of Shipping a Car

Shipping a car in Australia involves a variety of costs and factors that influence the overall price.

Whether you are moving across the country or importing a vehicle, understanding not just the cost but also how those costs are calculated will help you make a better decision about how to proceed.

In this article, we explore the average costs associated with shipping a car within Australia, including the factors that affect these costs, different shipping options and some tips on how to save money in the process.

Open car carrier with new vehicles

Factors Influencing the Cost of Shipping a Car

The cost of shipping a car in Australia can vary widely depending on several factors:

  • Distance: The primary factor is the distance between the pickup and delivery points. Longer distances generally mean higher costs.
  • Type of transport: Enclosed transport is more expensive than open transport but offers more protection for the vehicle.
  • Type and size of the vehicle: Larger vehicles such as SUVs and trucks cost more to transport than smaller cars due to their weight and space they occupy.
  • Location: Shipping costs are higher in remote or less accessible areas compared to major cities.
  • Service type: Door-to-door service offers convenience but at a higher cost compared to terminal-to-terminal.
  • Time of year: Prices can be higher during peak times such as holidays and summer months when demand is higher.

Average Costs of Shipping a Car in Australia

The average cost of shipping a car within Australia can be as low as AUD $0.35 per km for longer distances. Here’s a breakdown of typical costs based on distance and transport type:

Enclosed transport can be as much as twice the cost compared to open transport.

Options for Shipping a Car

There are several options for shipping a car in Australia:

  • Open transport: This is the most common and cost-effective option. Cars are shipped on an open trailer which can accommodate multiple vehicles.
  • Enclosed transport: Offers more protection against the elements and is preferred for luxury, classic, or high-value vehicles.
  • Solo transport: For an additional cost, a car can be shipped alone on a truck.
  • Rail transport: An alternative to road transport, particularly for long distances. It is generally cheaper but might involve longer delivery times.
  • Coastal shipping: Has become an attractive option using Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) vessels between ports. Especially since it provides a more environmentally-friendlier option then either rail or road.
RoRo Car Transport Shipping

Additional Costs to Consider

Aside from the basic shipping costs, there are additional expenses that may apply:

  • Insurance: While optional, additional insurance can provide peace of mind, especially for valuable vehicles.
  • Pickup and delivery fees: If choosing door-to-door service, these fees can increase the total cost.
  • Storage fees: If you need to store your car at the terminal or depot for any period.
  • Fuel surcharges: Some companies may apply these depending on fuel price fluctuations.

Tips for Reducing Shipping Costs

To save on the cost of shipping a car in Australia, consider the following tips:

  • Book in advance: Early bookings can often secure better rates.
  • Be flexible with dates: Avoid shipping during peak periods if possible.
  • Compare quotes: Obtain quotes from several transport companies to find the best deal.
  • Choose depot-to-depot: If practical, this option is usually cheaper than door-to-door service.
  • Prepare your car: Reducing the weight of your car by emptying it of personal items can sometimes reduce the cost.

While car shipping rates can vary widely, getting informed about the factors that affect shipping costs and exploring different options and tips means you’ll find an option that meets your needs and budget.

Always ensure to deal with reputable companies and check reviews.

With the right planning and research, you can efficiently manage the cost of shipping your car across Australia.

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Customer Success Story

Why Car Transport Services Exists Today!

When I had to move my car from Melbourne to Perth, the journey of finding the right transportation service felt almost as daunting as the 3,400 km drive itself. Through trial and error, a bit of luck, and a few missteps, I learned a great deal about how to select the best service for such a task. Here’s my experience, and I hope it can guide you smoothly through your own process.

Start with Research

The first thing I learned was the importance of research. Initially, I made the rookie mistake of choosing the first service that popped up in my Google search results. Big mistake. The company had hidden fees I hadn’t anticipated, and the service was far from satisfactory. What I learned was to dig deeper. Read reviews on multiple platforms, ask for recommendations from friends or family who’ve undertaken similar moves, and don’t skip on checking the forums where real customers discuss their experiences.

Check for Licensing and Insurance

One good decision I made was ensuring the company was licensed and insured. Insurance is important. Transporting a vehicle across such a long distance has its risks, and you want to ensure that your car is covered in case of any mishaps. Verify the transporter's accreditation with transport authorities and ensure they have valid insurance that covers your vehicle during the transit. This gave me peace of mind, knowing my car was in safe hands.

Compare Quotes

Getting multiple quotes was another area where I initially faltered. I assumed all prices would be roughly the same and didn’t bother shopping around. However, after a pricey quote from the first company, I decided to get several more. The price differences were significant, and some companies offered more comprehensive services at lower costs. Always compare quotes from at least three to five companies. This not only gives you a better idea of the price range but also allows you to negotiate better terms.

Understand the Service Types

I wasn’t aware initially, but there are different types of car transport services: door-to-door, terminal-to-terminal, open carrier, and enclosed carrier. Each has its pros and cons. I chose an open carrier for its cost-effectiveness, but in retrospect, considering the long journey across Australia, an enclosed carrier would have been better to protect my car from the elements. Understanding these options beforehand helps in making a more informed decision based on your needs and budget.

Communication is Key

One of the best decisions I made was selecting a company that had excellent communication practices. They provided updates at every major juncture of the journey, which eased my anxiety. Ensure that the company you choose has a point of contact who is reachable and willing to update you throughout the process. This is vital for peace of mind and to ensure that any issues are quickly addressed.

Timing and Flexibility

I learned the hard way that flexibility is key when transporting a car such a long distance. The initial service I chose promised a delivery within a week, but it ended up taking more than two weeks, which disrupted my plans significantly. Ask about the expected delivery times and check if the company can offer guarantees or compensation if they exceed the estimated delivery times.

Avoid Rush Decisions

A bad decision I made was rushing into booking without fully understanding the terms and conditions. This led to unexpected charges for additional services I wasn’t aware I had agreed to. Take your time to read the fine print or have someone else review it. Make sure you understand every aspect of the service contract.

What I Wish I Knew

If I knew then what I know now, I would have placed more emphasis on checking customer feedback about their post-service experience, especially regarding how companies handle damage claims and disputes. Knowing a company's track record in these areas can save you from potential headaches if something goes wrong.

Open vs Enclosed Car Transport

Open car carrier with new vehicles

Open Car Transport

Open car transport involves shipping vehicles in an open-air trailer, exposing them to weather and road conditions.

This method is cost-effective and widely available, making it a popular choice for transporting vehicles quickly and economically.

The main benefits include lower costs due to multiple vehicles being transported simultaneously and quicker delivery times. However, the downside is the potential risk of damage from environmental elements and road debris.

moving cars in an enclosed car carrier

Enclosed Car Transport

Enclosed car transport uses fully enclosed trailers to provide maximum protection for vehicles against weather, theft, and damage during transit.

This method is preferable for high-value, classic, or luxury vehicles requiring extra security. Enclosed transport is more expensive and less readily available but offers higher insurance coverage and peace of mind.

Specialised services include GPS tracking and expert handling, ensuring vehicles are delivered safely and discretely.

Find out more