How to Transport a Car across the Country

So, you need to relocate interstate?


A new adventure?

A great adventure hopefully.

For many though, moving home means moving cars as well.

Whether you’re moving from a small country town or one of the capital cities, chances are you’ll be thinking about how to transport your car across the country.

What options are available for transporting a car across the country?

When we talk about moving a car “across the country” we are really talking about transporting it long distances. Most likely interstate.

The type of transport that is likely to take a day or more if you were to drive yourself.

Driving Long Distances in Your Car

Do you really want to be driving long distances with this going on?

Children fighting in the back seat of a car

Chances are you’re reading this because you’re wondering if it’s really worth the hassle – especially with everything else that going on with your relocation overall.

If you’ve never driven 700km or more, you’ll be in for a surprise because 8+ hours in a car is not necessarily fun; especially if your travelling with hyperactive children.

Brisbane to Perth on the other hand is almost 4,500km so you’ll want to factor in about 39 hours of actual driving – not including rest time.

Driving across the country does not make much sense when you could use this time to do a lot more.

But “Hey!” It could be fun.

Using a Removalist to Move your Car across the Country

You’ll probably be dealing with an interstate removals company to move your home and they may be able to provide a complete package that includes moving your car too.

Many removals companies have relationships with various car transporters and have access to preferred pricing and can be as low as 25% off the retail price that you might pay if you went direct.

So while it can seem great to have one company handle everything for you in a single transaction, here’s a tip…

Know that they’re probably also adding a margin on top and the discounted rate given to removalists means there is some margin to play with.

The removals companies are not competing with the car transport companies. They’re competing with other removals companies.

And when it comes service and support, your customer dealings will likely be with the car transport company anyway and not the removals company.

If you’re dealing with a removalist, ask who they’re going to use for their car transport and compare the pricing they give you with the car transport quotes you can get direct.

You may find that you actually get a better price, and with the same level of customer service, by going direct.

Using a Vehicle Transport Company to Transport Your Car across Country

According to IBISWorld, Road Freight Transport and Logistics in Australia is big business and likely to get bigger.

There’s a reason for this and it’s because of the vast distances that need to be covered in transporting goods across the country, along with large distances is the cost of fuel, inconvenience and of course…time.

Your Time is Valuable.

In fact, based on relocating from Perth to Brisbane, as an example, consider what your time is worth compared to the quoted price from a car transport company.

If you’re earning anything above $25 per hour (before tax), then using a vehicle transport company to transport your car across the country, would likely be cheaper than driving it yourself.

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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