I Need to Move My Wheels – What Options do I Have?

You may be asking “Who can I turn to if I need to move my wheels?” and “What options are available for local and interstate car transport?”

In this simple guide, we help you understand different vehicle transport options and provide you with an easy way to get a quote from multiple carriers at the same time.

Are you considering moving to a new city, a place, or a town?

You may be thinking of what is the cheapest way to ship a car to the place where you are/will be. Well, there are plenty of cheapest car shipping options available to you when it comes to vehicle transport. Let’s check out a few….

Whilst the most common and cheapest way to ship a car cross country is by open transport with the depot to depot delivery, there is a lot more to this answer.

Let’s dig deeper into the 6 various car shipping options and see how they stack up with each other and which option may suit moving your wheels best.

Transporting a Vehicle by Car Carrier Trailer

It is considered to be the most used method of shipping a vehicle. You might have noticed heavy multi-wheeled carriers carrying so many cars moving on the roads in Australia. It’s easy and usually fast depending upon the transport company you hire.

Despite being the most common method, it is not necessarily the most affordable. Shipping your by enclosed carrier or door-to-door service can make shipping a car by trailer quite expensive.

This option will also vary in price substantially depending on the distance you’re sending your car.

The cost of shipping by open carrier can come down to around $0.40 per km while using an enclosed carrier can be as high $3 per km.

Is Open Transport the Cheapest way to Transport a Vehicle?

Yes, open transport is still consistently the cheapest way to ship a car. 

Open car carriers can transport 10 vehicles at a time, making them more cost-effective and easier to arrange than enclosed trailers.

How much does Enclosed Vehicle Transport Cost?

It is usually more expensive to ship a car enclosed than to ship it in an open carrier and can be as high as $3 per km. Typically, it’s the owners of prestige, exotic and sports cars and classic cars that tend opt for enclosed car transport.

Advantages:

  • Easy to arrange because quote requests and bookings are generally done online
  • Open car carrier services are the most economical type of transport
  • Over 90% of carriers use open road trailers, which means more options more options are available
  • Enclosed car transport offers protection from the elements
  • Since there are less enclosed carriers available, the service tends to be more personalised

Disadvantages:

  • Open car transport poses a small risk of rocks and other debris hitting the vehicle
  • Potential damage from from things like fluid leakage from other vehicles
  • Enclosed transport is more expensive than transport by open carriers. In some cases, enclosed transport will cost 4X that of transporting in an open vehicle.
  • Less enclosed carriers also means longer wait times for pickup and delivery

Vehicle Transport by Train

There are also train lines running through Australia which can transport your car efficiently.

They tend to be cheaper than road transport since trains use much less fuel per car than a standard carrier.

Apart from being cheaper than transporting a car by truck, transporting by rail allows you to load up your car with personal belongings before it is loaded onto the train. You may find this helps you save some money.

Like standard road transport, transporting a vehicle by train can either be on open or enclosed carriages. And, just like the road option, open transport is cheaper than enclosed transport.

Advantages:

  • Enclosed carrier/Open-carrier option available
  • They have insurance by law
  • Ship the whole bulk at a cheaper price.
  • Taking the train has a lower carbon footprint, so it’s better for the environment.
  • The majority of major routes in Australia are serviced by rail.
  • It’s a well-managed system.

Disadvantages:

  • In some cases, it may not be the cheapest way to ship a car when you consider additional costs such as getting your car to and from the station.
  • If you live close to the train terminal, it can be easy to access. If you don’t, you may need to hire a local transport company to take it to the train terminal or receive your vehicle from where it is delivered.
  • In most cases, shipping a car by rail will also take much longer.

Air Car Transport

It goes without saying that transporting of a car by plane will be the most expensive method of transportation, no matter where the car is going or how far it must go.

Most of the time, the cost of moving a car by air will far exceed the value of the vehicle itself unless it’s an expensive exotic. With the money you’ll pay on air freight, you might be able to buy a new car and still have a lot of change to spare.

Naturally, the cost will depend on the weight, the make and the distance that the vehicle needs to be transported. For international auto shipping, you should be prepared to fork up in excess of $150,000. Air freight is an expensive business.

Transporting a car by plane is certainly not the first choice method of transport, but it does have its advantages. It might be the best method of shipment for you if you can. of course, afford the costs.

Advantages:

  • Suitable for expensive and rare cars
  • Quick delivery – can take as little as one or two days from booking to delivery

Disadvantages:

  • Extraordinarily expensive, sometimes more than the vehicle itself.
  • Depending on locations, it can take as long as road transport by truck/carrier.

Transport Via Ship

This is becoming a popular alternative for shipping cars from the east coast to the west coast (and vice versa). Costs can be under $1,000 to ship a vehicle by boat.

You have two options when it comes to transporting your car. It’s possible to transport your vehicle by Roll On Roll Off (RORO) or by container.

RoRo Shipping

Roll-on Roll-off also known as RoRo are vessels built for shipping wheeled cargo, it is a shipping method by which vehicles roll on/roll off the ramp, that is how they are driven on and off the ship.

Once vehicles are loaded on the RoRo vessel, every vehicle will get tied down securely in its assigned spot and the vehicles will have all the protection against external elements.

This is the most well-known, secure, effective, and cheapest way to ship a car When compared to container shipping.

RoRo is the best choice in the following circumstances:

  • You want your vehicle to be shipped faster
  • Your vehicle is in running condition

Container Shipping

If you want a more secure way to ship a luxury car, container shipping is the ideal choice for you and you have a couple of options to consider for this.

Shared Container Shipping

In shared container shipping, more than one vehicle is loaded into a container. To leave the warehouse for shipping, the container will need be totally loaded up with vehicles.

While shared container shipping doesn’t provide fixed departure dates as the RoRo method does, it has its benefits as far as cost-viability. The shipping costs will be split among the vehicles loaded into the container. 

Also, customers can include extra items in the backseat of their vehicle, which is generally thought to be the only genuine benefit container shipping has compared to RoRo.

Use shared container shipping if:

  • You are not in hurry to ship your vehicle 
  • Your vehicle is not in running condition
  • You have a need to ship personal belonging with the vehicles

Exclusive Container Shipping

Contrasting the shared container, an exclusive container means that a vehicle sits in the container with any other vehicle. This is also a decent option if owners need to also ship personal items along with the vehicle.

Exclusive container shipping however, is the most expensive auto shipping method, compared to shared container and RoRo shipping.

Container Shipping is a perfect option for shipping a luxury or exotic car because shipping the vehicle through a container ensures that it will arrive at its destination without damages.

Advantages:

  • Multiple cars can go in one ship
  • It is safer than road transport
  • Can often travel with personal belongings in the car

Disadvantages

  • It can be slower than the other modes or transport
  • Routes and terminals are fixed
  • Vehicle tracking is limited during transportation

Using a Drive-Away Service

A drive-away service is when you hire someone to drive your car and they arrange a trained driver to physically drive your car to the destination.

Drive away transport is not a common practice that people adopt for certain reasons, and is usually reserved for camper vans and large trucks.

With that being said, a drive-away service offers many advantages compared to more traditional carrier service, but it also comes with a few disadvantages as well.

Advantages:

  • It’s faster
  • Door to door car shipping service
  • Transport your personal stuff
  • Personalised Service

Disadvantages:

  • Can be more expensive than in a truck
  • There is wear and tear on the vehicle
  • Multiple car transfer costs more as more drivers are involved.

But I can Move My Wheels Myself!

Certainly, driving your car is almost always cheaper than shipping it, especially for shorter moves, but using a transport company is a lot more convenient and worth the price if you’re moving over 700 kms

It might seem like a good idea to move your car yourself and you can save some money, but it could end up causing you more trouble (and more money) than it’s worth if you’re moving for a long distance.

Your car’s parts, from its tyres to its engine, will only last so long before they become unreliable and need to be replaced. And, if you try to sell or trade in a car that has clock up the kms, you reduce the resale value of your car and shorten its life.

Advantages:

  • It’s exciting for short distances
  • Independence when stopping for food, snacks, toilet breaks etc.
  • Beautiful scenery comes along the way. The Australian landscape is pretty amazing

Disadvantages:

  • You might struggle to get a decent meal along the way
  • Dead animal and roadkill can be disturbing for many
  • Accidents can happen due to heavy traffic and large vehicles like high-speed carriers
  • Deserted roads

At a Glance – 6 Different Ways to Move Your Wheels

Car Carrier

Convenient/Affordable by most people

Open auto transport is cheapest way to ship a car but exposed to natural elements, like weather

Enclosed auto transport is up to 3X more expensive than open carrier but more secure

Rail Transport

Enclosed carrier/Open-carrier option available.

Lower carbon footprint.
Well-managed system.

May not be the cheapest option and may take much longer.

Air Transport

Faster and high-class service

Great to transport expensive cars

Extremely Expensive

Sea Transport

Almost as expensive as the truck service

Carries in bulk

Good for long distances/overseas transport

Drive-Away Service

Personalised Service makes it expensive than sipping by auto transport company

It’s faster,
Door to door service

Wear and tear involved

Drive it Yourself

Affordable & exciting

Weather/ natural occurrences are unpredictable

Due to wear and tear involved, the resale value of your car is reduced

So, in answer to the question “What options are available to move my wheels?”, open transport is often safer, hassle-free and the cheapest way to transport a car because it is readily available.

Furthermore, open car carriers can accommodate as many as 10 cars at once, making it one of the most flexible in terms of frequency of transport.

The increased availability of shipping services though, especially if shipping a vehicle coast-to-coast, has driven the cost down and, if you’re not pressed for time, should really consider this as a viable alternative to standard road-based transport.

You can find more information and tips like this in our growing library of articles and helpful information to move your wheels or, get started and find out now how much it will cost to move your wheels by requesting quotes form our exceptional vehicle transport partners.

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