Towing a Car Across Country vs. Shipping It: A Guide

When moving across the country, you should know how to get your car from point A to point B without worrying about driving it yourself — especially if you already have to drive a moving van or truck.

Two primary options are towing your car across the country or shipping it. Today, let's break down the benefits of towing and shipping your vehicle so you know which to choose for your upcoming move.

What Are the Benefits of Towing Your Car?

There are many benefits to towing your car rather than shipping it across the country. For example:

  • Towing your vehicle gives you complete control. You get to decide when the car leaves and where it goes, plus check on it each time you stop for gas, snacks, or the night at a motel.
  • Towing your car allows you to make sure that it is unharmed in transit. When you ship your vehicle, you trust your chosen car hauling company.
  • Towing your car further allows your vehicle to arrive at the date and time of your choosing. Even with the best car hauling service, you must wait for them to deliver your car to your home or an auto transportation terminal.
  • Towing your car can be cheaper depending on your chosen service and how far your vehicle needs to travel.

What Are the Benefits of Shipping Your Car?

There are also many benefits to shipping your car rather than towing it. These include:

  • Sometimes lower costs. In many cases, it’s cheaper to ship your car — especially if you are flexible about drop-off and pickup dates — than renting a tower or dolly from a place like U-Haul for days or weeks.
  • Peace of mind. When you ship your car, you can focus on moving yourself and your family across the country rather than worrying about scratches on your vehicle, especially if you choose enclosed car hauling from Carvaygo.
  • Convenience. Moving already puts a lot of pressure on your mind. You have a lot to think and worry about. When you ship your car, that's one less thing to worry about until it is ready to be picked up or dropped off.

How Do You Know if Towing or Shipping Is Best for You?

Since towing and shipping your car have distinct advantages, it can be tough to know which of these choices is right for your needs. You should consider these factors when you tow your car across the country or ship it the same distance.

Experience Level

If you don’t have much experience towing cars using a flatbed trailer, a tower, or a dolly, it may not be the best idea to embark upon a cross-country voyage with your vehicle in tow.

This could be a recipe for disaster. Odds are you’ll have to drive on many freeways and perform complex driving actions over the course of your move.

Again, if you aren’t used to towing something behind your vehicle, let alone a bulky moving van or truck, you might expose yourself to the risk of an accident.

On the flip side, if you have experience towing vehicles, it might be cheaper and easier for you to move your car.

Distance Length

Towing a vehicle can be tiring, especially since you must pay attention to the car throughout your journey.

Shipping a vehicle across the country or any other long-distance distance could be more convenient and easier for you and your family and require you to spend less energy worrying about something for the entire trip.

Insurance and Risk

When you ship your car across the country, your vehicle is protected by some insurance. Even if it gets damaged in transit, you could receive compensation to pay for damages or replace your car, depending on the nature of the damage.

When you tell your car across the country, on the other hand, you are only protected by your personal car insurance policy, which may not cover damage to your vehicle if it’s being towed, especially if you cause an accident.

Weight Capacities and Restrictions

You must also consider the weight capacities and restrictions of towing machinery. If you use your vehicle to tow a dolly with another vehicle at the back, remember that your car must:

  • Have the correct wiring to connect to the dolly’s electronic system
  • Have mirrors on both sides
  • Weigh at least 750 pounds more than the vehicle it plans to tow
  • Have a Class 2 hitch, plus a weight rating of 3500 pounds or more
  • Have a 1 7/8” or 2” ball hitch that’s lower than 25”

If you use a vehicle trailer, the empty weight must be 2210 pounds, and the maximum weight must be 5290 pounds. So you’ll need to weigh your car before hooking it up and hitting the road. If your vehicle is too large, you may have no choice but to ship it.


Last, there’s the convenience factor. It’s often more convenient to simply have a trusted service pick up and ship your vehicle to the final destination rather than handle it all yourself.

If your move is already long and complex, or if you have to drive a moving vehicle, shipping could be the easiest and safest choice.

If you ship your car, only one person has to drive on your move. Otherwise, you need two experienced, licensed drivers moving everything across the country.

The Bottom Line

In the end, only you can decide whether towing your car across the country or shipping is the right choice. But if you choose to ship your vehicle, you should contact Carvaygo immediately.

As trusted and experienced car haulers, we’re well-equipped and ready to help your personal vehicle reach its final destination in pristine condition. We offer many different car hauling services, including enclosed car hauling. Contact us today to learn more.

Preparation and Driving Tips for Safe Towing | Consumer Reports
Does Car Insurance Cover Towing? | Progressive
Towing Capacity Guide: Everything You Need to Know | Kelley Blue Book

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