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Should I Tow My Vehicle or Ship It?

Should I Tow My Vehicle or Ship It?
We broke down the numbers and weighed the pros and cons, to help you decide if you should Tow your vehicle or ship It.
  • Post Category:Blogs

When you’re moving, you have a lot of decisions to make. One of those decisions is how you are going to get your car to your new place. You likely have to drive the moving truck with all of your stuff and driving all the way back just to pick up your car wastes time and money. The logical thing to do is bring your car with you on your move. But should you tow your vehicle or ship it?

There are a variety of options at your disposal to get your car to its new location. You can drive it yourself, you can tow it behind the moving truck, or you can ship it. Of course, you can sell your car and buy a new one when you get there, but that only makes sense if you planned on selling your car, anyway.

We broke down the numbers, weighed the pros and cons, checked the services of car transport services and U-Haul options to help you make this decision. We assume that driving your vehicle is out of the question. Perhaps you don’t have anyone to drive your moving truck, or you just don’t want to make two trips. That leaves us with the choice. Ship it or tow it? Let’s break it down.

Towing Options

There are two options to tow your vehicle. You could either rent a tow dolly, or rent a trailer. The tow dolly hitches to your vehicle and raises two tires and leaves the other two on the road so you’re essentially dragging your vehicle. Then there’s the trailer option. You drive your vehicle onto the trailer like a flatbed truck. Only smaller.

Trailers are safer and more reliable than the dolly, but obviously the trailers are more expensive to rent. If you already have your own trailer, you probably won’t be able to use it. U-Haul and other moving truck rentals do not permit people to use their own trailer. They site safety regulations, but we’re not convinced.

The trailers, of course, hold more weight than the dolly. If your vehicle is over 3500 lbs, then you’re going to have to use a trailer.


If all your concerned about is saving money, then towing your vehicle might be for you. Depending on the distance you are traveling, the cost of towing your vehicle starts drastically cheaper than shipping. However, once you get into the longer distance moves, say between New York and LA, the costs are almost negligible.

Let’s say you have a simple Volkswagen Golf. The smaller and lighter car makes it easy to ship and to tow. If you were to ship that vehicle 500 miles, it would cost roughly $600. However, to rent a tow dolly it would only cost around $90 and $119 for a trailer. However, if you’re traveling 2,700 miles (roughly the distance from New York to LA) the prices get a little closer. To ship your Volkswagen, you’re going to pay around $1200 bucks. To rent a tow dolly, you’re going to pay a third of that at $460. However, if you need a trailer you’re going to pay almost double that at around $920. $920 is pretty close to the $1200 it costs to ship plus you get to avoid the hassles of towing your vehicle.

Safety Concerns

If you’re shipping a long distance and you’re still on the fence, there are more factors than just cost to consider. The safety of you and your vehicle is also something you should think about. More than likely, you’re not a truck driver. In this example, you drive a Volkswagen Golf! This means you’re going to have to get used to driving a giant moving truck, which takes some time to adjust. Now, you have this giant truck that’s more blind spot than window and attach another full length vehicle to the back. Go ahead and drive and tell me you feel safe. Pro-tip, you’re not going to want to back up. You’ll try to incorporate as many right turns as possible to avoid going left, and you may want to practice loading onto your trailer a few times before you leave.

Not only is it going to be difficult, but you’re going to add more hazards to your drive. The biggest thing you’ll have to worry about is braking. Heavier vehicles need more time to stop, and now you have two. If you need to slam on your breaks, you’re going to need to give more than the recommended three car lengths. Also, there is going to be swaying. In some cases, the tail wags the dog, as they would say. This holds especially true if you are using a tow dolly. Your tow vehicle is going to change how your truck responds to turns and even bumps in the road. To combat this, most highways have a set speed limit of 55mph for vehicles towing other vehicles.

Shipping, on the other hand, gives all of these problems to a professional driver. Reliable auto shippers even include insurance plans in their price to protect you against any issues that might arise. If you want to guarantee the safety of you and your vehicle, it’s best to ship.


Hazards aren’t the only issue you’ll find towing your vehicle. You’re going to run into some troubles when you tow your vehicle. The most likely culprit is parking. You will not get to drive through anywhere for food, so you’re going to have to park. Now you’re limited to spots that have large parking lots. Most hotels have some sort of parking contingency for truckers and you’ll have to inquire about where you can park your truck and trailer before you arrive.

The other hassle is from setting up your tow. You need to get very familiar with how to lock the trailer to the truck and loading and unloading procedures. There are also the electrical components that you’ll need to run. Trailers need blinkers and your car blinkers aren’t hooked up to the moving truck.

 If this isn’t enough, there are a lot of contingencies that may make towing your vehicle impossible. U-Haul requires that the moving truck is at least 750 pounds heavier than the vehicle you’re towing. Also, your vehicle needs to be in the proper weight category for your trailer or tow dolly. It is important to read all the required documents to know if your vehicle is being properly towed. If not, you could lose your warranty and cited by law enforcement. It’s a good idea to read up about towing laws HERE.

Again, shipping has none of these problems. You call the shipping company. They pick up your vehicle and load it on their trailer and drop it off at your new location. No muss, no fuss. For many, it just makes sense to spend a few more bucks to avoid these hassles.

Tow Vehicle or Ship it?
The Choice is Yours!

It makes sense to tow your vehicle if you want to save money. If you care about your car and want to ensure that it gets to its new location with no problems, shipping is the way to go. If you are interested in shipping your vehicle, it is important to find a quality auto transport company that offers insurance and has a reliable track record.

For a reliable and insured auto transport company, call Orlando Car Transport. They can give you a quote right away to see how much it is to ship your vehicle. They can ship anywhere in the United States and save you time and hassles on all your shipping needs.

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