Each part of your car, from the tires to the engine, has a limited number of miles it can drive before it becomes unreliable and should be replaced. Also, if your car has a lot of miles logged on its odometer when you try to sell it or trade it in, it won’t be worth as much.
These factors make the mileage you put on your car when you drive it across the country an important detail to consider.
The average American puts 1,000 miles on their car every month,5 so if you drive 1,000 miles in just a couple of days when you move to a new state, you’re lowering your car’s resale value and effectively taking one month off its life expectancy.
The statistical likelihood of getting in a car crash is relatively small, but it’s there, and it goes up with every mile you drive.6
This isn’t the most important factor to consider since it’s clearly very unlikely you’ll get in an accident—even if you drive thousands of miles. But if safety (for you and your car) is your number one concern, then we recommend getting your car professionally shipped.
Winner: It depends
Driving long distance takes a lot of time. Like we said earlier, you shouldn’t plan to drive more than 500 miles every day. If you’re only traveling to a neighboring state, you might be able to knock out your road trip in a single weekend. But if you’re moving from coast to coast, the trip could take a week or longer.
If you can’t afford to take that time off of work, if you have a lot going on in your personal life, or if driving for an entire week just sounds mind-numbingly boring, paying for a car transport service is your best option.
However, even shipping your car can take a lot of time, so you shouldn't plan on having your car immediately. Shipping a car 500–1,000 miles usually takes around nine days, while shipping a car 2500 miles can take about 16 days. These estimates include how long you'll have to wait for pickup after you book.
Because both options take a fair amount of time, it all depends on what works for you. If you need to be in your new home to start work tomorrow, shipping your car instead of driving it yourself while you use a rental to commute can make that possible. However, if you've got the time to drive your car yourself, driving can be quicker than shipping it.
Check out our guide to car shipping time estimates to learn more.