Most people will make at least one big move in a lifetime. For you, that move may be just around the corner. When you move long distance, there’s much more to consider than just the moving truck and boxes, and that includes things like planning to move your car, truck motorcycle, recreational vehicle or motor home. Getting organized early and planning everything out will take a lot of the stress you’re feeling away, and in the end make your move and adjustment to your new home go smoother. Planning ahead will also help you save money and stay within your budget.

Plan Ahead For Long Distance Vehicle Move

One of the issues that comes up with a long distance move is how to handle your vehicles. Many families have more than one vehicle. It may not make sense to drive them to the new location, so you want to explore other ways to deal with the vehicles you own. Let’s go through your options and some things to consider so you can make the decision that works best for your situation.

Sell your Car

young man sold his used car to another

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of moving your car, you can always sell it. However, that process comes with some hassle of its own. Still, it’s an option. Selling your car is often the best plan if you:

  1. You won’t need the vehicle after you move. Maybe you have a motorcycle or motorhome that you don’t use any more. Or, maybe your car is old and you plan to replace it soon.  Moving is a great time to clean house and dispose of unneeded vehicles. You’ll have extra cash in your pocket and avoid the hassle and expense of relocation the vehicle.
  2. You need a different sort of vehicle for your new location. For example, you have a compact car that was great in the city, but you are moving to a mountainous area with lots of snow. In that situation, you may need to consider a 4×4 vehicle instead.
  3. Your car doesn’t comply with the laws of your new location. Some areas have emissions tests, for example, and older vehicles may not pass these tests. You can contact the motor vehicle office in your new state to ask.
  4. Two littlke girls in back of station wagon planning trip for their family move or vacation

Drive your Car

If you aren’t moving overseas, and driving from the old location to the new one is feasible (driving in the dead of winter to a snowy place might not be a great idea unless you’re experienced), consider driving your vehicle. If you have a family and pets, taking a road trip in the family car to the new home will save money and can be a memorable family experience. If you are a workaholic, along road trip might be just the thing you need to relax. There are some things to consider if you decide to drive the car, though, because it’s not always the most logical solution – or the cheapest.

  1. You’ll need to factor in the cost of travel expenses. If you’re moving from, for example, California to North Carolina, you’ll need to include hotel stays, fuel, food, and toll costs in your moving budget.
  2. Get a check up!  Make sure your car is in good shape for the trip. Have your mechanic catch up any basic maintenance you’re due for, check out any noises or warning lights, and run basic diagnostics and inspections on things like brakes, hoses and fluids.  Be sure to check your tire tread and pressure before hitting the road.
  3. A long trip can mean a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle. You can’t calculate the potential expense from this now, but extra miles on your vehicle can mean mechanical issues, additional maintenance expenses, and a lower resale value. If you’re moving for work, you may be able to deduct or be reimbursed for the move mileage, so keep track of it during your trip and keep all your receipts along the way.  If you’re not already covered, it might be a good time to sign up for road service in case you do run into problems.
  4. Do you have enough drivers? If you plan to drive multiple vehicles, you’ll also need multiple drivers. You may also want more than one driver if you want to take turns behind the wheel.
  5. If it’s a specialty vehicle, such as an antique car or a motorcycle, you should probably skip this idea entirely. The risk of potential accidents or unnecessary wear and tear on an expensive vehicle isn’t worth it.

If you do decide to drive, map out your route ahead of time, book your hotels early and online to get the best prices, and plan a little extra time to visit scenic or historic places you are interested in along the way. Here are some more tips for your long distance move.

Ship Your Car

If you have a car you would rather not take on a long road trip, or if it’s an extra car and you don’t have a driver for it, you can always hire a long distance mover to ship your vehicle for you. Long distance movers can handle the process from start to finish, preparing the paperwork and helping you prepare your car for the ride. They’ll handle the transportation of your vehicle on one of their moving vans  (often right along with your household items, if you like). Some tips on shipping your car to your new home:

  • Get a written quote up front from your interstate mover.  Make sure the quote is complete with no hidden costs.
  • Don’t hire a mover who wants cash or can’t demonstrate that he is a licensed interstate carrier. If anything doesn’t seem right, just move on.
  • Check your car insurance and see that it’s up to date to cover the trip.
  • Remove all personal items so they can’t get lost, stolen or damaged during the trip.
  • Remove any accessories from the outside of the car to limit the chances of damage.
  • To be safe, check the exterior of the car for any damage before the move and take photos. That way if something happens, you’ll be able to show the damage occurred during the move and not before.
  • Check your car for deflated tires, leaks, bad emergency brake or anything that could cause it to slip or have problems when in transit. Make sure the car alarm is disabled.
freight shipment of car for a long distance move

While not the cheapest, this may be the right option for you and your car. And it is the easiest option overall for families who are already trying to deal with all the issues involved in relocating everything and everyone to a new place. Shipping your vehicle may be covered by your employer if they are paying for your move, so be sure to check with them. After the trip, your car should arrive in fine shape, on time and ready to hit the road in your new location.

You and your Car have Arrived!

No matter how you get there, don’t forget to visit your new local DMV office, get your car registered and pick up your new license plates.  Usually you have about 30 days, but that may differ by state, so check the DMV website as soon as you arrive. Don’t forget to get your car insurance updated as soon as possible as well (some insurers may not be able to cover you in the new state, so be sure to check).

Whichever option you choose, it’s best to make a vehicle move plan now sooner rather than later. You don’t want the worry of unfinalized decisions weighing over you while you’re making such a big life change. First, consider whether it’s worth moving your vehicle at all. Then, determine whether driving is an option you need to consider. If it’s not, contact Move 4 Less, a long distance moving company based in Nevada, and we’ll be happy to give you a quote.

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