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Why Certain Cars are More Expensive to Move Than Others

Recently I was helping out a customer with a move they were planning. They were moving to Arizona from New York and they had two cars to move, the wife’s Toyota Corolla and the husband’s Ford F-150. I was getting all of the information from them over the phone and everything seemed fine and dandy until we got to the prices. The price range I gave for the truck was about $100 more than the one I gave for the Corolla. This really caught the husband off guard. He simply could not understand why shipping a truck would be more expensive than shipping a car.

So I went into detail, which I love to do.

First it’s the weight. Let’s compare a 2012 Toyota Corolla and a 2012 Ford F-150. The average F-150 weighs 5,716 lbs. The Corolla is only 2,800 lbs. That’s a 3,000 lb difference, the F-150 is more than double the weight of the Corolla.

But there’s a couple more figures we have to look at. The entire auto transport set up (truck and trailer, fully loaded) is allowed to weigh up to 80,000 lbs. Drivers are ticketed for any additional weight. With the truck weighing 15,000 lbs and the trailer weighing 20,000 lbs empty that only leaves the driver with 45,000 lbs to work with. This leaves about 5,600 per vehicle on an eight car hauler. However tickets are usually issued for being overweight on a certainĀ axle, not for the entire truck being overweight.

auto transport carrier

Auto Transport Carrier



The truck has three axles. The rule is 12,000 lbs on the first, 34,000 lbs on the next, and 34,000 lbs on the last. The 12,000 lb one is the front axle with the engine over it. The next axle is where the trailer connects to the truck, called the fifth wheel. The last one is in the back, this one is all trailer.

So with the trailer weight you’re left with about 24,000 lbs per axle. If the driver arranges his trailer correctly he can fit two maybe three heavy vehicles onto his trailer without exceeding any weight limits.

And don’t forget, the heavier the load the driver is pulling the less gas mileage he gets.

Another issue is length. The F-150 is 17 feet and 9 inches long. The Corolla is 15 feet. You can easily fit 8 Corollas on a trailer. You couldĀ maybe fit 6 F-150s. There simply isn’t enough space length wise. As well as height wise.

Depending on where you live, low bridges may be an everyday part of life or a rare occurrence. Florida is very good with bridge heights. Bridges under 13 feet are few and far between. But older states like New York or Massachusetts are plagued by them. 12, 11, even 10 footers and lower. They are simply part of the cities.

In addition to the bridges, truck and trailer height is also regulated. The allowable height varies state to state but it’s between 13 and 14 feet, usually 13 feet, 6 inches. The Corolla is 4 feet and 9 inches tall. The F-150 is 6 feet and 2 inches.That leaves a foot and 4 inches for ground clearance, platforms, tires, etc if you stack two F-150s on top of each other. You simply cannot fit one truck on top of another on an auto hauler. And don’t even get me started on lifted trucks. Car carriers stay away from any lifted vehicle, it’s simply not worth the risk or headache unless the customer pays GOOD money.

So hopefully this explains why trucks are more expensive to move than cars and how auto transport prices are calculated. Remember though, there is a lot of variation in trailers. When I was talking to this guy I was talking about an eight car hauler which is a pretty common trailer. Different trailers allow for different loading variations so take all of this advice with a grain of salt.

Feel free to ask any questions, I will be more than happy to help out.

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6 Comments

  1. Avatar Larry G says:

    Interesting food for thought…

  2. Avatar rajon says:

    True my carrier could only fit a very small car and my fiat was exactly what he needed

  3. Avatar ro bert says:

    not only more expensive but also takes more of your time to get the thing moved

  4. Avatar mike peuterey says:

    Outstanding work!

  5. Avatar Celine says:

    I was wondering why all my friends were shippign for so cheap ahaha they have a little smart car

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