What causes delays when shipping a car?

November 18, 2013
Vasilka Atanasova
what causes delays when shipping a car

Imagine you have to travel across the country. Let say, you have to move to Los Angeles from the Midwest. This trip is a little over 2000 miles, which is about 3 days of driving. It is a long-distance trip and it takes you right across deserts and mountains.

Now, if you have been to Colorado, you know what it’s like to drive this route from, let say, Chicago to Denver. From the flatness of the Midwest, comes the moment when you pass Denver and hit the mountains. After Denver, it is a completely different landscape, and the driving conditions change drastically.

Having said that, when you are shipping a car between any two destinations, there are no delivery time guarantees. Time is always an estimate.

In the auto transport industry, it is very hard to guarantee pick-up or delivery dates. Carriers and brokers always talk about time frames. When you need auto transport services, a logistics consultant will ask about your first available pick-up date and delivery date. Yet, they always explain to customers that delivery date and time cannot be guaranteed. Many customers wonder why that is.

What causes delays when shipping a car?

The most common reasons for auto transport delays are traffic, weather, truck failures, and customer delays.


Traffic is often a problem for all of us. For the big trucks, however, it is even a bigger obstacle.

Trucks need much more space and time to maneuver, and traffic could slow them down tremendously. The same applies to weather conditions.


Weather can change drastically from state to state. A snow or hail storm could bring a truck to a full stop for hours.

Shipping a car from the Midwest to California, for example, means that the carrier will pass through various weather conditions – rain, snow, and sun. Driving through the Colorado Mountains is hard and it means lower gears and slower speed. During winter the carrier could face dangerous storms and slippery roads. Thus, shipping a car in the winter season often takes a bit longer.

To prepare for the unexpected during car shipping, learn about how weather affects auto transport.

Truck failures

Truck mechanical failures happen, especially in winter conditions.

The auto transport trucks are utilized daily, and, with time, it means frequent breakdowns. No, trucks don’t break down every day, but we can’t compare a 2005 truck with the same year’s car. The straining affecting the two types of motor vehicles is very different.

Customer delays

Last but not least on our list is customer delays. Even if you are on time with your car, other customers can slow down the shipping process by being late or not showing at all.

It is a frequent event to have customers being late for their pick up or delivery, which, in turn, delays the rest of the customers. This is the domino effect in auto transport.

Car shipping companies do not want to delay shipping, but due to weather, traffic, truck mechanical failures, and customers’ delays, the shipping process could slow down.

So, as a customer, it is important to understand how the auto transport industry works, what causes delays when shipping a car, and that reliable auto transport means being honest.

If you have any questions, call or contact us online, because timely information is key to a stress-free car shipping experience. Our vehicle relocation experts will be happy to answer all auto transport queries you may have. Thank you!

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