Car Shipping vs Driving Down: Ending the Debate

Illustration of Car Shipping vs Car Driving

Planning a move across long distances will mean shifting your belongings and car to your new place. This brings along with it the conundrum of having to choose between driving down to your new home or shipping your car. The choice you make will have an effect on you and your life.

To make a decision, you will have to weigh both options, their advantages and disadvantages. We will be discussing the options over several factors.

  • Distance
  • Cost
  • Time
  • Convenience
  • Safety

I will use my own experience of driving from Delhi to Bangalore while I was shifting and some credible data and information that have been sourced by car shipping companies and consumers who have used their service.

With information from both and some intelligent thinking, we will be able to come out with a winner and end this debate.


The winner varies according to the actual distance of the move. Over long distances, shipping is the easy winner. If the distance is shorter, then it gets a little ambiguous.

If the distance is really short, let’s say less than 300 kms, the clear winner is driving. It costs less, it is more convenient and probably more enjoyable.

WINNER: Car Shipping


The first of the five factors that we will be taking a look at is cost.

What will it cost you to ship your car versus driving it down yourself?

On the surface, it seems like it is much cheaper to drive your car down. This is true if you only take fuel costs into consideration. 

If you are up for a journey over a long distance, more costs accumulate. You will need to pay for tolls, lodging, food etc. When I drove down from Delhi to Bangalore, which is a distance of about 2000 kms, I had to drive for 2 and half days. This meant spending money on two nights of lodging, 8 meals and numerous tolls.

So, over short distances, driving the car to your destination may be quite cheaper compared to shipping it, but as the distance increases, it pretty much evens out.

Cost of Car Shipping (1000km): ₹8,000 to ₹13,000

Cost of Driving Down (1000km): ₹7,000 to ₹11,000

WINNER: Driving by Yourself


Time is a factor that can be misleading as well, just like cost. Although it will take less time to drive to your new home when compared to shipping your car, you must also keep in mind that you don’t waste as much time while shipping it.

If you are driving down, you are completely occupied and can seldom give time for other things. While I drove to Bangalore, I could barely do anything else apart from driving and enjoying the scenery.

If I had chosen to ship it, I would have reached Bangalore in a few hours and utilised my time more effectively until I got my car. You can continue your day-to-day business while the car is in transit when it comes to shipping.

Time Required (for 1000km)

Car Shipping: 4 to 5 days

Driving down: 14 to 17 hours at a stretch

Overall time spent personally (for 1000km)

Car Shipping: 1-2 hours altogether during pickup and delivery

Driving down: The entire duration of the journey (14 hours)

WINNER: Shipping


Shipping wins this one big time. Car shipping is always more convenient. Your car is often picked up and dropped at your doorstep. You don’t have to worry about anything except paying your shipping charges.

Driving, on the other hand, takes time, effort and a lot of patience, especially over long distances. Although I enjoy driving, it was a bit too much even for me in the end.

While you will have a degree of freedom in choices and what you do during the journey, it is accompanied by demerits that hardly make it worth your while.

WINNER: Shipping


This is another thing that shipping takes home in a big way. It is always safer, both for yourself and the car. Professional movers handle your car well and ensure zero damage during the entire move. 

If you are driving by yourself, on the other hand, the chances of accidents are ever-present. Driving over long distances can increase fatigue and result in a higher chance of accidents occurring. When I drove down from Delhi, the fatigue had gotten the better of me by the end of the journey.

WINNER: Shipping

Additional Factors

There are a couple of additional factors that can be included as well when comparing driving and car shipping.

  • Wear and tear on the car: Driving long distances causes significant wear and tear on the car that leads to additional expenses during service
  • Overall control during transit: You have less overall control during the transit phase of the move if you drive down, but it is less convenient.


If you ask me personally, after having to drive my car for 2000 odd kilometres over 2 and half days, I will opt for car shipping over driving any day of the week. Although it might cost me more marginally, it is more convenient, safer, faster and above all, smoother. 

If I have to give you a fair, unbiased answer, I would say it depends on a couple of things. If the distance is short, i.e., anything less than 500kms, you can drive to your destination, otherwise, ship the car and save yourself a lot of trouble. The other thing is, if you have an exotic or classic car, then opt for shipping, by all means, they know how to take care of it!

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