Moving cities: Is it better to drive your car or get it transported?

When people move between cities or have to travel long distances, is it better to get your car shipped by a freight mover or drive it there yourself? explores the options open to car owners who are moving cities.

Looking at freight transport rates and fuel prices, one of the most cost-effective methods to move a car between different parts of the country is to drive there. Of course, it’s not the best option at most times, because there is a certain wear and tear on the car and one may not necessarily always have the time.

So if you have to move cities for a short period or even a long stay, what are the options available to you? We’ve tried to work it out for you. As an illustrative example, we’ve used the options available between Delhi and Mumbai – a distance of about 1,420 km. Also read: Honda Brio long drive – Jammu to Chandigarh

Moving cities: Is it better to drive your car or get it transported?

Option 1: Driving there

Driving between two cities is a fun option. You get to experience multiple states and views along the way. Of course, this is only an option if you enjoy driving and have the time for it. Driving between Delhi and Mumbai is ideally a two-day affair, with a night’s stop recommended at either Udaipur or Ahmedabad. We’ve taken a total driving time of 24 hours, at an average speed of 60kmph. You can do higher speeds in between thanks to very nice expressways.

How much will it cost?

If you are driving a petrol car that gives you fuel economy of 12 kmpl, it will cost you about Rs. 8,650 in fuel costs alone (taking average petrol price at Rs. 73/litre). Add to that the cost of a decent hotel room at about Rs. 2,000 and highway tolls and food expenses at about another Rs. 2,000, and the whole trip will cost you about Rs. 12,000 and two whole days’ time.

If you are driving a diesel car that gives you an average mileage of 12 kmpl, it will cost your about Rs. 6,000 in fuel costs alone (taking the average price of diesel at Rs. 50/litre). Add another Rs. 4,000 for travelling expenses and overnight stay and it comes to about Rs. 9,000 and two-days time.

Risk factor: Normal Indian highway driving risks. Also read: 10 tips to survive Indian highways


Option 2: Getting it driven

Getting your car driven between the two cities is a slightly more expensive and risky affair. However, this will save you two-days time, but may not save you any money. You also need to factor in that you would probably be flying between the two cities. You would also need to hire a trust-worthy driver and pay him for the trip (unless you have a good friend who can undertake the journey for you).

How much will it cost?

Sticking with the above example, where a petrol car will cost about Rs. 8,650 in fuel costs and a diesel will cost about Rs. 6,000 in fuel costs, your fuel bill will remain the same. Now add to it the fee you will probably pay a driver, including his living expenses and tolls. Keeping that at about Rs. 5,000 (including a return train ticket for him) it will cost you about Rs. 13,500 for a petrol car and Rs. 10,000 for a diesel car. Now add to that the cost of a flight between the two cities, as you would probably be flying there. An average flight ticket costs Rs. 7,000 between the cities.

That would put the total expenses at Rs. 17,000 for a diesel car and Rs. 20,500 for a petrol car.

Risk factor: Indian highway driving risks, risks of damage or misuse by driver

Moving cities: Is it better to drive your car or get it transported?

Option 3: Using a car-carrier through a mover & packer

There are a number of car carriers that transport cars for carmakers such as Maruti, Ford, Hyundai, Tata and Mahindra that run between these cities. Many logistics companies and movers & packers use these car freight carriers to move cars between cities for customers.

How much will it cost?

The cost varies depending on the logistics company. You can bargain hard for a good price. Costs of transporting a car can vary from as low as Rs. 9,000 up to Rs. 15,000 using this method. Of course, some of our community members who’ve used this mode of transport report that petrol is often pilfered. This works out to be one of the cheapest methods of transport, but it takes a few days. Average time to transport the car takes between 3 to 6 days and involves significant paperwork as well. Add to it the cost of your air ticket and it will cost between Rs. 16,000 and Rs. 22,000.

Risk factor: Risk of damage to car in transit, loading and unloading.


Option 4: Renting a container through a mover & packer

This is one of the more expensive means of transporting a car between cities, but is worth it if you are moving some other stuff along. You can rent a container truck from a packer and mover.

How much will it cost?

If you rent a container truck, the costs can be significantly higher. Between Mumbai and Delhi, depending on the packer and mover, costs can range from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 45,000. Transport time again is fairly long and will take between 3 to 6 days, and there’s significant paperwork to cover. Add to that the cost of your flight ticket, and you’re looking at a total bill of between Rs. 37,000 and Rs. 52,000.

Risk factor: Risk of damage to car in transit, loading and unloading.


Other Options

Other options available to people moving cities is rail transport. The railways also have cargo services that will take cars, but this depends on the city and the facilities available. Some years ago, one could also use air-freight for a car, but those services have mostly been stopped, as cars are considered dangerous cargo, and not many carriers also have the wide-bodied cargo aircraft necessary for cars. And then there’s always the most radical option – sell your car and buy a new one in the new city!  Also read: Road trip, preparing your car for a holiday in Ladakh

So which do you think would be the best option for you, if you had to move your car between two cities?