How vehicle modifications affect car shipping costs

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There is nothing sweeter than making a car truly unique by customizing certain aspects of it. But new rims and a flashy paint color are not the only things you can change. Enthusiasts would often go after car body modifications that can turn a regular ride into a monster machine.

However, with awesome mods come different shipping costs. Do you want to get your improved car to a show? Maybe you just want it transported across the country? Whatever the case, there are a few things to know about shipping modified vehicles. Today we will look exactly into that!

Types of modifications

Auto transport costs can vary widely based on different factors. This is why it is important to understand which types of vehicle tuning and modifications can have an effect on the price.

  • The first major mod type has to do with changes to the size and weight of the vehicle. Think oversized bumpers, wider tires, huge spoilers, and the like.
  • The second type is a bit more subtle, but crucial nonetheless. These are mods that render the vehicle difficult to load on a regular car carrier. We will talk more about each of these further in the article.

Keep in mind that not all types of car tuning will have an effect on the car shipping costs. A custom audio system or decals on your vehicle should not be a concern for you. Lighter adjustments (such as tactile decoration) are fine too. As long as the mods do not fall within the broad categories above, you are clear.


How car shipping works

Before I can explain why shipping costs can be higher for modified vehicles, you have to know how shipping a vehicle works.

For starters, there are two main types of car carriers – open and enclosed transport. The open transport is what you have most likely seen on the road. It can carry 6 to 9 vehicles, usually on two decks. These carriers are the most common (around 90% of all in the States).

Then comes enclosed transport. It is primarily designed for luxury and classic vehicles, sports cars, show models, etc. The main idea behind it is to completely shield the vehicles from rain, dust, and dirt. Most such carriers also can load multiple vehicles, but there are some exceptions for very special cases, which we will discuss below.

How size and weight modifications affect shipping costs

Some modifications are heavy and increase the weight of the vehicle substantially. For example, heavy-duty bumpers with wrenches are made of metal and weigh a lot. But even if the bumpers are lighter, a set of them, along with a heavy spoiler could also render the vehicle heavier. Since heavier cars require more power (i.e. gas) to get transported, it has to be reflected in the shipping costs.

shipping modified vehicles

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Size of vehicle

Aside from weight alterations, modifications that increase the size of your vehicle may also affect the price of transport. Above I have explained that most carriers take multiple vehicles. Logically, that the more vehicles a carrier can take the more efficient the transport, and the more profit he makes. So, a car that takes the spot of two vehicles, for example, and requires the carrier to take fewer vehicles will be more expensive to ship.

Let’s take length modifications, for example. If they are excessive the car will have to take two spots on the carrier, which drives the cost up. However, such mods are not common, so if the vehicle is not too long, to begin with, you will likely not have a problem with length.

Corsia Logistics shipping Mini Peterbilt

Then comes height. Certain tunings can raise the vehicle above 7 feet. At that point, you will be charged for two spots, because of certain DOT limits and regulations. This is specifically applicable to off-road vehicles that are equipped with huge tires and have a modified suspension. For vehicles that are way too tall, there may be a need for a dedicated trailer. We will discuss that in a minute.


The last way modifications affect the size of your vehicle is by increasing its width. This is the most difficult case of all. A carrier trailer cannot be made wider than it is, so if a car cannot fit on it that would require a special type of cargo trailer such as a flatbed for heavy-duty shipping.

Sadly, that is not all. The trucker will also have to get a one-time permit from DOT for transporting your vehicle. Due to all these factors, the price of transporting a wider vehicle is higher and the waiting time for finding such a carrier might be a bit longer than usual. The same challenges are also present for very tall vehicles.

What about modifications that make vehicles lighter?

Some sports and racing cars are designed to be much lighter in order to benefit as much as possible from their powerful engines. However, some people take it one step further and mod their vehicles to get them even lighter.

Such modifications usually include removal of unnecessary seats and gadgets around the car. It is also possible that the whole interior is stripped clean and then only the essentials are installed. This includes a light metal frame, a new steering wheel and only a single seat that is specifically designed for racing.

With all that in mind, you may wonder whether lighter vehicles will have lower car shipping fees. Sadly, this is not the case. Since the majority of cars will be heavier than the one described above, the carrier will have no incentive to take a vehicle for a lower price. In the best case scenario, you will have to pay the standard shipping fee.

Modifications that make loading difficult

Size and weight modifications affect the price in an obvious way. However, the situation is not as clear for adjustments and tunings which render a vehicle difficult to load on the truck. In such a case the price increases because a different service will be required.

If you want to ship a luxury sports car or one that has been modified to have its suspension lowered, then you may run into clearance problems. Cars with the ground clearance of less than 3-4 inches cannot be loaded on a regular trailer. Instead, you will need one that has a lift gate.

enclosed trailer

Corsia Logistics shipping Lamborghini Aventador – a low ground clearance vehicle

The issue is that the most trailers with lift gates are the enclosed ones. But enclosed auto transport carriers comprises only 10% of all the carriers in the US. Additionally, not all enclosed trailers have a lift gate. A special request for one has to be made. That means you will need to wait a bit longer to find a spot on such a trailer and the price will be higher.

Are you ready to ship your vehicle?

Even when shipping a modified vehicle may be costlier than transporting a regular one, it is still a great option. Most cars that have been tuned are expensive, and driving them around on the interstate for long miles may not be the most economical choice. Plus, a lot of mods do not allow such vehicles to be driven on public roads anyway.

If you are in need of car shipping, we from Corsia Logistics are always ready to help. Our professional staff will give you more information if necessary, and they will answer all your additional questions. You can get a free car shipping quote as well. Ready to get started? Request your quote online or call us to discuss your options, receive a price and book your shipment.



About the Author:

Atanas Nikolov is a creative with an affinity for psychology and science. He believes the universe is a wonderful place to explore, and no universe is greater than the one inside ourselves. He enjoys a good debate, and can always bring an alternative viewpoint to the table. He also loves reading fiction and poetry. It is highly likely that he writes some as well, but these rumors have not been proven yet.

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