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Best Car Shipping Companies In California

From our #1 rated provider,


07/17/2024 02:29 PM

If you need to move to or from California, whether it’s just for a little while or for good, transporting your car should be an easy process. In this article, we’ll provide a look at the five best car shipping companies in California that offer peace of mind and competitive costs. We will also explain the costs of shipping cars with open and enclosed transport services, and show you how to do it easily.

The Gist:

  • Our team found that Montway Auto Transport is the best California car shipping company, though it’s best to compare rates with those from Sherpa Auto Transport, SGT Auto Transport, American Auto Shipping and AmeriFreight.
  • The average cost to ship a car to or from California is $1,005 for open car shipping services and $1,408 for enclosed auto transport.
  • Your car shipping cost in California depends on factors like a city’s size, nearby traffic patterns, and weather conditions.

5 Best Car Shipping Companies In California

We have dedicated more than 300 hours to researching the auto transport industry in order to give an unbiased review of the top car shipping companies. If you’re moving a car to or from Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, or beyond, check out our list of the best California car shipping companies.

1. Montway Auto Transport: Best Reputation

In 2024, Montway Auto Transport is our favorite choice among the top auto transport companies. While they don’t have the lowest prices, their service is dependable and rates are satisfactory. Montway stands out from the competition due to their excellent customer service and the various options they offer.

Montway Auto Transport is a big and well-liked company that transports cars. They operate in all states of the country and also offer shipping services internationally. Because they have many carriers in their network, Montway is able to provide customers with prices lower than the typical average.

Read more: Montway Auto Transport review

Montway Auto Transport Best Reputation
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 844-601-0286 Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Strong reputation, customer satisfaction, and industry ratings Carrier vetting Large network of 30,000+ carriers Offers expedited delivery Competitive pricing Cons No real-time tracking or mobile-app; must contact company for tracking info No guaranteed pricing $249 cancellation fee No specialty shipping services for recreational vehicles (RVs), boats, trailers, or other watercraft Intrusive Pop-up Ads

Montway Auto Transport is a reputable auto transport broker offering several car shipping services and cheap car shipping rates. We named it the Best Reputation car shipping company for 2024.

2. Sherpa Auto Transport: Best For Locked-In Rates

According to our research, Sherpa Auto Transport has received a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars. This high rating is due to their consistent and affordable rates, excellent customer satisfaction, and wide range of services. On top of that, Sherpa also provides customers with a $20 reimbursement for car washes, as part of their Clean Car Guarantee.

Sherpa Auto Transport makes shipping easy and gives you a guaranteed price with their Price Lock Promise. This means that the initial quote you get is the final price – they will even help cover up to $300 if needed so that your rate stays the same.

Read more: Sherpa Auto Transport review

Sherpa Auto Transport
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 888-202-7706 Coverage : 49 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Locked-in shipping rates through the Price Lock Promise Vetted network of reliable and friendly carriers Strong customer service ratings on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Offers a Clean Car Guarantee Cons Slightly higher prices than competitors Does not provide terminal-to-terminal shipping

Sherpa Auto Transport has many strengths, from excellent customer service to the added security of the Price Lock Promise.

3. SGT Auto Transport: Best Price-Match Guarantee

SGT Auto Transport is given a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars. This is because they provide a range of shipping choices at good prices. The company has received high scores for their services, thanks to options like open, enclosed, and door-to-door auto transportation. They also offer expedited delivery and guaranteed pickup dates.

You don’t have to pay for SGT Auto Transport until they send someone to pick up your vehicle. If you find a cheaper price from another company, SGT Auto Transport will give you the same price. Most customers say they have a good experience with this provider, according to our team’s research.

Read more: SGT Auto Transport review

SGT Auto Transport Best Price-Match Guarantee
BBB Rating : B Phone : 864-635-4879 Coverage : 49 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Available in 49 states Offers price matching Has an option for a guaranteed pickup date Cons Doesn’t offer real-time tracking No terminal-to-terminal shipping option

We give SGT Auto Transport an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. This shipping broker has an outstanding reputation and offers affordable options for car transport services. Price matching, express shipping, and guaranteed pickups are other great features of SGT Auto Transport.

4. American Auto Shipping: Best Service Availability

American Auto Shipping provides various auto transport services to help you transport your vehicle to where it needs to go. With a high rating of 5.0 in services, this provider offers convenient door-to-door shipping, both open and enclosed auto transport, shipping to Hawaii, motorcycle shipping, military vehicle shipping, heavy equipment transport, and more.

American Auto Shipping strives to offer customers a pleasant experience with perks like a covered rental car if your shipment is delayed over 14 days past the delivery date. Another benefit is your choice of pickup times from three different options–standard, priority, or expedited.

Read more: American Auto Shipping review

American Auto Shipping Best Service Availability
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 800-238-7613
Pros & Cons
Pros Instant online quotes 24/7 customer service A+ rating from the BBB Standard, priority, and expedited service Cons No Alaska service No terminal-to-terminal shipping No GPS tracking

Considering its service offering, availability, and average rates, we give American Auto Shipping 4.5 out of 5.0 stars overall. It can work with a variety of shipping timelines, whether you need to ship your car next month or tomorrow. We recommend checking out a quote from American Auto Shipping when you plan your car shipment.

5. AmeriFreight: Best For Discounts

AmeriFreight has prices that are typical for the industry. However, customers can decrease their rates by taking advantage of AmeriFreight’s discounts and pricing levels. There are various ways to get discounts, such as returning customers, shipping multiple vehicles, being a first responder or medical personnel, a senior, or a student.

AmeriFreight is one of the top five companies for shipping cars because they offer lots of discounts, price match services, and great customer service. They work with over 10,000 car carriers and make sure each one is licensed and insured by doing background checks.

Read more: AmeriFreight review

AmeriFreight Best for Discounts
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 855-460-6609 Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Affordable rates and several discount opportunities available Thorough carrier vetting process Excellent reviews on BBB; A+ rating and accreditation Offers a guaranteed price option Delivers coast to coast Cons No real-time GPS tracking or mobile app Charges extra for insurance No locked-in rates No international shipping

AmeriFreight is a leading car shipping broker that partners with over 10,000 car carriers to deliver a wide range of auto transport services. The company also works with government agencies, vehicle manufacturers, and retailers to deliver outsourced logistics services and shipping on a large scale.

Other California Car Shipping Companies

Although we mentioned five trusted providers on a national level earlier, there are also excellent regional choices for transporting cars within California. Take a look below for another option you can consider.

A 1 Auto Transport

A 1 Auto Transport is headquartered in Aptos, CA. Learn more about this provider on the A 1 Auto Transport website.

California Car Shipping Costs

The price of shipping a car in California can change a lot based on different things. Some of these things depend on what you want, like the type of transportation you choose for your car. When shipping your car, you’ll probably use either an open trailer or an enclosed trailer. In the next sections, we’ll give you the average prices for both types of shipping to and from California.

Open Car Shipping Costs In California

Open car shipping means using a trailer without walls or a roof to transport many vehicles at once. It is cheaper but more risky than enclosed transport services.

The average cost to ship a car to and from California using open car shipping is $1,005, which is 0 percent cheaper than the national average of $1,010. We gathered cost estimates for open car transport along popular California car shipping routes, which you’ll find below:

Auto Shipping RouteTotal Average Cost
Los Angeles To Atlanta$1,099
Los Angeles To Boston$1,399
Sacramento To Chicago$1,199
Sacramento To Miami$1,329
San Francisco To Fort Lauderdale$1,379
San Francisco To Honolulu$2,299
San Jose To New York$1,589
San Jose To Miami$1,379
San Diego To Chicago$1,099
San Diego To Miami$1,379
Chicago To San Francisco$1,099
New York To San Francisco$1,199
Washington To Los Angeles$999
Nashville To Los Angeles$1,129
New York To San Diego$1,249
Miami To San Diego$1,129
New York To Sacramento$1,199
Miami To Sacramento$1,179
Miami To San Jose$1,329
Chicago To San Jose$1,099

Enclosed Car Shipping Costs In California

Enclosed auto shipping services utilize an enclosed carrier that provides the ultimate level of protection from road hazards during transport. While it makes California car shipping much pricier than open car shipping services, owners of classic or luxury cars should consider it.

The average cost to ship a car to and from California using enclosed auto transport is $1,408, which is 40 percent more than the average cost of open car shipping in California. The table below has average costs of popular California car shipping routes using enclosed transport.

Auto Shipping RouteTotal Average Cost
Los Angeles To Atlanta$1,539
Los Angeles To Boston$1,959
Sacramento To Chicago$1,679
Sacramento To Miami$1,859
San Francisco To Fort Lauderdale$1,929
San Francisco To Honolulu$3,219
San Jose To New York$2,229
San Jose To Miami$1,929
San Diego To Chicago$1,539
San Diego To Miami$1,929
Chicago To San Francisco$1,539
New York To San Francisco$1,679
Washington To Los Angeles$1,399
Nashville To Los Angeles$1,579
New York To San Diego$1,749
Miami To San Diego$1,579
New York To Sacramento$1,679
Miami To Sacramento$1,649
Miami To San Jose$1,859
Chicago To San Jose$1,539

What Affects Car Shipping Costs In California?

Your exact auto transport expenses for California will likely depend on various factors. When you’re shipping a car, different factors can influence the cost you have to pay. These include things like the type of transport, where it will be delivered, the prices of fuel, the distance it needs to be shipped, the type of vehicle, and the condition of the car.

A visual list of items that affect car shipping prices

How To Ship A Car To And From California

Do you want to send a car in California but don’t know where to begin? Transporting your vehicle might seem complicated, but we have explained the process below to make it easy and stress-free.

Choose Your Shipping Method

To start, you have to choose how you want to transport your vehicle. As previously mentioned, enclosed and open carrier car shipping are the most common types used across the industry. Both have their pros and cons, so comparing enclosed vs. open auto transport will help you determine which best fits your needs.

Compare California Car Shipping Quotes

After you have chosen how you will transport your vehicle, the next step is to compare the quotes you receive for California auto transport. It’s easy to get car shipping quotes online, and we recommend providing vehicle details to various car shipping companies to find the best price.

Remember that some companies promise to keep the price they quoted you for shipping your car in California, while other companies might raise their rates because of changes in the market. If it’s important to you to have a guaranteed price for shipping your car in California, choose a company that offers this guarantee.

Select A Transport Provider

After you compare quotes from different providers, you’ll probably start focusing on which California car shipping service you prefer. This is when you decide if you’re more comfortable with a car shipping broker or an online shipping marketplace. Brokers will help you find a car carrier, while shipping marketplaces let you handle carriers directly.

Make sure to do your research before making a choice by checking online review platforms and discussion boards. Hearing about other people’s experiences with shipping providers is really helpful when deciding on a company to transport your car to California.

Prepare Your Car And Meet The Carrier

After you’ve reserved a service to transport your vehicle, it’s important to prepare your car for shipment. Remove any personal belongings from your vehicle, since some transporters in California factor in the weight of the vehicle when determining the cost. It’s also wise to leave your gas tank no more than a quarter full.

It’s now time to meet your carrier at a predetermined time and location. Whether you opted for door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal shipping, you’ll inspect your vehicle for prior damages such as dents, scratches, and dings. Make sure you take pictures of your car before it gets loaded onto the trailer so that you have the right records. All you need to do now is sign the bill of lading, which is a receipt that follows your vehicle as it travels to or from California.

Pick Your Car Up

If the vehicle transport company you choose has GPS tracking, you can see your car’s location in real time as it travels to or from California. If not, the carrier will still contact you at some point to let you know the date when your vehicle will be picked up.

When you arrive at the specified pickup spot and time, meet your carrier and check your vehicle for any damage. This is particularly important if you choose open auto transport. If you find any damages, report them on the bill of lading and take photos for potential claims. However, if everything looks good, you’ll just sign the bill of lading one last time and drive the car away.

What To Expect With California Car Shipping

When you send a car to or from California, there are certain things that are specific to the state which could affect your car shipping experience. These include the size of the city, the number of people living there, the traffic patterns, and the bad weather. These factors might affect how long it takes for your car to be shipped in California. It’s a good idea to know about these things ahead of time so that you’re not surprised when you go through the shipping process.

Population density can also have an impact on the availability of door-to-door transport. California is less densely populated than other states in the U.S., which may make door-to-delivery less of a hassle. However, availability may differ in major cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In addition, many cities in California have less-than-average rainfall and less chances of extreme weather. Bad weather like storms or floods may cause delays in shipping cars in California. To avoid any issues, make sure to plan ahead and be open to adjusting delivery times during the shipping process.

California Car Shipping: FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions customers have about California car shipping.

Why would a person want to ship their car?

If you’re moving more than a few hundred miles away, a long-distance road trip might not be worth it. Cross-country car shipping can provide peace of mind while offering protection from risks associated with long drives, such as mechanical breakdowns and car accidents. Getting your car to California from far away states is much easier with auto transport.

What are the benefits of car shipping?

Car shipping is a safe way to get your car to and from California without wasting the time and expenses associated with a long road trip. Choosing to ship your car rather than drive it will also protect your car from the wear and tear that comes along with extended driving periods.

How do I ship a car to California?

You’ll start the shipping process by researching various car shipping companies and getting free quotes online. Next, you’ll choose a provider, book your shipment, and prepare the car for transport. Once your car has made it to or from California, you’ll meet the car carrier for pickup.

How We Rate California Auto Shippers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car shipping companies. While there are multiple qualities that make an auto transport provider successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:

  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between providers because so many factors impact auto shipping rates. To determine our cost score, we perform a secret shopper analysis for a variety of vehicles and routes.
  • Services: Our team of experts looks at the types of services available, as well as insurance coverage and the ability to guarantee pickup and dropoff dates. Ratings also take into account whether the transport company is a broker or a carrier.
  • Reputation: It’s important that a car shipping provider is able to deliver your vehicle in a safe and timely manner. Companies with a strong rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) score well in this category. Established providers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
  • Customer Experience: We comb through consumer reviews on sites like the BBB to learn about customer experiences. Car transport companies with a low volume of complaints score well in this area.

*Data accurate at time of publication.
*Read more about our methodology.