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Car transporter carries new vehicles along the highway

Cross-Country Car Shipping

You can ship your car across the country for as low as $0.43 per mile by comparing quotes from multiple shipping companies.

From our #1 rated provider,


03/25/2024 06:55 PM

The Gist:

  • Based on quotes we received, the average cost to ship a vehicle from Washington, D.C. to Denver, Colorado is $952.
  • Depending on your pickup and delivery locations, it takes about five to seven business days to ship a vehicle cross-country.
  • Some ways you can prepare your vehicle for shipping across the country include leaving a quarter tank of gas, getting an extra set of keys, and removing personal items from inside the car.

While cross-country car shipping may seem like a daunting task at first, it’s actually pretty simple to move your vehicle across the nation. The top car shipping companies have learned how to efficiently and affordably transport vehicles from one side of the United States to the other.

The easiest way to find cheap car shipping rates is by comparing free quotes from auto transport providers. That way, you’ll be able to quickly see which companies best fit your cross-country car shipping needs.

How To Ship A Car Cross-Country

Cross-country car shipping isn’t too difficult if you know what you’re doing. Follow the steps and tips outlined below to simplify the process of booking cross-country auto transport.

A visual eight-step guide to shipping a car

Open vs. Enclosed Car Shipping

Consider whether open carrier transport or enclosed transport would better suit your shipping needs. Open transport costs far less but leaves your vehicle exposed to the elements and debris on the highway. If you’ve got a classic car or luxury vehicle, it’s probably best to opt for enclosed carrier shipping over an open trailer.

Consider Pickup And Drop-Off

Once you’ve decided on your pickup and drop-off locations, many providers let you choose between door-to-door transport and terminal-to-terminal delivery. If you’re looking for an affordable option, choosing terminal-to-terminal delivery locations will cost much less, as it’s an easier destination to reach for truck drivers. However, it’s not as hassle-free as door-to-door transport.

Compare Quotes From Providers

When you compare car shipping quotes online, you’ll discover which auto transporters best suit your budget and shipping needs. We recommend comparing at least a few car shipping companies to have the best chance of a good shipping experience. 

Pick An Auto Shipping Company

Lock your shipment in as soon as possible, as you’ll likely receive a lower rate than you would if you book at the last minute. It also gives you extra time to prepare the vehicle for shipment. Choosing a shipping company well in advance of your desired shipping dates will also increase the amount of companies willing to ship your vehicle, giving you plenty of options.

How Much To Ship A Car Cross-Country?

It’s rarely cheap to choose cross-country car shipping, but the benefits often outweigh the large up-front costs. We received quotes from leading auto transport providers for a 1,504-mile open auto transport shipment from Rapid City, South Dakota to Atlanta, Georgia.

You’ll pay a higher rate if you ask for enclosed auto transport, door-to-door service, or expedited car shipping services. While cross-country car shipping costs more than short-distance moves, expect to pay a lower average rate per mile.

Cross-Country Car Shipping Rates

Below are some per-mile rates from top car shipping companies based on an operable 2020 Hyundai Elantra:

per Mile
AmeriFreightOpen$0.432,761 miles$1,174.00
Easy Auto ShipOpen$0.562,761 miles$1,533.00
uShipOpen$0.482,761 miles$1,329.00
Montway Auto TransportOpen$0.502,761 miles$1,379.00
Ship Your Car NowOpen$0.952,761 miles$2,628.00
Guardian Auto TransportOpen$0.682,761 miles$1,885.00
National Express AutoOpen$0.992,761 miles$2,740.00
A-1 Auto TransportOpen$0.662,761 miles$1,811.00
Mercury Auto TransportOpen$0.472,761 miles$1,285.00
Ship a Car DirectOpen$0.462,761 miles$1,275.00
SGT Auto TransportOpen$0.452,761 miles$1,242.00
RoadRunner Auto TransportOpen$0.452,761 miles$1,245.00
Sherpa Auto TransportOpen$0.562,761 miles$1,550.00
American Auto ShippingOpen$0.482,761 miles$1,329.00

There’s no need to consider gas prices, accommodations, or daily meals when you choose cross-country car transport over driving the vehicle yourself. You’re also significantly less likely to incur unexpected damages on the road or be involved in an accident. At the same time, cross-country car shipping can come with higher average costs overall. The exact cost you will pay for cross-country car transport will vary based on a variety of factors, highlighted below:

A visual list of items that affect car shipping prices

How Long To Ship A Car Cross-Country?

Auto transport providers average around 400 to 600 miles per day when traveling across the United States. That means it should take about a week for your vehicle to get from one side of the country to the other. You’ll find estimates for how long cross-country car shipping takes below.

  • New York City to San Francisco (2,902 miles): 5 to 7 business days
  • Los Angeles to Miami (2,733 miles): 5 to 7 business days
  • Seattle to Chicago (2,064 miles): 4 to 5 business days
  • Boston to Houston (1,848 miles): 3 to 5 business days

The average time needed to ship cars from California to the East Coast depends on details such as the pickup location and pickup date, the car carrier, the time of year, and the chosen transport options. Regardless of the details, the weather is another factor that will impact the time it takes to ship your car. In order to remain safe on the road, shippers won’t rush your delivery just to meet your needs.

We recommend rethinking your plans if you believe driving your vehicle would be faster than using long-distance auto transport. While you may think you can drive farther, it’s unsafe to log more than nine hours or 500 miles on the road per day. Driving yourself also leaves your car vulnerable to mechanical breakdowns, severe weather conditions, and even car accidents.

Ship A Car Cross-Country: How To Prepare

For added peace of mind, prepare your car for cross-country vehicle shipping. It may not be as easy as handing the keys to a mover and leaving, but the following steps make the process easy.

Empty Your Gas Tank

    Make sure your vehicle has no more than a quarter tank of gas before the move, as you’ll pay more for the added weight of excess fuel.

    Take Note Of Existing Damage

    It’ll be much easier to prove that damages occurred during vehicle transport if you’ve documented all of your car’s pre-existing issues. This is helpful when you check your vehicle with the driver before and after your shipment and when you note any new damage before signing the bill of lading upon delivery.

    The bill of lading is a document that serves as an agreement between the carrier and customer that describes exactly what is being transported and where it’s being delivered. It also helps to keep the carriers liable for any damages your vehicle may have suffered as a result of transportation.

    Get An Extra Set Of Keys

    If your car keys somehow get lost during the cross-country car shipping process, you’ll be glad to own an extra set of keys. Keep at least one additional set with you throughout the long-distance move.

    Remove Possessions From Your Vehicle

    Your car is much more likely to get broken into if it’s filled with personal items during the journey. One way to reduce this risk is by clearing your car of expensive or important items before shipping your vehicle. Additionally, many companies don’t allow you to store your belongings in the vehicle during shipment.

    Shipping A Car Cross-Country: Our Take

    While various transport carriers offer quality shipping services at reasonable rates, uShip and AmeriFreight provide additional benefits. These providers have excellent customer reviews and a bevy of transport options, so few vehicle owners walk away dissatisfied with them.

    Cross-Country Car Shipping Companies

    Below are some of the best cross-country car shipping companies.

    uShip: Best Shipping Marketplace

    Due to its marketplace model, in which carriers bid on drivers’ shipments, uShip stands out from most auto shippers. Since there’s strong competition for each delivery, customers often receive excellent rates when they use the uShip marketplace. 

    The company transports most types of vehicles, from standard cars to motorcycles and ATVs. Carriers in uShip’s network also offer delivery services across the continental United States, as well as to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and international destinations. Based on the majority of uShip reviews, the company is a strong option for affordable cross-country car shipping.

    uShip Best Shipping Marketplace
    BBB Rating : A+ Coverage : 50 states
    Pros & Cons
    Pros Offers complimentary vehicle tracking Affordable rates and pricing control Available in 50 states Provides a “Ship with Confidence” guarantee Extra insurance Cons No carrier or broker vetting process Customer service review below average Instant quotes may be more pricy than final rate (no guaranteed quotes). Not a direct shipping provider

    Because of this marketplace structure, uShip is less accountable than brokers because its contracts aren’t standardized across carriers and the company doesn’t vet drivers’ backgrounds or insurance status. For marketplace listings, we recommend reviewing all shipment details, and vetting carriers for customer ratings and insurance status.

    AmeriFreight: Best Shipping Service Options

    AmeriFreight offers some of the transport industry’s cheapest car shipping costs, as well as various ways to lower the price even more. Customers can take advantage of the company’s many savings opportunities, which include:

    • Military: $35 off
    • First responders: $35 off
    • Medical personnel: $35 off
    • Students: $25 off
    • Senior citizens: $25 off
    • Early bird: $35 off if booked within 48 hours of your quote
    • Return customers: $50 off
    • Multiple vehicles: $50 off per vehicle

    While only the early bird discount can be stacked with other offers, many drivers can find other ways to save as well. Those who select AmeriFreight’s First Class shipping option receive guaranteed pricing, which ensures your price won’t increase mid-shipment. AmeriFreight reviews also speak highly of the company’s promise to price match any shipper with positive reviews and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

    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.

    Cross-Country Car Transport: FAQ

    Below are some frequently asked questions about cross-country car transport:

    What is the cheapest way to ship a car cross-country?

    The cheapest way to ship a car cross-country is by comparing quotes from more than one auto transport company and opting for open transport. While moving a vehicle by train is likely the cheapest option overall, there’s only one available route for Amtrak car shipping that runs between Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Florida.

    How much does it cost to have a car shipped cross-country?

    It costs between $1,000 and $2,000 to use open transport for cross-country car shipping. Expect to pay more if you’re opting for expedited shipping, door-to-door delivery, or enclosed auto shipping.

    Is it worth it to ship a car?

    For many drivers, it’s worth it to ship a car. While you may wonder whether to drive or ship your vehicle, you’ll save time by not having to drive. You’ll also ensure your car stays safe from mechanical breakdowns, potential accidents, and environmental damage.

    How do I transport my car cross-country?

    To transport your car cross-country, start by comparing auto transport quotes to find the best price. Once you’ve booked your shipment, prepare your vehicle by leaving only a quarter tank of gas, noting any preexisting damage, and getting your car inspected. Be ready to pick your vehicle up when it’s delivered.

    Can you put stuff in your car when you ship it cross-country?

    When shipping a car cross-country, there are some companies that allow personal items to be left in the trunk of the car. Make sure you look into the provider’s policies on personal items before shipping.

    How We Rate 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 drop-off 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.