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How To Ship A Car

Need help figuring out how to ship a car? Read on to learn how to safely and efficiently transport your vehicle.

From our #1 rated provider, montway_logo


10/10/2023 12:06 PM

The Gist:

  • When learning how to ship a car, first determine what type of shipping you need. Open shipping is the most common and is generally cheaper than enclosed shipping.
  • Compare multiple quotes from several car shipping companies.
  • Research auto transport companies by reading customer reviews to determine which companies are the most reliable.
  • To get the best price, book your shipping date at least two weeks before your delivery date.

Shipping a vehicle can seem like a daunting task at first. However, the process is pretty simple once you know what to expect. Our team has you covered with everything you need to know about how to ship a car.

We’ve reviewed the country’s best car shipping companies and determined which ones stand out from the rest. Read on to learn some of the best practices and tips for how to ship a car with ease, as well as some of our team’s top recommendations for vehicle transport companies you can trust.

How To Get A Car Shipped

Let’s start by diving into the details of how to ship a car. Our team has outlined the five steps below to help guide you through the process, which is relatively straightforward.

1. Ask for quotes from multiple providers

We recommend getting car shipping quotes online from multiple auto transporters, as this can help you find the best price for your vehicle shipment. You’ll likely be asked to provide the following information to receive the most accurate quote possible:

  • Vehicle make, model, and age
  • Timeframe for pickup and delivery
  • Pickup and delivery locations
  • Preferred car transport services (open vs. enclosed carrier transport, door-to-door vs. terminal-to-terminal delivery, etc.)
  • Whether the car is operable
  • Your name, phone number, and email address

With this information, shipping brokers will reach out to you with auto shipping quotes. Understand that each provider has a different contact method. Some, such as Montway Auto Transport and Easy Auto Ship, offer instant online quotes, while other companies iron out delivery details over the phone before giving you a price.

2. Choose a provider

Once you’ve received quotes from multiple shipping companies, it’s time to choose among them and book your shipment. Keep in mind that the cheapest car shipping option isn’t always the best choice. For peace of mind, make sure your chosen provider is fully insured and licensed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

If you’re worried about picking a low-quality option, read on. We included a list of companies with both competitive rates and reputations for top-notch service in car shipping.

3. Get your car ready for shipment

Make sure to prepare before your shipment:

  • Clear all personal items from your car
  • Have at most a quarter tank of gas in your vehicle at the time of shipment
  • Inspect your car and take pictures beforehand in case of any damage

4. Wait for delivery

For updates on your vehicle’s location during transport, you can call your shipping broker or use GPS tracking if it’s available through the provider.

5. Pick your vehicle up post-shipment

At your chosen delivery location, check your vehicle for damages and pay any remaining balance to the auto shipping company. This is also when you sign the bill of lading, which confirms that your car arrived safely at its destination.

Car Shipping Tips

The more flexibility you have when shipping your car, the lower your overall costs are likely to be. Also, avoiding services such as door-to-door transport and enclosed auto transport can lead to savings.

Below, we detail how to find the best auto transport prices.

  1. Open up your time frame for shipment: Some days will be significantly cheaper than others. When your shipment’s drop-off and pickup dates are flexible, you can take advantage of the days that provide the best value.
  2. Use open transport services: Shipping by open car transport will result in much more affordable rates. However, the security of enclosed transport may be worth the increased cost if you’re shipping a classic car or luxury vehicle. 
  3. Steer clear of door-to-door delivery: You’re already avoiding a long drive by figuring out how to ship a car. If the drop-off point is near your destination, you can save considerable cash by driving from the drop-off point to your house. Keep in mind, though, that many providers only offer door-to-door delivery.
  4. Don’t always pick the cheapest choice: While low rates are great, make sure the provider offers reliable auto transport services as well. In addition to being licensed with the USDOT, look for providers with a good insurance policy in place to ensure that potential damages to your vehicle will be covered.
  5. Get quotes from multiple car shippers: Getting free quotes from several brokers before choosing one can help you avoid overpaying. Quote tools allow customers to find the best rates for their shipments.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?

There’s no standard car shipping cost for any vehicle delivery, as many factors affect transport pricing. However, you can generally expect to pay between $0.97 and $1.30 per mile depending on your shipment details.

To give context, below are the best average quotes we received for open and enclosed car shipping services over short, medium, and long distances.

Car Shipping CompanyDistanceCarrier TypePrice
Montway Auto Transport515 milesOpen$669.00
Easy Auto Ship1,504 milesEnclosed$1,904.00
SGT Auto Transport2,761 milesOpen$2,668.00

What Factors Affect Car Shipping Costs?

Keep the following factors in mind as you figure out how to ship a car cheaply:

  • Chosen provider: Rates vary widely by auto transport company, so compare your choices.
  • Time of year: The summer months and January tend to have higher transport costs.
  • Vehicle size and type: The larger or newer the car, the more expensive it is to move.
  • Vehicle condition: Operable cars will cost much less to ship than inoperable ones.
  • Urgency: The sooner your delivery date, the pricier your car shipment is likely to be.
  • Competition: The more companies that serve an area, the cheaper shipping will be. Popular shipping routes, such as those from California to Florida or New York, will generally have lower rates.
  • Transport type: Open transport is typically cheaper than enclosed shipping.
  • Distance: Cross-country routes cost more overall than regional routes but have better rates per mile.
  • Delivery method: Door-to-door car shipping services are pricier than terminal-to-terminal options.
  • Price of fuel: If fuel is expensive, expect your car shipment to cost more as well.
  • Add-ons: Extra insurance, expedited delivery, and single-car transport increase rates.

Car Shipping Process: Conclusion

Now that you understand how to ship a car, we recommend reaching out to top-rated providers to start receiving quotes. The process is simple with Montway Auto Transport, Easy Auto Ship, and Sherpa Auto Transport. Learn why we recommend these three top providers for your vehicle shipping needs.

Recommended Providers

Our team conducted a thorough survey of the best car shipping companies in 2023. Below are our top-rated auto transport companies.

Montway Auto Transport: 4.7 Stars

With over 16 years of experience and 250,000 vehicles shipped each year, Montway Auto Transport earned our designation as the Best Reputation provider. The company works with over 30,000 car carriers, which helps ensure it finds low shipping prices for its customers.

Montway offers some of the lowest costs in the auto transport industry, with rates that are consistently below average.

The auto transporter is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and holds an A+ rating from the organization. Customers are pleased with the shipper’s services and gave it an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5.0 on Google Reviews.

Check out our Montway Auto Transport review for more information about the provider.

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.

Easy Auto Ship: 4.5 Stars

As its name suggests, Easy Auto Ship makes car shipping a hassle-free process. Right from the start, an online instant quote calculator makes getting prices painless. Most customers come away pleased with the quotes they receive, since Easy Auto Ship boasts lower rates than most competitors.

Easy Auto Ship has an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB, as well as a customer rating of 4.62 out of 5 on the site. The company’s high ratings–combined with its bargain rates and guarantee of no hidden fees–make it clear to see why Easy Auto Ship remains a leader among vehicle shipping companies.

Easy Auto Ship Best For Locked-In Rates
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 844-825-6207 Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Guaranteed pricing from quotes Inexpensive car shipping rates Simple and streamlined booking process Free rental car if shipment takes more than two weeks Cons No 24/7 customer assistance No way to track shipments

Our team rates Easy Auto Ship 4.3 out of 5.0 stars and recognizes it for having the Best Added Benefits for 2022. The company is highly rated, and customers consistently praise Easy Auto Ship for its affordability, guaranteed car shipping quotes, and easy shipping process.

Sherpa Auto Transport: 4.5 Stars

Sherpa Auto Transport offers a straightforward and reliable car shipping process with well-regarded customer service and a Price Lock Promise.

While Sherpa Auto Transport may have slightly higher average costs than some competitors, reviews show customers are pleased by Sherpa’s thorough vetting process and helpful representatives. The company is accredited by the BBB and holds a 4.9-star out of 5 customer rating on the organization’s website.

Sherpa Auto Transport’s Price Lock Promise means that the price will not increase from the rate a customer originally accepts. Some companies provide an initial offer and bump costs up mid-shipment, but Sherpa Auto Transport sticks by its original rate, potentially saving you money.

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.

How To Have Your Car Shipped: FAQ

Below are frequently asked questions regarding the car shipping process.

How much does it cost to ship a car somewhere?

It usually costs somewhere between $0.97 and $1.30 per mile to ship a car. Expect a lower price per mile for shipping a vehicle along highly-trafficked routes or over long distances.

What’s the cheapest way to ship my car?

The cheapest way to ship a car is by comparing online quotes from multiple providers. Other ways to save include choosing open carrier transport and terminal-to-terminal shipping and keeping shipping dates flexible.

What is the best way to ship a car?

When deciding how to ship your car, carefully select your provider based on your needs. Transporting a classic car requires more specialized care than moving an average sedan, so shipping preferences might look different for each scenario. Always compare pricing from multiple providers to find the best rates.

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 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.