Whether you’re moving across the country or the globe, you know all too well how quickly moving costs add up. If you plan on taking your car along for the relocation, calculate your car shipping costs before a big move to maximize your budget.
On average, it costs between $500 to $1,200 to ship a car within the U.S., but the final cost depends on a lot of factors. Opting for the best car shipping companies will get you more bang for your buck, and some of the best moving companies also provide auto transport as part of their full-service offerings.
Still, it’s good to know how to keep your car shipping costs as low as possible.
In this guide, we’ll unpack average auto transport industry costs, factors that affect vehicle shipping, and how to use a car shipping cost calculator.
How much does it cost to ship a car?
The average cost of vehicle transport is between $500 and $1,200, although it depends on the type of vehicle, the distance you’re shipping it, and your shipping method.
|Vehicle size||Distance||Open transport||Enclosed transport|
What is the cheapest way to ship a car?
This method ships your car in an open carrier on a truck trailer with other vehicles. It exposes your car to weather conditions and road hazards, but it’s the most affordable, hassle-free option.
You’ll also need to pick up and drop off your car at a designated delivery location called a terminal. This is the most cost-effective way to ship your car, but the wait times are longer, and you may need to drive out of your way to drop off and pick up your vehicle shipment.
Learn more about the pros and cons of open versus enclosed car shipping so you can make an informed decisionLearn More
What factors affect car shipping prices?
There’s a big difference between a $500 shipping charge and a $1,200 one. Every car shipment is different, but understanding the factors that affect car shipping prices will give you a better idea of fair pricing.
Car shipping companies usually charge higher car shipping rates for larger vehicles like SUVs because they take up more space on the car carrier truck. This can cut into the shipper’s profit margins, so they pass that cost on to you.
Most shippers will give you a lower price per mile for longer distances but, even then, longer distances mean higher costs. For example, an auto shipment from Los Angeles to New York will cost more than a shipment from LA to Oakland. Popular car shipping routes will normally keep costs down.
If you aren’t in the mood to pick up and drop off your car at a terminal, you’ll pay a lot more for door-to-door car delivery. Car shippers have to personally deliver your car with door-to-door shipping, which drives up the time and costs required to deliver your car.
The cost of auto transport services fluctuates with gas prices. If gas prices are high, you can expect to pay higher per-mile rates.
Transport carrier type
The transport type you choose will have a big impact on your car shipping bill.
Open car transport is the cheapest option, but enclosed carriers offer more protection — for a price. If you have a classic car or high-end motorcycle, it might make more sense to pay the extra fees for enclosed transport if it means your car gets there in one piece.
Did you know car shippers charge more for a non-running vehicle? It’s more of a hassle to load and unload a vehicle that can’t run, so if your car isn’t in decent shape, the cost of shipping will likely increase.
Is your vehicle pretty tall? Low-clearance vehicles might need special car transport services to account for the extra height, which will affect your auto transport quote.
Time of year
More people move in the summer, and car shipping demand peaks from June to August. If you can swing a winter move, some companies offer car shipping discounts during the slower part of the year.
However, if you’re moving to a snowy region with slick roads, the shipper might charge you more to ship the car in harsh conditions. When in doubt, contact the shipper for their pricing and weather policies.
Car shipping companies are willing to compete with each other to earn your business. You might be able to score more competitive rates if you ask for price matching, so always get at least three car shipping quotes for the best pricing.
How to calculate car shipping costs
As helpful as it is to get car shipping quotes, remember that most quotes aren’t binding, including instant quotes you get online. That means they’re subject to change at any time.
Car shipping calculators will give you rough cost estimates for car shipping services. These free online tools can’t provide an exact price — every move has its quirks, after all. Always take car shipping estimates as a rough ballpark, not your final shipping cost.
Want to move your car along with your household belongings? Use our moving cost calculator to get pricing for your move from the top professional movers in the business.
How does a car shipping calculator work?
Ready to calculate your car shipping costs? A calculator is the best way to estimate vehicle shipping costs quickly.
You’ll need this information to get the most accurate pricing:
- Name and contact information
- Pickup and drop-off locations
- Open versus enclosed auto transport
- Vehicle make, model, and age
- Preferred shipping dates
However, remember that actual car transport costs will likely differ from your estimate. The best way to get accurate pricing is to request an online car transport quote and compare all quotes side-by-side.
How do I get car shipping quotes?
By using our car shipping calculator you can get a good idea on cost and we’ll show you which companies are worth getting a quote from. Most auto transport companies offer instant car shipping quotes online. You can also call them directly for a free quote if you have questions or a more complex move.
How much does it cost to ship a car cross-country?
Car shipping prices depend on your car size, distance, carrier type, time of year, and other factors. Generally speaking, coast-to-coast vehicle shipping can range from $800 to $1,500.
Can you ship a car overseas?
Yes! Many auto transport companies can ship a car overseas, although costs and timelines vary depending on where you’re moving to and from.
The shipping process is also different. For overseas shipping, you’ll likely need to ship your car via open transport on an ocean freight carrier. Airplane shipping is faster, but it’s very expensive.
Is it cheaper to drive your car or hire a transport company?
It depends on your comfort level. Hiring a transport broker or auto shipping company is usually more cost-effective for longer distances, considering fuel costs, driving time, and wear and tear on your vehicle.
If you hire a car transport company, make sure they’re BBB-certified and offer insurance coverage.
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