What to Know About Shipping a Car From California to Washington

Whether you’re moving from California to Washington, or you just need to transport your car, you need to know the right way to make sure your car gets to your destination safely and on time. You might think that the only option is to drive your car, but that’s not true.In this post, we’ll highlight some of the ways you can transport your car from California to Washington and what you need to know about each method.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car from California to Washington?

Depending on your origin and destination cities, the price for shipping a car or truck from California to Washington can range from $600 to $1,500 or more.

Of course, the only way to get an accurate quote is by contacting auto transport companies and giving them your specific move details.

But here’s the problem – finding a reputable auto transport company on your own isn’t easy.

Thankfully, we’ve already done the work for you by cross-referencing customer reviews, license, insurance, and federal complaint data from dozens of auto transport companies.

For more on that, check out The 5 Best Car Shipping Companies.

Driving Your Car from California to Washington vs. Shipping It

Interstate 5 between California and Washington is one of the nation’s busiest transportation routes.

It’s also the highway of choice for many Californians looking for lower taxes, better job opportunities, and a better quality of life.

The California, Oregon, and Washington coasts offer some amazing scenery, but they’re also prone to harsh winter weather and dangerous driving conditions, especially in high altitude areas.

For these reasons, hiring a vetted, professional car shipper is almost always the safest and most convenient way to have your vehicle moved.

There are a lot of factors besides just the driving that goes into the car shipping process.

Here we’re talking about –

  • Time of Year – Shipping a vehicle in the fall and winter can be significantly cheaper than doing it during the summer months
  • Open or Enclosed Transport – Open transport is how most new cars are shipped from ports and factories, so unless you’ve got a classic collector’s car or an exotic sports car, it’ll probably be OK for you too.
  • Size and Weight – Hummers, vans, SUVs, and pickup trucks cost more to ship than small and midsize cars
  • Delivery Dates – Some auto transport companies offer discounts to customers with flexible delivery dates
  • Pick up and Drop-Off Options – Instead of pricey door-to-door service, consider taking your vehicle to one of the company’s terminals at origin and having it delivered to one of their terminals at the destination. It’ll require more work on your part, but it’s relatively easy if you’re moving between large cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, and Seattle, and Bellingham.

Factors to Consider When Driving Your Car from California to Washington

Compared to many areas of the country, the Pacific coast states are particularly mountainous and known for their severe winter weather.

For young drivers, the journey from California to Washington can be an epic adventure, but for those traveling with families, an unexpected winter storm can turn a pleasant road trip into an absolute nightmare.

In addition, lodging, fuel, and food are often more expensive than they are in southern and Midwestern states.

All told, from convenience, safety, and cost standpoints, you’re almost always better off using a professional auto transport company.

Did You Know?

Northern California, Oregon, and Washington are full of national forests that are popular with sportsmen and women, hikers, cross-country skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, and all-around outdoor lovers of the Great Outdoors.

Some of the largest and most accessible along the I-5 corridor include –

  • Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Umpqua National Forest
  • Willamette National Forest
  • Mt. Hood National Forest
  • Mt. Rainier National Park

Factors to consider when shipping your car

How long it will take to ship?

Depending on the transport company you use, it can take anywhere from one to three weeks to ship a car. The timeframe will depend on a few different factors, such as the distance the car is being shipped and the traffic on the route.

It’s best to find a car shipping company to give you an estimate for how long it will take and the amount you can expect to pay. There are always going to be variables outside of their control so remember to plan for extenuating circumstances.

Can You Ship Your Car With Things In It?

If you’re moving at the same time you are shipping the car, it might seem like a good idea to put some of your belongings in the car.

Even though some auto shipping companies say this is OK, we don’t recommend it. If you, you’ll likely also be liable if any of your items get damaged as most auto transporters will not cover any lost or damaged items.

What Car Shipping Company Should I Hire?

If you search for car shipping companies in your area, you’ll likely find an array of companies to choose from. The problem comes with finding one that is going to be reliable and trustworthy enough to take care of your vehicle and get it where you need to go in a timely manner.

To help, we’ve vetted many of the top car shipping companies in the country and made a list of our top picks. Check out our full post on the best car shipping companies in 2021.

If you want to do your own research, make sure you look at things like their BBB rating, their online reviews, and make sure the company is licensed and has insurance records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

What Is The Cheapest Way to Ship A Car?

A quick summary of some cost-saving tips includes using open transport instead of closed, shipping it during an off-peak season, and being flexible with your delivery date.

For a full breakdown of the most cost-effective way to ship a car, check out our full post on the cheapest ways to ship a car.


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