The Gist:

  • AmeriFreight offers the cheapest open car shipping service for only $0.40 per mile for shipments of 2,500 miles or more.
  • It is cheapest to ship your in between December and February when there is less demand for auto carriers. 
  • Open shipping is cheaper than enclosed transport and is more commonly available.

Auto transport doesn’t have to be expensive if you know where to look. Our team has thoroughly researched every major shipping provider to uncover the best choices for cheap car shipping. In this article, we’ll dive into our top five options for low-cost vehicle transport before looking into how to keep costs down.

One of the best ways to find cheap car shipping is by getting free, no-hassle quotes from some of the industry’s best car shipping companies before making your final choice.

Cheapest Car Shipping

We received the cheapest car shipping rate from AmeriFreight to transport an operable 2018 Hyundai Elantra more than 2,500 miles, at $0.40 per mile. Long-distance shipping is generally cheaper per mile, but short distances are more reasonable overall. The most affordable rate we found for shipping a vehicle about 500 miles was $500.

Cheapest Car Shipping Companies

Our industry-wide auto shipping study found that Montway Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, SGT Auto Transport, Sherpa Auto Transport, uShip, and American Auto Shipping offer the most affordable shipping options. 

You can compare our top-rated car shipping companies’ affordability ratings in the table below.

ProviderAffordability Rating
Montway Auto Transport4.5
Sherpa Auto Transport4.5
American Auto Shipping4.4
SGT Auto Transport4.4

During our research, our review team considered each company’s affordability, services, customer experience, and industry reputation when determining which companies offer the cheapest car shipping options.

While no provider has a complete lock on cheap car shipping, certain ones tend to rise to the top. For example, during our intensive review process, AmeriFreight received 4.6 out of 5 stars for its affordability, the highest score we gave out for average cost ratings. In a close second, we awarded Montway Auto Transport 4.5 out of 5 stars and the best overall score of 4.8 stars.



Cheapest Car Shipping Rates By Distance

The most affordable car shipping rates offered by car transport carriers are open transport over short distances. While the total cost is lower, the cost per mile for shorter distances is typically higher versus long-distance shipments. Below we will highlight the cheapest prices quoted to our review team for short- and long-distance loads.

Cheap Short-Distance Car Transport

Mercury Auto Transport is the cheapest option for short-distance car shipping at only $0.97 per mile. According to our research, the average lowest cost to transport a vehicle short distances is $1.16 per mile. Mercury Auto Transport’s cost per mile is $0.19 cheaper than the average of 10 of the industry’s lowest car shipping rates for short distances.

Cheap Short-Distance Car Shipping Rates

Below, you can see the 10 cheapest short-distance rates provided to us by each car transport company in our industry review.

ProviderTransport RateRate Per Mile
Mercury Auto Transport$500$0.97
Ship a Car Direct$500$0.97
Ship a Car Inc$500$0.97
Golden Key Express$515$1.00
SGT Auto Transport$565$1.10
American Auto Shipping$629$1.22
Montway Auto Transport$659$1.28
Sherpa Auto Transport$700$1.36
RoadRunner Auto Transport$725$1.41

*Rates are based on prices we received to ship an operable 2018 Hyundai Elantra 515 miles using an open-air carrier.



Cheap Long-Distance Car Transport

AmeriFreight offers the most affordable long-distance car transport service at only $0.40 per mile for a 2,761-mile shipment. This is well below the average for the cheapest long-distance shipping rate of $0.55 per mile. 

Cheapest Long-Distance Car Shipping Rates

Below, you can see the 10 cheapest rates provided to us by each of the car transport companies included in our research.


ProviderTransport RateRate Per Mile
Nexus Auto Transport$1,225$0.44
Gartho Logistics$1,280$0.46
RoadRunner Auto Transport$1,446$0.52
SGT Auto Transport$1,559$0.56
Golden Key Express$1,680$0.61
Sherpa Auto Transport$1,700$0.62
American Auto Shipping$1,749$0.63
Montway Auto Transport$1,749$0.63
Easy Auto Ship$1,808$0.65

*Rates are based on the prices we received to ship an operable 2018 Hyundai Elantra 2,761 miles on an open trailer.



Cheapest Car Shipping Services

Open transport will expose your vehicle to the outside world, usually on a truck with at least a few other cars. Meanwhile, enclosed transport will cover your vehicle in a trailer with one or two other cars maximum. As you will see in the following sections, open transport is typically cheaper than enclosed transport.

Cheapest Open Car Transport

Our research shows that Golden Key Express is the cheapest provider of open car transport. The company provides open transport for $0.74 per mile for shipments between 500 and 1,500 miles. Golden Key Express’s open transport rate is a great deal and can save you up to $0.15 per mile compared to the average cheapest rates for open shipping provided to us during our review process.

Cheapest Open Car Transport Rates

You can compare the 10 cheapest open car shipping rates we received in the table below.

ProviderTransport RateRate Per Minute
Golden Key Express$1,110$0.74
Nexus Auto Transport$1,225$0.81
Gartho Logistics$1,230$0.82
SGT Auto Transport$1,325$0.88
American Auto Shipping$1,419$0.94
Montway Auto Transport$1,419$0.94
Ship a Car Inc$1,440$0.96
Mercury Auto Transport$1,488$0.99
Easy Auto Ship$1,516$1.01

*The rates above are the prices we received to ship an operable 2018 Hyundai Elantra 1,504 miles.


Cheapest Enclosed Car Transport

AmeriFrieght offers the industry’s most affordable enclosed transport service, with rates as low as $0.94 per mile. That’s $0.17 cheaper than the average lowest rates quoted to our review team.

Cheapest Enclosed Car Transport Rates

You can compare how AmeriFreight stacks up against the cheapest enclosed car shipping prices in the table below.


ProviderTransport RateRate Per Mile
Gartho Logistics$1,430$0.95
Ship a Car Direct$1,500$1.00
Ship a Car Inc$1,695$1.13
Mercury Auto Transport$1,705$1.13
RoadRunner Auto Transport$1,757$1.17
A-1 Auto Transport$1,778$1.18
Montway Auto Transport$1,779$1.18
Nexus Auto Transport$1,825$1.21
Door to Door Transport$1,850$1.23



Car Shipping Deals

The best cheap car shipping companies have several deals that can lower the cost of shipping your vehicle. Car shipping companies will often offer discounts, including deals for active duty military members, students, and cash payments.

Car Shipping Discounts

Below, you can compare our top-rated car shipping companies and the discounts offered by each.

ProviderMilitaryStudentsCashReturn CustomerMultiple VehiclesSnowbirdsFirst RespondersMedical PersonelEarly BirdSenior Citizens
Montway Auto Transport✓*
SGT Auto Transport
Sherpa Auto Transport
Easy Auto Ship

*Montway Auto Transport only offers student discounts for faculty and alumni of the University of Michigan.




Best Cheap Car Shipping Companies

Our choice for the best cheap car shipping company is Montway Auto Transport. Along with Montway, we found that Easy Auto Ship, AmeriFreight, Sherpa Auto Transport, and uShip offer the best customer value and standout service. Finding the industry’s best cheap car shipping options doesn’t have to be difficult.

ProviderAffordability RatingReputationCustomer ServiceServices RatingOverall Rating
Montway Auto Transport4.
Sherpa Auto Transport4.
SGT Auto Transport4.44.54.654.6
American Auto Shipping4.44.94.354.6

Consumer Experience When Shipping A Car

Our October 2021 car shipping survey found that 68 percent of the 1,000 respondents surveyed were satisfied with their car shipping experience.

A pie chart showing statistics from Jalopnik's car shipping customer survey

However, while the majority were happy overall, several reported experiencing issues during shipping. Here’s a closer look at the reported issues in our survey:

  • 41 percent stated their vehicle was damaged upon delivery
  • 36 percent said the carrier’s cargo insurance policy did not cover damages
  • 35 percent reported that prices increased after booking
  • 31 percent mentioned that their shipment was extended a week or more beyond the original delivery date
  • 29 percent claimed guaranteed pickup dates were not fulfilled

There are a lot of variables to be aware of when shipping a car. You will likely have a more positive experience if you’re flexible in your expectations.

Below, we’ll look at the five best cheap car shipping options and explain what makes them worthy of your consideration.

#1 Montway Auto Transport: Best Overall

Founded: 2006
BBB rating: A+
BBB customer review score: 4.6/5.0
Trustpilot rating: 4.4/5.0
Google review score: 4.7/5.0

Montway Auto Transport deserves strong consideration from anyone looking for affordable shipping and excellent service. As cheap car shipping companies go, Montway–with its combination of low rates and satisfactory service–is hard to beat.

Montway Auto Transport Pros And Cons

Pros Offers competitive pricing Strong industry reputation Network of over 15,000 transport carriers
Cons Lower customer satisfaction than some competitors No guaranteed pricing

Montway Auto Transport Cost

We received rates ranging from $659 for a 500-mile shipment and $1,419 for a 1,500-mile open vehicle shipment. Montway Auto Transport is established enough to offer low rates without decreasing service quality, and customers can expect reliable and efficient service from this auto transport broker.

Below are the quotes we received from Montway Auto Transport for open and enclosed shipments.

Shipping RouteTransport TypeCostCost Per Mile
Charlotte to Cleveland (515 miles)Open$659 $1.28
Rapid City, SD to Atlanta (1,504 miles)Open$1,419 $0.94
Rapid City, SD to Atlanta (1,504 miles)Enclosed$1,779 $1.18
Washington DC to Seatle (2,761 miles)Open$1,749 $0.63
Montway Auto Transport Our #1 Rated Provider
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 15,000+ 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 Overall car shipping company for 2023.

#2 Easy Auto Ship: Best Customer Experience

Founded: 2013
BBB rating: A+
BBB customer review score: 4.6/5.0
Trustpilot score: 2.8/5.0
Google review score: 4.6/5.0

Our review team awards Easy Auto Ship Best Customer Experience for offerings such as a free car wash for a vehicle that arrives dirty. Easy Auto Ship offers customers a full array of car transport services at well-below-average rates without sacrificing quality. 

Easy Auto Ship Perks

What makes Easy Auto Ship stand out is the company’s complimentary rental car policy that provides a complimentary rental car when delivery time exceeds two weeks. Between the nice add-ons and impressively low prices, Easy Auto Ship is a cheap shipping option worth contacting for a free car shipping quote.

Easy Auto Ship Pros And Cons

Pros Below-average car shipping rates Offers guaranteed pricing All-online booking process
Cons Customer satisfaction could be higher Customer service isn’t available 24/7

Easy Auto Ship Cost

Quotes we received from Easy Auto Ship ranged from $727 for a 500-mile trip to $1,516 for a 1,500-mile shipment. On average, we found Easy Auto Ship’s prices about $100 cheaper than its competitors.

Below are the quotes we received from Easy Auto Ship.

Shipping RouteTransport TypeCostCost Per Mile
Charlotte to Cleveland (515 miles)Open$727 $1.41
Rapid City, SD to Atlanta (1,504 miles)Open$1,516 $1.01
Rapid City, SD to Atlanta (1,504 miles)Enclosed$2,016 $1.34
Washington DC to Seatle (2,761 miles)Open$1,808 $0.65

Easy Auto Ship is widely considered to have some of the industry’s best prices–a claim illuminated by Easy Auto Ship’s guarantee not to add hidden fees once an agreement has been reached.

Easy Auto Ship Highly Flexible Options
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.

Read more: Easy Auto Ship reviews


#3 AmeriFreight: Best for Discounts

Founded: 2004
BBB rating: A+
BBB customer review score: 4.9/5.0
Trustpilot rating: 4.6/5.0
Google review score: 4.7/5.0

With AmeriFreight having slightly higher than average quotes upfront, including it on a list of cheap car shipping providers may need clarification, but it’s here for a reason. Along with exceptional customer service standards, AmeriFreight wins our recognition as the Best for Discounts provider.

AmeriFreight Pros And Cons

Pros Various car shipping discounts Offers price matching Carefully vets transporters
Cons Higher initial quotes than competitors Does not offer guaranteed pricing

AmeriFreight Discounts

Additional savings go a long way when you’re looking for cheap car shipping options. AmeriFreight offers some of the industry’s most extensive markdowns, which may make the auto shipping company your cheap car shipping choice.

Discount opportunities include:

  • Military: $35 off
  • First responders: $35 off
  • Medical personnel: $35 off
  • Students: $25 off
  • Senior citizens: $25 off
  • Early Bird: $35 off
  • Returning customers: $50 off
  • Multiple vehicles: $50 off per vehicle

AmeriFreight Cost

The prices we received from AmeriFreight show that 500-mile shipments may cost around $833 on average, while a 1,500-mile open vehicle shipment costs $1,214. AmeriFreight also promises to price-match any auto transport company with an A+ rating from the BBB and positive customer reviews.

The table below shows all of the prices we received from AmeriFreight.

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.

Read more: AmeriFreight reviews


#4 Sherpa Auto Transport: Best for Locked-In Rates

Founded: 2017
BBB rating: A+
BBB customer review score: 4.9/5.0
Trustpilot rating: 4.6/5.0
Google review score: 4.7/5.0

Sherpa Auto Transport is another company with more of a reputation for high-end service than cheap car shipping. However, with what’s known as its Price Lock Promise, Sherpa Auto Transport promises never to raise customers’ rates once they’ve signed a contract. Since prices can frequently change in the vehicle shipping industry, Sherpa’s policy of giving you a static price may provide some peace of mind.

If you choose Sherpa Auto Transport, expect quality service. The car transport company’s transparent pricing, commitment to customers, and efficient business methods make it a top provider of cheap car shipping.

Sherpa Auto Transport Pros And Cons

Pros Offers locked-in shipping rates Friendly and reliable car shippers Stellar customer service reputation
Cons Slightly higher prices than competitors

Sherpa Auto Transport Prices

In researching prices from Sherpa Auto Transport, we found that quotes for open transport ranged from $700 for a 500-mile trip to $1,700 for a 2,700-mile trip. You can see the rates we received to ship a 2018 Hyundai Elantra with door-to-door shipping.

Shipping RouteTransport TypeCostCost Per Mile
Charlotte to Cleveland (515 miles)Open$700 $1.36
Rapid City, SD to Atlanta (1,504 miles)Open$1,650 $1.10
Rapid City, SD to Atlanta (1,504 miles)Enclosed$1,850 $1.23
Washington DC to Seatle (2,761 miles)Open$1,700 $0.62
Sherpa Auto Transport Best For Locked-In Rates
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 888-202-7706 Coverage : 48 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. We name Sherpa the Best for Locked-In Rates in the auto transport industry, though the company’s benefits go far beyond that.

#5 uShip: Best Shipping Marketplace

Founded: 2003
BBB rating: A+
BBB customer review score: 4.5/5.0
Trustpilot score: 4.3/5.0
Google review score: 4.9/5.0

There aren’t many providers like uShip in the vehicle transport space. Instead of working as a car carrier or broker, uShip runs an online marketplace where transporters bid on your shipment. 

Customers need to be careful with uShip, though. Virtually any transporter can bid on uShip’s marketplace, so it’s important to read the fine print before signing any contracts. Still, if you choose carefully, you may end up with rock-bottom rates.

Make sure your auto transporter has a cargo insurance policy and holds a valid number from the U.S. Department of Transportation. As long as you’re willing to do a bit of homework, the uShip marketplace is a great place to go in search of cheap car shipping.

uShip Pros And Cons

Pros Highly customizable plans Lower prices due to bidding competition Easy shipment tracking
Cons Car carriers not vetted by uShip No guaranteed pricing High prices for instant quotes

uShip Prices

Because uShip is a car shipping marketplace, prices on the platform run the gamut from high to low. Our research found that rates averaged around $638 for a 500-mile open vehicle shipment to $1,596 for a 1,500-mile shipment. Below are the prices we received from uShip.

Shipping RouteTransport TypeCostCost Per Mile
Charlotte to Cleveland (515 miles)Open$679 $1.32
Rapid City, SD to Atlanta (1,504 miles)Open$1,632 $1.08
Rapid City, SD to Atlanta (1,504 miles)Enclosed$1,970 $1.31
Washington DC to Seatle (2,761 miles)Open$2,357 $0.85

Read more: uShip reviews




Cheapest Way To Ship A Car

The cheapest way to ship a car is through open auto transport instead of enclosed auto transport. Our research shows open transport costs around $1,350 on average for a 1,500-mile shipment, while enclosed carriers average $2,015.

Follow the guidelines below and save considerable money on your next auto shipment.

  • Book early: It’s never too soon to lock down below-average quotes.
  • Open up your delivery time frame: Save money by adding flexibility to the dates.
  • Choose open transport: Open carriers are generally fine unless you have a classic car or luxury vehicle.
  • Pick terminal-to-terminal delivery: Home delivery is nice, but the price is often higher. Not all shippers offer terminal-to-terminal transport, especially if you don’t live near a major hub.
  • Consider guaranteed pricing: Your original quote will stand throughout the process.
  • Seek multiple free quotes: Compare prices from various providers before choosing.

With these guidelines in mind, you may discover some of the best available options for cheap car shipping.

How Much Should It Cost To Ship A Car?

After a careful analysis of the rates we received during our industry review, the average cost to ship a car ranges from $1.48 per mile to ship a vehicle 500 miles or less or $0.64 per mile for long distances of 2,500 miles or more.

The table below contains the average cost per mile to ship a car.

DistanceTransport TypeAverage Cost Per Mile
500 miles or lessOpen$1.48
500 miles to 1,500 milesOpen$.0.98
500 miles to 1,500 milesEnclosed$1.19
2,500 miles plusOpen$0.64



Cheap Car Transport: Conclusion

This article discussed car shipping pricing, how to find cheap car shipping, and the best affordable car shipping companies. Our research showed that Easy Auto Ship, Montway Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, Sherpa Auto Transport, and uShip are the best cheap car shipping companies.

Cheapest Auto Shipping: FAQ

Below are some common frequently asked questions about cheap car 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