Content on Jalopnik Advisor is commercial in nature and independent of Jalopnik Editorial and Advertising. Jalopnik Advisor content is free to consumers and always will be, however we and our partners may be compensated if you purchase a product or service through the links on this website.
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 Long Does Cross-Country Car Shipping Take?
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 the pickup location and pickup date, the car carrier, and the chosen transport options. Regardless of the details, shippers won’t rush your delivery just to meet your needs, and they must remain safe on the road.
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.
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 1,489-mile open auto transport shipment from Denver to Washington, D.C.
- AmeriFreight: $929
- Easy Auto Ship: $947
- Montway Auto Transport: $959
- Sherpa Auto Transport: $975
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.
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.
How To Ship A Car Cross Country
Cross-country car shipping isn’t too difficult if you know what you’re doing. Follow the tips outlined below to simplify the process of booking cross-country auto transport.
Pick A Type Of Transport
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 options 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, though 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.
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.
Preparing Your Vehicle For Cross-Country Car Shipping
For added peace of mind, prepare your car for cross-country vehicle shipping. It’s not as easy as handing the keys to the 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 preexisting 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.
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 of keys 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 greatly reduce this risk is by clearing your car of expensive or important items before vehicle shipping. Additionally, many car shipping companies don’t allow you to store your belongings in the vehicle during shipment.
Shipping A Car Cross-Country: Conclusion
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 less than satisfied with them.
Best Companies For Cross-Country Car Shipping
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.
AmeriFreight: Best For Discounts
AmeriFreight offers some of the transport industry’s cheapest car shipping costs on average, 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).
Below are some frequently asked questions about cross-country car shipping:
FAQ: Cross-Country 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 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.