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 figured out 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.
Car Shipping Process
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. Finding the best offer for your needs can be a delicate act, as 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 expertise in car shipping.
3. Get your car ready for shipment.
Car transport companies won’t take vehicles that are in just any condition, so 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
Below, we detail how to ship a car to help you find the best auto transport prices.
- 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.
- 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.
- Steer clear of door-to-door delivery. You’ve already avoided 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.
- Don’t always pick the cheapest choice. While low rates are preferable, make sure the provider offers reliable auto transport services as well. You want to ensure the provider you choose is licensed with the USDOT and has a good insurance policy in place to ensure that potential damages to your vehicle will be covered.
- 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.
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 $0.40 and $2 per mile depending on the details of your shipment.
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. Shipping routes 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.
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.
How To Get A Car Shipped: 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.
Montway Auto Transport: 4.5 Stars
With over 15 years of experience and 100,000 vehicles shipped each year, Montway Auto Transport earned our designation as the Best Overall provider. The company works with over 15,000 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 4.5 stars out of 5.0 on Google Reviews.
Check out our Montway Auto Transport review for more information about the provider.
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 4.63 out of 5. 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.
Sherpa Auto Transport: 4.0 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 promises 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, saving you money.
Below are some frequently asked questions on car shipping:
How To Ship A Car: FAQ
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.