Shipping a car? Moving Feedback did the research. Find the best car shipping companies of 2023, and some helpful tips too.
Choosing the best car moving company is always a challenge, especially compared to hiring regular movers. To simplify this process, the Moving Feedback team conducted thorough research on over 30 top car shipping companies and compiled a list of the best options for your upcoming move.
In creating our list of top car shipping companies, we carefully considered several key factors that contribute to a good auto transporter, including:
By considering all of these factors, we are confident that our list features the finest car shipping companies available today.
In this article
The cost to ship a car can range widely depending on various factors. On average, you might expect to pay between $375 to $1500.
|Distance (Miles)||Cost per Mile||Average Cost|
|0-500||$1.00 – $1.25||$375 – $625|
|500-1000||$0.75 – $1.00||$375 – $1000|
|1000-2000||$0.60 – $0.75||$600 – $1500|
|2000-2500||$0.50 – $0.60||$1000 – $1500|
|Over 2500||$0.40 – $0.50||$1000 – $1250|
These are average rates and the actual cost can vary based on the type of car, transport method, location, season, and urgency of the shipment. Always get specific quotes from auto transport companies for the most accurate pricing.
Choosing the right car shipping company is crucial for a stress-free shipping experience. Conducting a background check on a potential company is perfectly reasonable when entrusting them with your vehicle’s transportation.
It’s important to remember that the chosen company will be responsible for your vehicle’s care throughout the voyage, and until it reaches its final destination.
Selecting a trustworthy auto transporter is essential, and avoiding the mistake of solely basing the decision on the lowest quote can save you regrets later on. Ignoring other crucial qualities of a reliable auto transporter in favor of price alone can lead to dangerous outcomes.
Instances of serious disputes between consumers and transporters are not uncommon when shipping companies fail to deliver as promised. A reputable company will prioritize maintaining their positive reputation and ensure satisfactory delivery.
When shipping a car across a state or country, trusting the auto transporter with the job highlights the need to choose wisely. Here are some qualities of a reliable car shipping company to consider:
One important quality to look for in a car shipping company is relevant licenses. A trustworthy transporter should be licensed and insured, particularly if shipping internationally. Check if the company has their licenses in order.
Their Department of Transportation (DOT) number and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) number should both be easy to find on their website.
When it comes to shipping cars, experience matters. Check and see how long a company has been in business to get a better idea of their experience.
A company with a long history of operation and a track record of successful car shipments is likely to have more experience, more customers, and more referrals to attest to their abilities.
It is advisable to consider a company with a minimum of five years of experience, and up to 30 years or more while taking other factors into consideration.
A reputable shipping company should offer a wide range of services. If a transporter limits his shipping method to one particular type and they aren’t willing to adjust to your customized shipping needs, you should look for another option.
Before you consider a car shipping company, go through its website to learn more about how they operate. Honesty and transparency make a huge difference when you’re weighing different movers against each other.
A company that has been in operation for a reasonable number of years should have a well-optimized platform where consumers can visit and read about their services: what they offer, how they handle shipping and much more.
A reliable company should provide transparent information about how they operate. If they share informative content about making a move easier, that’s even better. When browsing a company’s website, consider the following questions:
These and many other questions should be answered before making your decision.
Some services require that transporters partner with other licensed motor carriers to complete deliveries. For example, certain cities restrict what types of trucks can park and unload on their streets, so your transporter may have to book a shuttle or storage contractor.
Most reputable companies partner with FMCSA-licensed motor carriers to transport cars internationally and make sure things go smoothly before, during, and after your move. If you’re unsure, ask your car shipping company about who will be handling each stage of your move.
|Best Overall||Best Premium Services||Best Options and Add-ons||Best for Customizing||Best Personalization|
|15% Seniors & Military Discounts||20% Seasonal Discount||18% Flexibility Discount||15% Student Discount||Not Disclosed|
|$2700-$6200 (Avg. 2-3 bedroom)||$2850-$6350 (Avg. 2-3 bedroom)||$2900-$6500 (Avg. 2-3 bedroom)||$2200-$5400 (Avg. 2-3 bedroom)||$2300-$5600 (Avg. 2-3 bedroom)|
|Get a Quote||Get a Quote||Get a Quote||Get a Quote||Get a Quote|
Below are the typical costs per mile for shipping a car on several popular routes:
|Chicago-Kansas City||510 miles||$500|
|Phoenix to Dallas||1,065 miles||$750|
|Pittsburgh to Phoenix||2,062 miles||$1,032|
|Seattle to Miami||3,298 miles||$1,319|
Understanding the factors that determine car shipping costs can help you identify fraud and avoid surprises in the future.
The following are some of the main factors that affect the cost of shipping your car:
The distance between the pickup and drop-off locations is a key factor in determining the cost of shipping your car. Although other factors, such as the type of service needed and the make and model of your car, can also affect the overall cost, generally, the farther you need to transport your car, the higher the cost will be.
Shipping to remote or rural areas can also be more expensive than to urban areas due to fewer carriers servicing those areas.
Ever seen those big trucks hauling cars down the highway? Those are called open trailers. Double-decker trailers can carry 7-10 cars and are best suited for long-distance hauling. On the other hand, smaller open trailers that only carry 3-4 cars are best for shorter routes.
Some car transporters use enclosed trailers. These aren’t so noticeable: The cars inside are totally protected, and they usually just look like other semi-trucks. Enclosed transport trailers only have the capacity for 2-6 cars.
Enclosed car transport generally costs 40% – 60% more than shipping the same number of vehicles on an open trailer. This is due to a few reasons: There are fewer cars being hauled in one truck, so it’s not super efficient. And since enclosed transport provides extra protection for your cars, it comes at an extra price.
For safety purposes, trailers have a maximum weight limit. A truck, SUV, or other heavy vehicle takes up a big chunk of a transporter’s allowable weight load, and reduces the overall number of cars the trailer can carry.
A vehicle with a longer length might also use more than one space on a transport trailer. This means that a shipping company moving a very heavy and long vehicle needs to pair it up with a lighter and shorter car in the trailer to complement and optimize the available space.
Transporting a vehicle that doesn’t run (also called an inoperable vehicle) can require extra time, effort, and equipment. To get a driver to agree to transport an inoperable vehicle, you may need to pay a little extra.
The process of moving a vehicle onto and off of a transport truck can involve a lot of physical labor, such as pushing, pulling, or jump-starting it, so it may be necessary to compensate the driver accordingly.
Car shipping to or from remote areas can cost more than in urban areas. Cities have more carriers and better infrastructure, which makes transport easier and less expensive.
In contrast, rural areas have fewer carriers and less-developed infrastructure, which can drive up costs. As a result, you may be able to get a lower price for car shipping in a city compared to a rural area.
Shipping a car during peak seasons can be more expensive because of high demand. Plus, transport drivers may take days off during these periods. Booking car shipping around Christmas, Thanksgiving, or other major holidays can be more challenging and expensive.
Door-to-door car delivery typically costs less than express car shipping, which offers the added flexibility of choosing pickup and drop-off dates, as well as the exact interval between them.
Choosing the right truck for your car can affect the cost of shipping. Luxury cars, for example, are typically shipped in enclosed transport to ensure their protection and safety during transit. While this option may cost more, it can be the best way to transport high-value vehicles.
On the other hand, open transport is often the most cost-effective option for shipping a car. There are more carriers on the road, and they can transport any type of vehicle.
Whether you’re relocating or transporting a new ride from another state, open and enclosed transports are your two main methods for shipping a car.
However, your price also depends on the season, the location for pick-up, and the location for drop-off.
If you’re trying to get the best price possible for car transport, ask yourself these questions:
The most common and affordable car shipping method is door-to-door shipping on an open carrier truck. It’s ideal for everyday cars, and car shipping companies are federally insured for at least $750,000. Open transport is the cheapest and secure way to ship a car.
Terminal-to-terminal shipping is the cheapest option but not recommended due to its slower delivery and increased risk of damage or theft.
Although most cities have secure terminals for car shippers, leaving your vehicle unattended for several days or weeks poses a potential risk. This option also takes longer than door-to-door shipping and can cause delays in pick-up times.
Shipping a car can be expensive, depending on factors like location, time, and vehicle type. However, there are ways to save money, such as:
Choosing a car shipping company offers several benefits for transporting your vehicle, including saving time and avoiding the dangers associated with driving long distances.
While driving your car may save you some money, it can only be feasible for short distances. Hiring a professional transport service also ensures the safety of your car and reduces the risks of damage or accidents.
Additionally, with car shipping companies, you can choose between open or enclosed carriers, select delivery options that suit your schedule, and benefit from their experience and expertise in the industry.
The initial cost of car shipping may seem expensive, but when you consider the cost of driving your vehicle (including gas, service, lodging, and emergency maintenance) it may actually be more cost-effective to use a car shipping company.
Apart from all these costs, don’t forget you still need to take some time off work to drive your car yourself. This may be one or two days based on the distance you need to drive to your new destination.
Finally, after spending so much time and money, it can be difficult to track your expenses. You may actually end up paying more driving your own car compared to using a car shipping company.
Long drives to transport a car can be expensive and unsafe due to poor road conditions, wildlife, breakdowns, reckless driving, weather, and criminal activity. Car shipping companies offer a safer method of transport that protects your car from these dangers.
Depending on the truck method, your car will be shielded from foreign elements like weather and dust. It is recommended to use auto transport for long-distance moves or when transporting a new car. Studies have proven it to be cheaper than other methods.
Luxury vehicles can be costly to repair, and driving them long distances can expose them to potential damage. To maintain the value of such vehicles, it is recommended to use a car shipping company, especially an enclosed transport system.
This ensures maximum protection against foreign elements and potential damage during transportation. Car dealers who want to resell luxury cars should also consider using auto transport services to maintain their value.
Auto transport services can transport a car quickly, making them a great option when time is limited. Driving a car over a long distance can take a lot of time due to the need for rest breaks, maintenance, and unexpected delays like traffic jams. During this time, you won’t be able to do anything else.
Hiring an auto transport company can save you time and give you peace of mind knowing your car will be transported safely and quickly. With a pickup and delivery window of just 1-5 days, you can have your car delivered to its destination without any hassle.
Typically, it takes one to ten days for pick-up and another one to ten days for domestic shipping. International shipping may take longer.
On average, a driver can travel up to 500 miles daily. The duration of car shipping depends on various factors such as the pick-up and drop-off locations, domestic or international shipping, heavy traffic, harsh weather conditions, and poor road conditions.
The cost of shipping a car can range from $500 to $1,500, but it’s important to note that there are multiple different factors that can affect your final price. To reduce your costs, it’s recommended to streamline every aspect of your auto-shipping process.
Here are some factors that determine your car shipping cost:
You can find some of the most popular auto shipping routes in Texas, Florida, New York, and California. Auto-shipping services to and from these places are usually less expensive because these routes are more commonly-traveled. On the other hand, you may sometimes be charged higher prices for snowbird routes.
Auto insurance is technically not needed when shipping a car, but it’s a good idea to have it anyways. The law requires carriers to offer insurance for any damage caused during shipping. However, their insurance may not be full coverage. If you want complete coverage, ask about extra insurance.
Shipping a motorcycle is simple and straightforward with the help of an auto shipping service – especially if they focus on motorcycles in the first place.
There are certain factors to consider when shipping a motorcycle compared to transporting a car, so be sure to read up on the entire process before booking the best motorcycle shipping company for your needs.
Remember to update your license and registration before you relocate to another state. Also, making sure the auto transporter has adequate insurance is a smart move, especially if you’re sending your vehicle across the country.
Lastly, make sure your shipping company has an MC number from the FMCSA. This is required for all vehicle shippers who operate across state lines. MC numbers of each company can typically be found on their websites.
Auto transport by train is usually cheaper than shipping with moving trucks, but it’s not always available. Train transport also takes a lot of planning. Car shipping with a train can take almost two weeks based on the mileage from your pick-up and delivery locations.
If you’re using train transport, extra services like door-to-door shipping and express delivery are pretty much impossible. We suggest you ship your vehicle by truck if this is your first try at car shipping.
Contact car transport services and ask for expedited shipping. They’ll quickly pick up and deliver your car. Just remember that expedited transport costs more.
Most popular movers in the country also offer vehicle shipping services. However, shipping your car with a moving company may cost more, since most long-distance movers charge by weight.
Some movers partner with auto shipping services to provide customized pricing. Contact your moving company to see if they have services for car shipping or any partnerships with auto transporters.
Give yourself enough time to pick the right company and get the best deal. While some companies have options for expedited shipping at increased rates, you generally want to schedule a shipment at least a week or two ahead of time.
By planning ahead, you also give yourself time to compare rates and find the best option for your needs. If you’re forced to rush and pick a car shipping company with poor reviews, you may get sub-par service or results.
Keep in mind that seasonal rates can change, so planning too far in advance may not be entirely possible.
Delivery times depend on your pickup location and your delivery destination. If you’re moving from major cities and metropolitan areas, you can expect delivery in under a week – typically in 3-4 days. For more rural areas or destinations that are over 2,000 miles away, you should expect delivery to take roughly 5-8 days.
Some extreme coast-to-coast trips may take a little longer, and weather can also affect transport time. Remember that loading a car up onto a trailer (and unloading it at its destination) can also take extra time.
You get to choose how much you tip your transport driver, but we recommend a 10% – 20% tip depending on the quality of service. Here’s a good yardstick to see whether your driver deserves a bigger tip:
As a general rule, you are not allowed to stow items inside your car when it’s being shipped. These rules are in place for a few reasons, including anti-smuggling enforcement and general safety. There are exceptions for smaller items, but the rule of thumb is everything in the car needs to fit below the window line, and weigh less than 100 lbs.
According to U.S. law, a carrier can actually be fined up to $10,000 for shipping your personal items inside of a car. If your movers see you’ve put a bunch of boxes in the vehicle, they may refuse to move it altogether. It’s best not to tempt fate, so we advise against putting anything in your car before it’s shipped.
To get your car ready, remove any loose items. This prevents stuff from banging around and damaging your vehicle (or the transporters) during transit. You may want to leave about a quarter tank of gas in the car, too. Be ready to hand the keys over on time, and explain any certain peculiarities (like brake issues).
While theft is rare, leaving valuables visible within your vehicle can be a risk. When a car is shipped across the country, your driver will have to make a stop or two. Don’t invite break-ins along the way.
The weight of your vehicle does affect your overall price. The heavier the car, the more fuel will be needed to haul it from point A to point B. This translates to a higher price from your car shipping company. You should also keep in mind that a full gas tank can add extra pounds to the overall weight of a car.
We touched on personal items earlier. While companies are technically not supposed to ship any large household items, they may allow for around 100 lbs of additional storage in each car. It’s a little bit of wiggle room, but we still advise against packing stuff in your car when you can’t keep an eye on it.
If your car is inoperable to the point where it’s a safety hazard, your carrier may not ship it. However, if your vehicle can still roll, steer, and brake, you should be able to find a car hauler who can transport it for you. Just be prepared for a bit of an extra fee.
Often the same companies that specialize in hauling inoperable vehicles will be less suited to other specialized tasks (like hauling luxury cars) and vice-versa. Make sure you find the right car shipping company for your needs.
There you have it! A bird’s eye view at shipping your car. Transporting your car is a big part of a move, and if you don’t feel like driving it yourself (or you have more than one car) you can rely on a trustworthy car shipping company to take care of the move for you.
All you have to do now is make some calls and compare some quotes. Best of luck with your move, and stay tuned for more important info from the team at Moving Feedback!