Expert Reveals: The Best Ways to Ship Your Car Across the Country

By: Nik Watson Last Updated: May 22, 2024

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Imagine this: you need to get your car across the country, but your options are slim. You could drive it yourself, but the journey would be too long, and you’d have to pay for hotels and food. It would be so much easier to have it shipped, right?

Expert Reveals: The Best Ways to Ship Your Car Across the Country

Well, shipping your car cross-country is pretty complicated and overwhelming if you’re on your own.

But fortunately, you have this step-by-step guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of transporting your car, from choosing trustworthy shipping companies to how to prepare your vehicle for the long journey. With the right knowledge, it’ll feel as straightforward as following a map.

Understanding Cross-Country Car Shipping

Shipping your car cross-country is a lifesaver for those who don’t necessarily want a marathon drive from coast to coast. Think about it: skipping the road trip saves more than just time.

When you add up the gas, snacks, the toll it takes on the car, hotels, and many more expenses, letting the professional take the wheel can sometimes be better for your wallet.

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Ship a Car

1. Research Reputable Shipping Companies

Begin the process by hunting down the best car shipping companies out there. You want a team of movers that’s seen it all and have passed with flying colors. Research their experience, and customer reviews (even the 1-stars), and double-check their credentials with the Department of Transportation (DOT).

2. Gather At Least 3 Quotes

Once you’ve lined up a few contenders, give them a call, and request some quotes. Compare the deals, extra benefits, and overall price before deciding on a company. Remember, the cheapest ticket isn’t always the best.

3. Get Your Car Ready

Give your car a good scrub – inside and out. A clean car makes for an easier check-in, and you’ll spot any damage done after the haul. Clear out all your personal belongings; the shipping guys won’t cover them if they go missing.

4. Do a Walkaround with the Carrier

Before you hand over the keys, you and the carrier should do a walk-around, ensuring every little dent or paint job is noted. Snap some pics as well to get the “before” state.

5. Keep Tabs on Your Car En Route

With your car en route, keep tabs on its journey with the carrier’s tracking technology. It’s reassuring to know where your car is at any time of the day.

6. Greet Your Ride

It’s the big day! When your car rolls up, take your time to go over it with a fine-tooth comb. Match the mileage, scan for any damage or scrapes, and check off everything before signing off on the delivery. Make sure it’s perfect!

7. Review Time

Last step. Share your experience on the carrier as a whole. Whether it’s a 5 star review or some constructive criticism, your insights are gold for both the company and future customers.

That’s the condensed version of shipping your car cross-country! Now, for some further details…

Research Transport Methods

When it comes to getting your car from point A to B, you’ve got a couple of transport methods to choose from, each having its own pros and cons.

1. Open Transport

Think of open transport as the economy class of car shipping. It’s the go-to choice for most people – affordable and effective. Your car rides along an open-air carrier, soaking up the same sunshine and grime as it would on a road trip. Although, it is pretty safe for your everyday vehicles.

2. Enclosed Transport

Now, if your car is on the more expensive side, like a flashy exotic or a sleek luxury sedan, you might want to bump up to first class with enclosed transport. Here, your car is tucked away in a fully enclosed trailer, safe from the outdoors. It’s essentially the VIP treatment and worth the extra price.

So, when deciding which direction is right for you consider your budget, distance, and how much your car is worth to you. Either choice is a good one, it just depends on your personal preference.

How Much Does It Cost?

The average cost to ship a car comes out to $1,150, with the lower end costing $550 and the higher end costing $2,450. This comes out to about an average price of $1.15 per mile. Sending your car to or from big city hubs usually costs less because countless carrier companies are operating in those areas.

Spending a bit more for a reliable shipping company can mean the difference between your car arriving in tip-top shape or not. So think of it as paying for your peace of mind.


To get a car shipping quote, give your shipping details to the transport company. Information like the make and model of your car, the departure and arrival locations, and desired shipping dates. Most companies have online calculators for quotes, but the most accurate option is to call a representative.

There are lots of different options to ship a car. Some of them include open or enclosed transport and services like door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal shipping.

It really comes down to your budget and personal needs, but when taking a shorter trip driving is the preferred choice. However, when making a cross-country move, shipping your car is a much easier and more efficient method.

You’re An Expert Now

With this information, you’re now a pro at navigating the cross-country car shipping maze. Remember, shipping your car doesn’t have to be a nail-biter. With the right preparation and the perfect shipping company, it’s as straightforward as piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. So, take a deep breath, follow these steps, and before you know it, you’ll be greeting your car at your new doorstep. Here’s to making your next big move smooth and your car’s journey even smoother!