How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car?

Justin Pritchard
by Justin Pritchard
how much does it cost to ship a car

So really, how much does it cost to ship a car? Whether you’re moving, temporarily relocating for an extended job contract, or buying a vehicle from an out-of-state seller, options are numerous in transporting your vehicle from its current location to its new home. In general, these options boil down to one of two alternatives: drive the vehicle to its new home yourself, or have it transported there, professionally using some kind of auto transport services.

Each option comes with its own set of pros and cons. Your final decision may be based on numerous factors, including the distance to the new destination, the timing of your trip, the cost of each alternative, and the overall time and effort required for each.

If you’re relocating to the next state temporarily for a new job contract, driving your vehicle yourself may be feasible. If you’re moving permanently across the country in a small window of time, driving the vehicle yourself may not be. There are many factors at play, and the best answer is the one that best suits your specific preferences and situation.

If you’re considering having your vehicle shipped professionally over a long distance, you’re not alone. Every year, countless customers take advantage of vehicle shipping services, like those offered by Auto Transport Quote Services. Working with a reputable vehicle shipping company means your vehicle is picked up at your current location, delivered to your new location some time later, and that there’s no worry or hassle required on your part for the duration of that trip.

Of course, the cost of shipping a vehicle varies on a wide array of factors—and you’ll probably compare the cost of shipping your vehicle to the cost of driving it yourself.

To quickly obtain an accurate quote for shipping your vehicle, whether across the state or across the country, visit a site like Auto Transport Quote Services. You’ll find online tools for a quick and accurate quote, as well as contact information to get in touch with a car shipping expert who can quickly gather information on your needs and provide an accurate quote, fast.

Photo by Nicholas Dutko.

Some factors that affect the cost of shipping your vehicle include the origin and destination locations, the distance between them, the popularity of the route between the locations, and the actual vehicle being transported. Factors like the vehicle’s overall length and weight play a significant role in the shipping quote.

Seasonality also affects pricing, based on demand and competition. As a generalized example, the cost of shipping a midsize sedan from New York to Florida is about $525 in springtime, but the figure jumps to $900 or more for the same job in the fall, because this route is more popular with snowbirds later in the year. You’ll also typically pay more for a shipping job if it’s urgent—if you need to ship your vehicle next week, it’ll probably cost you more than planning to have it shipped in 2 months. The more lead time you’re able to provide, the less you’ll typically pay, all else being equal.

Vehicles can be shipped by various methods, too. These include open transport on a high-capacity car carrier trailer, or via a solo drive in an enclosed and protected transport. The latter option is popular with owners of specialty cars, show cars, and exotic or luxury cars, and is often faster, though it costs more. For many shoppers, the less-expensive option is to transport a vehicle via an open carrier, where it will ride along a route with a number of other vehicles. This option typically costs the least, though it may take longer for your vehicle to arrive at its destination as the transport has numerous stops to make along the route.

Shipping costs also vary based on proximity to metropolitan areas. If you currently live an hour outside of a big city, and you’re moving to a town that’s two hours from a big city, you may be able to save substantially with cheap car transport by arranging to have the vehicle picked up/dropped off at the city nearest to your origin/destination, rather than having the transport retrieve and drop the vehicle, door to door.

A generalized dollar figure is hard to accurately nail down for any specific car transport job—but a quick call or visit to Auto Transport Quote Services will give you an accurate quote in minutes.

Once you’ve got a shipping quote in hand that accurately represents your specific requirements for your specific vehicle delivery, you may wish to compare it to the costs of driving the vehicle to its new home yourself.

Just be sure to consider all costs.

Shipping via an auto transport specialist comes with one price, up front, that’s set ahead of time and won’t fluctuate. Compare that figure to the cost of driving the same distance—factoring in wear and tear, fuel, lodging, meals, time away from work if applicable, and any potential setbacks (repairs, flat tires) you may encounter on the drive. If it’s a lengthy trip, note that adding thousands of miles to your vehicle’s odometer may have a tangible impact on its resale value, too.

A side-by-side comparison of the costs of shipping versus driving a car to its new home is useful, to make sure that shipping the vehicle is right for you.

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2 of 47 comments
  • Brettc Brettc on Jul 20, 2018

    Saw a Chevy Sonic on the Maine Turnpike a couple of weeks ago with Hawaii plates. Had never seen such a thing before in Maine. I looked it up and found that it costs about $1000 to ship a car from Hawaii to California. So whoever owned that Sonic spent some cash on their trip.

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Jul 31, 2018

    I've had cars shipped twice. In 2001 I purchased a 1996 Buick Regal GS from a dealer in Salt Lake City, they arranged shipping to a drop-off point at the closest auto auction to me in Rockford, IL -- about 1400 miles. That was $600. When I left home my parents had the space and were generous enough to store my Wildcat until they finished downsizing in 2016, at which point I needed to ship it from outside Rockford to the edge of Wilmington, DE (850 miles). Going through the quoting services I found there were a couple of quotes that were very low (~$550) and some that were very high (~$1500) but most fell in the $700-$1000 range. I didn't need white glove treatment and the cheap outfits had an overwhelming preponderance of negative reviews (vehicle lost, vehicle severely damaged, etc.) so those were easy to eliminate. After that I found there were many small but significant differences between shippers. Some advertised daily status updates with vehicle location and ETA. Many required both the interior and trunk of the vehicle to be empty. At least one quote required the vehicle to have valid registration and insurance. Some wanted all cash, some wanted a mix of cash and credit. Delivery windows varied, too -- most were 3, 5, or 7 days. Being able to ship stuff in the trunk was important for me -- I have some irregularly-sized theater cardboard stand-ups that wouldn't fit with the kids and luggage on a regular trip so putting them in the trunk saved having to ship them separately. I was surprised to find the second time that it would have only saved me $50 to drop off at a terminal in Chicago and pick up at a terminal in Philly. Given the time and effort to get a ride there and back at the times of day they wanted it wasn't worth it at all. I guess with the pick up being close to I-90 and the drop off being close to I-95 it was along a regular route. Shipping was delayed a day because the first vehicle underestimated the size of the car and didn't have room for it. I was annoyed by that but I appreciated that the driver didn't try to shoehorn the car and damage it. In any case, the company sent a different driver the next day and it arrived two blocks from my house (where the driver was able to park the truck) just under 3 days later for $780.

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