How to Ship a Car Across the Country

To qualify for cross country car shipping, the move is usually about 2,000 miles or more from east to west, and 1,300 to 1,500 miles or so from north to south. If you are required to get a car to another state and you don’t want the stress on you or your car, there are a few different options that you could choose from like renting a trailer hitch, hire a driver, or go through a professional shipment service company. Each of these options offer advantages and disadvantages, and will be outlined within this article.

Moving the Vehicle Yourself

In today’s day and age, there are many people who are firm believers of “DIY – or do it yourself”. This option is typically going to be the cheapest option you could choose from depending on the items you already have or don’t have. If you already have a trailer to put the car on, you would not have to worry about adding mileage to your car or any damages that could occur from driving the car across the country. However, if you have to rent a trailer or pay to have a hitch put on your vehicle, the upfront costs could be quite expensive without even bringing the price of gas into consideration. Along with the price of the trailers, gas, and the hard work of moving it yourself, some people tend to look for different options to move their car.

Professional Auto Transporting Company

If the stress of driving long distances seems unnerving to you, professional transporting companies will take all the stresses away from you. Shipping your car professionally offers you a peace of mind that your car won’t be damaged during the transport, and may not be as expensive as you think, especially when you compare how much it could be if you drive it yourself.

Typically, a professional transport company will transport your car through an open car hauling. This way the cars are suspended on the double decker trailers, protecting the wheels and suspension from incurring any damage during the travel. However, there is always the option of shipping in an enclosed unit, which offers protection from flying debris and inclement weather. One must remember that the enclosed unit will be much more expensive than the open unit.


The cost of shipping a vehicle is the result of multiple factors. First of all, the cost to ship a car fluctuates throughout the year. Furthermore, the location you are shipping from and to play a heavy factor, the longer the distance, the higher the price. Finally, the type of shipping you choose from will heavily influence the cost, with an enclosed unit being more expensive. On average, to ship a car across the country, it is about $0.35 for a mile for a family sedan, and $0.40 to $0.41 a mile for an SUV or truck, and $0.75 per mile for a classic or exotic car shipped in an enclosed carrier. The following would give you an idea of the price it could be to ship your car through open car hauling:

  • 4-door sedan from CA to NY – $800 – $1,300
  • SUV, van, or truck from CA to NY- $900 – $1,200
  • SUV, van or truck from NY to FL – $900- $1,300
  • Classic car from NY to FL – $1,200 – $2,000 for enclosed.

The prices highlighted above are simply estimates, and will depend on the time of year, scheduling flexibility, distance between the destinations, and the availability of drivers at the time of your move. It is usually cheaper to ship your car between September and November.

Steps to Ship the Car
  1. Pick a car shipping pickup location and destination
  2. Choose your dates for pickup and delivery
  3. Find a top auto shipping company to work with
  4. Secure a car shipping quote
  5. Prepare your vehicle for shipment to maximize efficiency
  6. Establish plans to drop your car off and pick it up

Choose the Right Car Shipping Company

When you are searching for a company to ship your car, it is important to do a thorough research for what is available. There are multiple companies that will offer their services to you, it is important to thoroughly research each company, and pick the one that is right for you. Throughout the research process, here are a few important deciding factors that you should consider before making your decision. First of all, the company you choose should be a reputable company that has been in business for a long period of time. Another factor that is important to consider is the company’s (if you are using a freight broker, you must verify the brokers credentials as well as the auto carriers’ insurance policy) insurance policy that will cover your car throughout the move. Most companies will have an excellent insurance policy, but some may differ in the wording and how quickly you could get your claim. An obvious area that you would need to look into is the timing of your shipment. Most people want their cars transported ASAP, so that could be a deciding factor in which company you use. The final area to compare between companies are the quotes that they send to you – make sure to read all the fine print and understand what each transport quote includes -, which could be the determining factor. However, when shipping a car, the cost should not play a major influence on determining which company you decide to choose, it should be the company you feel will deliver your vehicle with no damage and no headaches on your end.


If you are visiting another state across the country, moving to a new area, or purchasing a car from a great distance, there are few options available to get your car to the destination. There is the obvious “DIY” option, where you just drive it there yourself. However, this comes with some risk as it could damage your car, and you have to drive a great distance. The more efficient option would be to go through an Auto Transport company who will get the job done for you.