ship car across country

Did you know the average person in America moved about eleven times in their life?

Moving can be a stressful process, and figuring out how you’re going to get your car to your new home can be overwhelming. If you’ve never shipped your car across the country, then you’ve come to the right place.

There are many aspects that go into transporting your vehicle, and we are going to tell you everything you need to know from how to choose a company to the price and everything in between. Keep reading and by the end, you won’t have to ask yourself how to ship a car across the country.

Table of Contents

Selecting the Pick-Up and Drop-Off Locations

When you’re car shipping across the country, you’ll need to communicate with the company about pick-up and drop-off locations. The location will have an effect on your overall cost.

There is an option to have the vehicle picked up from your door. Keep in mind that if you live in a busy city with smaller roads, you may need to meet the driver down the street if the truck doesn’t fit.

If you want to save a little money, you can drop your car off at a central location: either at the company’s shop or a hub spot. The same goes for drop-off. You can have your car dropped off at your door for less hassle or you can pick it up at a neutral location.

Choosing Open vs. Closed Transport

When you’re shipping cars across the country, you have two options. You can choose open or closed transport.

An open container can carry more vehicles than a closed one, which makes the price lower. Your car will also be vulnerable to outside substances such as weather and flying objects. With that being said, it’s still a very safe option and is the most common choice.

A closed transport is going to cost significantly more and is typically only used for custom and luxury cars. This is due to the lost revenue that companies have using enclosed trucks.

Prepare Your Car for Transportation

Before you ship a car across the country, you’ll need to prepare it for transport. There are a few steps you need to take.

Wash it

You’ll first want to have your car’s exterior washed. This is so you can easily document the appearance of your car before you hand it over.

You’ll need to get photos of your car from all angles. If your car gets damaged in transit, you’ll need the photos as proof and possibly for the insurance company.


Before shipping a car cross-country, you’ll want to get a routine maintenance check. If your car is leaking at all, you’ll need to have it fixed so it doesn’t cause any issues on the trip. Any oils or fluids that spill could damage other vehicles or worse, start a fire.

You don’t want your tires to be flat when you’re shipping a car or overfilled. The tires should be filled to their normal amount; this will allow the vehicle to absorb any bumps without damaging the inside of the car.

One of the cost determinants is the weight of the car. Therefore, leaving your car at a quarter tank of fuel is ideal. This will decrease the weight and also leave you with enough fuel to get to a gas station after delivery.

Remove Items

If you’ve thought about filling your car full of boxes and personal items, you’ll want to reconsider. As mentioned above, weight does affect the amount you pay. By filling the car, you also run the risk of damage to your items.

Companies should have insurance, but it will only cover the car itself, not items inside. If something gets broken, you’ll be responsible for replacing it.

Before shipping a car across the country, you’ll want to remove any medication or documents that you keep in your vehicle. Insurance cards, passports, and your driver’s license will need to stay with you.

This is also a good time to move any loose items like water bottles and chargers. This will also ensure products don’t spill and stain your interior.

Finding a Reputable Shipping Company

Your vehicle is a big investment, and you want to make sure it’s safe when you are shipping it across the country. Take your time researching different companies in the area.

You can seek recommendations from friends, family, and neighbors who have experience with car shipping. Their firsthand insights can provide valuable information.

In addition to personal recommendations, online reviews are an excellent resource for assessing a company’s reputation. Pay attention to both positive and negative reviews. While one or two negative reviews may not be cause for concern, multiple negative reviews should raise a red flag and prompt further investigation.

Request written quotes from different shipping companies to compare costs and services. It’s essential to understand the full cost upfront and inquire about any potential hidden fees. Remember that the most expensive option isn’t necessarily the best, and the cheapest option may not offer the quality you desire.

Lastly, a company should be able to answer all your questions. It could be beneficial to ask how they handle unexpected situations. While you never want to think an accident will happen, it’s crucial that the driver knows how to operate under stressful conditions.


How long it takes to ship a car is dependent on the miles it’s being moved. Typically, a company will give you a window of time. You probably won’t get a guaranteed delivery date because there are so many factors that affect the timeline. These include weather and traffic, which can be unpredictable.

You can plan for the trip to take about five to fourteen days. For example, if you need to ship your car between 1,000 to 1,500 miles, it will take anywhere from three to five days. Anything more than 2,500+ miles will likely take ten to fourteen days.

Keep in mind this doesn’t include the pickup window. When you schedule a pickup date, you’ll need to allow the company at least 24 hours to pick it up.

Understanding the Cost

There are a few different things that make up the cost to ship a car. We’ve already talked about the weight and the distance traveled. If you drive an SUV or a truck, your bill will be more expensive than if you own a smaller car.

The time of year also makes a big difference. It can be more dangerous for drivers in the winter when the roads are icy and it’s harder to see due to snow, fog, and rain. This can increase the cost.

However, the demand for shipping cars around the holidays may be low, which helps balance out the cost. Many people move in the summer months because that’s when students are out of school, driving up demand and price.

Popular routes tend to cost less as well. If there are a lot of companies taking the same route, you’ll likely pay less.

The cost of fuel varies; if it’s expensive, plan to pay more. You’ll also have the option to add on protection. Extra insurance may be worth the extra money so you can have peace of mind knowing your property is protected.

If you need your car shipped quickly, there will be an expedited fee, too. As you know, a closed carrier will be extra, but you will also have the option of a single-car trailer. This could end up costing you a few hundred dollars more.

Benefits of Shipping

There are many benefits that come with shipping your car instead of driving it. After you find a company, prep your car, and pay, you won’t have to worry about anything else.

If you drive you’ll be spending a lot of time traveling, time you could’ve been spending unpacking or doing other things. You also need to consider the wear and tear driving hundreds of miles puts on your car.  If you have multiple cars, this is a great option too.

Ship a Car Across the Country

Moving can be an overwhelming process, even when everything goes right. You have to sell your home and move everything, and get your vehicle to the new destination. If you’re looking for a trustworthy car shipping company, look no further.

We have helped hundreds of people transport their cars long distances. Contact us if you’re getting ready to move or if you have any questions about how to ship a car across the country.


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