How To Ship A Car (2021 Guide)
Are you trying to send your vehicle across the country, but you can not drive it there yourself? This guide explains how to ship a car anywhere in the United States.
While the process itself is quite simple, it is good to know the factors that affect costs and how to get the best prices. This way, you can be sure that you will find a fair price for your automatic shipment.
Once you are ready to start comparing providers, read our review of the best car shipping companies. Alternatively, contact our free shipping quotes from our top suppliers below.
In this article:
Car shipping procedure
When deciding how to ship a car, unless you know someone who owns a carrier, you will want to arrange for your vehicle to be shipped through a broker. Autoplay brokers work with a wide range of drivers to suit their customers with the cheapest options. Due to the relevant logistics, working through an exclusive broker is the most effective way for customers to match carriers.
Although not all auto dealerships – we will suggest some good options at the end of this article – most have a similar car shipping process. In general, here’s how to send a car using a broker:
1. Submit car shipping information
The first step is to receive offers from many brokers. When requesting a quote, you will usually be asked to submit the following information:
- Vehicle year, make and model
- Receipt and destination locations
- Receipt and delivery dates
- Requested type of transport service (open or closed carrier)
- Vehicle operation status (with or without the ability to drive)
Some brokers may offer an instant quote and others will ask for your contact details and call or email you with more information. This is because some brokers have their carriers make bids on your shipment. Once the broker determines your best offer, he will contact you with your options.
Your car shipping offers are likely to be an estimate – it is the broker’s best estimate of what your final cost will be. However, your final price will not be locked until paired with a carrier or, in some cases, until your vehicle is delivered.
2. Compare your offers and decide on a company
Once you have many offers, compare them in parallel and choose the transport company you trust the most with your shipment. You will then verify the cost and delivery and delivery times with your mobile carrier. At this point, you may be asked to make a partial payment that will be kept as a deposit.
3. Prepare your vehicle
To prepare your vehicle, you must empty it of all kinds. This will reduce the weight of your vehicle and reduce your shipping costs. It is usually recommended to leave no more than a quarter gas tank in your car.
4. Leave your vehicle
Bring your vehicle to the pick-up point (or, in some cases, the driver may come to you). Before the car is loaded on the conveyor, you and the driver will inspect the vehicle for damage. You will then sign a form indicating any pre-existing damage.
5. Wait for delivery
Many leading vehicle transport brokers maintain regular communication during the automated shipping process. Some provide GPS tracking and others may provide text updates on the progress of your vehicle.
6. Pick up your vehicle and pay the balance
After delivery of the vehicle, you must inspect it again for damage. Assuming everything is checked, you will sign a bill of lading and, if applicable, make final payments to your driver.
Car shipping costs
So now you know how to send a car. But how much will it cost you? Shipping costs are affected by a number of factors. These include the following:
|Factor||How it affects car shipping costs|
|Distance||The more you ship your vehicle, the more it will cost.|
|Open or closed transport||Open transport means that your car will not be protected from the elements or debris of the road while you are in the truck. Closed transport means that your vehicle will be transported in a container. Closed transport costs more.|
|Door to door transfer or from terminal to terminal||If your car is picked up and delivered to a specific address, it will cost more. You can choose to have your vehicle shipped to and from a central shipping terminal, which is less expensive. However, the nearest shipping terminal may be far from your final destination. Also, not every car shipping company offers shipment from terminal to terminal.|
|Receipt and delivery locations||It is more expensive to ship to rural, less travel areas. Shipping between major cities on summer roads is cheaper.|
|Time||Demand plays a big role in the final shipping cost of your car. The most accurate times to ship a car are generally summer and January.|
|Vehicle size||The bigger and heavier your vehicle is, the more expensive the shipment will be.|
|Vehicle functionality||If your car does not work, it will not be able to be driven to the carrier. This requires extra effort and will cost more to ship than a functional vehicle.|
|Additional options||Choosing additional options, such as shipping by car or express shipping, will cost more.|
To give you a better idea of the cost of shipping a car, consider some of the open shipping shipments our research team has received from several leading car shipping companies for a functional SUV:
|Automatic shipping broker||Distance||Type of transport||Cost|
|Montway automatic transfer||503 miles||Open||$ 679|
|1,556 miles||Open||$ 929|
|Sherpa Auto Transport||1,556 miles||Open||$ 1,300|
|1,556 miles||Enclosed||$ 1,800|
|uShip||503 miles||Open||$ 756|
|1,556 miles||Open||$ 1,411|
The above prices provide some framework for the cost of sending a car, but your own prices may differ.
Tips on how to send a car
When it comes time to ship your vehicle, there are some tips to keep in mind. These tips will help you find cheap car shipping and reduce your hassle.
- Advance reservation: The more you request an auto transfer offer in advance, the more likely you are to receive a low cost. Brokers send your work to carriers who can bid on your contract The longer you can wait, the better your chances of getting a good deal.
- Be flexible: If you are more flexible with delivery and delivery dates, you will have more options. Mobile phone companies are trying to find jobs that are better optimized for their program. If you can work according to the company’s schedule, you will secure a better offer.
- Examine terminal by terminal: If possible, send to and from a central terminal instead of picking up and delivering your car to your door. This can be much less expensive. Remember that not every carrier offers terminal to terminal service.
- Consider open shipping: Shipping with an open carrier is cheaper than with a closed trailer. Unless you have a low mileage, a classic car or a luxury vehicle, consider open shipping to reduce costs.
- Prepare your vehicle: You must reduce the weight of your vehicle as much as possible before shipment. This means that you must clean it and leave no more than a quarter of the fuel tank. Be sure to leave some gas in the car so that it can be driven in and out of the trailer.
- Check legality: Each sender car is issued with a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. Make sure you get this number from your mobile carrier and check its validity on the Federal Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website.
Our suggestions for automatic shipping
Once you are sure you know how to ship a car, it is time to compare broker options. You can find out about two high scoring auto transport providers below.
Montway Auto Transport works with more than 15,000 carriers to deliver car shipping services throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. In our review Montway Auto Transport, we rate the broker 4.5 out of 5.0 stars and call it the best overall provider due to competitive pricing, strong customer reputation and smooth booking process.
All Montway Partners are registered with FMCSA and are fully insured. In addition to carrier insurance, Montway includes a cargo insurance policy of up to $ 250,000, which starts if your truck insurance policy does not fully cover a valid claim.
We are not the only source for Montway criticism. At the time of publication, the company has an A + rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a 4.2 out of 5.0 rating on Trustpilot based on over 850 customer reviews.
To receive a free Montway Auto Transport offer, click below.
Sherpa Auto Transport is one of the top auto dispatchers. In our Sherpa Auto Transport review, we rate the company 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. We love Sherpa for its easy booking process, Price Lock Promise and excellent customer reputation.
Most auto brokers only offer bid estimates, which are finalized after booking your mobile carrier or delivering your vehicle. Sherpa is unique in that it promises to honor the original quotes. If your mobile carrier charges more than you originally agreed, Sherpa will offset the difference (up to $ 300).
Sherpa has an A + rating from the BBB and a 4.88 out of 5 star BBB customer rating based on more than 150 reviews. Most critics describe a fast and efficient pick-up and drop-off service, as well as polite and professional guides.
See how much it will cost to ship your car with Sherpa below.