A comprehensive guide to shipping your car to Alaska

Harish Makam

04 Nov 2022 4 weeks ago


If you’re considering moving to Alaska, you’ll be happy to know it’s a big state. It’s the biggest in the lower 48, measuring over 660,000 square miles. That’s a lot of space to explore! Of course, with that much territory comes various climates and landscapes. No matter where you decide to settle in Alaska, you’ll be within a reasonable distance of some fantastic sights. If you are moving to Alaska or have just planned a trip to the state, then you need to ship your vehicle there. The reason is simple! Alaska is a land of many wonders, and one of the best ways to see it all is by car. Yeah, shipping your vehicle can be a great way to get it from point A to point B. But what is the best way to transport your vehicle? That’s where auto transport companies come in. Shipping your vehicle via an auto transport company is much more cost-effective than driving it yourself as you incur expenses like fuel, accommodation, and food on the way. However, transporting cars to Alaska can be a complicated challenge. Many factors affect the time it takes to transport your car, the cost, and even the fuel consumption rates in the vehicle. This blog discusses all the essential points about shipping your vehicle through an auto transport company to help you make an informed and money-saving decision. Keep reading to learn more!

How does an auto transport company work?

An auto transport company is a business that helps people ship a car from one location to another. You can do this through various means, but trucks or trailers are the most common. Auto transport companies typically have a fleet of vehicles that they use to transport cars, and they also have drivers who are experienced in moving vehicles. Some auto transport companies specialize in long-distance moves, while others may only make local moves. The company’s size will also dictate how many vehicles it can transport at one time. For example, a small auto transport company may only be able to move two or three vehicles at a time, while a large company may have a fleet of trucks and trailers that can move dozens of vehicles at once.

The auto-shipping process

Here are the basics of what you can expect when working with an auto transport company to get your car to its final destination.

  1. Planning and preparation: This is where the auto transport company will determine the route, shipping method, and estimated time of arrival (ETA).
  2. Loading the vehicle: Once the route has been determined, professionals will load the vehicle onto the transport truck.
  3. Transporting the vehicle: The vehicle will be transported to the port of entry, where the shipper will load it on a trailer bound for Alaska.
  4. Arrival in Alaska: The driver will arrive in Alaska, and he will unload the vehicle.
  5. Delivery to the customer: The vehicle will be delivered to the customer’s specified address.
  6. Unloading the vehicle: The vehicle will be unloaded from the transport truck and delivered to the customer.
  7. Final inspection: The auto transport company will inspect the vehicle to ensure that it was delivered in the same condition as when it was loaded onto the truck.
Open car shipping

How do auto shippers ensure the safety of your vehicle?

When you entrust your vehicle to an auto transport company, you want to be sure that it will be in good hands. Fortunately, most companies take great care to ensure the safety of the vehicles they transport. Here are five ways they do it:

They use safety features on their trucks.

Most auto transport trucks have features that help to keep vehicles safe during transport. These features include air ride suspension and tie-downs.

They use protective materials.

Auto transport companies use protective materials, such as blankets and straps, to secure vehicles on their trailers. This helps to prevent damage to vehicles during transport.

They inspect their trailers.

Auto transport companies regularly inspect their trailers to ensure they are in good condition. This helps to prevent damage to vehicles during transport.

They use the right equipment.

Auto transport companies use specialized equipment to load and unload vehicles. This includes hydraulic lifts and winches designed to safely move vehicles on and off trucks.

They train their employees.

Auto transport companies train their employees to load and unload vehicles onto and off their trailers properly. This training helps to minimize the risk of damage to vehicles during loading and unloading.

They have insurance

Auto transport companies have insurance that covers damage that may occur during transport. This insurance protects both the company and the customer.

Car insurance

When to transport your vehicle to Alaska?

There can be many scenarios when you need to transport your vehicle. Here are a few most common ones:

  • You move to Alaska. You can’t just leave your car behind. You’ll need to find a way to get it up to the Last Frontier.
  • You’re going on an epic road trip, and Alaska is on your list of places to visit. You’ll need to figure out how to get your car there.
  • You’re a car collector and just found the perfect vehicle in Alaska. You’ll need to have it shipped to you.
  • You’re in the military, and you’re being stationed in Alaska. You’ll need to get your car there.
  • You’re going to college in Alaska. You’ll need to find a way to get your car there.

Why transport your vehicle to Alaska?

Self-driving vehicles may be cost-effective for certain intrastate moves, but getting to and from Alaska is different. Here’s why?

It’s going to be a long, challenging journey for you.

As anybody who has viewed a world map knows, Alaska is a big state. The difficulty is Alaska’s isolation from the rest of the nation. One of the shortest trips is the one that takes about a thousand miles and around 18 hours of driving time to go from Washington State to the Canadian border. It takes 37 hours and a vehicle ferry to drive the 1,700 miles from Seattle, Washington, to Juneau, Alaska. A trip from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska’s largest and most populated city, would take around five days and include 2,260 miles and 41 hours of travel time. Keep in mind that you’ll be spending a lot of time in solitude, in case you happen to run out of petrol or run out of food.

Crossing the border could be a challenge!

If that isn’t enough to deter you, know that if you’re coming from the lower 48 states and want to visit Alaska, you may do so via either of two border crossings between the United States and Canada. Most people in Southeast Alaska rely on boats and planes to get around. You’ll need to hire a ship to get your automobile to or from Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, or Skagway. The Alaska Marine Highway is a ferry network connecting Southeast Alaska to South Central Alaska communities and not to mention the Aleutian Island chain.

The city of snow

Seasonal equipment, such as tire chains and winter tires, may be necessary for a considerable part of the year if you want to go to Alaska. Snow and ice are still predicted beyond the July and September months, even though the bulk of roadways in Alaska and Canada is now paved (they weren’t nearly as paved 20 years ago). So, instead of facing all these troubles and days of traveling in isolation, it’s always best to hire an auto transport company. Auto transport companies understand that when shipping a car to Alaska, you want to do so with the peace of mind that it will arrive safely and without any difficulties. That’s why they take the necessary precautions to ensure your vehicle reaches its destination without any issues.

Different types of auto transport services

Auto transport services can be broadly categorized into two types: those that use roadways and those that rely on waterways. Road-based auto transport services use highways, roads, and other public roads to move vehicles from one location to another. They are the most common type of auto transport service and typically involve companies providing vans or trucks to individual customers who schedule their shipments ahead of time. Waterborne auto transport services use water transportation networks such as the Great Lakes, canals, and rivers to move vehicles from one place to another. These services are famous for moving large cargo loads like cars or trucks.

Whatever way it is, there are some popular services offered by auto transport companies:

  • Door-to-door auto transport is the most common and convenient form of vehicle shipping. Your car is picked up from your home or office and delivered to its destination. This type of service is often more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping, but it is worth the convenience for many people.
  • Terminal-to-terminal shipping: This is the most budget-friendly option for vehicle shipping. Your car is dropped off at a shipping terminal and then picked up from another terminal at its destination. This option requires more planning and coordination, but it can save you significant money.
  • Expedited shipping: These services are available for those who need their car shipped as quickly as possible. This service is more expensive than standard shipping, but it is worth the extra cost to ship a car for many people.
  • Guaranteed pick up: This service is ideal for those with a strict schedule. This service ensures that the professionals will pick up your car on the specified date and time.
  • Military vehicle shipping is the process of shipping vehicles used by the military. This can include anything from jeeps to tanks. Military vehicle shipping services are typically conducted by specialized trucking companies with the experience and equipment necessary to transport these vehicles.
  • International shipping: These services are available for those who need to ship their vehicle to another country. The services include container shipping and roll-on/roll-off shipping.

Different methods to transport your vehicle

The debate between open and enclosed car shipping has been around for a long time. Each option has pros and cons that you must consider before making a decision. Here, we will look at both types of carriers to help you decide which is suitable for your needs.

Open auto transport

Open carriers are the most common type of auto transport. They are also the most affordable option, which makes them a popular choice for those on a budget. However, open carriers offer less protection for your vehicle than enclosed carriers. This means that your vehicle is more susceptible to elements.

Enclosed auto transport

Enclosed carriers are a bit more expensive than open car shipping ,but offer more protection for your vehicle. This is because your vehicle is completely enclosed in a trailer, which protects it from the elements and road debris. However, enclosed carriers are only sometimes available, making scheduling transport a bit difficult. Reaching out to the service provider well in advance is a good idea.

Enclosed car shipping

The cost to ship your vehicle

There are a few factors that go into this decision, including the weight and dimensions of the vehicle, as well as where it will be shipped. Also, carriers will consider weather and traffic conditions when deciding how much it will cost to ship a vehicle. Below is a quick list of a few crucial determinants:

  • Type of vehicle you’re shipping. Larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks will cost more to ship than smaller cars.
  • The distance the vehicle will be traveling. The further the distance, the higher the shipping costs will be.
  • The shipping method you choose. There are three main car shipping methods: sea, air, or land. Shipping by sea is the most popular and economical option. On the other hand, transporting by air is the quickest option but is also the most expensive. Shipping by land is somewhere in between in terms of cost and time.
  • The season you’re shipping in. Summer is typically the busiest season for car shipping so that rate will be higher. Winter is the slowest season, so that the rates will be lower.
  • The port of origin. If you’re shipping from a major port like New York or Los Angeles, it will be cheaper than shipping from a smaller port.
  • The port of destination. Just like with the port of origin, shipping to a major port will be cheaper than shipping to a smaller port.
  • Insurance coverage you choose. Insurance is mandatory when shipping a car, but you can choose different levels of coverage. The more coverage you choose, the higher the cost will be.
  • The type of carrier you choose. There are two main types of carriers: open and enclosed. Open carriers are the most common and less expensive than enclosed ones. Enclosed carriers offer more protection for your vehicle but are more expensive.
  • The delivery method you choose. There are two main delivery methods: door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal. Door-to-door delivery is more convenient, but it’s also more expensive. Terminal-to-terminal delivery is less expensive, but it’s less convenient.
  • The length of time you need the car shipping. If you need your car shipped immediately, it will be more expensive than if you’re willing to wait a few weeks.

Tips to prepare your vehicle

Shipping a car can be nerve-wracking, but it can go smoothly with some preparation. Here are some tips to help make the process easier:

  • Check vehicle condition: Ensure your vehicle is in good working order before shipping it to Alaska. This means checking the brakes, tires, and engine to ensure they are all in good condition. It would help if you also cleaned the inside and outside of your vehicle to prevent any damage during transport.
  • Winterize your vehicle: Alaska is known for its cold winters, so ensure to winterize your vehicle correctly. This includes getting new tires, adding antifreeze, and having a reliable battery.
  • Remove personal items: Remember to remove all personal items from your vehicle before shipping them. This includes things like your clothes, electronics, and any other valuables.
  • Make sure you have all the paperwork: Before shipping your vehicle, ensure you have all the necessary paperwork. This includes things like your registration and proof of insurance.

How long does it take to transport a vehicle to Alaska?

It usually takes about two weeks to transport a vehicle to Alaska. However, the actual time depends upon many factors. Here are a few of them:

The number of vehicles being transported 

If you are the only person shipping a vehicle, it will generally take less time than if you are shipping multiple vehicles. This is because the auto transport company will have to make fewer trips and can ship your vehicle more quickly.  However, if you are shipping multiple vehicles, the auto transport company may be able to ship them all at once, saving time. So, while the number of vehicles shipped can affect the time it takes to transport them, it is only sometimes a determining factor.

The distance

The further the distance, the longer it will take to transport the vehicle. The auto transport company will need to make more stops to refuel and rest.

The size and weight of the vehicle

A smaller and lighter vehicle will take less time to transport than a more significant and heavier vehicle. This is because loading and unloading a smaller, lighter vehicle takes less time. Additionally, a smaller, lighter vehicle will use less fuel, saving time and money.

The time of year

The summer months are typically the busiest for auto transport companies, as people are more likely to take vacations and travel during this time. This can often lead to longer wait times for vehicle transport, as there can be a backlog of orders. The fall and winter months tend to be less busy for auto transport companies so transport times may be shorter.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to reduce the time it takes to transport a vehicle to Alaska?

Be as flexible as possible with your pick-up and delivery dates. If you’re able to be flexible, it will make it easier for the transport company to work your shipment into their schedule. Besides, make sure your vehicle is ready for transport. This means having all personal items removed and any loose items inside the vehicle that could become damaged during shipping.

How long does it take to ship a car to Alaska?

It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to ship a car to Alaska, depending on the company you use and the route your car takes.

Can I ship my car to Alaska if I’m not moving there?

Yes, you can ship your car to Alaska even if you are not moving there. However, you will need to make arrangements with a friend or family member who is willing to receive your car upon arrival at the destination.

What do I need to do to my car before shipping it to Alaska?

Before shipping your car to Alaska, you will need to ensure that it is in good working condition and that all necessary paperwork is in order. You will also need to have your car inspected by a qualified mechanic.

How can I pay for the auto transport services?

Most auto transport services will require payment in full before they will agree to transport your vehicle. Some companies may accept a partial payment, but this is different. You may find a company willing to work with you on payment, but you will likely have to pay a deposit up front.

What are the various payment methods you accept?

There are many ways you can pay for availing auto transport services. We accept cash, check, money order, and credit/debit card.


Harish Makam