6 Things to Know About Shipping a Car from Texas to California

Brantley Kendall

13 Sep 2023 10 months ago

Texas, with its ideal climate and robust job market, and California – the land of sun and opportunity – experience frequent migration of residents between them. Shipping your car from Texas to California involves more than simply selecting a carrier and loading up your vehicle. It involves understanding costs, knowing your options and protecting your and your car’s safety during transport.

Whether moving somewhere new, starting new jobs or taking an adventure road trip – shipping can make all these processes smoother. Particularly since the distance between Texas and California spans over 1,500 miles! From choosing the right auto transport company to preparing your car for shipment, we’ll guide you through the process and help make your car shipping experience as smooth and stress-free as possible. 

1. Factors That Impact the Overall Cost of Transporting a Vehicle

We all know that distance, vehicle type, transport type, and season can significantly affect the overall cost to ship a car. But have you ever wondered to what extent they impact the cost? Let’s find out!

• Distance

The longer the haul, the higher the price – that’s the rule of thumb regarding distance. For instance, transporting a vehicle from Texas to California could cost significantly more than moving it between neighbouring towns. Why is that? Factors such as fuel costs, driver wages, and tolls all increase with distance.

Our expertise in this area shows that moving a standard sedan between the two states could cost anywhere from $800 to $1,000. But what about a shorter trip? Transporting the exact vehicle from Houston to Dallas may cost between $150 and $250.

• Vehicle Type

The type of vehicle also plays a crucial role in the overall cost. Larger, weightier vehicles require more fuel for transport and might necessitate more extensive or specialized transport vehicles, leading to higher costs. For example, transporting a standard-sized family car might cost less than moving a massive SUV or a valuable classic car.

• Transport Type

When transporting your vehicle, you can choose between open or enclosed transport. Open transport, where vehicles are typically loaded onto a multi-car carrier, is less costly. Enclosed transport, on the other hand, offers more protection for your vehicle but can cost approximately 35%-50% more.

• Season

The season in which you choose to move your vehicle also significantly impacts cost. In most cases, vehicle transport prices tend to surge in summer and dwindle in winter. This seasonal variation is because of the demand; many people prefer to move or buy new vehicles during the warmer months.

• Weight of the Vehicle

Would you agree that heavier loads put more pressure on the carrier? Stress can translate to dollars, which is why the weight and size of your vehicle can affect the transportation cost. Larger and heavier vehicles require more gas and cause more wear and tear on the transport truck, leading to a surge in shipping costs.

• Speed of Delivery

How quickly do you need your vehicle to be at your destination? If you’re in a hurry, be ready to spend a little extra. Expedited services always have a price tag, and auto transport is no exception.

2. Choosing the Right Car Shipping Company

Choosing the right car shipping company can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Unless you get it right, it’s an important task fraught with pitfalls. Selecting the appropriate car shipping partner can ensure a stress-free and timely delivery. But how do you choose? At the crux of this decision lies research.

• The Importance of Research

Well-executed research is your greatest ally in this selection process. Why? It’s simple. Companies often let their marketing materials do the talking, putting out convincing advertisements and flashy websites. However, the real essence of a service can only be known by digging a little deeper. A company’s reputation, customer service track record, and reliability often surface when you observe its past performance. Browse online reviews, ask for references, and ensure your choice has a rock-solid history of safely and timely transporting vehicles.

• Expertise and Authority

Different types of vehicles require varying methods of transportation. Hence, the company should possess comprehensive expertise to handle your vehicle type. Do they specialize in transporting classic cars, motorcycles, or RVs? That’s the sort of question you need to have in mind. Ensure the potential auto transport company is fully authorized to operate. Check if the company has proper license and insurance coverage. After all, you want to ensure you’re covered should an unforeseen occurrence happen.  

• Proper Inspection and Customer Service

The company should regularly inspect your vehicle before and after transportation. This not only shows their diligence but also enables them to take responsibility for any damage that may be incurred during transit. Besides, a company that provides excellent customer service ensures customer satisfaction at every process level. They should be responsive, honest, and demonstrate clear communication. Remember to think about it: Would you want to spend your money on a company that doesn’t value its customers?

• Cost

Lastly, getting a good bang for your buck is always important. Comparing rates between several auto transport companies is recommended. Be sure to scrutinize the fine print for hidden charges or clauses that might catch you unawares.

 Remember, finding the right auto transport company does not necessarily mean choosing the cheapest option. It’s about finding a reliable, efficient and trustworthy provider who will ensure your vehicle’s safe and timely delivery.

• Shipping Options, Price Point and Safety Measures

What shipping options does the company offer? Covered or uncovered transportation, door-to-door transport or terminal-to-terminal delivery are things you should consider. Also, understanding their safety and protection measures is crucial. Remember the famous saying, “You get what you pay for”? This holds when it comes to auto transport pricing. Dig into the intricacies of their price structure, and don’t forget to inquire about their payment policies.

• Timeframe and Damage Liability

Be sure about the timelines and confirm whether they align with your schedule. While the company must respect your time, some flexibility on your part can be helpful. 

Not to mention, accidents are unforeseeable, and that’s why a sound insurance policy from the company is a must. Get to know their damages policy, liability limit, and what it covers. 

3. Different Types of Car Transport Services: Open vs. Enclosed

There are primarily two types of car transport services: open and enclosed. However, a vital question pops up – What is the difference between them, and how do they affect your vehicle’s value, safety, and condition? Let’s dive in!

• Understanding Open Car Transport

Open car transport is the most common and cost-effective method in the industry. Imagine a multi-story car parking lot but on wheels. That’s what an open carrier looks like.

• How Does It Work?

Car shipping companies secure your vehicle onto a sizable open-air trailer, typically carrying several other vehicles, and transport it to your destination. It’s the workhorse of the auto shipping industry.

• What about Safety?

Your vehicle is in good hands. Although it might be exposed to debris and weather elements, the risk is minor. Companies usually offer insurance to cover these contingencies.

• Weighing the Pros and Cons

Open transport’s most significant advantage is cost-effectiveness and frequent shipments that translate into faster delivery times. However, remember that your vehicle will be exposed to weather conditions and road elements.

 Getting Familiar with Enclosed Car Transport

Differing from open transport, enclosed car transport provides an additional layer of protection to your vehicle.

• How Does It Work?

Your vehicle is loaded into a fully enclosed trailer, protecting it from external elements, which makes this option ideal for premium, vintage or luxury cars.

• Precautions for Safety

Enclosed transport offers superior safety, protecting your vehicle from dust, debris, and climate impact. Cars are strapped securely within the enclosed space to prevent any movement.

• Pros and Cons to Consider

While offering excellent protection, it is more expensive than open transport, and availability might be lesser due to lower demand. However, this is your best bet if your car has a high sentimental or monetary value.


Choosing between open and enclosed transport depends on your vehicle’s value, budget, and risk tolerance. Open transport is a good option if you a

re on a budget and have a standard car. However, if you own a luxury, collectible, or vintage car, the extra cost of enclosed transport could save you expensive repairs in the long run.

SAKAEM Logistics: Building Trust Through Expertise

When discussing reputable car shipping companies, one can’t help but mention SAKAEM Logistics. With a commendable track record, SAKAEM Logistics has etched its name in the market as a leader in quality service. Their commitment to customers is reflected in their actions. They offer transparent quotes, state-of-the-art vehicle processing centres, and an uncompromising approach to safety. Moreover, the team is backed by years of operating experience, combining cutting-edge technology and an extensive network of reliable carriers to ensure your car’s optimal transport.

4. Preparing Your Car for Shipping: A Comprehensive Checklist

Clean your car: Starting with a squeaky clean car is essential. A thorough wash allows easy detection of any pre-existing damages such as dings, dents, or scratches.

Document existing damages: Note down and take photos of any existing damage. This will be handy if you need to make an insurance claim later.

Remove personal belongings: Shipping companies cannot legally transport vehicles filled with personal items. This also prevents possible damage to the interior due to loose items.

Check for leaks: If your car leaks fluids, fix this issue before shipping. Leaks can damage other vehicles in transit.

Turn off the alarm: Car alarms can cause significant issues during transport, so ensure your car’s alarm is disabled.

Remove or secure loose parts: Any loose or specialty items such as spoilers, fog lights, or mirrors should be removed or firmly secured.

Check tire pressure and battery: Ensure your tires are properly inflated, and your battery is fully charged.

Fuel Levels and Mechanical Issues: Before shipping, leaving only about a quarter tank of fuel in the vehicle is good practice. More fuel adds unnecessary weight during transport. 

Mechanical issues: If your car has any mechanical issues, you should communicate them to the shipping company in advance. A car that struggles to start or move can cause delays during loading and unloading.


Can preparation guarantee my car’s safety during transport? While it’s not a 100% guarantee, it reduces the risk of damage and shipping hiccups. So, buckle up and take the driver’s seat in preparing your car for shipping.

5. Understanding Car Shipping Insurance

Moving a car across long distances involves certain risks. Because of this, car carriers offer some form of insurance. Car shipping insurance, in simplest terms, is a policy that covers the cost if your vehicle is damaged during transit. Knowing what’s covered and not in your car shipping insurance can give you peace of mind and prevent costly surprises. So, what types of insurance exist during car transportation, and how do the shipping company protect your vehicle? There are several categories of car shipping insurance, each offering varying levels and types of coverage. Here are a few examples:

Primary Insurance: This entirely replaces your car insurance while the vehicle is in transit.

Contingent Insurance: This is only a backup if your car insurance won’t cover the damage.

Gap Insurance: It fills the “gap” between what your car insurance covers and the actual cost of the repairs.

Kind of Coverage Does Car Shipping Insurance Provide

Car shipping insurance coverage is as varied as the types of policies. As you browse your options, keep in mind that coverage levels will vary based on the specifics of the policy and the shipping company. It might typically cover:

Physical Damage: Includes scratches, dents, or other damages caused during transport.

Theft: Should your car be stolen during transit, car shipping insurance will cover the cost.

Total Loss: If the car is damaged completely, this insurance will cover its value.

At SAKAEM Logistics, we value the safety of your vehicle. As such, we include both of these essential insurance types in all of our shipping contracts. We’re stepping up to ensure your vehicle gets the protection it deserves.

6. Estimating Car Shipping Timeframes: Texas to California

The journey from Texas to California is not a straightforward hop. Several factors play a critical role in determining your car shipping timeframe. While it’s challenging to precisely answer “How long does it take to ship a car from Texas to California?” knowing the factors that impact shipping time can help you plan better and set realistic expectations. Remember, the aim is safe and secure delivery of your car, even if it takes a little longer. Typically, shipping a car from Texas to California can take 3 to 7 days, depending on the factors below. Keep in mind that these are merely estimates, and actual times may vary:

Distance & Route: Distance is the primary determinant in car shipping. Longer routes mean longer transit time, but the specific route can also impact the shipping time.

Transport Type: The transit method (open versus enclosed trailer) may affect how quickly your car reaches its destination.

Weather: Weather conditions, particularly in states known for unforgiving weather, could delay the car shipping process.

Car Condition: If your car isn’t running, extra time and resources might be needed to load and unload your vehicle.

Pick-up and Drop-off Locations: Delivery to a remote location might add some transit days, while door-to-door delivery could speed things up.

“So, can anything be done to hasten the process?” you might wonder. The answer is yes. You can opt for expedited car shipping, a premium service many transport companies offer. However, it comes at a steeper cost and might not always be available.

FAQs on Car Shipping: All Your Questions Answered

Can I Pack Personal Items in the Car During Transport?

Undoubtedly, this is one of the most common questions we encounter. The answer is yes but with some caveats. Although loading your car with personal belongings can save you on moving costs, there are some weight restrictions to consider. Items are not secured, which multiplies the risk of damage during transport. Liability issues can also arise, so we suggest only leaving necessary items in the car.

How do I get a Car Shipping Quote?

Acquiring a car shipping quote is as easy as pie. Contact a reputable car shipping company and provide them with crucial details. In general, you need to provide the make and model of your car, the distance of the move, the date you want it shipped, and the carrier you prefer (open or enclosed). All these factors will influence the final quote you receive.

Is Door-to-Door Shipping Available?

Yes, indeed! Door-to-door shipping is one of the perks of hiring a professional car transporter. They pick up and deliver your vehicle straight to your doorstep, thus saving you all the hassle. However, some locations may have restrictions due to narrow streets or tight turns. If that’s the case, a nearby, more accessible meet-up point would be arranged.

What Documents are required for Car Transport?

Before waving goodbye to your vehicle, there are certain documents you need to prepare. They typically include your vehicle title, proof of insurance, and registration. Remember that the requirements may vary depending on the shipping company and the country where the car is being shipped.


Shipping a car to another state can be challenging, but having these crucial points in mind can ease the process. It’s not just about the cost; there are other factors to consider, such as delivery time, the service provider’s credibility, insurance coverage, pre-shipment preparations, and your preference for the mode of delivery. Armed with these insights, you should be well-positioned to make an informed and confident decision about shipping your vehicle from Texas to California.

Start off this journey with SAKAEM Logistics by your side and transform your transportation experience from chaotic to effortless. Choosing SAKAEM Logistics for your car transport isn’t a hasty decision. It’s the result of thorough research. They have a seamless booking process, periodic updates on your consignment, and dedicated customer support. By choosing SAKAEM Logistics, you’re partnering with a company that values your trust and respects your time. So, why wait? Get a quote today and enjoy a seamless shipping experience.

Common Questions People Also Ask on Google about Car Shipping

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car from Texas to California?

Prices vary depending on factors like the type of car, transport method, and distance. Average prices may range from $800 to $1000. Remember the old saying: You get what you pay for despite the relative expense.

Is it Safe to Ship My Car Across Such a Long Distance?

Absolutely! Cars are securely strapped down and inspected at regular intervals during transit. So, rest easy knowing that your vehicle is, quite literally, in safe hands.

What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing a Car Shipping Company?

Cost, company reputation, insurance provision, and customer service should be considered. Remember to put “the pedal to the metal” and thoroughly research before choosing.

Can I Ship Personal Belongings Along with the Car?

In general, yes. However, certain constraints apply. Car shipping companies may restrict the type and quantity of items due to weight and security considerations.

How Do I Prepare My Car For Cross-Country Transportation?

Simple actions can make a big difference. Clean your vehicle, remove personal items, check fluid levels and tire pressure, and document the car’s current state. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, indeed.

What is the Difference Between Open and Enclosed Car Transport?

Weigh the pros and cons of each. Open transport is more common and affordable, but your car is exposed to the elements. Enclosed transport offers more protection but comes with a higher price tag.

Do Car Shipping Companies Provide Insurance for the Vehicles?

Yes, they do. Insurance covers unexpected logistic issues arising during transit. Always ensure that the provided insurance meets your needs.

How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car from Texas to California?

Typically, it takes 2-5 days, depending on the transportation method and company efficiency. Remember the adage: Patience is a virtue!

Are There Any Specific Documents Needed for Car Transport?

Generally, you’ll need documents like your ID, car title, proof of insurance, and registration. However, requirements might vary across companies.

Is Door-to-Door Car Shipping More Convenient Than Terminal-to-Terminal?

Door-to-door shipping offers the convenience of direct delivery, sparing you the trouble of picking up from a terminal. It’s all about weighing convenience against cost! Treat car shipping as a journey, not a destination, and choose a company that ensures a smooth ride.

Brantley Kendall