Car Shipping Cost Calculator

How to Ship a Car to Another State – Prepare Yourself


Shipping Cars from State to State

Looking to learn how to ship a car to another state? There are a few factors you’ll need to consider before you do so. Though the process of shipping a car is fairly simple, it’s important to know how the different decisions you make will affect the overall cost to transport a car to another state. You’ll need to plan within your budget and decide which services have the greatest value. This post will cover everything you need to know about how to ship your car to another state as well as what to look for to make sure you are making informed decisions.

How to Ship a Car to Another State

As mentioned above, shipping a car to another state is overall an easy process. You’ll do research to figure out what shipping carrier you’d like to use, determine which service and shipping method fits your budget, and then prepare to ship your car. 

Many shipping carriers offer free car shipping calculators you can use to gauge how much it will cost to send your car from one destination to another. By getting quotes from different shipping carriers, you’ll get a sense of the general cost of transporting vehicles from state to state/.

Finding a Transport Company

Choosing a transport company to ship your car to another state can be a time-consuming project. You’ll need to decide what transport company fits your needs and your budget. When deciding how to ship a car to another state you’ll have to choose between open or enclosed shipping. You’ll also have to decide what service type you’ll use to decide what transport type you’ll use to get your vehicle from one location to the next. Most shipping carriers will provide different forms of door-to-door service.

What to Look for in a Shipping Carrier

Before we get into the next steps of the shipping process, let’s take a moment to touch on the different attributes of a reputable shipping carrier.

A reputable shipping company will –

  • Be licensed and insured for internastes moves. You can use the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator’s website to access and review a company’s US DOT number.
  • A good rating with Better Business Bureau (BBB.) The BBB works to accredit companies and let you know whether a company is, or isn’t approved.
  • Quality online reviews. When you review the reviews for the company, see what their customers say. The better the company’s reputation, the easier it will be to trust that they’ll get the job done right.

When you are reviewing companies, it’s also important for you to consider how much experience the company has. Though companies with more experience may sometimes charge higher prices, a part of what you are paying for is their experience. A company with 2 years of experience most likely won’t perform as well as a company that has 20 years of experience.

Scheduling Your Car Shipment

As soon as you decide to ship your car from one state to another, you’ll need to schedule your shipment. If you can, leave a large flexible time frame for shipping your car. This will help you lower the cost you’ll pay for shipping your car.

Timeframes for Shipping a Car from State to State

How long it takes to ship your car depends on how far it has to travel, the season, and whether or not you’ve chosen open or enclosed shipping. Open shipping will always move faster than enclosed shipping. Trying to transport your car to another state during the summer or winter will typically take longer than if you ship during the spring or fall.  

Understanding Car Shipping Demands 

Though you may not have stopped to think about it, car shipments are made every day. Because of the temperate weather, summer is the most active time to ship a car. If you plan to ship your car during the summer, you’ll need to plan ahead. If you don’t then you’ll run into one of two issues. 

  • Car shipping carriers won’t have any availability
  • Car shipping carriers will charge you additional fees for service

How Seasons Affect Shipping Car Shipping

Every season has an effect on the car shipping industry. The summertime leads to higher demands for car shipping, but it also creates congestion on the roads and can lead to shipping delays. Winter, on the other hand, is the slow season for car shipping, which can lead to transport companies lowering their prices. However, though their shipping prices drop, some companies include additional fees during the wintertime since their drivers are traveling during potentially dangerous inclement weather

How Road Closures Affect Car Shipments

No matter the season you decide to ship your car during, you’ll need to account for the potential delays you may face when having your car shipped. Though road closures happen most often during the winter months, the truth is that they can happen anytime. Shipping carriers often try to account for delays by providing you an estimate for how long it’ll take for your vehicle to arrive, but sometimes road closures can cause deliveries to take longer than expected.

Factors That Affect Cost

Shipping Distance

Distance is one of the primary factors that will determine how much you have to pay to ship your car. The further your vehicle needs to travel, the more you’ll be expected to pay.

Size and Weight of Your Vehicle

The size and weight of your car are some of the primary factors influencing the overall cost you’ll pay when shipping your car from one state to another. The larger the vehicle the more it’ll cost for the shipping carrier to transport your vehicle from the transport location to your pickup location.

Your Car’s Make and Model

When you receive an estimate from a shipping carrier, the overall cost to ship your car will often be determined by the make and model of your car. Shipping carriers typically charge a flat-based off either the size of your vehicle ( car, truck, SUV, etc.)  or a set amount per pound. 

You can see in the two tables below how to size, make and model, and distance each play a role in determining the overall cost of transporting vehicles from state to state.

DistanceOpen transport costEnclosed transport costAverage cost
<500 miles$630$930$780
500-1,000 miles$790$1,120$960
1,000-1,500 miles$1,070$1,510$1,290
1,500-2,000 miles$1,320$1,730$1,530
2,000-2,500 miles$1,360$1,850$1,600
>2,500 miles$1,350$1,830$1,590

Average costOpen transportEnclosed transport

Size of the Shipping Transport

Another factor determining the cost of shipping your car is the size of the transport your vehicle is loaded on. Larger transports offer lower prices because the cost of transport is divided across all of the vehicles being transported from one state to the next.

Expedited Shipping 

The speed of service you request when shipping your car will also influence the overall price you are asked to pay. When shipping a car to another state, it’s best to try to have a flexible shipping time frame. The more you are able to work with the shipping carrier, the lower your cost will be. Expedited service will always come at a higher price. 

Car Shipping Services

As mentioned earlier, door-to-door is the primary shipping service provided by transport companies when shipping a car to another state. This shipping method involves an agent from the transport company traveling to your home, retrieving your car, loading the car onto the shipping truck, and delivering it to your final destination.

Your car does not have to be limited between homes either. You can ship from a dealership to your home, between dealerships, from an auction to your home, and from your home to a friend. Whatever your needs are, your chosen transport company will do what they can to accommodate you. 

Car Shipping Methods

Car Shipping Methods

There are two primary methods for shipping your car from one state to another. You can use either open or enclosed shipping. Open shipping involves your car being loaded onto a rack that is attached to the back of the transport truck. Once the car is loaded onto the rack, it’s secured and remains in the same place until it arrives at its final destination. 

Enclosed shipping involves your car being placed on a rack, but, instead of being uncovered, it’s placed in a car hauler. The transport container provides an extra layer of protection by keeping your car unaffected by the weather.  

Getting Your Car Ready for Transport

There are several things you’ll need to do to get your car ready for shipping. 

  • You’ll need to remove all important documents from your car.
  • Remove all personal items from your car.
  • Leave only ¼ a tank of gas in your car.
  • Have your ownership and shipping documents prepared
  • Check your car battery to make sure it is charged
  • Make sure your tires are in good condition

Other Methods of Transport

If you don’t feel particularly drawn to the car shipping methods above, there are alternatives you can use to ship your car from one state to another/

Hitching Your Car to a Moving Truck

If you’re moving your personal belongings using a moving truck, there’s a good chance you can also move your vehicle too by using a tow dolly. Tow dollies attach directly to the moving truck and secure your vehicle during travel. 

However, not all moving trucks can support tow dollies, so be certain to check with the company you’re renting your truck from. Oftentimes, asking this question will also lead to the moving company offering to let you rent one of their tow dollies to move your vehicle.

Hiring a Driver

Hiring a driver is similar to using door-to-door service. The driver is provided by either a concierge company or a professional driving company. Your car will be transported to its final destination without being loaded onto a truck.

Also, you can typically send your pet with the driver as well. The driver will take care of your pet while transferring your car to its final destination. This service tends to be a bit expensive, but comes with added benefits.

The Advantages of Using a Broker

If you feel uncertain about how to ship a car from state to state, consider using a broker. Choosing this option will let you leave the decision making to trained professionals who are acting on your behalf. Brokers are familiar with the fluctuating prices of the car shipping industry and have logistical expertise.

They’ll know how to determine whether a particular shipping carrier is offering a good bid for shipping your car. Brokers also know the routes that carriers take to transport cars and continuously monitor the shipping carrier performance rates.

Another added benefit of using a broker is their speed. Shipping carriers often rely on brokers to provide them with business when transporting a car to another state. Because of the broker’s frequent interactions with brokers, they know what car shipping carriers will fit your needs.


After reading this post you’ve learned what you need to do to transport a car to another state. You’ll need to decide which shipping methods and services make the most sense for your budget and what else you have going on. If you’re transporting your car along with moving your personal belongings, it may make more sense for you to add a tow dolly to the moving truck you rent. You’ll also need to keep in mind how the seasons, expedited shipping, and choosing to use a broker can affect the overall price you pay. But, if you’re simply trying to transport your car to another state, you may want to use open shipping. Every choice you make will influence the overall cost you are asked to pay. Keep that in mind, and you’ll feel more comfortable choosing your car shipping carrier.

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