Shipping a Car To or From San Francisco? Here’s All You Need To Know

Brantley Kendall

04 Apr 2022 2 years ago

San Francisco, CA, is a major coastal city in California. San Francisco and its surrounding towns are known for their steep rolling hills and Victorian architecture. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in the country, and Alcatraz Island is known for its former federal prison. 

People have been opting for car transport in San Francisco for a long time now. San Francisco is a great place to visit and live in. The city has a lot of world-class attractions, and it also holds the distinction of being the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. Millions of visitors go to San Francisco every year, so it’s easy to find car shipping companies that offer different ways to ship a car to or from San Francisco.

You have a few options for shipping your car; by train, truck or airplane. The mode of transport you choose will depend on several factors, including your budget and timeframe. If you’re looking for an affordable and reliable way to get your car to and from San Francisco, read on!

5 Different Ways to Ship a Car to and from San Francisco

People who want to relocate to and from San Francisco might be wondering, “How to transport my car from San Francisco” The best way to ship your car to or from San Francisco is always dependent on your unique situation. To give you a better idea of your options, we’ve put together this quick list to help you determine the best way to move your car. So whether you’re moving a classic car or an old beater, this rundown will help you find the best option.

Drive it yourself 

If you have the time, money, and physical ability to drive your car to San Francisco, this is probably the best way. Driving your vehicle allows you to control your moving schedule, and you can pack up or unpack at your leisure. This is a good option if you have the time, are looking for an adventure, and don’t mind driving in city traffic. Also, driving yourself can be a fun way to get to know the San Francisco area, and it gives you more control over when you arrive and depart. Make sure you consider all of the expenses involved in car transport in San Francisco. This includes gas money, tolls, and even wear and tear on your vehicle. Unless you’re moving across town or have some other reason why driving makes sense, it might be better to choose one of the alternatives below.

Hire Someone to Drive It for You

If you’re hiring someone for transporting a car from San Francisco (and vice versa) for you, the next option is to hire a professional driver. Driving across the country using this method is much cheaper than shipping a car by rail or truck, and this method is usually safe and reliable as long as you do some research on the driver beforehand. Ensure that the driver has experience driving long distances in unfamiliar areas and that they have proper insurance coverage. However, if you’re moving an antique or classic car, this may not be the best option because these cars are generally not designed for long-distance highway driving. For example, classic cars typically have drum brakes which are prone to overheating on long descents.

Use Air Transport Service

Air transport service is a unique way to get your vehicle to and from San Francisco. This type of shipment involves hauling your car on the back of an airplane. It’s not the most common shipping method, but it is the fastest. This may be a good option if you need to get your vehicle somewhere extremely fast. In most cases, the cost to transport the car to San Francisco (and vice versa) by air route is expensive compared to the other ways of shipping a vehicle. Also, air transport is not always available due to load restrictions and weather conditions.

Use Train Service to Ship Your Car to and From San Francisco

Train service to and from San Francisco is available throughout the country. The most popular rail routes include New York City and Los Angeles, but many smaller cities are also serviced by trains that go through San Francisco. The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system is also an option for people traveling to and from San Francisco. Train shipping is a good choice for those who want to save money and it does not cost as much as air shipping, and it takes much less time than ship transportation. The only disadvantage of this method is that train stations are not located in all the cities, so it might be challenging to find the station near you.

Use the Services of an Auto Transport Company

If you don’t want to spend hours at a car dealership or boat ramp, using an auto shipping service for car transport in San Francisco can be wise. With these services, the only thing you need to do is pack your car and call the company. They will pick up your vehicle and drop it off at your destination. These companies are licensed, bonded, and insured for your peace of mind. Auto transport services providers have vehicles equipped with ramps and lift gates that make loading and unloading safer and more convenient. They have years of experience in the auto transport business, and experienced drivers will pick up your car and deliver it to your location without any difficulty.

Some of these companies specialize in transporting luxury vehicles, while others focus on transporting cars more broadly. They can quickly and easily arrange delivery to San Francisco or pick up from San Francisco for your vehicle. Services will often offer insurance coverage for peace of mind, various pricing options, and door-to-door service that saves you from the hassle of renting a truck or renting a trailer to bring your car back home.

Want to know how much it costs to ship a car with SAKAEM?

Get an Instant Quote online or call us at (888)725-0005 for a personalized quote.

Different Types of Car Shipping Options 

When shipping a car, it’s essential to consider cost and convenience. But, you also need to understand the different types of car shipping available to make the right decision for your needs. Two of the most common methods include open and enclosed shipping.

Open Car Shipping

Most people who ship their cars will go with open shipping. Open carriers are large trucks with a flatbed and room to hold several vehicles. They are open on the top and sides and can transport various cars. Almost all car dealerships use open carriers for transporting a car from San Francisco, and many individual customers choose this option as well. The main advantage of using an open carrier is that the cost to transport the car to San Francisco is low compared to the enclosed one. The downside is that your vehicle may be exposed to the elements during transport, like rain, dust, and debris.

Enclosed Car Shipping

Enclosed car shipping is the safest shipping option for classic, luxury, and vintage vehicles because they are enclosed in trailers. Enclosed carriers are covered from all sides; hence they protect vehicles from external elements and prying eyes. This means that cargo theft is significantly reduced when using enclosed carriers. However, this service is more expensive than open shipping because there is limited space on enclosed carriers, and hence they can only carry one or two vehicles at a time.

Different Types of Car Shipping Services

There are many different auto transport services that people can use to ship their cars. These include express shipping, guaranteed transport, and military shipping. You will have to choose the best option based on the type of vehicle you want to ship, the distance it has to cover, and other factors. More on these factors later. First, look at the available options to ‘transport my car from San Francisco.’

Express Transport

Express transport is occasionally known as expedited auto transport. It is a pretty popular option among people who want their car delivered right away. The experts will load your vehicle onto a carrier as soon as possible and will generally arrive at its destination within a short time frame. The main reason for this type of shipping is that you need to get your car very quickly. This may be because your new home is ready for you to move in before you had anticipated, or you have taken a job in another city.

Guaranteed Transport

 Guaranteed auto transport is a service that ensures the professional shippers will move your vehicle on a specific date. Guaranteed auto transport services are typically more expensive than non-guaranteed ones, but this is because they will plan their route from point A to point B around the specific pickup and delivery dates to avoid delays in transit time. But people requiring the service are willing to pay for it. You need to ensure that your vehicle is ready to go on the day it is supposed to be picked up. If there are any mechanical issues with it, you will have to have them resolved before pick up.

Military Auto Transport Service

Military auto transport service helps military personnel to move their vehicle to and from San Francisco, such as a car or truck. The personnel can be active or former army officers, navy or air force. Troops use this service for car transport in San Francisco frequently when stationed in another unit or are relocating from one place to another.

Want to know how much it costs to ship a car with SAKAEM?

Get an Instant Quote online or call us at (888)725-0005 for a personalized quote.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship a Car to and from San Francisco?

If you wonder how much to transport a car to San Francisco, you are not alone. After all, shipping a car is expensive enough by itself. However, when you factor in things like fuel surcharges and tolls, the cost to ship a vehicle can start to add up. Knowing what determines the cost to ship a car can help you find ways to save money on your next shipment. Here are the most important things that determine the cost to transport the car to San Francisco:

Type of Transport Service

Several auto transport types include open, enclosed, door-to-door, terminal-to-terminal, and expedited shipping. Each type has its rates, which depend on several factors, including the expected arrival time and the size of the vehicle required.


This is perhaps one of the most obvious answers to your question, “how much to transport a car to San Francisco?” The further you need your car shipped, the more expensive it will be. Longer distances require more time, effort, and fuel for transporters to deliver your vehicle safely to its destination.

Size and Weight of Vehicles

The price varies based on whether your vehicle is large or small, heavy or light, and whether it runs. Having a larger car means more space, weight, and gas requirements for the carrier, which increases the price. In terms of the vehicle’s condition, if your vehicle does not run, it needs additional assistance to get onto and off the truck and have a special permit from the DOT (Department Of Transportation). All these extra costs drive up the price when shipping an inoperable vehicle.


The time of the year when you plan to ship your vehicle also affects how much you will pay for the service. During summer, many people are looking to move their vehicles from San Francisco to other places in California or across the U.S. This increases demand for shipping services, which pushes up prices due to increased competition among carriers.

Car Condition

If your car doesn’t run and needs to be loaded onto a tow truck or trailer before it can make its way onto an auto carrier, this will add the charge for labor on top of the other charges.

Want to know how much it costs to ship a car with SAKAEM?

Get an Instant Quote online or call us at (888)725-0005 for a personalized quote.

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car to and from San Francisco?

If you are someone who is looking to ship your car to or from San Francisco, numerous questions come up in your mind. Among the most important ones you might want to know is how long it will take to ship the car.

While it is difficult to give a fixed estimate, given that numerous factors play an essential role in determining these shipping times, we have tried to put together some of these factors that directly impact the time taken by the auto transport company to ship your car from one place to another.

Distance Between Pick Up and Drop Off

The distance between where you plan to have your car picked up and the destination plays an essential role in determining how long it will take to ship your vehicle. For example, if you need to have your car shipped from Los Angeles to San Francisco in California, it would probably not take too long because of the proximity between the two cities. On the other hand, if you were shipping your car from New York City to San Francisco, California, this would probably take longer due to the long distance between these two locations.

Cargo Space Availability

Suppose the demand for high auto transport services and limited cargo space can cause delays in getting your vehicle picked up and delivered. Generally speaking, companies will be able to accommodate more compact cars than larger vehicles like SUVs which take up more room on trucks.

Road Condition

While most of California’s roads are well maintained and in good condition, there’s always the possibility that you could encounter some bad weather when your car is on the road. These types of road conditions could cause damage to your vehicle or delay its arrival.

Time of Year

Summer months tend to be busier than winter months because more people are traveling on vacation or moving for college or work reasons than during the colder seasons when fewer holidays and school breaks are happening at once (like Christmas). This means there might be more cars being shipped around California during these times, so the availability of the carriers may be low, and hence it will take more than usual to deliver your vehicle.

How Does the Process of Shipping a Car to and from San Francisco Works

The shipping of a car to and from San Francisco can seem complicated, but Fear not! We’ve got you covered with this step-by-step list of the process.

Ask For a Quote and Book

The process of transporting a car from San Francisco (and vice versa) is quite simple. The first step is to get a quote. You can either call the auto shipping company or fill out their online form. Both ways are quick and easy and usually only take a minute. A vehicle transport quote will give you an estimated cost for moving your vehicle between two locations. Vehicle transport quotes are just estimates, not official prices. Once a carrier is assigned and ready to pick up your car, you’ll receive a final price.

 Once you get the quote, they will contact you with the information you’ve provided and help you choose the best option for your car shipping needs. Once you have selected an auto transport company, it’s time to book the shipment. This process requires some basic information like the make and model of your vehicle, so it’s always better to have that handy when calling in. It also helps to know what dates you want your car picked up or delivered by so they can arrange for a carrier that works with your schedule.

Prepare the Vehicle

This will require a small amount of preparation on your part, but it is not difficult. The most crucial step is to remove all personal belongings from the car. Auto transport companies will not ship a vehicle unless it is empty. You also need to wash and clean the exterior of the car. This will allow the driver to note any existing damage and make sure it is marked on their condition report before they leave with your car. You should also make sure that there are no fluid leaks and that your gas tank is less than half full. It is also important to note that drivers are not mechanics, and they cannot work on your vehicle if minor repairs are required to be driven safely.

Vehicle Pick up

The truck will arrive at your location for vehicle pick up as agreed upon and during a time that is convenient for you. The driver will confirm delivery details with you, such as the date and time of delivery, address and contact phone number for the drop-off location. The driver will then inspect the car for any damage before it departs from San Francisco. They do it in the presence of the client. Both parties will note any scratches or dents on the vehicle’s inspection sheet. Companies use it as a reference when it’s time to deliver your car to confirm that no damage was caused while in transit.

Vehicle Delivery

Once all the above steps are over, you are all set to receive your vehicle at the port or your door. The shipping company will inform you of the actual arrival time of your car. You can also take the follow-up through their app via GPS tracking. Make sure that you are present at the time of delivery; however, if you are unavailable, you can ask your friend or relative to pick up the same for you.

How to Get a Quote to Ship a Car to and from San Francisco  

Getting a quote for car transport in San Francisco is simple, fast, and accessible. To get your free, no-obligation quote, simply fill out the form on the shipping company’s website. The transport company needs your pickup location, drop-off location, and some basic information about your vehicle and move type. This will allow the auto shipping company to determine the cost to ship your car accurately. You will receive an email with your estimate in moments, often within seconds of submitting the form. When you’re ready to book your shipment, call them to speak with one of their customer service representatives, who can help with any questions.

Want to know how much it costs to ship a car with SAKAEM?

Get an Instant Quote online or call us at (888)725-0005 for a personalized quote.

How to Find the Best Auto Transport Company to Ship My Car?

Finding the best auto shipping company to transport my car from San Francisco should be more than just a simple Google search away. It’s important to remember that not all auto transport companies are created equal. Some operate with little regard for their customers or the safety of their cargo, while others work with care and integrity. To find the best auto transport company so that your vehicle arrives safely and on time, consider these tips:

Compare Prices

Once you’ve collected a few names of companies from asking around, it is time to compare prices. Go online and visit each website. Enter your shipping information into their quote calculators and get the results for reference. If a website does not provide a quote calculator, contact the company directly for a quote by phone or email. You can use the quotes as bargaining tools when you contact the company again to confirm your reservation later in the process.

Get Quotes from At Least 3 Different Companies

This sounds like common sense, but not everyone does it. It can be tempting to just go with the first company that gives you a quote, especially if it seems good. However, there is always a chance that you could get an even better deal from another auto transport company. The only way to make sure is by getting quotes from more than one company.

Shipping Method

Ask which method of shipping they use – open carrier or enclosed carrier? Any auto transport company can give you either service, but some specialize in one more than the other. If your car is a classic, vintage or collectible-type vehicle, going with an enclosed carrier can be good. The extra money is worth it! If it’s not a particular vehicle, then an open carrier will be acceptable and save you some money – especially if you’re on a budget!

 Check Out Reviews Online

 You’ll find many websites and forums where people can post their experiences with auto transport companies. Some sites even specialize in customer feedback of this type. Just be sure not to take every review as gospel truth because some competitors and unhappy customers like to post negative reviews for its fun and ruin the reputations of companies they dislike or consider the competition.

Find a Company with Experience

When hiring an auto transport company, you want to find one with experience. It’s essential to know the company you choose is well-equipped to handle your vehicle for the duration of its road trip. Be sure to ask about the company’s experience and what processes they have that make them trustworthy.

Make Sure They Are Licensed  

All auto transport brokers and carriers must be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) and have an assigned US DOT number. When you receive a quote from an auto transport broker, you can ask for their US DOT number or look it up on, run by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).


 Look at the Company’s Website

Once you’ve found a few car shipping companies that fit your search criteria, it’s time to dig deeper into the ones that seem promising. Check out their website to see how professional it looks, what kind of information they provide, and whether they list any accreditations or affiliations on their site.

FAQs Regarding Shipping a Car to and from San Francisco 

 How to Get My Car Ready For Shipping?

It is best to clean your car inside and out before experts load it onto the truck for transport. Make sure that it does not have any personal items in it so that there are no valuables left inside by accident. The driver will inspect your car before loading it, so it must be clean and ready for inspection. You also need to remove or secure all loose or hanging items from your vehicle before shipping. This includes things such as GPS units, cell phone chargers, other electronic devices, removable floor mats, CD cases, and clothing.

Can I ship my car to or from San Francisco at any time of year?

Yes and no. While it’s possible to ship a car year-round, some times of the year are easier for carriers than others. For example, during the winter months, bad weather or poor road conditions can make it impossible for runners to pick up or deliver vehicles in certain areas.

How Much To Transport A Vehicle To San Francisco?

The answer to the question, “how much to transport a car to San Francisco, “depends on several factors such as the distance between the origin and destination, the type of transport, and the size of the vehicle. The size, style, and weight of your vehicle matter because larger, heavier vehicles require more fuel to move them and more space in the truck.  

How Can I Pay The Auto Transport Shipping Company?

 Auto transport companies typically offer a couple of payment options. Most will offer a debit and credit card option. You can also use Paypal or send a check to the company. All these options will be available at checkout when you book your transport with them.

Do I Have to Be Present at the Time of Delivery of my car?

If you are not around when your car is being picked up or delivered, you will have to give power of attorney (POA) to someone else who can sign on your behalf. This person could be a friend, a relative, or someone you trust. The person should be able to sign all documents and other paperwork related to the shipping process. If they have access to your vehicle, they can also let the carrier take your car away for transport.

Pros and cons of moving to San Francisco

San Francisco is a beautiful city nestled in the Bay Area of California. Once a small, industrial town, San Francisco has grown into one of America’s largest and most popular cities. Famously known for its cable cars, Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinese food, San Francisco is a place where you can find a wide variety of activities, attractions, and sites to keep you busy all year long.


  • Economy: San Francisco has a strong economy thanks to a diverse business sector that includes tourism, finance, technology, banking, and manufacturing industries. Some of the biggest employers in this city include U.C. San Francisco Medical Center, Wells Fargo Bank, Levi Strauss & Co., Bank of America Corp., Gap Inc., etc. Beautiful views: The city is surrounded by water on three sides, creating stunning views from almost anywhere you stand. The Golden Gate Bridge is a bright orange color against the blue-gray sky and water. The hills are dotted with houses painted in various colors and have unique architecture. It’s no wonder that so many people flock to this destination every year.
  • Excellent schools: If you have children or are thinking of starting a family soon, San Francisco has some great public school systems that will help your children succeed in life and education. The schools have great programs for students to get involved in, but they also offer tutoring services if your child needs extra help with their homework or studies.


Cost of living: The median home price in San Francisco currently sits at $1.3 million — and that’s just too high for most people. Even renting a modest apartment will set you back several thousand dollars per month. It’s no wonder why so many young professionals now live in San Jose!

Traffic congestion: While public transportation options are plentiful, you might still spend a lot of time stuck in traffic on your way to work every morning, especially if you live in the suburbs and work downtown.

Want to know how much it costs to ship a car with SAKAEM?

Get an Instant Quote online or call us at (888)725-0005 for a personalized quote.

Brantley Kendall