Things To Know Before You Ship A Car From California To Illinois

Brantley Kendall

28 Dec 2021 3 years ago

How to ship a car from California to Illinois? What’s the first step? How long will the process take? How do I calculate the cost to ship a car? What are the documents needed?

All these questions have arisen in your mind because you decided to move to Illinois or decided to move a car to Illinois. We know how tough it can get while picking the best for your vehicle. So don’t worry, we will help you make this decision based on some facts.

We are here to help you choose what is best for your car, from the most convenient carrier service to the most cost-efficient plan. Your most eligible and reliable California to Illinois auto transport partner is here at your service.

Things to Know Before LA to Chicago Car Shipping

Height & Weight Regulations

American federal law prohibits inter-state shipping of vehicles having a height of more than seven feet. It doesn’t cause any issue as most of the cars are shorter than the limit, but it’s better if you have a tall car and have doubts regarding its height. You must contact the shipping company in case your car exceeds this limit.

Insurance Protection

You must make sure that your car is covered by active insurance coverage before you decide to ship it. This will protect you from any potential damage caused during the transport.

How to Ship a car from California to Illinois?

Have to ship a car from California to Illinois? This in itself sounds like a tedious and job, right? This might even be true, but this blog will provide a hassle-free process to ship your car from California to Illinois. With several options to choose from, you stopping by here in itself is a significant achievement.

The first step to ship a car from California to Illinois is finding a reliable transport company that fits in with your budget and requirements. Apart from checking their reviews from past customers, you should talk to them and learn about costs, shipping time, ancillary services, etc. More than anything else, they should be reliable even if it means spending a few bucks more.

Once you’ve shortlisted shipping companies, the next step is getting quotes from them. Based on the costs and requirements, you can finalize one and get your shipping done. Quite simple, isn’t it?

How long does car transport from California to Illinois take?

The time taken to move a car from California to Illinois depends on multiple factors and cannot be put in a single number.

The first and obvious factor is distance. The distance between California and Illinois might be fixed but it’s the distance between the pickup and delivery points that makes the difference. It will take more time if the pickup or delivery are in remote areas.

The second crucial factor is the weather. You can expect quicker delivery in the Summer as the weather remains mostly clear. However, you might have to wait as its carriers are often over-booked during this time of the year. Winter, on the other hand, restricts the movement and causes delays.

An approximate distance between California to Illinois is 2100 miles, and it takes about 5-7 days to ship a car.

The professional drivers are usually well-trained and have years of experience. They are well informed with the shortest and the fastest routes in order for you to get your car delivered in the quickest possible time. Additionally, the type of carrier service you choose also affects the duration of your car transport.

What factors determine the car shipping cost?

Your friend’s car shipping cost from California to Illinois was 1097$, but you received a quotation of 1264$. Why did this happen? Well, like mentioned above, many factors are taken into consideration when the cost is calculated. Let’s have a look at them to give you an in-depth understanding of how the pricing works.


The distance between these two states is fixed, but the distance of the pickup and drop points are variables. The calculation is done based on those two points, which might have differed in both cases.


The trailer space taken by your friend’s car and your car might have been different. Your car might be an SUV and need more space than that of your friend’s hatchback. This could be a reason why your quotation is higher than his.

Expedited delivery

Your friend scheduled the pickup and the drop dates far apart, which gave us a lot of time to get his car shipped. You might have given the fewer days to transport the car, making the job a little more challenging. When you want the job done faster, the charges also increase.

Autotype transport carrier

The choice of auto transport from California to Illinois also affects your shipping price. Choosing an enclosed trailer will increase the cost of the shipment. While choosing an open trailer will be cheaper and make your delivery faster as many open trailer drivers are available.

Car moving condition

Moving a non-running car costs more than transporting a moving car as it takes heavy machinery, extra work to move that into the carrier.


There is a limit to what companies cover for the damages in the transit. To get protected by full insurance, you will need to upgrade the package. This will increase your overall shipping cost as well.


Most people don’t prefer to move their cars during Winters and Monsoon as it could cause damage to their cars. As a result, the business of transport companies suffers and they increase the delivery costs to make up for it.

What is the car shipping cost from California to Illinois?

We won’t give you a specific number as, again, it is based on various factors. This is why we have a cost-to-ship calculator which provides the exact quotations for your locations. The calculator asks you specific details, such as the zipcodes of the pick-up and drop-off locations. Once entered, it moves on to asking you the model, year, and make of the car. You’ll also be asked to choose the carrier you want for your vehicle to be shipped in.

Let’s look at the factors that impact the car shipping cost from California to Illinois.

Condition of the Car

As we mentioned earlier, the rates also depend on whether you are shipping a non-running or moving car. The former will increase the price slightly as it takes heavy machinery or equipment to get your vehicle moved in the carrier. The rate may also go up if you transport your car to a remote area. 

Choice of Carrier

The rate is affected by the type of carrier you choose. The rates are different for an open and an enclosed carrier. Open carriers are affordable, safe for your private cars, and are often chosen by people. They are fast and accessible modes of transportation for your vehicle.

The enclosed carriers are expensive choices and are preferred by luxury or sports car owners. This carrier provides immense safety to your car from road and weather disturbances.

An approximate car shipping cost from California to Illinois:

Shipping To/FromCostDistanceEstimated time in transit
Los Angeles to Chicago1065 $2015 miles6-7 days
San Diego to Elgin1125 $2050 miles6-7 days
San Francisco to Springsfield1225 $2044 miles6-7 days
Bakersfield to Chicago1245 $2032 miles6-7 days
Los Angeles to Elgin1075 $1988 miles6-7 days
San francisco to Springsfield1225 $2044 miles6-7 days
Pasadena to Naperville1075 $1982 miles6-7 days
Santa Barbara to Chicago1285 $2104 miles6-7 days
Beverly Hills to Chicago1065 $2028 miles6-7 days
Malibu to Naperville1075 $2024 miles6-7 days

What documents do I need when shipping a car?

You need certain documents and a separate set of documents prepared by the company when they ship a car from California to Illinois. Having proper documents with you for submission smoothens the entire process. Apart from the papers, a person (you or someone else) should also release the vehicle to the carrier at the pickup spot.

Then you need is a BOL (Bill of Lading). The bill of lading is a receipt that acts as an inspection report. When the company is picking up your car, certain checkups are made.

The vehicle’s condition, the existing damages, all these details are inspected right in front of you and are documented. You then sign this document as proof that you know all the mentioned details.

A copy of this inspection report is provided to you, and it is imperative for both parties to maintain transparency and eliminate any inconvenience that may arise.

So we can safely say that you need:

  • Driver’s license
  • Bill of Lading
  • Car registration details
  • Insurance papers

Additional tips for moving to Illinois from California:

1- The Climate Catastrophe: Illinois has a very harsh climate change. The winters are freezing while the summers are sweltering. So be aware of living in the snow for a while. It also means driving in the snow to living all by yourself with the city being completely shut down for a few days.

2- Check the time of moving: Moving in the summertime, weekends, or public holidays will cost you more than any other time as both parties must maintain at that time, the demand is higher, and the supply is lesser. So in case if you are on a budget crunch, try and avoid moving in those mentioned time frames.

3- LSD time: Okay, it doesn’t mean what it sounds like. It means Lake Shore Drive. This is one of the most commonly used acronyms in the state and can be completely misunderstood by people new to the state.

4- Speeding city: This city has drivers that like to get the most out of their engines. You might find them going above the speeding limit but at the same time are used to the surroundings and lanes. So if you are a stickler for rules, you might want to get yourself prepared.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where will my car be picked up and delivered?

The drivers are thoroughly trained and professionally educated and ensure door-to-door service. In some instances, the areas or cities have specific laws restricting the entrance of big trucks and vehicles. It could be because of nature or narrow roadways. In such cases, the driver will ask you to meet them at the nearest possible point.

What is Bill of Lading?

It is a document that contains all the necessary details regarding the shipment. It includes the model, make, existing damages on the car, terms, and conditions, etc., and acts as a transparent way of working for both parties.

How much fuel should my car tank contain while being transported?

You can have one out of your tank filled with fuel, which will make the loading and unloading part of the job easier without using any heavy machinery.

Which type of transport carrier is the best for my car?

Open carriers are best for personal and private cars. They are also a faster mode of transportation as plenty of open trailer carrier drivers are available. Given that, they are also cheaper than the enclosed ones. The enclosed trailer is a more expensive one used by luxury or sports car owners as it protects your car from road and weather elements. They are not readily available.

Can I get my new car picked up from the store?

Yes, a car shipping service provider will help you pick up your new car from the store and drop it at any desired location in the United States.

Brantley Kendall