Tips for Finding Affordable International Car Shipping Services

Brantley Kendall

13 Feb 2023 1 year ago

International car shipping can be a complicated and expensive process. Finding an affordable shipping service that meets your needs can be daunting. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks to finding the best car shipping services that fit your budget. In this article, you will find helpful advice on finding an affordable international car shipping service that is reliable and secure. From researching different shipping companies to understanding the various shipping services available, this guide will help you make the right decision and get your car safely to its destination.

How to calculate international car shipping costs?

Knowing the cost of international car shipping upfront can help you plan your budget and ensure you have the funds available to transport your car. Below are a few tips to help you get started.

Determine the size of the car shipping container you will need

 The container cost is usually based on the vehicle size, with smaller vehicles requiring smaller containers and larger vehicles requiring larger containers. For example, a car that is 12 feet in length would need a 20-foot container.

 Determine the weight of the vehicle

The weight of the vehicle affects the car shipping cost. The heavier the vehicle, the more it will cost to ship. For example, a car that weighs 4,000 pounds would cost more to ship than a car that weighs 2,000 pounds.

 Origin and destination of the vehicle

This will affect the cost of international car shipping, as the further, the car is being shipped, the more it will cost. For example, shipping a vehicle from the United States to Australia would cost more than shipping a car from the United States to Canada.

 Factor in the cost of insurance

This is often required when shipping a vehicle internationally. The cost of the insurance will depend on the value of the car. For example, a vehicle worth $20,000 would require more insurance than a vehicle worth $10,000.

 Factor in the cost of customs and duties, if applicable

Different countries have customs and duties that must be paid for shipping a vehicle across international borders. For example, shipping a car from the United States to Canada may require paying duties and taxes of up to 10% of the car’s value.

 Once all of these costs have been calculated, you can get an estimated total cost of shipping the vehicle internationally. With that said, shipping a car that is 12 feet in length, weighs 4,000 pounds, and is worth $20,000 from the United States to Australia may cost around $3,500.

Understanding the benefits of international car shipping

International car shipping can be intimidating, but the right service provider can make it an easy and stress-free experience. Shipping a car overseas can be beneficial for various reasons, and it’s essential to understand the benefits of choosing an international car shipping service.

Save money 

You don’t have to worry about the costs associated with airfare, gas, and hotels when you ship your car. Not to mention, you also don’t need to worry about the wear and tear that would occur if you drove your car to its destination. Shipping companies offer competitive rates, making it easier to transport vehicles overseas. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about the cost of fuel or additional fees for renting a car in a foreign country.

Less time-consuming

Shipping a car can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the destination. This is much faster than driving, which can take several weeks or even months. And when transporting your car to a different company, self-driving is only a viable option sometimes.

Safety is priority

You don’t have to worry about the risks of driving on unfamiliar roads when you ship your car. Additionally, your vehicle will be in the hands of experienced professionals trained in safely handling vehicles. Professional car shipping companies use the latest technologies to ensure your car arrives safely and sound. They use specialized equipment to protect your vehicle from damage during shipping.


From door-to-door storage service, most international car shipping companies will take care of all the details for you. This allows you to focus on other aspects of your trip, such as sightseeing or planning other activities.

Time Savings

Shipping companies offer faster turnaround times than other methods of transport. This means you can have your car delivered to its destination in a shorter time. So you won’t have to wait any longer.


Professional car shipping companies provide insurance to cover any damages that may occur during shipping. This ensures that you are fully protected if something unexpected happens during the shipping process.


Shipping companies have the experience and knowledge to safely transport your car overseas. They know the best routes, the most cost-effective way to ship, and which ports are the most reliable.

Comparing international car shipping services

Car shipping is a convenient way to transport your vehicle from one place to another. With the growing popularity of international car shipping services, it cannot be easy to know which one to choose. To make the best decision, it’s essential to compare different international car shipping services based on the factors below:

  • Service: Ask questions about their experience, track record of delivering vehicles on time, and customer service. It would help if you also looked into their policies and procedures to ensure they meet your needs.
  • Price: Getting quotes from multiple companies is essential to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible. Be sure to ask about any additional fees or charges that may apply, such as storage fees, loading and unloading fees, and more.
  • Insurance: Ask whether the company carries enough insurance to cover any potential damages that may occur during the shipping process.
  • Reviews: Read customer reviews to better understand the company’s reliability, customer service, and overall experience. This can help you get an idea of what other people have experienced with the company and their general level of satisfaction.
  • Delivery Times: Ask each company how long it will take for your car to reach its destination and make sure they can meet your needs.
  • Customer Service: Check to see if the company offers customer service and ensure they are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

 Navigate the regulations for international car shipping

To ship a car internationally, owners must know a few shipping rules and regulations. Shipping services use methods and guidelines to ensure vehicles’ safe and professional transport.

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Regulations: All U.S. vehicles must meet import requirements and be cleared through a CBP port of entry. The CBP may assess duties, taxes, and fees on the car and require proof of ownership and other documentation.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Regulations: The DOT oversees the safe transportation of motor vehicles, including those shipped overseas. All cars must meet DOT safety requirements, including brakes, steering, headlights, and other components.
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code): This code sets forth the regulations for shipping hazardous materials, including those used in vehicles, by sea. It is essential to understand these regulations to avoid any penalties or fines.
  • International Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA): COGSA sets forth the responsibilities of the carrier and shipper when transporting goods by sea. It is essential to understand these regulations to ensure the safe and timely delivery of the vehicle.

Methods to transport your vehicle overseas

Transporting a vehicle overseas requires immense planning and execution. Because you will be transporting a car to another country, you will likely have to follow specific regulations. Thanks to the auto transport companies for providing efficient methods to transport your vehicle overseas.

Roll-On/Roll-Off (RORO)

 Roll-On/Roll-Off (RORO) is a shipping service used to transport vehicles and large equipment from one area to another. This type of service allows for a much more efficient and cost-effective way to transport large items than traditional shipping methods. The items are loaded onto a specially designed vessel, secured and transported to the desired destination.

RORO service is a popular choice for those transporting vehicles and other large items, as it is faster and more reliable than other types of shipping. It also allows for greater flexibility, as customers can ship their items to different countries or regions. Additionally, RORO service costs are usually much cheaper than other traditional shipping methods. This makes it an excellent option for those looking to save money while ensuring their items arrive safely and on time.

Container shipping

Container shipping is a popular way to transport vehicles overseas. It involves securing a car into a large container that is loaded onto a cargo ship and transported to its destination. The container is sealed, so the vehicle is protected from the elements and potential damage while in transit. Container shipping is usually the safest, most secure, and most cost-effective way to transport a vehicle overseas.

 The first step in container shipping is to prepare the vehicle for transport. This involves draining all fluids, such as fuel, oil, and coolant, and removing the battery and other removable parts. Depending on the vehicle, it may also need to be secured to the container floor with tie-downs or straps. Once the car is prepared, it is loaded into the container, and the container is then sealed and loaded onto the cargo ship.

 Once the vehicle arrives at its destination, it is unloaded from the container by a specialized vehicle transporter. The car is then checked for any damage caused during transport. After all necessary checks are complete, the vehicle is ready to be delivered to its owner.

Types of auto transport services

Here are some of the most common auto transport services: 

Open-Carrier Auto Transport

This is the most common type of auto transport service, and is generally the least expensive option. Open-carrier auto transport carriers are large, open-air trailers that can transport up to 8-10 vehicles at a time. Open-carrier auto transport is the most popular type of auto transport for short-distance moves.

Enclosed Auto Transport

Enclosed auto transport services offer an extra layer of protection for vehicles. These trailers are completely enclosed and typically have enough room for two to four vehicles. Enclosed auto transport is a great option for luxury vehicles and exotic cars, as it provides an extra layer of protection from the elements and road debris.

Door-to-Door Auto Transport

Door-to-door auto transport is a convenient service that allows customers to pick up or drop off their vehicles at their location of choice. This type of auto transport is ideal for people who cannot accommodate pick up or drop off times.

Expedited Auto Transport

This service offers customers the opportunity to transport their vehicle quickly. This type of transport is ideal for customers who need their vehicle to arrive at its destination as soon as possible.

How to ensure a smooth international car shipping experience

When international car shipping is concerned, the adventure begins long before you actually ship the vehicle. In fact, choosing a shipping company is one of the most critical decisions regarding international car shipping.

1. Research shipping companies: Before you decide to ship your car, research shipping companies that offer international car shipping services to ensure you find the most reliable and cost-effective option. Ask for references or read customer reviews to ensure that your chosen company is trustworthy.

  2. Choose the proper shipping method: There are two main methods of shipping a car internationally, as discussed above: container shipping and roll-on/roll-off (RORO). RORO is the most economical option and is typically used to ship vehicles in running condition. Container shipping is the more expensive option recommended for cars that require special protection, such as high-end or vintage vehicles.

 3. Prepare the car: Make sure all personal belongings are removed from the car before shipping. Ensure the vehicle is clean and any liquids such as fuel, oil, and antifreeze are drained. Documenting the car’s condition before it is shipped is also essential.

  4. Obtain necessary documents: Depending on the country you are shipping the car to, specific documents and permits may be required for the vehicle to be imported. Ensure you understand the destination country’s requirements and obtain the necessary documents before you ship the car.

 5. Track the shipment: Once the car is shipped, make sure you track the shipment to ensure its safe arrival. This can be done through the shipping company’s website or app. Additionally, staying in contact with the shipping company throughout the process is crucial to ask questions and providing updates.

How to prepare a car for international shipping

 You can ensure that your car is ready for the journey ahead with a few simple steps. This section will provide the information you need to properly prepare your vehicle for international shipping, including what paperwork you need to complete, how to prepare the car for transport, and what safety measures you should take. 

Before you ship your car, it’s essential to properly prepare it to ensure it arrives in the same condition it was left in. Here are some tips to help you get your vehicle ready for transit:

 1. Clean the Vehicle: Before you ship your vehicle, ensure it’s clean inside and out. This includes vacuuming the interior, washing the exterior, and cleaning the underside of the car. This will help you spot any potential damage, and your vehicle will be more presentable when it arrives.

  2. Remove Valuables and Personal Belongings: You don’t want to leave any valuables or personal items in your vehicle when you ship them, as these can be easily stolen or lost during the shipping process. Make sure you take out any CDs, coins, jewellery, or other items before you ship your car.

  3. Make Necessary Repairs: Before you ship your car, it’s essential to make any necessary repairs. This includes checking fluid levels, topping off the gas tank, and ensuring the tires are inflated. You should also check the brakes and other components to ensure they’re in good condition.

  4. Document the Vehicle’s Condition: Once you’ve cleaned and repaired the car, take photos and make notes of any existing damage. This will help you prove that the vehicle was in good condition before shipping.

  5. Remove Exterior Accessories: To prevent damage, it’s important to remove any exterior accessories, such as bike racks and antennae. This will also help reduce the car’s overall weight, which can help you save money on shipping costs.

 6. Prepare the Interior: To prevent damage to the car’s interior, removing loose items and closing all windows and sunroofs are essential. You should also disable the alarm system and ensure all doors are closed and locked.

Frequently asked questions about shipping your car overseas

How much does it cost to ship a car overseas?

The cost of shipping a car overseas depends on several factors, including the weight and size of the vehicle, the destination country, and the method of shipment. Generally, shipping a car overseas can range from $1,000 to $5,000.

How long does it take to ship a car overseas?

The time it takes to ship a car overseas can vary depending on the destination and the method of shipment. Generally, the vehicle can take anywhere from one to six weeks to arrive at its destination.

What documents are required to ship a car overseas?

When shipping a car overseas, you must provide the shipping company with all the necessary documentation, including a bill of lading, proof of ownership, registration documents, title documents, and import/export paperwork.

What is the best way to ship a car overseas?

The best way to ship a car overseas depends on several factors, including the destination, size and weight, and budget. The most common methods of shipping a car overseas are container ship, roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) ship, and air freight.

Are there any restrictions on shipping a car overseas?

Yes, there are certain restrictions on shipping a car overseas, such as certain countries may not allow importing certain types of vehicles. Additionally, some countries may require that the car be modified to meet specific standards, such as emission regulations. It is essential to check the laws and regulations of the destination country before shipping a vehicle overseas.

Brantley Kendall