ArticleCity.comArticle Categories Cross Country Car Shipping: The Cost to Ship a Car Across the US

Cross Country Car Shipping: The Cost to Ship a Car Across the US

Photo from AmeriFreight

Originally Posted On:


Do you need to relocate from your county to another area, or have you bought a car miles away? If yes, one of the greatest concerns in your mind now is how to transport your car.

Considering that your vehicle is one of the most treasured properties, it makes sense why you think it is safest only in your hands.

However, before you forego all car shipping services and drive the car yourself, take a minute and think about professional cross-country shipping services.

These people are dedicated to moving your vehicle to your preferred destination and saving you the hassle and expenses of driving for many miles.

Regardless of your reasons for shipping the car, hiring a shipping company makes more sense than driving the car yourself.

But won’t it cost you a fortune to hire a reputable auto transport company? You will be surprised to find how reasonable shipping costs are compared to the service you get.

Are you ready to learn more about cross-country shipping services and know how much they will cost you? Read on for this and more information.

What Is the Cost of Shipping a Car Across the Country?

The average cost of shipping a car across the country is $2 per mile for journeys below 200 miles and $0.58 per mile for journeys above 1500 miles.

These prices are estimates, and the actual prices vary based on the auto transport service you use. Some of the factors that affect the cost include the car type, size, and distance, among others.

The surest way to know how much you pay to ship your car is to use an auto transport calculator. So, how do these factors affect the overall shipping cost?


Like other industries, the car shipping industry has its highs and lows based on seasons. The season affects prices due to the weather conditions and the number of people on the road.


This is the peak season for the shipping industry. Many people are planning their vacations, and employers are busy relocating their employees. Due to the high demand, transport prices may rise.

However, some companies may lower their prices to help survive the high competition.


The number of people moving during the fall is lower compared to summer, thus lower prices. Additionally, the weather is still favorable for driving across the country, contributing to lower costs.

However, the prices might rise again in September when most college students are shipping their cars to schools.


The Winter season is probably the worst season to ship your car. Sure, this is the season with the least number of people on the road. However, the shipping price may be higher due to the snow, reduced daylight, and other dangerous driving conditions.

Additionally, this is the season when most drivers are off for the holidays. Therefore, the few who are still working may charge higher due to the increased demand.


As the poor weather conditions subside, the prices may start lowering and are probably at their lowest in the spring season. The weather is also favorable for transport in this season.

For this reason, this is the best season to ship your car, especially in March. Prices might rise again towards the end of May due to the upcoming summer season.

Distance and Location

It is obvious that the longer the distance traveled, the more you pay. This is to compensate for the fuel, mileage, and tolls.

Additionally, the location you want to ship to affects the cost. If you are shipping the car to a known route or city like New York, you will get a lower quote.

On the other hand, prices will rise for rural destinations and less popular routes since drivers may take longer to navigate them. The further a location is from the main route, the higher the transport cost.

Shipping Method Used

When shipping your car, the mainly used methods are open and enclosed shipping. In the open shipping method, your car is shipped in open-air along with other cars.

This is the most commonly used method and also the less expensive one. Although it is safe, the vehicles are exposed to debris and bad weather.

The enclosed shipping method is mainly used for classic and high-end sports cars. In this shipping method, the cars are well protected from road dirt and bad weather.

Unfortunately, this method is expensive and could cost up to 40% higher than the open shipping method.

Size, Weight, and Type of Your Car

Your car’s size, weight, and type affect the space it takes up in the hauling truck, thus affecting the price. The bigger your car, the more you will pay to transport it. This is why you are likely to pay less to transport a sedan compared to transporting a truck or SUV.

Other vehicle modifications, larger tires, and roof racks may also affect the price. Therefore, ensure that you clearly mention these factors to a potential company for you to get an accurate quote.

Personal Items Loaded

If the reason for hiring auto transport services is because you are relocating to a new location, you might decide to take advantage of the space in your car to transport some goods.

Unfortunately, while this may seem like a good idea, it increases the car’s weight you are shipping. In fact, most carriers don’t allow personal items loaded in the car since they are not licensed to transport household goods.

If an auto transport company is okay to transport items loaded, you will need to pay more for the added weight. Additionally, you will take charge of any possibly damaged items, especially if they are not insured.

Vehicle Condition

It is easier to load a properly functioning car to the trailer than a non-functioning one. If there is an issue with the braking, steering, or rolling of your car, the carrier will need to use other equipment to get it on the truck.

Moreover, it requires extra work to ensure that it is safe. Therefore, you pay more for such a car than you do for a fully functioning one.

How Can You Minimize Car Shipping Costs?

As mentioned earlier, DIY car shipping is not a recommended method to help you minimize car shipping costs. Due to costs such as lodging, sightseeing, and refueling, not to mention the driving stress, it is more expensive.

On the other hand, when it comes to auto transport services, remember that you get what you pay for. For this reason, going for the cheapest company may not be a good idea.

Thankfully, you can take advantage of some factors that determine the cost of transport and reduce the cost without compromising quality.

Some of these ways to reduce the cost of shipping your car are:

Use Open Transport Shipping

Sure, if given a chance to choose between open and enclosed shipping, you will go for enclosed without a second thought. However, open shipping is not as bad for your car as you may imagine.

Although your car is exposed to bad weather and debris, you save a lot when choosing open transport shipping over enclosed shipping. After all, professional shipping companies do their best to ensure that your car is safe before, during, and after transport.

Therefore, unless you have an antique or high-end sports car, pay for open transport shipping and save some dollars.

Consider Terminal-To-Terminal Pickup and Delivery

As much as door-to-door car shipping is convenient, it costs you more than terminal-to-terminal shipping. For this reason, if you are on a budget, consider driving your car to the carrier’s terminal and picking it at the other terminal to evade the extra costs.

This is ideal if the destination of the car is in rural areas. The price you pay for driving from your home to the terminal or the next destination is nothing compared to what you pay for door-to-door deliveries.

Unfortunately, if you opt for terminal-to-terminal deliveries, ensure that you are available to pick the car on the agreed day to avoid extra storage charges.

Additionally, if your car is non-operational, you may want to consider door-to-door pickup and delivery since this could be cheaper.

Ship During the Off-Seasons

If you are in control of the time when you can ship your car, opt for the off-seasons. As mentioned earlier, you will save a lot if you ship your car towards the end of winter and in early spring.

During this time, few people are traveling, and the weather conditions are favorable for driving, thus lowering prices.

Nevertheless, always book for shipping as early as possible, even if it is months ahead. This will help you avoid urgent car shipping, which will likely cost you a fortune even during the off-seasons.

Compare Multiple Quotes

You are at a high risk of being scammed if you settle for the first quote you come across. This is especially true if you have not been in the car shipping market for a while and don’t know the current shipping price.

Therefore, before you decide on a shipping company, compare at least three quotes. Get an idea of the ideal amount you should pay and go for the quote that best fits your budget.

Additionally, remember that if the price of a certain company is too low, you will most likely get frustrating results.

Be Flexible With Dates and Times

When hiring an auto transport service, some of the details you give are the date and time for pickup and delivery based on your schedule. However, you pay more if you have a specific date or time when they should pick up or deliver the car.

On the other hand, you save some money if you are not too specific on the date or time or work according to the carrier’s schedule. In fact, you might get a discount if your car is picked up or delivered on a less busy day.

If your schedule is too tight to allow you to have flexible pickups or deliveries, you can ask a friend or relative to help you to reduce the cost.

Consider Available Discounts

More often than not, auto transport companies give discounts to their customers to ease the financial burden. For instance, they may give discounts to students shipping their cars to college during summer.

Others offer discounts to first-time shippers, return customers, and military customers. You may also get a discount if you book a service within 48 hours of getting a quote.

Therefore, keep an eye out for these and other discounts in the shipping company and take advantage of them to help reduce your overall cost.

Ship Multiple Cars

In case you own several cars and need to ship them all, it is cheaper to ship them together instead of one after the other. First, the carrier may have a discount for customers with several cars.

On the other hand, you reduce the time and money you may incur to drop and pick up the cars at the terminals one after the other. Therefore, get all your cars ready and let them ship together.

The door-to-door option may even be cheaper when you are shipping more than one car.

Steps Followed When Shipping a Car Across the Country

The idea of shipping your car may seem like a walk in the park until the shipping time comes and you don’t know where to start.

With the right tips, it is possible to simplify the process and avoid possible mistakes. Additionally, proper preparation will keep your mind at peace for the days that you will not have your car around.

The steps to follow after you decide on using car shipping services are:

Pick a Shipping Pickup Location, Destination, and Date

Based on your schedule and other personal factors, determine the most convenient location to have the car picked up and delivered. For instance, you can decide to drop the car at the carrier’s terminal or ask them to get the car at your house.

Additionally, determine the exact date you expect the car to be transported and the approximate time you expect to receive it. This will help you give a schedule to the transport company.

Choose the Shipping Company

The shipping company you work with determines the safety of your car. For this reason, you cannot select any company at random without careful consideration.

Remember that these are people who you will be entrusting with one of your most precious items. Some of the factors to check out to help ensure that you get the right shipping company are:

Costs They Charge

Judging from the information above, it is safe to say that there is no fixed cost of auto transport. Therefore, consider all the factors that determine the shipping cost and get quotes from different companies.

Before you decide on a company, ensure that you understand exactly how they charge their services. For instance, confirm whether the quote they give you includes door-to-door transport or terminal-to-terminal.

This will save you the frustration of getting services that are below your expectations.

Additionally, find out whether there are any additional hidden costs with the company and settle for the one that offers an overall cost within your budget.


Although shipping companies strive to ensure that the shipping process is as safe as possible, the process is still not risk-free. For this reason, it is advisable to confirm that a company is insured and bonded.

Additionally, ensure that you confirm their insurance policy and especially confirm whether their insurance covers your car in case of an accident.

In case you are shipping an expensive car, ask whether the company has premium insurance that can compensate you in the event of damages. Knowing that your shipping company is insured will give you peace of mind when your car is on the road.

The Reputation of the Company

The greed for money among some people exceeds their desire to do good, thus the rise of fraudsters in the car shipping business. Unfortunately, both the fraudsters and genuine companies have the same appearance, making it easier said than done to tell them apart.

Luckily, it is possible to tell whether a company is genuine based on its reputation. The reputation will also help you tell their reliability and credibility. Therefore, listen around and hear what previous customers say about the services they received.

You can also read online reviews for more information on the services offered. Remember not to ignore the negative reviews, especially if they exceed the positive ones.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials and references from the company to prove how genuine they are. Based on your information, follow your gut and determine whether a company is worth your trust.

Services Offered

Various shipping companies have different policies on the services they offer. Therefore, consider the company’s services before hiring them to ensure that they meet your needs and preferences. For instance, do they offer open or enclosed shipping methods?

Additionally, do they have any discounts for shipping several cars? It is also good to confirm whether the company can deliver the car to your ideal destination, especially if it is to a rural area. Ensure that you are comfortable with the services a company provides before working with them.


Prepare Your Car

After you settle on the company that you shall entrust your car with, it is time to get the car ready for the journey ahead. Some of the ways you get your car ready are:

Check the Tires and Battery

Confirm whether all the tires are inflated and ready for the conditions at the destination. This will make it easier for the carrier to load the car to the carrying truck.

Additionally, check the battery to ensure that it is secured in its brackets and charged. Any loose parts on the battery may damage the engine if it is jostled a lot in the journey.

Do a Visual Inspection of the Car

The tires and batteries are not the only parts that you must check before shipping the car. You will need to perform a visual inspection of the car.

Check whether there are any dents, rust, and scratches, among other defects. You can either repair such defects before shipping or note that they existed before giving the car to the carrier.

Additionally, check the mechanical functioning of the car, for instance, the brakes. Ensure that they are functional before shipping and consult a mechanic in case of any doubts.

It is also good to look at the engine and have it checked before transporting the car in case of any noticeable leaks.

Disable the Alarm

YYour car alarm system will be a nightmare to the hauler in case it goes off in the course of the journey. If it accidentally goes off at this time, they will use any method to turn it off, some of which may damage the alarm.

Therefore, ensure that the alarm is disabled several days before shipping the car so that you do not forget to do so at the last minute.

Remove Items and Wash the Car

Take out everything from the car before giving it to the shipping company. The shipping company will check to ensure that the car is empty, especially if they don’t allow any personal property.

However, you can leave items such as the emergency kit or spare tire in the car. After the car is empty, wash the exterior and interior parts. This will help you notice any damages that you should note before giving the car to the carrier.

Are You Ready to Ship Your Car Across the Us?

It is unnecessary to spend sleepless nights thinking of how to ship a car across the country when many car shipping companies are out there waiting to assist you.

Additionally, the cost of shipping the car to your preferred destination is probably way lower than you can imagine. Contact us to get a shipping quote and for professional car shipping services across the US.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.