How much does it cost to ship a car across the country?

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Moving a vehicle is not something that you do every day. Organization, safety, and cost all matter. If you are relocating using a moving company makes things easier. If you have to move a car only, you can easily organize the transport yourself. Start by finding an auto transport company.

The cost to ship a car depends on several factors. Rates vary from $200 to $2000. Check average auto transport rates below and request a quote online.


In our guide you will find answers to these common auto transport questions:

  1. How much does it cost to ship a car?
  2. What factors affect your cost to ship a car?
  3. How long does it take to ship a car across country?
  4. How many days in advance should I book my auto transport service?
  5. How to ship a car to another state? What options do I have?
  6. How to find a transporter? Where to find a transporter?
  7. How to choose an auto transport company?
  8. What services auto transport companies offer?
  9. How to prepare a car for shipping?

1. How much does it cost to ship a car?

This is usually one of the most important questions you ask when you need to ship a car to another state. The answer is ‘it depends’. An accurate price is based on several factors such as distance, vehicle make and model and the type of transport you choose.

Supply and demand fluctuation is also a major factor contributing to price hikes and drops. Current market conditions define the price of the service. It is economics 101 – increased demand leads to higher prices, decreased supply also leads to price hikes.

Getting a grasp of how price formation works in a market economy will help you understand why manual pricing is better. Just like with the stock market, we need to track changes daily. In vehicle logistics, supply and demand fluctuations happen daily. This means that the most accurate price is calculated manually by logistics experts tracking the dispatch boards.

Corsia Logistics provides manual pricing. Our logistics experts do not utilize a software. An automated price calculator often delivers misleading prices. Only an accurately determined price will ship your vehicle in a timely and professional manner.

Additionally, we urge you to learn more about the importance of multiple car shipping quotes. It is in your best interest to request and compare several quotes. This will help you position an average cost to ship a car.

Rates of Recently Shipped Vehicles from Across the Country:

Rates: Pick-Up: Delivery:
$989 Los Angeles, CA New York, NY
$1,229 Naples, FL Portland, OR
$1,029 Sunnyvale, CA Orlando, FL
$849 Chicago, IL Los Angeles, CA
$1,029 Miami, FL Oceanside, CA
$1,029 San Jose, CA Washington, DC
$789 Baltimore, MD Houston, TX
$1,159 Cleveland, OH Sacramento, CA
$1,329 Boston, MA South Pasadena, CA
$629 Boulder, CO Austin, TX
 

NOTE: Prices listed here are for a small sedan, shipped via open carrier and we update them monthly.







Is it Operable? YesNo
Transport Type: OpenEnclosed

2. Factors Affecting Your Cost to Ship a Car

VEHICLE MAKE & MODEL

  • Smaller cars are cheaper to ship, while bigger, heavier vehicles are more expensive. Auto transport carriers have a weight limit they must strictly observe. Thus, the make and model of your vehicle, as well as any modifications, matter for the total weight of the carrier and impacts the price.

TRANSPORT TYPE

  • The type of carrier you choose will affect your rate. Open auto transport is the standard shipping method. It is used for all vehicle types and it is the less expensive option. Enclosed auto transport is more expensive and often used for sports, luxury or classic automobiles. Enclosed carriers are not as readily available and therefore more expensive. Also, expect to wait longer for your vehicle to be picked up.

DISTANCE

  • The distance affects the price. The longer the distance the less it costs per mile for the trucker. Shorter distances still consume gas and require the same amount of work from the truck driver, but in the end it is fewer miles traveled. A carrier makes money based on mileage – the more he travels the more profitable the load. Consequently, shorter distances often cost as much as long distance shipping.

LOCATION / POPULATION

  • The pick-up and delivery locations also affect the price. Transporting to a major metropolitan area means more opportunities for the truckers to fully load their carriers. Auto transport to and from rural areas is a complex and economically challenging process. Fewer auto haulers are willing to go there for one car only. This often means higher prices and longer wait for pick-up. Proximity to major highways also affects the price.

VEHICLE CONDITION

  • Whether your car is running or not will affect the car shipping cost. If your car is non-running we need a truck that can winch it onto the trailer. This is usually extra work and requires additional equipment. A special truck means a higher rate. In some cases, we may even need a fork lift to load an inoperable vehicle, which additionally increases the price.

SUPPLY & DEMAND

  • This is a major factor. A customer competes against other customers for a spot on the car carrier. When the demand is high the truck space is limited. This means vehicles priced higher ship first. This is how the industry works. It does not really matter how long in advance you booked your order. Higher paying vehicles ship first. Even if you booked a month in advance, a better paying load might become available at any time. Understanding supply and demand fluctuations will help you adjust your budget accordingly.

Additional factors:

Do you need an expedited service?

Do you need door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal?

  • Door-to-door is the standard shipping method. Terminal to terminal auto transport is an option as well, and contrary to popular opinion, it often costs more due to storage fees and travel time to the terminal.

Do you need a top load for your vehicle?

  • Top load means loading a vehicle on the top deck of the trailer. This ensures against possible leaks from other vehicles, and it is generally safer.

3. How long does it take to ship a car across country?

The total time to ship a car can be broken into two windows – pick-up time and transit time.

Transit time depends on a few major factors. The first is distance – how many miles in total the vehicle will travel. The second factor is location – whether the pick-up and delivery location is a major city or a rural town. Transport time is also affected by seasonal fluctuations, road and weather conditions. To learn more check our guide How long does it take to ship a car?

4. How many days in advance should I book my service?

We recommend that our customers book their service about two weeks in advance. Any time earlier than that does not guarantee lower rate or faster service. The auto transport industry is heavily influenced by supply and demand, and prices often change daily.

5. How to ship a car to another state? What options do I have?

You have two main options when shipping a car across the country. In fact you have three, learn more here.

Option one is to hire an auto transport company, and option two is to use a drive-away service. Whether you choose one or the other depends on the distance, your budget and of course on your personal preference.

  1. Hire an auto transport company



  • This is the best option when you need to move a vehicle more than 300 miles. Business and private customers hire auto transport companies daily.
  • Customers can choose between open and enclosed carriers. For a visual illustration of the difference between open and enclosed transport please check our info-graphic below.
  • Corsia Logistics rates are affordable to the customer and acceptable by the carriers. This we achieve by manually tracking supply and demand conditions and quoting only current market prices. We cannot stress the importance of this factor enough.
  • A manual rate is a golden mean. This is an average rate that is not too high and not too low. Dependable and respectable auto transport companies offer such reasonable prices.
  • An automated price calculator is not providing current market price and often delivers misleading rates. To learn more check our car shipping quote calculator article.
  • You should have no trouble identifying a dependable auto transport company. Besides inspecting the price, you have to check licensing, insurance and certainly customer testimonials.
  • A trustworthy transporter will have great customer reviews online and will help you understand how auto transport works, so you can have peace of mind.
  • To discuss your options and price call (818) 850-5250 or request a free, no obligation quote online.
  • We do not recommend the use of auction websites because this is where underbidding wars happen. Once your car is booked with a company at a price below realistic market prices, they take it to the dispatch board and it sits there for days. A large auction website basically monopolizes the market and does focuses on quantity over quality.
  • We encourage you to do your research beyond the first page of Google. It is advisable that you talk to a few companies first, to get the idea of the average auto transport rates.
  • Another word of advice is to not use lead provider companies. This is the third player in the auto transport industry.
  • Besides brokers and carriers, what you find online is lead providers. Their websites are often misleading, tricking customers into thinking that they are either a broker or a carrier. But in reality, they are neither. A broker is licensed and bonded to contract with licensed carriers. A lead provider simply collects your information and then sells it to several brokers.
  • Most businesses and individuals use broker companies. An auto transport broker will completely manage your shipping. Most companies you find online are brokers who work closely with single owner operator carriers to transport vehicles. This type of relationship ensures efficiency and fair market pricing.
  • Most carriers are single owner operators who rely on brokers to fill their cargo space. A single company cannot serve the whole country and therefore small companies are the engine of the industry. Moreover, this system of small broker and carrier relations keeps the industry in balance and ensures against monopolization of the market by large corporations.
  1. Drive the car yourself or find someone to drive
  • This is a great option for those of you who like to spend time on the road. Driving is certainly a pleasure when you are not stuck in traffic or in a storm across the country. It is usually bearable by most drivers if the distance is no more than 300 miles.
  • Driving across the country is not for everybody. For snowbirds, it could be especially burdening. We recommend that snowbirds hire an auto transport company. Interstate highways are extremely busy and driving could be potentially dangerous. Although driving yourself could save you some money, often it is not worth the time and the effort.
  • The alternative is to find someone else to drive your car. This person could be a friend or a relative, or you can try and find drive away companies. With this type of service, you can request a professional driver, but that most likely will cost more. These companies usually check background and driving history of their drivers. You can also request to see references for the person whom they designate to drive your automobile.
6. How to find an auto transporter? Where to find an auto transporter?

The easiest way to find a car shipping company is to search online or ask for references. You can search on Google or Google Maps. Google Maps might be a better option when searching locally because it will directly show you each company’s location. However, in this industry, everything is done electronically, and you don’t need to visit an office. Working with a local company is a good option because it is usually small, family-owned business that offers exceptional service at a great price. Do not panic when you see that there are hundreds of companies listed online. Take your time and research several companies before booking. Our guide How to find a car shipping company will help you.

A great option option is to ask family and friends. It is always better when someone close to you can recommend a company. Referrals are usually the best way to find a reliable auto transport company.

7. How to choose an auto transport company?

 

It is unrealistic to say that one company is the best. You will find many great auto transport companies. Bad things happen to even the best of people, companies, and intentions. Hence, when starting your research, make sure you check the main aspects. In the auto transport, you need to make sure the company is licensed and insured with USDOT and FMCSA and has insurance. For more details check our guide on how to choose an auto transport company.

8 – What services do auto transport companies offer?

There are two main types of auto transport carriers for customers to choose from – open and enclosed. As you may have guesses, there are operational differences in the two types of services, as well as in the price. Here we will help you understand the differences and choose the best auto shipping service.

Check our info-graphic for an easy overview of the difference between open and enclosed auto transport.

Open vs. Enclosed Auto Transport Cost

Open auto transport

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Open auto transport is the most popular method of vehicle transportation. Open carriers make up about 90 percent of the auto shipping fleet. These types of carriers can fit more cars on the trailer and make auto transport more efficient. Because of this, it is the less expensive method of transport.

Enclosed auto transport

Auto Transport Florida

Enclosed auto transport is the preferred method of shipping high-end and classic vehicles. The covered trailers protect from weather and road elements, thus, making this transport service more expensive. If you prefer more protection expect to pay $300-$400 more than a cost of a regular open carrier

9. How to prepare a car for shipping?


Your vehicle should be prepared for shipping before loading. If your car has been booked as operable you need to make sure it is. Check it with a mechanic. The vehicle also needs to be clean on the outside for a proper inspection to be completed. You should also take down any bike racks and other additional accessories that are detachable. Additionally, personal items inside the car are usually not allowed. Most carriers allow a suitcase of up to 100 pounds in the trunk of the vehicle. For more details check our guide How to prepare a car for shipping.

Learn more – have peace of mind!

  • Corsia Logistics provides realistic rates that will ship your vehicle in a timely and professional manner. We offer manually calculated rates that are acceptable by the carriers and reflect the current supply and demand situation.
  • Customers should also take into consideration that most prices are stand rates. These standard rates are fine for most customers as this means getting a carrier assigned between one and five business days. An expedited rate will rush the service and for an additional cost rush the pick-up and delivery dates.
  • A separate option to keep in mind is guaranteed pick-up and delivery. Guaranteed service costs almost double the standard rate. It depends on all the other factors first and then on how fast and when exactly you need the car shipped. Please call for a customized quote.

For more answers read our FAQ page. When it comes to moving a car, it is in your best interest to understand how the process works. In this guide, we have included the most important information you should know before booking your auto transport service.

Our team will eagerly help you every step of the way. We are here to give you peace of mind. If you would like to speak to one of our logistics experts for a more thorough explanation of the car shipping process and schedule your auto transport, please call (818) 850-5258. To book your service online, request a quote on our website and we will send you an email with the rate and further instructions. Thank you.

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About the Author:

I am Vassi and I am a co-owner and a marketing manager of Corsia Logistics. I talk to people and help them get to know us. I am also the content curator of this blog. I have been involved with the auto transport industry for several years and I enjoy it very much. If you would like to contact me please do so via our contact us form or any social media channel. Thank you.
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