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Car Shipping Costs Explained

Author Icon By Shane Sentelle Updated 02/13/2024

Moving to a new home takes a lot of organization. One thing that may be missing from your moving plan is what to do with your car. Depending on how far you’re moving, having your car shipped to you may make more sense than driving it yourself. But how much does car shipping cost?

In this guide, the This Old House Reviews Team takes a look at average vehicle shipping prices and the factors that affect car shipping costs. We also give you auto shipping quotes from some of the best car shipping companies. Once you have an idea of how much you might pay to ship your car to your new home, it’s best to compare quotes from several providers

Key Findings:

It costs between $0.40 and $2 a mile to ship a car.
Distance, vehicle size, vehicle condition, type of transport, pickup and drop-off locations, gas prices, and time of year all impact the cost of shipping a vehicle.
The This Old House Reviews Team recommends getting multiple quotes to compare before hiring a company to ship a vehicle.

What Is the Average Cost to Ship a Car?

When you’re planning to move to a new place, cost is one of the most important things to consider. You may have already thought about expenses like movers and boxes, but you should also factor in the cost of getting your car to your destination.

According to two of the top cheap car shipping companies, Montway Auto Transport and Easy Auto Ship, you can expect to pay between 40 cents and $2 per mile for vehicle transport. These prices will vary depending on the distance of your move and the car shipper and type of service you choose. Long-distance moves generally cost less per mile but more overall.

We combined the two auto transport companies’ average cost-per-mile estimates in the table below to give you an idea of what shipping rates you can expect.

DistanceEstimated Cost per Mile

500 miles or less

$1–$1.96

501–1,500 miles

$0.60–$0.93

1,501 miles or more

$0.40–$0.60

It’s worth noting that these prices assume the car being shipped is operable. If your car isn’t driveable or has specialized shipping needs, the price to ship your vehicle will likely be higher.

Car Shipping Quotes

Having an accurate estimation of your moving costs is important. While the price-per-mile estimates above help, quotes will give you an even better sense of what it costs to ship a car. The This Old House Reviews Team reached out to a few of the top car shipping companies for quotes to ship an operable 2018 Honda CR-V.

Car Shipping CompanyShipping DistanceTransport TypeCost

Montway Auto Transport

520 miles

Open

$729

1,489 miles

Open

$1,049

1,489 miles

Enclosed

$1,709

2,566 miles

Open

$1,149

Easy Auto Ship

520 miles

Open

$808

1,489 miles

Open

$995

1,489 miles

Enclosed

$1,482

2,566 miles

Open

$1,497

uShip

520 miles

Open

$825

1,489 miles

Open

$1,185

1,489 miles

Enclosed

$1,536

2,566 miles

Open

$1,346


What Affects Car Shipping Costs?

If this is your first time moving a long distance and you need to transport your car, you may not know what affects the price you’ll pay for auto shipping. In fact, many factors go into the cost to ship a car. While the size of your vehicle and the shipping distance are the most significant factors, there are many other elements to consider.

The factors that most commonly affect car shipping costs are below.

Car Shipping FactorDetailsTransport TypeCost

Vehicle size

Typically, heavier cars like pickup trucks and SUVs cost more to ship.

Open

$729

Vehicle condition

Vehicles that aren’t driveable require more time and labor to load onto carrier trucks. Operable cars are much cheaper to ship.

Open

$1,049

Type of transport

Most car shippers offer open and enclosed auto transport. Open auto transport allows for more cars to be shipped at one time, so it costs less than enclosed shipping.

Enclosed

$1,709

Shipping distance

Long-distance car shipments cost less per mile but are more expensive overall.

Open

$1,149

Pickup and delivery locations

Shipping to and from urban areas is cheaper than shipping to rural areas. If you live in a rural area, you can save money by using terminal-to-terminal shipping rather than door-to-door service.

Open

$808

Time of year

Demand for auto shipping is higher during the summer and January, making car shipping costs more expensive.

Open

$995

Price of fuel

As fuel prices increase, the cost of shipping goes up.

Enclosed

$1,482

2,566 miles

Open

$1,497

uShip

520 miles

Open

$825

1,489 miles

Open

$1,185

1,489 miles

Enclosed

$1,536

2,566 miles

Open

$1,346

Most vehicle shipping companies require their transport carriers to carry cargo insurance, but some offer extra protection. If you opt for supplemental insurance, you may have to pay higher transport costs.


Tips for Lowering Your Car Shipping Cost

Since you’re moving and might have quite a few expenses to worry about, you likely want to save money where you can, including when it comes to transporting your car. The best ways to lower your car shipping cost are to plan ahead and be flexible. The tips below will help you save money on car shipping and prepare for your transport.

  • Book early: We recommend booking at least two weeks before your move date to avoid any costs associated with an expedited timeline.
  • Have a flexible timeline: Being adaptable when it comes to your pickup date and delivery date will give you a better chance of finding a lower-cost service.
  • Choose open carrier transport: Because open-air car carriers can ship multiple cars at once, open transport is usually the cheapest shipping option. If you have a classic car and want more protection, consider enclosed carrier transport for your peace of mind.
  • Pick terminal-to-terminal delivery: Door-to-door delivery may be more convenient because your car is delivered straight to your new home, but terminal-to-terminal shipping saves on shipping distance and fuel costs, two factors that can make car shipping more expensive.
  • Clean your car out: The heavier the car, the more expensive it will be to transport. Also, most carriers don’t allow you to ship your vehicle with personal belongings in it.
  • Look for guaranteed pricing: Some companies offer guaranteed pricing, which helps you avoid hidden fees or sudden price jumps.
  • Look for discounts: Many car shipping companies offer discount opportunities that can help you save on your vehicle shipment.
  • Get multiple quotes: It’s always good to get auto transport quotes from multiple companies to compare your options.
  • Ship by train: Shipping by freight train is often the cheapest way to ship your car, but be prepared to deal with much longer shipping times and less flexible scheduling.

Additional Things to Consider When You Move

As we mentioned above, you have a lot to navigate when you decide to move. Getting your car shipped to your new place is just one of the tasks you may need to consider. Some of the other factors could include:

  • Researching the area you’re relocating to
  • Planning your timeline
  • Deciding between hiring a moving company or moving yourself
  • Setting a budget for the move
  • Getting packing materials
  • Preparing children for the move
  • Asking friends and family for help moving
  • Caring for your pets during the move
  • Completing administrative tasks like changing your address

Our Take on Car Shipping Companies

When you’re looking for the best price on auto transport to get your car to your new home, we recommend getting car shipping quotes from more than one company. Most car transport companies have car shipping calculators or instant quote tools to help you get car shipping quotes online with no obligation. We recommend checking out Montway Auto Transport and uShip, two reputable companies.

Montway Auto Transport: Best Shipping Company

Montway Auto Transport is a major auto transport broker that works with more than 15,000 carriers across the nation. The company offers shipping services to all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. Montway holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), as well as an average customer rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars based on over 2,100 reviews on the site.

Discover more about the shipping broker in our full Montway Auto Transport review.

uShip: Best Transport Marketplace

Because uShip is a shipping marketplace, the customer has much more control over the price of auto transport. While shipping brokers contact car carriers on your behalf, uShip allows you to post a shipping request and let carriers bid on the job. You can select the company with the best price and service options. 

With a strong reputation in the auto transport industry, uShip holds an A+ rating from the BBB and carries an average customer review score of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars on the site. 

Find out more in our full uShip review.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I put a car in a PODS container?

No, you can’t put a car in a PODS container. Vehicles with motors can’t be shipped in PODS containers. Also, the containers have weight limits, and a car would easily exceed those limitations before you added other belongings.

Can I store items in my car when I ship it?

Most auto transport providers don’t allow you to keep personal belongings in your vehicle during shipping. Some car shipping companies, like Montway Auto Transport, will allow you to put up to 100 pounds of personal items in the vehicle’s trunk. Keep in mind, however, that car shipping costs take the vehicle’s weight into account.

What’s the cheapest way to ship my car?

The cheapest way to ship your car is by train, but this shipping method has limited availability and takes more time. If you use a car shipping carrier, the cheapest way to ship your car is by open transport.

Does AAA offer car shipping?

AAA provides roadside assistance and discounted rates on repairs, but it doesn’t offer car shipping services.


Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for auto shipping service providers is based on four categories:

  • Price (30% of total score): Many factors affect car transport rates. To determine our price score, we secret shop with providers across a variety of cars and routes.
  • Services (25% of total score): Our team of experts looks at available services, guaranteed pickup and drop-off dates, and insurance coverage.
  • Industry Standing (20% of total score): Providers with a high rating from the BBB score best in this category. Reputable providers with a history of reliable service and timeliness also receive strong marks.
  • Customer Experience (25% of total score): We learn about consumer experiences by reading reviews on sites, including the BBB. Auto shipping companies with a low volume of complaints score highest in this area.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.