How to Ship a Car Across Country: Full Guide

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated February 23, 2024

Shipping Your Car?

  • Fast and easy
  • Only pay when you book

Are you planning to ship a car across country but worried about how to transport it? Or have you recently purchased a vehicle from another state and need it shipped to your doorstep? Car shipping is a popular solution for these situations, allowing your vehicle to be transported to its destination without worrying about driving it yourself.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to ship your car safely and efficiently across the country.

Different Ways to Ship a Car Across the Country

There are several ways for shipping a car across the country, and each has its pros and cons. Here are the three most common car shipping methods:

1. Enclosed auto transport: This option is best for high-value vehicles or classic cars needing extra transportation protection. Enclosed auto transport protects your vehicle from weather, theft, and damage. Since your car is transported in an enclosed trailer, the cost of this method is much higher than open transport.

2. Open auto transport: This is a popular option for most car shipping needs, as it’s a more affordable way to transport your vehicle. Your car is transported on an open trailer and exposed to the elements during transport. If you’re looking for an affordable method and don’t mind the exposure of your car, open auto transport is a great option.

3. Driveaway service: With a driveaway service, an independent contractor will drive your car to its destination. Driveaway service is best for those who don’t want to wait for the shipping company’s arrival, but it can be more expensive than traditional car shipping methods.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Car Shipping

The cost of shipping your car depends on several factors, including the distance between the starting and ending locations, the type of transport, the time of year, and the vehicle’s size and condition. Here are some factors that affect the cost of car shipping:

1. Distance: The longer the distance, the more expensive the car shipping service.

2. Type of transport: Open auto transport is less expensive than enclosed transport.

3. Time of year: The time of year can affect the cost of car shipping. For example, during the peak seasons (spring and summer), demand for car shipping increases, improving the rates.

4. Vehicle size: The larger the vehicle, the more expensive the shipping will be.

5. Vehicle condition: If your vehicle is running, it’s easier to transport, and the cost will be lower.

Preparing Your Car for Transport

Before shipping your car across the country, there are some important things you need to do to prepare it for transport, such as:

1. Cleaning your car: Cleaning your car is essential because it makes checking for damage before and after transportation easier.

2. Documenting the car’s condition: Take pictures of your car from different angles, noting any existing damage.

3. Removing personal belongings: Remove any personal belongings from your car, including electronics, papers, and other items.

4. Securing loose parts: Ensure that any loose parts of your car are removed, including antennas or spoilers.

5. Checking fluids and gas levels: Ensure that the fluids and gas are checked and filled to the appropriate levels.

Choosing the Right Auto Transport Company

Once you’ve decided on the transport method, it’s time to choose a reliable auto transport company. Here’s how to choose the right auto transport company:

1. Reputation: Look for an auto transport company with a good reputation. Check online reviews, ratings, or ask for recommendations from friends.

2. License and insurance: The auto transport company should be licensed and insured. You can check the US Department of Transportation for the company’s registration information.

3. Experience: Choose an auto transport company with several years of experience. Experienced auto transporters are familiar with the shipping process and know how to handle unexpected situations during transportation.

Tips for Shipping a Car Across Country on a Budget

If you’re on a tight budget but still need to ship a car across the country, there are several ways to save money without compromising the safety and reliability of the service.

  1. Choose Open Auto Transport: Open auto transport is typically cheaper than enclosed transport. Open transport can save you money if your car doesn’t require extra protection.
  2. Plan Ahead: Booking your car shipping service in advance can help you secure better rates. Last-minute bookings are often more expensive.
  3. Be Flexible with Pickup and Delivery Dates: If you have flexibility in your schedule, opting for a more extensive pickup and delivery window can lead to cost savings.
  4. Compare Quotes: Obtain quotes from multiple auto transport companies to find the best price for your needs.
  5. Look for Discounts: Some auto transport companies offer discounts for military personnel, students, or repeat customers. Be sure to ask about available discounts.

Understanding Door-to-Door vs. Terminal-to-Terminal Car Shipping

When shipping your car across the country, you’ll need to decide between door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal shipping. Understanding the differences between these two options will help you choose the best method for your needs.

  1. Door-to-Door Shipping: This shipping method involves the auto transport company picking up your car from your desired location (usually your home or workplace) and delivering it directly to your destination. Door-to-door shipping is convenient and saves you time, but it’s usually more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping.
  2. Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping: With terminal-to-terminal shipping, you drop off your car at a designated shipping terminal and pick it up at another terminal near your destination. This shipping method is often more cost-effective than door-to-door shipping, but it requires you to transport your car to and from the terminals, which may not always be convenient.


What Are the Different Ways to Ship a Car Across the Country?

The most common ways to ship a car across the country are enclosed auto transport, open auto transport, and driveaway service.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Car Shipping?

Factors that affect the cost of car shipping include distance, type of transport, time of year, vehicle size, and vehicle condition.

How Should I Prepare My Car for Transport?

To prepare your car for transport, clean it, document its condition, remove personal belongings, secure loose parts, and check fluids and gas levels.

How Can I Choose the Right Auto Transport Company?

To choose the right auto transport company, consider their reputation, license, insurance, and experience in the industry.

Bottom Line

Shipping your car across the country can be a challenging task. However, by following these tips, you can find the right auto transport company, prepare your car effectively, and have a successful car shipping experience. If you’re still unsure about car shipping, don’t worry. CitizenShipper provides an efficient and hassle-free car shipping experience. By using their services, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the convenience of having your car shipped across the country.