Quickest Approach To Shipping a Car Across The Country

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated: April 7, 2023 / Published: March 26, 2023

It can be a thrill to move across the country to start a new life. However, the thought of driving your car for days or even weeks is a daunting thought. Or perhaps you’ve purchased a car from a dealership on the other side of the country and can’t wait to get behind the wheel. Whatever your reason, shipping your car is the quickest way to get it from one coast to the other. In this article, we’ll explore the fastest and most efficient ways for shipping your car across the country, so you can hit the road with peace of mind and focus on the adventure ahead.

How Do You Ship a Car Across the Country?

If you are planning cross-country car shipping, here are 10 tried and tested ways to ship your car across the country:

#1. Open Transport

Open transport is the most common way to ship a car. Your vehicle will be loaded onto a multi-car carrier and transported along with other cars on the same truck.

#2. Enclosed Transport

You might prefer enclosed transport if you have a high-end or classic car. Your car will be loaded into an enclosed trailer, protecting it from the elements and potential damage.

#3. Door-to-Door Transport

With this option, your car will be picked up from your current location and dropped off at your destination. It’s convenient, but it is more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping.

#4. Terminal-to-Terminal Transport

It is the most cost-effective option. You’ll drop off your car at a terminal and pick it up at another terminal near your destination.

#5. Expedited Shipping

If you need your car shipped urgently, this is the option for you. Your car will be shipped as soon as possible, but it will cost more than standard shipping.

#6. Train Transport

Shipping your car via train might be a cheaper and more eco-friendly option. However, it’s only available in some areas of the country and can take longer than other options.

#7. Air Transport

If you need your car shipped internationally, air transport is the way to go. It’s expensive, but it’s the fastest option available.

#8. Tow Dolly

Suppose you have a smaller car; you can use a tow dolly to tow it behind your moving truck. It’s a budget-friendly option but only suitable for some cars.

#9. Driveaway Service

With this option, a professional driver will drive your car to its destination.

#10. Hybrid Shipping

If you’re looking for a more personalized and eco-friendly option, hybrid shipping might be right for you. This combines the convenience of door-to-door shipping with the cost savings of terminal-to-terminal shipping.

Is Cross-Country Vehicle Shipping Different From State-to-State Shipping?

When shipping a vehicle, you may wonder if there is a difference between cross-country and state-to-state shipping. The answer is yes, but there are some differences to consider.

#1. Distance

The primary difference between cross-country and state-to-state vehicle shipping is the distance covered. Cross-country shipping involves transporting your vehicle across the entire country, while state-to-state shipping involves shipping your vehicle to a neighboring or nearby state.

#2. Cost

Cross-country vehicle shipping is generally more expensive than state-to-state shipping due to the long distance and increased fuel costs. State-to-state shipping is usually less expensive since the distance is shorter and the cost of fuel is lower.

#3. Timeframe

Cross-country vehicle shipping takes longer than state-to-state shipping due to the greater distance involved. Depending on the route and carrier, shipping a car across the country can take up to two weeks. On the other hand, state-to-state shipping can take as little as a few days to a week.

#4. Carrier Options

With cross-country vehicle shipping, you have a wider range of carrier options since more carriers operate on longer routes. State-to-state shipping usually involves working with carriers who specialize in that particular region.

#5. Type of Transport

The type of transport used for cross-country vehicle shipping usually differs from state-to-state shipping. Cross-country shipping often involves using multi-carrier trucks, enclosed trailers, or train transport while state-to-state shipping can often be done with open trailers or single-car carriers.

Preparing Your Car for Shipping

Preparing your car for shipping is essential to ensuring that your vehicle arrives at its destination in the same condition it left. Take the following steps:

Step 1: Give it a good scrub! Who doesn’t love a fresh, clean car? Wash both the exterior and interior of your car to make sure it’s spick and span.

Step 2: Clear it out! Remove all personal items from your car, including that collection of empty water bottles, in the back seat.

Step 3: Get snap happy! Take pictures of your car from all angles, inside and out, to document any existing damage and compare it to the car’s condition after transport.

Step 4: Keep it topped up! Check and top off all fluids, such as oil and brake fluid. You don’t want your car to experience any preventable mechanical problems on its journey.

Step 5: Inflate those tires! Make sure your tires are properly inflated and that your battery is charged.

Step 6: Silence the alarm! Disable any alarm systems in your car, so they don’t go off during transport and give everyone a scare.

Step 7: Gas it up but not too much! Keep the fuel tank to about a quarter full to avoid extra charges for additional weight.

The Benefits of Cross-Country Door-to-Door Car Shipping Services

Door-to-door car shipping services could be the best option for you if you are planning to ship your car across the country. Some benefits of choosing this option include the following:

#1. Convenience

One of the biggest benefits of door-to-door car shipping is its convenience. The transport company will come to your current location to pick up your car and will deliver it directly to your destination. This saves you time and hassle; you won’t have to drop off or pick up your vehicle at a terminal.

#2. Reduced Risk of Damage

With door-to-door shipping, your car is handled by professional drivers who are experienced in transporting vehicles. They know how to secure your car properly to prevent damage during transport, reducing the risk of damaging it during transit.

#3. Faster Delivery

Door-to-door shipping is often faster than terminal-to-terminal shipping, as there are fewer stops. This means that you can get your car to its destination more quickly.

#4. Increased Security

Door-to-door shipping makes your car less likely to be tampered with or stolen during transport because it is in the care of professional drivers trained to handle valuable vehicles.

#5. Personalized Service

Door-to-door shipping allows you to coordinate your transport directly with a shipping company. You can ask questions, receive updates, and ensure your car is transported according to  your specifications.

#6. Cost-Effective

While door-to-door shipping may be more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping, it may be more cost-effective in the long run. It is because you won’t have to worry about transportation to and from the terminals, which can add to time and expense.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Shipping a Car Across Country

#1. Not Researching the Shipping Company

Before you decide on a shipping company, it is important to research and compare different options. Make sure the company is reputable and has positive reviews from previous customers.

#2. Not Getting a Written Contract

Always get a written contract that outlines all the shipment details, including the pickup and delivery dates, cost, and additional fees. This will help avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.

#3. Not Preparing Your Car Properly

To ensure safe and successful transport, it is essential to prepare your car properly. This includes cleaning the car inside and out, removing all personal belongings, and checking the fluids and tires.

#4. Choosing the Wrong Type of Shipping

Different types of car shipping options are available, including open and enclosed trailers and terminal and door-to-door delivery. Choose the option that best suits your needs and budget.

#5. Not Insuring Your Car

Always make sure that your car is fully insured during transport. This will protect you in case of any damage or loss during the shipment.

#6. Not Being Available for Pickup or Delivery

Ensure you are available during both the pickup and delivery of your car. This will help avoid any delays or complications in the shipping process.

#7. Not Communicating with the Shipping Company

Stay in contact with the shipping company throughout the process to ensure everything goes smoothly. If there are any issues, communicate with the company to address and resolve them quickly.

#8. Not Obtaining Multiple Quotes

Shipping prices vary greatly between companies, so getting quotes from multiple sources is important. This will help you compare prices and ensure you get the best deal.

#9. Not Understanding Insurance Coverage

Most shipping companies offer insurance, but it’s important to understand what is covered and what isn’t. Make sure to read the fine print and ask questions before committing.

#10. Not Being Flexible with Scheduling

Shipping a car across the country can take time, and unexpected delays can occur. Be flexible with your schedule, and communicate with the shipping company if any issues arise.

What’s the Cheapest Way to Ship a Car Across the Country?

The cheapest way to ship a car across the country is by using terminal-to-terminal shipping. With this option, you will drop off your vehicle at a designated terminal and pick it up at another terminal near your destination. Here are some reasons why this method is the most cost-effective:

#1. No Door-to-Door Service

Door-to-door service is undoubtedly more convenient but comes with a higher price tag. With terminal-to-terminal shipping, you’ll need to transport your vehicle to and from the terminals yourself or arrange for a third-party transportation service. While this may require extra effort, it can save you money in the long run.

#2. Lower Operating Costs

Shipping companies that offer terminal-to-terminal service typically have lower operating costs since they don’t have to send drivers to pick up and deliver vehicles to individual locations. These savings are passed on to customers through lower shipping rates.

#3. Shared Container

With terminal-to-terminal shipping, your car will likely share a container with other vehicles. This helps reduce the overall cost of the shipment since the cost of transportation is shared among multiple customers. 

Although, it’s important to note that sharing a container could mean that your car takes longer to arrive at its destination, so be sure to factor in any potential delays when planning your shipment.

#4. Limited Storage Time

Terminal-to-terminal shipping typically has limited free storage time at the destination terminal. This encourages customers to pick up their vehicles promptly, which helps reduce storage costs for the shipping company. These lower storage costs are then passed on to customers through lower shipping rates.

It’s important to keep in mind that terminal-to-terminal shipping may not be the best option for everyone. You may need to pay extra for these services if you need more convenience or have specific requirements, such as enclosed transport or expedited shipping. Additionally, terminal-to-terminal shipping may only be feasible if you live near a terminal or can transport your car to and from the terminals.

Is Express Car Shipping Expensive?

Express car shipping is a service that promises to deliver your vehicle within a shorter time frame compared to standard shipping methods. Although, as with any expedited service, express car shipping comes at a higher cost. Here are some factors that make express car shipping more expensive:

  • Express car shipping companies prioritize your vehicle, so they may need to adjust their schedules or make special arrangements to ensure timely delivery. 
  • Increased demand during peak times can drive up the cost of the service.
  • The distance between the pickup and delivery locations can also affect the cost of express car shipping. 
  • The type of vehicle you are shipping can also impact the cost of express car shipping. 
  • Express car shipping companies typically offer higher insurance coverage for your vehicle, which can increase the cost of the service.

How to Get Accurate Car Shipping Quotes for Fast Delivery

Accurate car shipping quotes for fast delivery are essential to ensure you get the best value for your money. Here are some tips to help you get the most accurate quotes:

#1. Accurate Information

For the most accurate quotes, provide accurate information about your vehicle, pickup, and delivery locations.

#2. Compare Multiple Quotes

Get quotes from multiple car shipping companies to compare pricing, services, and delivery timeframes.

#3. Choose the Right Service

Choose the shipping service that best fits your needs, whether it’s terminal-to-terminal or door-to-door, open or enclosed transport or standard or express delivery.

#4. Ask About Discounts

Ask car shipping companies if they offer any discounts, such as military or student discounts, or for shipping multiple vehicles at once.

#5. Read Reviews

Go through reviews and feedback from previous customers to understand the company’s reputation and reliability.


Shipping a car across the country can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By avoiding common mistakes and selecting the right shipping option for your needs, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free experience.

If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable car shipping service, CitizenShipper is here to help. With our network of trusted drivers and easy-to-use platform, we can connect you with a transporter who will safely deliver your vehicle to its destination.

So why wait? Get your free car shipping quote from CitizenShipper today and experience the peace of mind of knowing your car is in good hands.