How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car Across the Country?

A car being loaded up for shipping

If you have an upcoming move across the country and you’d rather not drive yourself — or perhaps you have too many vehicles to take each one with you — you’ll need to ship those vehicles. But car shipping isn’t quite like any other type of shipping where you can stuff something in a box and mail it to the destination. For starters, vehicles are far too heavy and bulky to be shipped via traditional means, and that means you’ll need a specialty service to help get that car from one end of the country to another.

However, since shipping such a large item can be fraught with logistical challenges, you may be worried about how much it costs to ship that car across the country. After all, if shipping a large and heavy box could cost you $100 or more, what does that say about the cost of shipping a car? Surely, the cost to ship a car is significantly higher, though it’s true that you’re also getting a lot more for the cost of that car shipment. Unlike boxes that can easily be thrown in the back of a truck and driven across the country, cars must be shipped via specific car carriers. And while a handful of cars can be loaded up on some types of carriers, each vehicle must be loaded up, driven and offloaded at the destination before the job is complete.

Average Cost to Ship a Car

Whether you’re interested in the average cost to ship a car per mile or across the country, it’s not like you’ll be paying the average to ship your car. In fact, you may end up paying significantly more or less than the average depending on your needs. Sure, we can tell you that it might cost about $1,000 on the low end and $2,000 on the high end, but that depends on the type of carrier needed, the weight and size of your vehicle, as well as the distance and the season that you ship your car. 

Shipping a car across town in an open carrier in the winter off-season would likely run you much less than shipping a large and heavy classic car in an enclosed trailer in the summer across the country. 

Making Sense of Car Shipping

While you may be focused on how much it costs to ship your car across the country for an upcoming move, shippers have other considerations such as the weather, pickup and dropoff times, the type of enclosure needed and whether other vehicles and shipments can be brought on the same trip. But you can help keep costs down by being flexible in your shipment dates and going with an open transport.

The open transport won’t protect your vehicle from the weather and road debris while it’s being transported, though for regular vehicles and summertime shipments, you can save quite a bit with an open transport. Indeed, open transports tend to run about $1,000 while $1,500 will get you the protection of an enclosed transport. Generally, enclosed transports are best for classic or luxury cars — or any vehicle where protection is more important.

A longer trip will also tend to cost you significantly more due to gas prices and the time it takes to get from point A to point B. For example, the cost of shipping a car less than 500 miles could be half as much as shipping that same vehicle 1,500 miles, which is again cheaper than shipping it over 2,000 miles.

Another factor that can increase the cost to ship a car is the size and weight of the vehicle in question. An SUV or truck will cost more than a sedan, which will cost more than a compact or subcompact. 

The Factors That Influence Car Shipping Costs

The reason that car shipping is difficult to estimate ahead of time is that it’s dependent on many factors. Indeed, prices can change wildly from one day to the next depending on supply, demand and other factors such as the weather, gas prices and even the traffic on the roads. 

There’s also the distance, insurance costs, the number of vehicles being shipped, whether the departure and destination are in rural or urban areas, the time of year, the transport type and the size and weight of your vehicle. Each factor can dramatically increase costs, and that makes it even more important to share as many details as you can up front and to go with a reputable shipper that knows what they’re doing. Sure, you may be able to get a better deal elsewhere, but you could be jeopardizing the security and safety of your car or issues with pickup or delivery.

Wrapping Up

So, how much does it cost to ship a car across the country? Well, it depends on a lot of factors. If you can make those factors work for you, that can mean a significantly cheaper car shipping bill. However, it’s not like most of us have a say in the car we need to ship, the distance or the time of year, but it can be beneficial to discuss your needs with your car shipper to see if there are any ways to save more money. 

Contact us to get a free quote or to discuss your car shipping needs.

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