What’s The Average Cost to Ship a Car?

When it comes to car shipping many people are wondering what is the cheapest way to ship a car cross country? The answer will depend on the type of car shipping services you are looking for. There are so many different car shipping options to choose from. You can select the cheapest way and save money by using an open auto transport . Average car shipping costs to get a car shipped from and to major cities is around $1,500.00. However, the shipping price will be higher if you request enclosed auto transport service or if you need to ship a non-drivable car or classic car.

It is important to understand that the car shipping industry mostly consists of auto transport brokers. You can always shop around by getting multiple car shipping quotes but it is important to make a correct selection of an auto transport company that will meet your auto transport needs. Below we have listed 13 tips to consider if you wanna find the cheapest way to ship a vehicle, so let’s dive in.

open car transport hauler

The Cheapest Way To Transport A Car Across Country – 13 Tips

1. Planning in advance

To find cheap car shipping service, first you must book your car shipment in advance. For budget friendly car shipping at least 1–2-week pickup window is required. For enclosed carrier affordable relocation service, be prepared to provide a car transport company with a 2–4-week pickup window.

2. Choosing the right auto transport companies

Cheapest way to ship a car from state to state is not always the most reliable and can lead to even larger unforeseen expenses, such as damages caused by a car carrier. Car shipping brokers hire different auto carriers to perform the service for you. Some brokers, such as ShipCar24 will hire only trusted car carriers that purchased insurance from reputable insurance companies. It is important when it comes to a damage claim. On the other hand, some brokers do not focus on quality and hire the cheapest car carriers available on the market.

3. Get multiple quotes from auto transport companies

Getting multiple quotes may help to get an idea on a car shipping costs. However, it is important not to share your personal information such as full address and full name with the car shipping service provider unless you decide to hire them for an auto transport service. This will help to avoid double-brokerage.

4. Ask about discount

Some companies such as ShipCar24 are offering car shipping discounts to their returning customers, military personnel, students, and elderly people. It is always a great idea to ask about car shipping discounts. Most of the companies will not offer car shipping discounts for door-to-door service, enclosed transport service, non-drivable car relocations, luxury car shipping, classic car shipping or if delivery location is over 100 miles from a major city.

5. Choose an open transport carrier over an enclosed transport carrier

There is no doubt that the cheapest car shipping option is open transport. Enclosed transport will always be more expensive. Therefore, the answer to the  question: ‘What is the cheapest way to ship a car?’ The answer will be open car shipping service.

open car carrier

6. Be flexible with pickup and delivery locations

Most of the residential areas are not accessible or restricted for semi-trucks. Therefore, to avoid additional expenses on door to door service that may cost you $200-$300 more, consider meeting with the trucker at the area where he can safely load and unload your vehicle. Example would be a shopping plaza with a large parking lot. This option is unavailable for non-drivable car relocations and for terminal car shipping service. 

If you live over 100 miles from a major city such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York, a cheap car shipping option would be to meet with the trucker at a major city. This will save car carrier time and fuel and will decrease your car shipping quote.

7. Season does matter

Seasonal price change is an important factor in the car shipping industry. The most expensive time to ship your vehicle is summer. The cheapest way to ship your car is to avoid spring and winter break season when kids and college students are not in school. Some routes that are on high demand during snowbird season should be also excluded as they are not the cheapest car shipping option.

8. Fuel pricing

The largest car carrier company’s expense is fuel. This is one of the major triggers of a car shipping quote rates besides season. It will be extremely hard to find cheap car shipping option especially with the best car shipping companies when fuel prices become high.

9. Size of the vehicle

The larger the vehicle is, the more space it will take on a trailer. In addition, large vehicles are heavier than small cars. Car carriers’ trailers have very specific weight restrictions that cannot exceed a certain amount of weight on each axle. Therefore, the heavier and bulkier the vehicle is the more expensive it will cost to ship it. 

10. Ensure your car is running

Non-running or inoperable vehicles are always more expensive to ship. It takes more effort, expertise, and special equipment availability when it comes to non-runners. Therefore, checking your vehicle’s mechanical condition will help you to save money. Most of the car carriers will change additional fees if the vehicle becomes inoperable during transport.

11. Look for terminal-to-terminal carriers, skip door to door service

Hiring a local car shipping broker is usually cheaper and more convenient. Car shippers such as ShipCar24 may offer a terminal drop off and pickup option. This will save you a couple of hundreds of dollars and will allow you to have more flexible pickup and drop off schedule.

12. Be flexible with pickup and delivery times

Last minute relocations are never budget friendly. Plan your car shipping service ahead of time and save money. Why to pay more if simple planning can help to reduce relocation costs and will make the car shipping process more predictable?

13. If you have more than one vehicle

Most of the auto transport brokers will offer you multiple vehicle shipping discount. That means that shipping two or more vehicles on the same trailer, on the same date and between the same cities will cost less than if to ship them separately.

Some Tips For Successful Car Shipping

1. Check references & insurance

Most of the people know somebody who ever shipped a car. Experience with a car shipping company shared from somebody you know is an invaluable resource for those who are looking for quality vehicle relocation service for less. In addition, always ask if a car shipping broker is licensed and bonded and their subcontracted carriers are fully insured and registered with FMCSA.

2. Prepare your vehicle for shipment

Please read about how to prepare a car for transport in our blog. There are 30 helpful tips that will provide you with detailed instructions on this topic. Lately, there were many discussions regarding how to prepare an electric vehicle for shipping such as Tesla or Mercedes-Benzes EQS. This luxury electric vehicle with powerful large batteries requires special handling. It is important to turn off the climate control feature in tesla while it is in transit. Climate control use during shipping will cause battery drainage and battery overheat.

3. Get personal references

Are the best car shipping companies being the ones that have the greatest number of positive reviews? Most of the time, yes. However, some reviews may be fake, therefore somebody’s reference will be the best guide when it comes to choosing a car shipping broker or carrier.


In conclusion, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration especially if you are looking for cheap car transport service. Moreover, choosing the best car shipping company for less may be a challenging task. But most important is to ensure that your vehicle arrives safely and on time. Therefore, finding this balance between price and quality is the most important task.

Published by Katerina Boyko
Categories: Uncategorized