Process Packing

Should I Pack Stuff In My Car When I Ship It?

Though each car shipper has its own policies, it’s generally not a
good idea to pack things into your vehicle before it’s moved.

Remember, car shipping services are not
household goods moving companies.
In fact, some auto transport companies will
refuse to ship a car that’s stuffed with
household goods, and it may even be
against the law.

It’s probably OK to put a suitcase or a few
small boxes of toys or clothes in the
trunk, but always communicate your
intentions to your move coordinator.

Though light unbreakable items like bedding
and winter coats may be stowed in the back
seat safely, heavy, valuable, delicate and
irreplaceable items like pictures and
glassware should never be transported in
a vehicle while it’s on a truck.

Not only could they get damaged as the
truck bumps along the road, but they could
damage the interior of your car as well.

In short, auto transport isn’t a good way
to ship items when you’re moving across
the country. It’s just not worth it, so find
another option if you can.

Process Tip

Insider’s Tip:

Car Shippers love flexible customers!

Before signing a contract with a vehicle transporter, consider the following:

  1. Book your car transport service well in advance of your actual move date – it’s a great way to lock in a low rate.
  2. If your pick-up and delivery dates are flexible, car carriers are much more likely to cut you a break on the price because you’re making their job easier.
  3. A last-minute car shipping request can create a big headache for a busy auto shipper, so they’ll increase their price to make it worth their while.
Since auto shippers do much of their yearly business during the peak season (between May and September) they typically lower rates during the low season to entice customers into using their service. On the flip side, shipping your vehicle during the peak summer season is usually significantly more pricey.

If you live in a rural area outside busy auto transport lanes, we recommend making arrangements to take your vehicle to the nearest city or town and having it picked up there.

This is often referred to as terminal-to-terminal, or hub-to-hub transportation, and it’s usually much cheaper than door-to-door service.

Shipping more than one vehicle on the same truck will save you money, so letting the pros handle your wheels and taking a flight may be the way to go if you’d rather not make a long drive.

Though auto transporters often advertise discounts and promotions, it’s wise to let them know if you’re a veteran or active military member, teacher, student, senior citizen, repeat customer, or police officer.

How Long Does Car Shipping Take?

  1. Car transport services almost always give their customers a “delivery window.”
  2. For instance, if you’re having your car shipped from Washington DC to Albuquerque, New Mexico, your delivery window may be between 4 and 8 days.
  3. That means that at their discretion, the car transport company can deliver your vehicle any day within that period and fulfill the terms of the contract.
  4. Of course on a shorter move, like one between Baltimore, Maryland and Trenton, New Jersey, the delivery window would be shorter because the mileage is much lower.
  5. Remember too, that the driver will need to make additional pick-ups and deliveries along the way.
  6. Of course breakdowns, inclement weather conditions and unexpected road closures and construction can also delay car transportation.

The time between when your vehicle is picked up and delivered is largely determined by distance, season, and whether you’re moving from and to rural states like Arkansas, Tennessee and Minnesota, or more populated urban ones like New York and California.

Process Cheapest

What Is the Cheapest Way to Ship A Car?

As previously mentioned, the cost to ship a car can vary based on a number of factors including your personal needs, method of transportation, an what type of car, light truck or SUV you have.

Open Auto Transport is the industry standart for shipping automobiles because it’s safe and relatively inexpensive.

Likewise, it’s cheaper to ship an operable vehicle than one that doesn’t run. Most carriers can move inoperable vehicles using a winch, but they’ll charge you extra, so if possible make sure yours is in working order before scheduling to have it moved.

Process Verdict

Should I Drive or Hire an Auto Transport Company?

The decision to drive your car cross-country or ship it professionally usually comes down to distance, personal preference and budget, and assessing the pros and cons of each car shipping options carefully.

On the positive side, driving your car cross-country can be:

  1. Fun and adventurous
  2. Relatively inexpensive
  3. Faster than having it shipped

Conversely, it can be stressful and dangerous due to:

  1. Driving through unsafe road
    conditions and bad weather like ice
    and snow.
  2. Breakdowns in places like rural
    Arizona when it’s 115 degrees, you’re
    22 miles from the nearest service
    station, and don’t have cellphone
  3. Having to stay at ratty and possibly
    unsafe hotels off the interstate.
  4. The increased risk of accidents,
    which often end up costing more
    than shipping your car would have.
  5. The unpleasantness of being cooped
    up with spouses, kids, and pets for
    days on end.

The Verdict

Shipping your car with a professional auto transport provider is almost always safer and less stressful than driving, and in some instances it’s even cheaper too.

Process Factors

Car shipping cost also depends on things like:

  • Vehicle Condition

    Is your vehicle able to steer and brake? Is it in perfect condition or it is inoperable?

  • Open or enclosed

    Would you prefer that your vehicle be shipped inside an enclosed trailer, or is standart open transportation OK? Though the former may suffice for most cars, you’ll want enclosed vehicle transport for exotics, classics and other high-value vehicles. Most auto transport brokers and vehicle transport services providers offer both types of transportation.

  • Dimensions

    Height – Standart heights range from about 57 to 73 inches, depending on vehicle type like sedan, light truck or SUV.

    Length – Average length is about 190 inches, so longer vehicles may be more expensive, and shorter ones less so.

    Weight – Weight isn’t usually as big a factor as height and length, but it’s always more expensive to ship a Hummer than a Prius.

    Other items like aftermarket add-ons, ground clearence issues, and custom suspensions cause car shipping prices to increase as well.

  • Seasonality

    What time of year you’ll ship your vehicle is a big factor in overall cost. Auto transport is usually cheapest between September and May and more expensive in the winter.

  • Locations

    If you’re having your vehicle shipped from one high-traffic metropolitan area to another the car shipping cost may be less than if your origin and destination locations are in out-of-the-way rural areas.

  • Insurance Value

    Most auto transporters have a standard coverage option that applies to all the vehicles they ship, but they will offer upgraded protection for those who need more for luxury car brands like Lamborghini, Ferrari and Rolls Royce owners.

Process Prices

How Much Does Car Shipping Cost?

With so many factors involved, the cost to ship a car, truck or SUV can vary greatly.

< $1,000

< $500

> $2,500

When moves of all types and distances are taken into account, the national average auto shipping price is slightly less than $1,000.

However, if you’re having a family sedan transported a few hundred miles by open carrier during the off-season, the auto transport cost will likely be less than $500.

On the other hand, moving a bulky SUV or pickup truck from coast to coast during the summer could cost well over $2,500.

There’s really no way to calculate an average auto transport cost-per-mile, but gathering shipping quotes for a potential automobile move is a good way to compare carriers.

Below are ballpark shipment figures based on mileage:

< 500 miles


$1.45 & $1.95 per mile

501 – 1,000 miles

$0.90 to $1.44 per mile

1,001 – 2,000 miles

$0.69 to $0.89 per mile

> 2,000 miles


$0.45 & $0.68 per mile

Again, use these car shipping rates as general guidelines only. The only way to get accurate auto transport quotes based on your particular situation is by using a website like’s quote calculator.

It’s generally true that the longer the distance between the pick-up and delivery locations, the higher the price will be, but even that’s not always the case on some shipments.

Process Types

What Are the Different Types of Car
Transportation Services?

  • Open Car Transport

    Open Car Transport is how new cars are moved from ports and factories to dealerships, and it’s the least expensive way to have family vehicles shipped as well. With open transport, your car will be exposed to elements like rain, sleet and snow, as well as road debris like sand, dirt and small rocks, but vehicle shipping of this type rarely results in damage. This is usually the cheapest method to ship a car.

  • Enclosed Car

    Enclosed Transport is the preferred shipping method for vintage automobiles, race cars, and high-dollar exotics. Enclosed auto transport is a premium car shipping service that’s often significantly more expensive than open transport, but it may be a small price to pay for those who want their vehicle pampered and protected.

  • Door-to-Door Service

    Door-to-Door Service is when a car transport provider picks your vehicle up directly from your home or business and delivers it to a specified location, whether it be a museum, race track or private garage.

  • Driveaway Service

    Driveaway Service is similar to student vehicle transport, in that he customer hires a company driver to drive their vehicle from origin to destination. With driveaway services, transit times may be shorter, because there’s no truck driver making additional pickups and deliveries along the way. Driveaway drivers may be professionals, or regular people trying to make a few extra bucks while traveling.

  • Nationwide Car Shipping

    Nationwide Car Shipping is when a vehicle is transported to and from points within the country. In the United States, it usually only includes the Lower 48 states, because shipping to Alaska and Hawaii involves intermodal transportation.

  • Seasonal Auto Movers

    Seasonal Auto Movers do most of their buiness during the peak transportation season between June and August. However, during the winter, many ‘snowbirds’ temporarily relocate from their homes in the Midwest and Northeast to warm sunny states like Florida, Arizona, Nevada and California. Seasonal auto movers are experienced with these moves as well, especially during months when many customers prefer not to drive through inclement weather.

Process Overview

Find an offer that works for you

Like most folks, you probably wouldn’t take medical advice from a plumber or send your kids to a school with untrained teachers. Likewise, getting a car shipping quote requires assistance from seasoned car transportation experts. You could spend hours online doing the legwork yourself, but why bother when we’ve already done it for you.

Access to a community of 1000+ transporters with instant quotes

  • Find transporters

    Tell us about your needs and we will filter hundreds of transporters based on your information

  • Compare prices

    Communicate prices with transporters directly, see entry prices instsantly

  • Hire transporters

    Hire a transporter through and pay only if you’re 100% satisfied

Still have questions? We’re here to answer them

Still have questions? We’re here to answer them


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Info Icons Stacked

What is car shipping and
how does it work?

Find the best

There are hundreds of car shipping companies across the country, many of which are affiliated with large networks of service providers working together to move vehicles both domestically and internationally.

Get the highest level of service

Vetting the auto transport companies you’re considering working with and getting referrals from friends, family and coworkers is important, especially if it’s your first time shipping a car. Finding a trusted professional partner in the auto shipping marketplace is a must too.

Choose who you’d like

Luckily, CARSHIPGURU is here to help. We’re just a phone call away, so call us for a car shipping quote and put our experienced staff to work for you. When shipping a car, we provide competitive instant auto transport quotes from industry leaders – and customers only pay if they’re 100% satisfied with their service. Yeah, it’s a smokin’ deal.