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How to Ship a Car

Shipping a vehicle can be a tedious and costly experience. You want to make sure you're working with the best auto transport company at their best rate. Vehicles are the second biggest purchase we make, and it’s important to feel secure when you need to move your car.

The most important thing to do when shipping a car is to research auto transport companies, and compare their services, history, and prices. Find out which carrier is best for your transportation needs and budget. Talk to them directly to get a feel for their communication styles and expertise in auto transport. uShip allows you to do all of these things in one platform.

SUVs on a car dealership parking lot

Car Shipping Services

Door to Door Auto Transport

Door-to-Door vehicle delivery is provided by most auto transport companies. The transport service will pick up and deliver your vehicle as close to your door as possible. Keep in mind, semi-trucks and trailers can't easily make clearance in some residential streets and apartment communities. If necessary, work out an accessible parking lot to load or unload your car with your provider in advance.

Expedited Car Shipping

Do you need a vehicle to be transported last minute or to be at a specific location by a deadline? Many auto transport companies offer premium services that can expedite the shipping process of your vehicle. This service will generally begin within 24 to 48 hours from when you place an order with car transport companies. Find out how long it takes to ship a car.

Middle aged man smiling and leaning on his red classic car with the hood up

Enclosed Auto Transport

If you need to move your luxury vehicle, ship a classic car, or transport a vintage race car, enclosed transport may be your preferred service type. Covered car transport provides the most protection for your vehicle during transit.

With an enclosed trailer, you can protect your car from weather conditions, dirt, debris, and other elements it may encounter on an open car carrier. Enclosed vehicle transport will usually cost a little more than open transport, but we do recommend this service type for special cars that are delicate, have a high sentimental value, or are worth $50,000 or more.

Open Auto Transport

Open transport for vehicles is the industry standard. You have seen these car carriers on the road countless times, moving multiple cars. Whether you're moving a new, used, or junk car; open transport is the cheapest way to ship a car. Roughly 90% of car transport services operate an open trailer, so choosing this service means you will have access to the best coverage, and the best rates.

When it comes to open transport for vehicles, ground clearance is important. The closer a vehicle is to the ground, the higher the chance is that damage will occur. To help prevent this, it is advised that vehicles with ground clearance of 4 inches and below be shipped using enclosed vehicle shipping.

Open auto transport car carrier on highway

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car?

The average cost to ship a car using auto transport companies in the US is $2.92 per mile to ship a car less than 200 miles, but costs $0.78 per mile to ship a car 1,000 miles or more. Of course, the cost to ship a car depends on a few factors:

  • Distance: Distance is the main factor calculated in the cost to ship a car. If you're not going far, it will cost less overall, but will be a higher cost per mile. This is directly related to the amount of fuel used to transport your vehicle.
  • Vehicle Height: When shipping vehicles, height matters for cost. Most sedans average a height of 57 inches, while SUVs can range from 63 to 73 inches. Due to this height difference, SUVs are typically more expensive to transport than sedans. Additionally, special SUVs that are taller than usual force sedans to be shipped under or over the taller vehicle.
  • Vehicle Length: Some vehicle transportation companies use vehicle length towards the calculation of the cost to ship a car. With the average length of a sedan being 189 inches, vehicles under this length become desirable and cheaper to ship. Vehicles over the length of 196 inches become trickier to fit inside a transport vehicle, causing auto transport companies to increase the costs.
  • Vehicle Make and Model: Vehicle make and model is a factor that goes into the cost of shipping a car, which is why uShip asks you for these details when you're creating your vehicle shipment listing. The larger the vehicle, or the more weight added to the car carrier, the higher the vehicle shipping rate as the transporter can move fewer cars to meet weight restrictions.
  • Auto Transport Service Type: As mentioned above, there are many types of auto transport. You can choose open transport to save some money, or enclosed transport for added security at a higher cost.
  • Condition of Vehicle: If your vehicle is in working condition, you will receive more affordable shipping quotes than a vehicle that does not work. It's important to note whether your vehicle is inoperable in your shipment listing for this reason.
  • Pick Up and Delivery Locations: Urban and metropolitan areas typically have a lot of car transport trucks available, and shipments available which keeps the cost to ship a car lower than a rural area. It's hard to add a rural stop to a shipping lane, and will require additional fuel and time, increasing your overall auto shipping quote.
  • Seasonality: Shipping a vehicle in the summer months costs less than shipping a car in the winter. In many areas of the United States, snow and ice affect the typical trucking lanes, potentially bringing a higher car shipping rate.
  • If you're still curious about what it costs to ship your car, truck, or van you can visit our cost to ship index, which includes hundreds of auto transport shipments completed through the uShip marketplace. You'll find how much it is to ship a car cross country or how much it costs to ship a car internationally, state to state, locally or internationally. Create a listing to get quotes directly from auto transport companies on your specific shipment.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Transport

  1. 1. Leave only a quarter-tank of gas in the tank.
  2. 2. Wash and clean your car fully, inside and out.
  3. 3. Check all fluids in your car.
  4. 4. Alert your transporter to any leaking fluids.
  5. 5. Check your battery charge and tire pressure.
  6. 6. Take high-quality photographs at pickup and delivery.
  7. 7. Remove all ornaments (roof racks, spoilers, antenna, etc).
  8. 8. Remove things like toll tags and EZ passes from windshields.
  9. 9. Remove all personal belongings.
  10. 10. Leave behind a spare tire and jack.

Get more tips on preparing a car for transport.

Eighteen wheeler trucks lined up

Auto Transport Insurance

Along with transporter reviews and vehicle preparation you should take a moment to explore your cargo insurance options. Review the details of your transporter's insurance coverage and, if you'd like, seek out independent options. We recommend contacting your current auto insurance provider and asking how you are covered during transportation.

Then, check out uShip Cargo Insurance and find out what your best coverage options are. Insurance coverage is very important during transportation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires all registered transporters to provide a certificate of insurance to their shipping customers. Make sure you have this document in your hands prior to shipment and review the details listed. Verify the information on the certificate with the noted insurance company or the Department of Transportation.

Ship a Car Cross-Country

Whether you’re relocating or you just bought a car on the other side of the nation, uShip can take the stress out of shipping a vehicle across the country, but there are a few things to keep in mind as you are reviewing quotes from auto carriers. While open transport is more budget-friendly, because of the long distance travelled in a cross country move, you may want to consider enclosed car transport for added safety.

Decide in advance how lenient you can be in your delivery dates. Although you can request a faster delivery, moving a car across the country can take up to two weeks, especially if the carrier has multiple vehicles for delivery. Keep in mind, a faster delivery could result in a more expensive total shipping price.

Check out the transporter profiles to see if they have moved cars across the country before, and see what their customers have to say in their review of the service. Using uShip to ship a car cross country means you're backed by safe shipping at the best rates.

Transport a Car State to State

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are shipping cars from state to state. Be sure you know what agencies you need to work with in order to update your license and registration if you are relocating.

The first thing you will want to do is get quotes to ship your car to another state. This is a great way to see the cost to ship your vehicle state to state, get reviews of the auto transporters, and talk to them directly.

You can also check out our cost to ship index before you submit your shipment information for a quote.

Consider your service type preference. Is it best to have your car in an enclosed trailer, or is the low rate of open transport a better option?

To transport a vehicle to another state, car shipping companies are required to obtain a Motor Carrier (MC) number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It's important to check the uShip transporter profile to see their MC number is listed.

Take time to review the car shipping services’ insurance coverage through their profile. You can also purchase additional cargo insurance through uShip.

When you use uShip to ship a car to another state, you're not only able to communicate directly with the carrier, but uShip's support team is on hand 7 days a week to help ease the stress of having your car moved.

Shipping a Car with uShip

uShip brings everything you need when looking for a transporter into one platform. We make auto transport easy and stress free.

First, create a shipment listing detailing your needs for transport and your vehicle. This will help service providers give you their best quotes.

Once your shipment listing is complete, you may see instant car shipping rates to choose from, or you can enter the shipping marketplace where the carriers compete for your business.

Either way, you can click on the carrier's name to view their profile and find out more about their car shipping history, and their company. If you choose to go into the marketplace, you can talk to the carriers directly to find out more about their experience.

When you have found a carrier whose experience and services meet your needs, and whose quote is within your budget, accept the quote and you're on your way to your car delivery.

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Full car carrier transporting vehicles

uShip Instant Rates for Your Car Shipping

If you're moving a vehicle that is not modified, you will see an option to select an instant rate from one of our qualified brokers. These brokers offer a rate immediately, based on the vehicle type and the pickup and delivery locations. They then assign your vehicle shipment to a carrier who will complete your shipment. If your vehicle qualifies for an instant rate, save yourself time and money by selecting a rate that works for you.

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