car shipping costs

A Guide to Car Shipping Costs

In 2021, over 28 million Americans moved homes.

From packing up to shipping everything off, moving takes a huge amount of organizational skill. Especially when you have large, prized items like your car that you want to ship. It can be a daunting task to even know where to begin.

That’s where we can help! Keep reading for our guide on everything you need to know about car shipping costs.

What’s the Average Car Shipping Cost?

While we don’t recommend basing your decision on cost alone, it is an important factor to consider. You’ll likely have a budget for boxes and movers, but this has to cover auto transport too.

You’re looking at an average of $0.40 to $2.00 per mile to ship your car. This will vary depending on how far you’re moving, the service you choose, and the type of shipping company.

For example, a long-distance move often has lower per-mile costs. But, it will cost more in total due to the distance you’re covering. Here is a breakdown by distance to give you more of an idea:

  • 500 Miles: $1.00 – $1.96 per mile
  • 501 – 1500 Miles: $0.60 – $0.93 per mile
  • 1501 Miles or more: $0.40 – $0.60 per mile

This assumes that the shipping car in question is in full working order. If the car doesn’t drive or has special requirements, you’re looking at paying more for this. In most cases, these prices are often price-on-advice based, so you’d need to ask.

What Factors Affect the Price?

We’ve mentioned the role distance plays, but it’s not the only factor that decides the cost. Here’s a list of the factors that help determine quotes for car shipping:

Vehicle Size

Usually, SUVs and heavier vehicles are more expensive to ship.

Vehicle Condition

Vehicles that don’t drive take more labor and time to load up. This is why working vehicles cost less to ship.

Transport Type

The main two types of transport are open and enclosed. Most shippers will offer both types with open being cheaper. This is because more vehicles can go on one truck.


As we noted before, long-distance shipping has a lower per-mile cost. But, due to the number of miles you need to cover, it also works out more expensive in the end.

Location For Pick Up & Delivery

It’s cheaper to ship from and to urban areas compared to rural ones. If you do live in a rural area, consider terminal-to-terminal shipping. You’ll need to take your car to and pick it up from a central terminal, but it can save you money compared to door-to-door.

Time of the Year

Most people seek out car shipping services during the summer. This means slots get booked up and you might be out of luck. Due to the higher demand, if you do get a slot, you’re going to pay a lot more than you would in the winter.

Fuel Price

This one may seem obvious, but it’s still worth stating. If the fuel prices go up, so will your shipping costs. This can be particularly impactful on longer-distance shipping.

How Can You Lower Your Shipping Costs?

Shipping your car isn’t your only budget worry when it comes to moving. So it’s only natural to want to keep costs to the lowest figure possible.

If you want to save money on car shipping, make sure you plan your move ahead and remain flexible with your options. Here are a few tips to bear in mind as you get started arranging your car shipping.

Book Well in Advance

It’s recommended you give as much notice of your move as possible. At the very least, you want to book 2 weeks before the move date. In busier periods, you’re better off booking a month out. This can help save costs on expediting the service if you get into a pinch.

Be Flexible With Your Timeline

When it comes to the pick-up and delivery date, try to keep a few options open. The more flexible you are, the better your chances of finding a lower-rate service that can fit you in.

Select Terminal-to-Terminal Delivery

Door-to-door delivery offers the convenience of you not having to lift a finger. The car gets picked up from your drive and delivered right to your new home. But you’re going to pay extra for that.

If you choose terminal-to-terminal, you’re saving on fuel costs and shipping distance. These two factors alone can shave a healthy amount off the cost of your car shipping alone.

Go With Open Carrier

Because companies can ship many cars in open-air carriers, they often work out as the cheapest option. Usually closed carriers offer more protection but can only accommodate a single car. You would want to choose this open if you had a sports or classic car, but your regular motor should be fine in the open.

Clean Out Your Car

The heavier your car is, the higher the cost of transport will be. Also, many carriers won’t insure personal belongings. Make sure you clean out your car before you send it off.

Get a Few Different Quotes

Having options is always great, so make sure you get a few different quotes to compare. In general, talk to 3-4 different shipping companies to get a wide variety of offers.

Ship by Train if Possible

Going by freight train is often the very cheapest method you can find. The trade-off though is less flexibility and longer waiting times. This might not be an option if you’ll need your car right away.

Car Shipping Costs Made Simple

Car shipping costs can make up a big chunk of your budget, so it’s best to prepare yourself early. Make sure you book with enough time before you move, especially in periods of high demand.

Try to be flexible with your dates and the type of shipping you’ll consider. Unless you have a large or specialist vehicle, an open carrier will work fine. If you need a bit of protection, go with the enclosed option.

If you’d like to see how we can help you, request a quote today. At Luxy Transport, from Hawaii to Alaska, we’re dedicated to getting you and your car where you’re meant to be.

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