Cheap Car Shipping: Helpful Tips and Top Providers (2023 Guide) (2023)

Montway Auto Transport, Sherpa Auto Transport and AmeriFreight Offer Affordable Car Shipping Rates

Shipping a car is a significant undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be extremely expensive. Whether you’re relocating to a different part of your state or preparing for a cross-country move between New York and California, there are some simple strategies you can use to find quality auto transport services at affordable rates.

We at the Guides Auto Team have researched the best car shipping companies to help you make an informed auto shipment decision. Our experts also have some useful tips for easily navigating the auto transport industry and locking at the best price.

Why Trust Our TeamThe Guides Auto Team is committed to providing reliable information to help you make the best possible decision about shipping your vehicle. Our researchers, writers and editors are dedicated to investigating providers and analyzing customer feedback and insights so you can choose with confidence.

Cheap Car Shipping: Helpful Tips and Top Providers (2023 Guide) (6)

19Companies Reviewed

Cheap Car Shipping: Helpful Tips and Top Providers (2023 Guide) (7)

2,000Customers Surveyed

Cheap Car Shipping: Helpful Tips and Top Providers (2023 Guide) (8)

150Research Hours


How Much Does It Cost To Ship a Car?

Shipping a car can cost anywhere from $400 to $2,000, but it depends largely on the distance between locations and a set rate per mile. We did the research and found that the average cost to ship a car with open transport is about $618 for 500 miles, and about $1,140 for 1,500 miles.

Here are some additional estimates for door-to-door shipping of an operable 2018 Hyundai Sonata:

RouteDistanceEstimated Shipping TimeOpen TransportEnclosed Transport
Louisville, Ky. to Indianapolis118 miles1-2 days$471$691
New Orleansto Nashville, Tenn.527 miles2-4 days$820$1,175
Des Moines, Iowato Salt Lake City1,075 miles4-6 days$1,337$1,747
Miami to Boston1,510 miles5-7 days$1,238$1,778
Pittsburghto Reno, Nev.2,348 miles6-8 days$2,031$2,566
San Francisco to Providence, R.I.3,088 miles7-9 days$1,931$2,531

*These estimates are the averages from quotes between Montway Auto Transport and Easy Auto Ship.

It’s important to remember that car shipping costs are fluid. Prices change according to demand and market conditions. You might find different car shipping quotes online from one week to the next, even from the same car transport service.

Factors That Affect Car Shipping Rates

There are several key factors that determine how much you pay for vehicle transport. As you compare quotes from car shipping companies, keep these metrics in mind:

  • Shipping distance: Your vehicle shipping route distance has a direct impact on cost. You’ll pay a lower per-mile rate for long-distance shipments, but the overall price will be higher.
  • Pick-up and delivery locations: Transport carriers often charge more to pick up a vehicle far away from a major highway or interstate, which is why terminal shipping is cheaper than door-to-door auto transport.
  • Transport type: Open auto transport is more cost-effective than enclosed auto transport. Open transport is your best shipping option unless you’re shipping a luxury, classic car or other high-end automobile.
  • Type of vehicle: SUVs and trucks typically cost more to ship than standard cars because they weigh more and take up more space in trailers.
  • Vehicle condition: An inoperable vehicle is more expensive to ship than a functional one due to the extra hassle of loading and unloading.
  • Fuel costs: If gas prices are higher, professional car shippers raise their prices too.
  • Transit time frame: The further out you schedule a shipment, the more likely you will find a better rate, which is why expedited shipping is always more expensive.
  • Time of year: Auto shipping is a seasonal business. You can expect to pay higher rates during the summer months, when families often move, and in January — when snowbirds head south to avoid harsh winters.

Tips for Finding Cheap Car Shipping

Booking well ahead of the actual shipping day is your surest path to getting cheap car transport. Shipping is a supply-and-demand market, so if you need a car transported quickly, there will be less available car carriers, and the price will be higher.

If you book more than two weeks in advance, this gives more carriers opportunities to accept your shipments. With more carriers, you’ll have more bids for your vehicle, which lowers the car shipping price for you.

But you can lock in the lowest possible price and achieve maximum peace of mind with these tips:

  • Choose open car transport: Unless you’re shipping a highly valuable car such as a classic, collector or luxury vehicle, opt for an open carrier. It’s the cheapest way to ship, and you’ll have more auto shippers at your disposal.
  • Be flexible: This goes for both your pick-up date and drop-off time. By being as flexible as possible, you open up your auto shipment to bids from more car carriers.
  • Compare instant quotes: The more prices you compare, the better deal you’ll get overall. Most transport brokers will have car shipping calculators for free quotes.
  • Take advantage of discounts: Some companies offer discounts for students, military members, first responders and more. Be on the lookout for these.
  • Keep vehicle weight in mind: Shipping companies may charge more for additional vehicle weight, so it’s a good idea to remove all personal items and have about a quarter-tank of gas.

Our Recommendations for Cheap Car Shipping

Although no car transport company has a definite edge when it comes to cheap car shipping, a few auto transport brokers stand out with consistently affordable rates. These are our top three picks for cheap car shipping companies:

ProviderOverall RatingCost RatingServices Rating
Montway Auto Transport9.18.69.5
Sherpa Auto Transport9.19.19.1

*Ratings are determined by our editorial review team. Learn more about our scoring methodology below.

#1 Montway Auto Transport: Editor’s Choice

Montway Auto Transport is our top overall car shipping company due to its affordable prices, wide range of services and reputation for strong customer service. Along with international shipping and expedited transport, Montway also ships from any dealership or auction site to your door.

The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a 4.6 out of 5.0-star rating on Trustpilot. Combined with competitive prices, these features add up to make Montway Auto Transport our top cheap car shipping recommendation.

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Keep reading: Montway Auto Transport review

#2 Sherpa Auto Transport: Locked-in Pricing

Sherpa Auto Transport boasts 4.9 out 5.0 stars and an A+ rating from the BBB. These high marks are partly due to the company’s Price Lock Promise, which locks in your shipping rate with your initial quote. Sherpa Auto Transport ships to the 48 contiguous states, offers three-day pick-up windows and will reimburse you for a car wash if your vehicle is dirty when it reaches its destination.

Keep reading: Sherpa Auto Transport review

#3 AmeriFreight: Added Protection Plan

AmeriFreight offers shipping to all 50 states, which includes expedited car shipping services and shipments for motorcycles and boats. One thing that makes AmeriFreight stand out from other shipping brokers is its Allied Fidelity Total Assurance (AFta) plan, which is added insurance coverage available at several levels:

  • Comprehensive: For $100, this plan pays up to $2,000 for major damage, $800 for minor damage, $300 for lost or stolen keys and coverage for cancellation.
  • Standard: At a cost of $80, this plan pays up to $2,000 for major damage, $800 for minor damage and $300 for lost or stolen keys.
  • Basic: This plan costs $50 and provides up to $600 for minor damage.

AmeriFreight matches Sherpa Auto Transport with a 4.9 out of 5.0-star rating from BBB, and gets 4.7 out of 5.0 stars based on over 3,200 Google customer reviews.

Keep reading: AmeriFreight review

Cheap Car Shipping: FAQ

Methodology: How We Rate Providers

Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings of the best car shipping companies. We collected data on dozens of auto transport providers to grade the companies on a wide range of ranking factors. The end result was an overall rating for each provider, with the companies that scored the most points topping the list.

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Here are the factors our ratings take into account:

  • Cost (30% of total score): Auto shipping companies with affordable rates, locked-in pricing and discount opportunities scored highest in this category.
  • Services (25% of total score): Companies that offer a variety of choices for car transport, strong insurance coverage and added benefits are more likely to meet consumer needs.
  • Customer Experience (25% of total score): This score is based on customer satisfaction ratings and availability of extras like GPS tracking. We also considered the responsiveness, friendliness and helpfulness of each transporter’s customer service team based on our own shopper analysis.
  • Reputation (20% of total score): Our research team considered availability, ratings from industry experts and years in business when giving this score.

*Data accurate at time of publication.


What is the cheapest company to ship your car? ›

Considering average cost per mile, uShip, American Auto Shipping, SGT Auto Transport, and Montway Auto Transport are the cheapest car shipping companies overall. Auto shipping is a supply-and-demand business, so prices can fluctuate widely.

Who is the best company to ship a car? ›

Our Top Picks for Best Car Shipping Companies
  • Amerifreight: Best for multiple discounts.
  • Sherpa Auto Transport: Best for high insurance coverage limits.
  • American Auto Shipping: Best for 24/7 customer support.
  • Montway Auto Transport: Best for international shipping.
  • uShip: Best auto transport marketplace.
Dec 5, 2022

How can I save money on a car shipping? ›

  1. You Can Save on Shipping Your Car with the Right Timing. ...
  2. Use The Terminal-to-Terminal Option. ...
  3. Be Flexible With Car Shipping Dates to Save Money. ...
  4. Pick Open Transport Trailers. ...
  5. Ship More Than One Car. ...
  6. Make Sure to Get Multiple Vehicle Transport Quotes for the Best Value.

Does the Navy ship your car for free? ›

Does the military ship your car for free? The military may ship your car for free if you're an a) active member of the military and b) have received permanent change of station (PCS) orders. The government only pays for one privately owned vehicle (POV) to be shipped, according to the Department of Defense.

What is the best and cheapest way to ship? ›

Use flat-rate shipping where possible—flat-rate shipping will almost always be the best value for money, especially for domestic delivery. Flat-rate shipping means that you can predict prices more accurately. No matter what kind of parcel you have or what dimensions or weight it is, the price will always be the same.

What is the safest way to ship a car? ›

The absolute safest way to ship a vehicle is through enclosed transport (also known as covered transport). Vehicles transported via the enclosed shipping method are safely shielded from the outside world within the walls of the car carrier.

What is the number 1 auto transport company in the US? ›

Featured Car Shipping Companies

Our experts name Montway Auto Transport, Sherpa Auto Transport, SGT Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, American Auto Shipping, Easy Auto Ship and uShip as the best car shipping companies based on customer satisfaction reports, reviews, costs and services.

Can you put stuff in car when shipping? ›

It is not illegal to ship personal items in your vehicle when it is being moved by a shipping company. There might be some personal items that you cannot remove from your vehicle. Some shipping companies will also allow you to put other items in your vehicle that you want to move with your car.

Should you tip car transport drivers? ›

In the car shipping industry, tips are not required in any way. However, tips are still very much appreciated by drivers, as they spend a lot of time and energy transporting vehicles across the country.

How much is it to ship a car to another state? ›

If you're using a professional car shipping company, there are a lot of factors that make up the total cost to ship a car to another state, though average car shipping costs are about $600-$1,000 for a four-door sedan and $800-$1,070 for a small van, pickup, or SUV (based on a New York to California move).

How much does it cost to ship a car across the US? ›

The average cost to ship a car is approximately $1,108. analyzed nearly 700 car shipping quotes to calculate industry averages. We found that costs range from about $510 to transport your vehicle a few hundred miles on an open carrier to around $1,580 to send your car across the country in an enclosed truck.

How much does it cost to ship a car from Boston to Florida? ›

The cost of shipping your vehicle can be about $650 to $1000 if you are looking for the best transportation company to ship your vehicle.

What company does the military use to ship cars? ›

Top 5 Shipping Companies For Military POV Moves
#1Montway Auto TransportLowest average price
#2Sherpa Auto TransportLargest military discount
#3AmeriFreightMultiple discounts available
#4SGT Auto TransportNo up-front costs
#5RoadRunner Auto TransportHighly rated by consumers
1 more row
Dec 12, 2022

What is a POV vehicle? ›

Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Mileage Reimbursement Rates.

Will the army ship my car for free? ›

Transporting your car for military assignment isn't as difficult as it seems. The government typically pays to ship one privately owned vehicle (POV) if your permanent change of station (PCS) is overseas. Entitlements are also available within the continental United States (CONUS) if you have a second vehicle.

What is the cheapest way to ship a 50 lb package? ›

The cheapest option for 50+ pounds

UPS Ground® and FedEx Ground are the winners for the cheapest shipping option for a package that weighs 50 pounds. USPS also imposes a 50-pound weight limit for parcels, so anything above 50 pounds should be shipped with FedEx or UPS to avoid any surcharges.

Is Pirateship cheaper than USPS? ›

Pirate Ship offers BELOW Commercial Pricing® for Priority Mail Flat Rate shipments sent to and from the lower 48 states, and can save you more than 17% compared to standard retail pricing. With no hidden costs or fees, Pirate Ship is 100% free.

Is it cheaper to ship by weight or flat rate? ›

Flat Rate packaging provides a better value than weight-based pricing if your products fit within the defined dimensions of the Flat Rate packages. Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Boxes have a distinct advantage when shipping shorter distances, Zones 1-4, and for parcels weighing less than 20 lbs.

What to do before you ship a car? ›

9 steps to prepare your car for shipment
  1. Gather your vehicle's documents. ...
  2. Wash your car—inside and out. ...
  3. Document damage. ...
  4. Remove personal items. ...
  5. Perform any necessary maintenance. ...
  6. Empty your gas tank. ...
  7. Remove outside accessories. ...
  8. Lock up, but leave the keys.
Dec 11, 2019

Do cars get damaged in shipping? ›

While it is rare, cars are sometimes damaged during shipment. Most of the time, damages from car shipping are minor (think stones or hail dinging your roof), but sometimes they are more major.

How do I know if a transport company is legit? ›

Auto transporters are also issued a seven digit “USDOT” number. You can check the validity of the registration of any transporter or broker by doing a “carrier search” for their MC Docket number on this site. Avoid any auto transporter or broker that does not prominently display their MC Docket number on their website.

What is the most trusted car company? ›

Toyota earns the top spot as the best automaker for dependability. Toyota vehicles are known for their longevity, and they are proven to last longer than any other brand. Toyotas are built so well they have below-average maintenance and repair costs, which helps contribute to why they remain on the road for so long.

What is the largest dealership in USA? ›

Ranked by 2019 new-vehicle retail sales
2019 total new retail vehicles'18 rank
AutoNation Inc.*282,6021
Penske Automotive Group Inc.*#222,8002
Lithia Motors Inc.*180,5323
Group 1 Automotive Inc.*#169,1363
10 more rows
Mar 30, 2020

Who has the best car collection in the US? ›

1. Jay Leno. American comedian and talk show host Jay Leno has over 1600 vehicles in his collection, and they range from tiny micro cars and hot rods, through to a pre-1900 steam car, the latest hypercars from Europe, an American LaFrance fire engine, and even a Ferret Scout army vehicle!

What should you not put in your car? ›

7 Items You Should Never Leave In Your Car
  • Food & Drink. A bottle of wine sealed with a cork is just the beginning. ...
  • Aerosol Cans. ...
  • Sunscreen. ...
  • Lighters. ...
  • Plastic Bottles. ...
  • Batteries. ...
  • Electronics.

Is the most popular option when it comes to shipping a car? ›

Your two main options, when it comes to having your car shipped, are open car transport and enclosed auto transport. The most common and economical way to ship a car is open car transport. Your vehicle is transported on an open trailer.

Does your car have to be empty when you ship it? ›

Can You Pack Stuff Inside Your Car or Trunk and Ship it? Yes, you can ship your car with things inside of it. As of now, the Department of Transportation has not outwardly said car shipping companies can ship personal or household items in a car being transported.

Whats a good tip for a private driver? ›

The general rule of thumb is that you should tip your chauffeur between 15% and 20%.

How can I tip my driver for free? ›

On your trip screen, just below the status of the service, taxi type, and payment method, you will be able to activate/deactivate the tipping. Important: The tipping function can only be set from the passenger's App.

How much is a good tip for a driver? ›

10% to 20% of the fare. Even if apps for ride-hailing services do not give you an option to leave a gratuity, tip the driver anyway.

Is easy auto ship legit? ›

Easy Auto Ship is a BBB-accredited company with an A+ rating and abundant high praise from past customers from Florida to California and everywhere in between. Although all good companies will receive a few critical reviews, EAS received some of the highest customer ratings and reviews in the industry.

How much does it cost to ship a car from east to west coast? ›

The average cost range for shipping a small van, pick-up truck or SUV is $800 to $1,070. HomeAdvisor's estimates are slightly higher, estimating that the average cost to ship a car is anywhere from $700 to $1,200. We recommend erring on the higher side of these cost ranges when estimating your auto transport costs.

How much does it cost to ship a car from California to Florida? ›

Estimated Car Shipping cost & transit time for popular California to Virginia Transport Trips
Shipping To/FromCostTransit Time
Los Angeles to Orlando$12997-8 days
San Diego to Miami$13997-8 days
San Francisco to Kissimmee$14997-10 days
San Jose to Jacksonville$13997-9 days
4 more rows

Is it worth it to ship a car across the country? ›

Our recommendation. We're not going to lie. Shipping your car isn't cheap, and you can almost always save money driving it to your new home yourself. Even if you consider the cost of gas, hotels, food, and mileage for a long road trip, auto transportation usually still costs more.

How do I ship a car from one state to another in the US? ›

5 different ways to ship a car from one state to another
  1. Drive it yourself. ...
  2. Hire someone to drive it for you. ...
  3. Use a train shipping service. ...
  4. Use an airplane shipping service. ...
  5. Use an auto transport service. ...
  6. Open car shipping. ...
  7. Enclosed car shipping. ...
  8. Guaranteed pick-up.
Feb 14, 2022

Why is car shipping so expensive? ›

The size of the vehicle you're shipping is one of the biggest price-affecting factors for two reasons. First, larger vehicles take up more space on a transporter, which means less space for other cars. Second, larger vehicles weigh more and limit the carrier's total capacity.

Can I take my car on a train to Florida? ›

The Auto Train transports you and your car (or van, motorcycle, SUV, small boat, jet-ski or other recreational vehicle) nonstop from the Washington, DC area to Florida, just outside of Orlando.

How much is it to ship a car from Florida to NYC? ›

The average cost to ship a car from Florida to New York is $705, This average price is based on user-entered estimates on If you want to know the exact estimate for shipping a car from Florida to New York, use our online calculator to get a free and instant quote.

How much is it to ship a car from Texas to Florida? ›

Speaking generally, the cost to ship a car from Texas to Florida can range from a few hundred dollars to over $1000.

How much does shipping cost for a car? ›

The industry average cost to ship a car with an auto transport company is upwards of $2.00 per mile for journeys less than 200 miles. The price dips down to an average of $0.58 per mile for true long-distance moves exceeding 1,500 miles. An enclosed carrier offers more protection and security than an open carrier.

Is shipping a car a good idea? ›

Our recommendation. We're not going to lie. Shipping your car isn't cheap, and you can almost always save money driving it to your new home yourself. Even if you consider the cost of gas, hotels, food, and mileage for a long road trip, auto transportation usually still costs more.

How much is the Uship fee for a car? ›

The average cost to ship a car ranges from $500 to $1,500+ based on how far your vehicle needs to be transported. For example, it's about $2.92 per mile to ship a car less than 200 miles, but it costs $0.78 per mile to ship 1,000 miles or more.

How much would it cost to have a car delivered across the US? ›

The price of shipping a car inside the U.S. typically ranges from $500 to more than $1,700, and terminal-to-terminal transport with open-air shipping is usually the cheapest option. If you want to be sure you're getting a good deal, shop around and get quotes from multiple car shipping companies.

What is a car shipping calculator? ›

A car shipping calculator is a tool found on some car shipping companies' websites that helps users get hassle-free quotes for auto shipping. Some car shipping calculators provide customers with instant quotes, while others gather data points to be sent to the car shipper's representatives.

What is the fastest car shipping company? ›

National Express is the industry leader in fast auto transport services and same day car shipping. This immediate auto transport service is available for both open and enclosed carriers, all across the country.

What is it called when you ship a car? ›

Also known as auto transport or car transport, car shipping is the act of moving a car from one location to another using a specialized trailer. Any company that provides car shipping should be licensed, bonded, and insured for safe hauling and delivery.

What is better than uShip? ›

Top 10 Alternatives to uShip PRO
  • Load Board.
  • Motive (Formerly KeepTruckin)
  • Cargobase.
  • Descartes MacroPoint.
  • Descartes Aljex.
  • Magaya Supply Chain.
  • Freightview.
  • Shipsy.

Is uShip safe for cars? ›

Is uShip legitimate? Yes, uShip is legitimate. The online marketplace has been connecting customers with car shippers for nearly 20 years and is one of Move. org's Best Car Shipping Companies.

Is Nexus Auto Transport legit? ›

Yes, Nexus Auto Transport is legit. The shipping provider was established in 2015 and is headquartered in Chicago. As an auto shipping broker, the company works with a network of carriers to ship cars for its customers.

How much does it cost to ship a car from California to New York? ›

The car shipping cost might vary, but it is ultimately within $ 1,500 and $2,500 if you choose an open carrier or enclosed car carrier, respectively. San Diego, California, to Buffalo, New York is around 2551 miles; shipping your car takes approximately 7-10 days.


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