Whether you’re shipping a car a few hundred miles or moving across the country, finding the best price is a key part of the car shipping process. Using a car shipping calculator is an excellent way to get a sense of what you might pay for auto transport services. We’ll cover what a car shipping cost calculator is and how to use it to get a hassle-free car shipping estimate.

In This Review:

    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. Once a representative compiles the customer’s data, they give the customer a car shipping quote, often within minutes.

    How Does a Car Shipping Calculator Work?

    Online auto transport quotes generally come from the car shipping calculators that vehicle transport companies build for their websites. To produce a free quote, the tool requires the customer to enter information about their vehicle, the car shipping services they need, and when they want the shipment to take place.

    Though car shipping calculators vary by company, they may ask for the following information:

    • Vehicle type, make, model, and operability
    • Preferred pickup and delivery dates
    • Pickup and drop-off locations
    • Transport type (open or enclosed car shipping)
    • Your name, email address, and phone number

    The car shipping calculator then uses an equation to estimate how much a vehicle transport will cost. In many cases, an agent with the auto transport company will present the information to a network of carriers the transport broker works with. Carriers then bid on the job, and the agent reports the shipment details to the customer.

    Is a Car Shipping Quote the Final Price?

    It’s best to consider a car shipping quote an estimate of what you’ll pay. The car shipping quote you receive typically won’t be the final price of the transport because service fees and additional insurance coverage charges could be tacked on.

    Some car transport companies, like Sherpa Auto Transport, work to ensure the quoted price you receive is the price you end up paying. Sherpa’s Price Lock Promise means your quoted price is locked in – if the quoted price isn’t enough to secure a car hauler, we’ll pay up to $300 of the difference.

    Average Auto Transport Costs

    To help you understand how a car shipping calculator estimates the price for a car transport, we’ve provided ranges of the average cost per mile. To get a baseline cost for your car shipment, multiply the distance of your shipment by the cost per mile.

    Shipment MileagePrice per Mile
    0 to 500 miles$1.32 to $2.75
    501 to 1,000 miles$0.88 to $1.55
    1,001 to 1,500 miles$0.70 to $1.23
    1,501 to 2,000 miles$0.60 to $1
    2,001 to 2,500 miles$0.53 to $0.84
    2,500+ miles$0.48 to $0.74

    This is the only the first calculation the car shipping calculator will make to determine the cost of your vehicle transport. Other factors, such as market conditions and the size of your car, can change the estimated price.

    Popular Auto Transport Routes

    If you’re looking to get an even more specific estimate, here are the average costs per mile for some well-traveled shipping routes.

    RoutesPrice per Mile
    New York City to Los Angeles$0.56 to $0.72
    New York City to Miami$0.98 to $1.20
    Los Angeles to Miami$0.48 to $0.66
    Los Angeles to New York City$0.48 to $0.71
    Miami to New York City$0.65 to $1.20
    Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles$0.49 to $0.69
    Chicago to Los Angeles$0.61 to $0.88
    New York City to Houston$0.80 to $1
    Los Angeles to Atlanta$0.48 to $0.74
    Chicago to Phoenix$0.68 to $0.92

    Keep in mind that while these prices per mile provide a baseline cost, what you’ll pay when shipping along these routes may change. If you choose enclosed transport over an open carrier, for instance, your quoted price will increase. If you live in a rural area outside one of these major cities, your auto transport may cost more.

    Factors that Affect Car Shipping Costs

    Market forces and the details of your shipment will affect the price you pay. To avoid surprises when comparing the final transport cost to the quote, consider the factors that cause auto shipment prices to fluctuate:

    • Shipping distance: Long-distance shipments cost less per mile, but they cost more overall than shorter-distance shipments.
    • Vehicle size: Trucks, SUVs, and other large, heavy vehicles are more expensive to ship than standard sedans.
    • Vehicle condition: Inoperable vehicles require more labor to load onto carrier trucks, which increases shipping costs.
    • Pickup and drop-off locations: Rural pickup and delivery locations take more travel time and require more fuel, making shipping to and from those locations more expensive.
    • Time frame: Some auto shipping companies offer expedited shipping for a higher price. It’s generally cheaper to schedule your car transport service at least two weeks in advance. Having a flexible timeline can also help you save money.
    • Transport type: Open auto transport is the cheapest way to ship a car. Enclosed auto transport can cost up to 50% more, but it offers more protection for classic cars and luxury vehicles.
    • Time of year: Car shipping rates rise in January and the summer, when demand for vehicle shipping increases.
    • Gas prices: The higher the cost of fuel, the more expensive an auto shipment will be.

    Why You Should Choose Sherpa Auto Transport

    Sherpa is a transport broker with a stellar reputation in the auto transport industry. We hold an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Customers also hold us in high regard, giving Sherpa a near-perfect average star rating of 4.9 out of 5 on the BBB’s reviews section.

    Price Lock Promise

    After using the car shipping calculator on our website, you’ll find peace of mind knowing the quote provided is locked in. Our Price Lock Promise means that if the quoted shipping price isn’t enough to secure a car carrier for your shipment, we’ll pay up to $300 of the difference to ensure your auto transport happens.

    Frequently Asked Questions