How to Ship a Car in 2024
Understanding the car shipping process will make it easier for you to transport your vehicle. Our team has compiled this guide to help you better understand how to ship a car. We’ll take a look at the car shipping process, car shipping costs, and a few tips for how to prepare for auto transport.
- Car shipping is an efficient and cost-effective way to transport your vehicle long distances. By working with an expert auto transport company, like Sherpa, you can rest assured that your vehicle is in good hands.
- Since auto transport pricing is dependent on many factors, getting a free quote is the best way to know how much it will cost to transport your vehicle.
- We make it simple for our customers to lock in their shipment. Many customers can book their shipment fully online or speak to an expert for tips on a cost-effective transport.
- Once your shipment is locked in, our team will secure a qualified carrier for your shipment. We handle all of the logistics so that our customers have an easy and stress-free experience.
In This Review:
What is Car Shipping?
Car shipping, also known as auto transport or vehicle transport, is a service that moves your car from one location to another. It’s especially useful in situations where driving a car yourself is inconvenient or impossible. People use car shipping for many scenarios, including getting used vehicles they bought online and making cross-country moves to new homes.
We are proud to be an auto transport broker. We work with top-notch carriers in the industry to ensure our customers’ vehicles are delivery safely.
How the Car Shipping Process Works
To help you with researching how to ship a car, we’ve broken down the steps you’ll need to follow.
Get an Instant Quote
It’s a good idea to get a car shipping quote online from a trusted provider, such as Sherpa. Since many factors impact the cost of car shipping, an instant quote is the best way to understand how much you may need to spend to get your vehicle safely delivered.
When requesting a car shipping quote, we will ask for these details:
- Your vehicle’s year, make, and model
- Vehicle operability
- Pickup and delivery locations
- Desired time frame for pickup
- Preferred car shipping method (open or enclosed trailer transport)
- Your name and contact information
All of our quotes are backed by our exclusive Price Lock Promise, which means that your quote is locked-in.
Most of our customers can receive an instant quote and even book your shipment fully online. Our team of experts are also available at (877) 850-1231 if you would prefer to receive a quote over the phone. For some specific shipments, we may ask you to give our team a call to ensure we provide an accurate price.
Lock in Your Shipment
Once you receive your quote with Sherpa and review the details, we make it easy to lock-in your shipment. We provide windows for both pickup and delivery and once a carrier is secured, our team will provide a more specific pickup and delivery timeframe.
Nothing is due to book with Sherpa. Your initial payment will be charged when a carrier is assigned to your shipment and you will pay the balance to the carrier when your vehicle arrives.
Prepare Your Vehicle to Be Shipped
Once you have your pickup date, you’ll need to get your car ready to be shipped. Here’s a list of steps to take to ensure your car’s in prime shape for transport:
- Wash your car. Giving your car a thorough wash will help you find any dings, scratches, or other cosmetic issues. If you’re shipping internationally, some countries won’t let your car pass quarantine if it wasn’t washed before leaving port.
- Inspect your vehicle for existing damage. Once your car is clean, you’ll have a better chance of discovering any cosmetic damage. Take photos of any scratches or dents. This way, if any damage occurs during shipping, you can show the auto transport company what damage was already present.
- Remove valuables and personal items. Though theft during vehicle transports is rare, you should remove any valuables or personal items. It’s also good to remove toll tags. Also, a heavier car means a higher transport cost, so removing all nonessential items will save you money.
- Secure or remove loose parts. Any removable or loose parts (like a radio antenna, hood ornament, or spoiler) should be removed and placed in the trunk to avoid damage. You should also fold in your side mirrors if possible and make sure your sunroof or convertible top is fully closed.
- Do a routine maintenance check. Be aware of any mechanical issues or leaks, as these can delay your car shipment. Top off all fluids, fully inflate your tires, make sure your car’s battery has charge, and record your current mileage.
- Empty your gas tank. You don’t want more than a quarter tank of gas in the vehicle, as a full tank of gas adds weight to it.
- Make an extra set of keys. The trucker will need keys to drive your car on and off the carrier truck, so make sure you either give them an extra key or have a spare with you.
Meet the Carrier at Pickup
Sherpa provides door-to-door transport, which means that the carrier will pickup and deliver as close to your specified addresses as possible. You or someone else 18 years or older will meet the carrier at pickup to hand over the keys and perform an inspection.
Wait for Delivery
While your vehicle is in transit, Sherpa handles the heavy lifting. We provide frequent updates on the status of your vehicle so you can sit back and relax.
Pick Your Vehicle Up and Pay the Remaining Balance
Once your car arrives, you and the driver will perform another inspection. You’ll then sign a Bill of Lading to complete the service and pay the carrier the remaining balance.
How Much Does Car Shipping Cost?
The auto shipping industry doesn’t have a standard car shipping cost, so make sure to get a quote using their our instant quote tool or by calling our team. In general, you can expect to pay between 45 cents and $1.50 per mile
Factors Impacting Car Shipping Cost
Below are the primary factors impacting the cost of shipping your vehicle:
- Shipping distance: While long-distance shipments cost more in total, they cost less per mile than shorter trips.
- Pickup and drop-off locations: Shipping to and from urban locations is cheaper than shipping between rural areas. If you are looking for pickup or delivery from a more remote location, ask how much you can save by moving to a larger city or closer to the highway.
- Pickup window: Sherpa’s most cost-effective option is a five business day window for pickup. If you are in a hurry and need an expedited pickup window, your shipment will be more expensive.
- Vehicle size: The weight, length, and height of your vehicle will impact shipping costs. The same goes for ground clearance, as cars that are lower to the ground are more expensive to ship.
- Vehicle condition: Inoperable vehicles are expensive to ship because they need to be winched or forklifted onto a trailer. If your car is operable, meaning that it can roll, brake, and steer, the shipping cost will be lower.
- Trailer type: Open trailers are the most common car haulers and are the best option for the majority of customers. Enclosed auto transport is more expensive, but covered carriers offer protection from road debris for high-end vehicles.
- Time of year: Car shipping costs tend to be higher in January and the summer months, which is peak season for auto transport.
How to Ship a Car for Less Money
To make sure you have affordable, hassle-free transport, here are a few tips to keep in mind when shipping your car.
The wider of a window you can provide for pickup and delivery dates, the more affordable your transport is likely to be. Sherpa’s most cost-effective option is a five business day window for pickup. We also offer expedited shipping that comes with an upcharge.
Book in Advance
Book your auto transport as far in advance as possible. The more lead time you give, the more likely you are to receive the best rate. In general, you should book your shipment at least two weeks before the move date.
Open Trailer Shipping
Open carrier shipping is the cheapest way to transport your vehicle. Most open transport trucks can fit eight to 10 vehicles, so shipping routes have multiple stops to drop off and load cargo. If you have a classic car or a vehicle with a low clearance, you may want to consider enclosed carrier shipping, as it protects your vehicle from road debris and hazardous weather conditions.
Why You Should Choose Sherpa Auto Transport
Sherpa Auto Transport is a great choice for a smooth car shipping experience, from our initial, all-inclusive quote to your vehicle’s delivery. Here are a few things that set us apart from the competition:
Price Lock Promise
When you get a quote from Sherpa, that price is locked in. With our exclusive Price Lock Promise, you can have peace of mind knowing what you’ve been quoted is what you’ll pay. Sherpa will cover up to $300 of the difference if your shipment price changes so that your car shipping cost stays the same.
Thorough Carrier Vetting
Our comprehensive vetting process means we work with only the best car shipping companies. We study accident reports, maintenance records, and other data points to maintain an elite network of trusted carriers.
Sherpa was founded to make the auto transport process easy and stress-free. We evaluate our success based on the feedback we receive from our customers and we are proud to have a 4.9 out of 5 star Total Review Score from thousands of customer reviews. We are proud to be accredited with the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.
How to Ship a Car FAQs
Is it worth it to ship a car?
If you’re moving over 500 miles, shipping your car is generally safer and more convenient than driving. For shorter distances, it may be more affordable to drive your car to your destination.
How much does it cost to ship a car across the country?
Shipping a car from New York City to Los Angeles generally costs between $0.45 and $0.70 per mile, while shipping from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles ranges from $0.40 to $0.65 per mile. However, many factors affect how much a cross-country auto transport costs, especially if fuel prices are higher than usual or you choose enclosed auto transport.
What is the safest way to ship a car?
The safest way to ship a car is using enclosed transport (sometimes referred to as covered transport). The enclosed trailer will protect your car from hazards like road debris and poor weather conditions.
How long does it take to ship a car?
Depending on the delivery location and total mileage of your transport, it can take anywhere from one to 14 days to ship a car.