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What Is Car Shipping?

Car shipping, otherwise known as auto transport or vehicle transport, is essentially just a service that will pick your car up from one place and move it to another. It is useful in a wide range of situations where you are not able to drive the car there yourself, for example, you might be buying or selling a second-hand car online and need it shipped state to state, or maybe you have just moved house and need to have your car transported there. Another situation where car shipping services can be very useful is when you need to transport your vehicle abroad and, unless ferries are available, you will need to rely on an auto transport company to carry this out for you.

Thankfully, there is a range of car transport services available to suit your needs which we have listed below.

Car transport service

Types Of Auto Transport Services

There are a number of auto transport services available which have been summarised below. It can be a big help to read through and work out exactly what sort of vehicle transportation service you need or want to move your car. 

The first decision that you need to make is where you want your car picked up from and delivered to. Terminal-to-terminal auto delivery is an option, meaning that designated pick-up and drop-off points are used which are often the car transport company’s stores or operating bases. For this reason, terminal-to-terminal auto delivery is often cheaper but will require some more effort on your end to get the car home. The vast majority of people however require a door-to-door auto transport delivery service so that their cars are picked up and dropped off at their door. This is often preferable as it means you do not need to get anywhere to then pick up your vehicle - something that can be tricky without your vehicle in the first place! 

Car transport services are generally split into two categories, either you have someone drive your car to where it needs to be, or it’s put on a trailer and taken there.

Have Someone Drive Your Car

This is a very straightforward solution to car shipping that involves you hiring someone to come and drive your car to where it needs to go. The benefits of this auto transport method are that it is often cheaper as trailers and an extra vehicle are not required and that it can also often be fast due to the straightforward nature of the transport.

However, there are some downsides to this method that lead some people to opt for other types of car transport. These are that mileage is obviously added to your vehicle on the journey and that there is a slight risk of damage happening to your car whilst it is driven from A to B. These are particularly worrisome for people buying or selling cars online who want to ensure the car arrives in exactly the same condition as it was advertised.

Put Your Car On A Trailer

Putting your car in a trailer is a safe way to guarantee a higher level of safety than having someone drive your car to its destination. With car shipping trailers there are multiple options that you may want to go with depending on the value and size of your vehicle. 

First off, you need to decide whether you want a single trailer for your car. These are often more expensive as they only transport one car at a time but are a great option if you are moving an expensive or classic car which you don’t want to risk getting damaged. The absolute safest way to transport a car is to put it in a shipping container, but this is by far the most expensive option. 

The other option is a multi-car transporter which can transport many cars at once, of which there are a few variants:

Open car shipping is the cheapest and by far the most common option when transporting a car. Your vehicle is placed on an open carrier and is driven to the destination. All cars are safely secured but, as the name suggests, they are exposed to the elements during the drive and so this may not be recommended for highly valuable vehicles.

Enclosed auto transport involves multiple cars secured on a carrier but they are enclosed, meaning they are not exposed to the dust, weather, and debris of the outside world during transit. This is often preferable for more expensive or newer vehicles where the owner wants to minimize the risk of damage during auto transport.

Should you need to move your vehicle overseas through an auto transport company then you should try and find one of the specialist services on our platform or one which has experience in overseas car shipping as they can provide you with tailored advice based on what you require.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?

There are a number of variables when trying to work out how much your car transport will cost, but on average in the US auto transport companies charge around $2.92 per mile if the journey is less than 200 miles, $0.93 if the journey is between 200 and 500 miles and if the journey is over 1,000 miles then this drops to $0.78.

These numbers are just averages, however, and your car transport may cost more or less than these figures depending on the circumstances. The best way to find out how much auto transport is going to cost you is to collect some quotes from car transport companies, something that is very easy to do on Shiply.

If you do want to try and get an idea of how much you can expect your car delivery to cost, take a look below at the factors that can affect the price of a car transport service.

Factors That Can Affect The Cost Of Auto Transport

There are a number of factors and variables that can affect how much your car shipping will cost. Below we will lay out the main ones so that you can get a rough idea of whether your auto transport requirements will be expensive or cheap.

As mentioned above, distance is one of the factors that will play a big part in how much your car transport will cost, with cross-state and cross country journeys costing a lot more than an interstate car delivery.

Whilst longer distances do cost more, thankfully the average price per mile does drop the longer the journey is, meaning that you aren’t paying over the odds.

International shipping will always be the most expensive type due to the logistics of transferring a car overseas and the distance it will need to travel. It can also require special enclosed trailers or even a shipping container for your vehicle.

Route - Along with distance, the route needed to take your car from its pick-up spot to its delivery spot can affect the pricing of your car carrier service. Routes with known higher traffic, in LA, for example, may end up costing more than quieter roads due to the time this can add on to a journey. Likewise, unforeseen circumstances such as major roadworks could also incur extra costs, or mean that a different route is required that may take longer.

Shipping Dates - How fast you need your car delivered can also affect the price. For example, if you are able to be flexible around timings then you may find that your car shipping service charges a lot less, this is because they are able to fit your vehicle delivery into their schedule and reduce overheads for themselves, passing the savings on to you. However, if you require auto transport in a strict timeframe (often known as expedited shipping) then this will typically end up costing you more due to the car transport company likely having to dedicate a trailer and driver just for your delivery.

Vehicle Size - The height, length, and width of the vehicle will all affect how much it will cost to transport your vehicle. Bigger cars will require larger trailers, with SUVs typically costing more on average to transport than a Sudan. Further, you should always make sure to let the auto transport company know about any bike racks, roof racks, or other accessories on the car as these can also change the size of the trailer required for the delivery

Vehicle Condition - If your car is not in a drivable condition then this may make your auto transport cost more expensive. This is because it may require extra equipment such as a winch or forklift to get your car on and off of the trailer. If your car has a locked wheel for example then it will be impossible to simply roll it onto a trailer and off again and takes more time, effort, and machinery to complete the delivery than a standard car transport service. Most car carriers would consider a car that can break, roll and steer to be in good enough condition to ship easily.

Auto Transport Service Type - The type of auto transport service you select will also affect the cost of your car shipping. Having someone drive your car to its destination will always be the cheapest option as you are essentially just paying for a driver’s time and petrol, whereas with single car trailers and enclosed transport the price is likely to be higher as there is extra equipment required. Something like enclosed car shipping will always be the most expensive method of shipping a car as it means not only is your car traveling on its own, but it still needs specialist equipment to load, unload and protect your car during transport.

Locations Of Pickup And Delivery - Depending on where you need the car picked up from and dropped off to this may also increase the price. Urban areas will usually have car shipping services in close proximity and the cost can come down more if it is a common destination route. Rural deliveries can cost more as they require deviations from normal routes and extra mileage for the company. If a pick-up or drop-off point is also in an unusual or hard-to-access space, extra steps may need to be taken to load your vehicle which can also increase the price.

Auto Transport Insurance - Whilst all auto transport companies are required to carry liability insurance, many do not offer any additional insurance as it is not required by law. If a car transport company does not offer cargo insurance it is highly recommended that you seek out and acquire some for your vehicle during its transit. As with all insurance policies, make sure you are clear on what type of damage is covered, whether there is a deductible, what parts of the vehicle are covered by the insurance, and any other questions you may have.

Time Of Year - Seasonality can also affect the price of car shipping, with many services costing more in the winter due to ice and snow slowing the routes. Here is a quick breakdown of how each season can affect auto transport costs:

Winter is often the most expensive season to ship your vehicle. This is because ice, snow, and blizzard conditions can all cause delays on the roads, as well as reduce the maximum speed at which the driver can transport cars. December is typically a difficult time to have a vehicle shipped as drivers are on Holiday, whilst many travel to warmer states in January leading to increased vehicle shipping costs. February however is usually quiet and so great rates are often available during this month.

Spring is a great time to ship your vehicle. With improved weather conditions, longer days, and more drivers ready to work, Spring can often mean cheap rates and high availability when it comes to moving your car. March is often a better time to ship than April or May, however, as again there is often a rush to move cars from colder to warmer states.

Summer is prime season for shipping cars - the days are the longest in the year, students are traveling home from universities, employees take a vacation and it is also a very popular time to move house. This means that June, July, and August are all busy months for the auto transport industry and you should not expect cheaper shipping during the summer.

Fall is a good time to ship a car if you are looking for a slightly cheaper price. There is typically more driver availability after the summer rush, however, you are better off looking to move your vehicle in October or November rather than September as this is peak time for students shipping their cars to university.

How To Ship A Car - Finding An Auto Transport Service

Now that you know a bit more about what car shipping is and what sort of auto transport service you need, you probably want to go ahead and actually try and find a company that is going to be right for you. 

The issue is that there are hundreds of car transport companies out there. Trying to find them on Google can end up resulting in scrolling through hundreds of pages trying to find the best car shipping company for the best price, and the same is true if you were going to go through phone books. Further, many of these companies are reluctant to give you pricing, meaning you will most likely need to apply for a quote and fill out details with each of them individually, which can become very time-consuming.

How Can Shiply Help Find Auto Transport Companies?

Given all of the options and variables involved with finding a car shipping service, actually searching for and finding the right one can seem like a daunting task, and this is where Shiply can help.

On Shiply, you simply need to fill out a simple form to get started with collecting quotes. All we need from you are the make and model of the car that needs shipping, the pickup location and delivery location, and the dates that you need to move the vehicle. This gives the auto transport providers on Shiply enough information to be able to provide you with an accurate quote for your job.

Once your listing is live, you will receive quotes to your Shiply inbox and to your email. We recommend keeping email notifications turned on so that you can know immediately when a new quote comes through. Quotes can start coming through within a few minutes of posting your listing, but we always recommend waiting for a few to come through before making a decision so that you have multiple options to pick from.

Once you have a few, you can ask them any questions you may have, such as when they are available (if a time frame is given), what insurance they have, and how they would secure your car. We recommend asking any company you may use these questions to ensure that everything goes smoothly and as expected.

Shiply has a feedback and ratings system which we also highly recommend looking at before selecting a quote to ship your vehicle. This system allows you to view previous customers’ experiences with a company, as well as view their overall score.

The Benefits Of Using Shiply For Car Shipping

Time-saving - Rather than filling out a quote form every time you want to get an accurate price from a company, on our platform you fill out one quote form and then can receive quotes based on the details you provide from multiple companies. This can save you hours of time you would have had to spend calling up companies and filling in forms.

Contact with these companies is all possible through our platform as well, meaning you can keep all of your car shipping information in one place.

Price Comparison - When it comes down to it, price is the most important factor in deciding which auto transport company to use to ship your car. The difficult thing is that, whilst most companies are happy to give average prices and ballpark figures, you won’t actually be given a firm quote without having to provide information and fill in details. Whilst this is understandable, it does mean that price comparison isn’t exactly an easy task.

Using Shiply allows you to receive genuine, final price quotes from car shipping companies and compare them in one place, providing the ability to message them individually to ask any questions you may have and ultimately decide on the best company for you.

Cheap Prices - Auto transport companies on Shiply are typically able to offer their services for a lower fee than if you went direct to them. This is because they are often looking to fill space on journeys they are already making and have already sunk the cost for. 

Say, for example, you were moving from Los Angeles to New York and needed to move your car there. On Shiply, a company may already have a multi-car transporter making that journey with 5 of the 6 spots filled, and they are just looking to ensure they are not wasting any space. As long as the dates, times, and pick-up/drop-off locations work for you, you can often save up to 75% on auto transport by using our service.

Better For The Environment - Not only is using Shiply for auto transport cheaper, but it is also better for the environment! In the above example, if your car didn’t get on that multi-car transporter and instead you arranged transport from a separate company then the emissions into the atmosphere would have doubled as another entire journey would be needed just for your car.

Similarly, many car transporters return from a delivery empty-handed, which is not only costly for them but also for the environment as there are lots of people who could have used that transporter to move their cars in the other direction! Many of the auto transporters on Shiply are looking to fill their trailers on return journeys too, meaning even less wasted CO2 is being released into the atmosphere, as well as continued cheap transport for our users.

Preparing For Your Car To Be Shipped

If you have decided on an auto transport company to move your car and feel secure using them, then it’s time to prepare your car for shipping. We recommend following these steps:

Documents - It is important to ensure that any documents you may need are available at pick up or drop off, especially if you are selling your vehicle.

Cleaning - You should take care to remove all personal items from your vehicle prior to shipping, for the obvious reason that you don’t want to risk them getting lost or damaged in transit. It is also highly recommended that you clean your vehicle before transport as this will allow you to ascertain its condition and notice any damages that may occur during delivery. 

Running Condition - If the vehicle will be driven at any point during shipping or driven home from the drop-off location then you should ensure that it is in running condition. This means ensuring that there is enough fluid, as well as checking battery charge and tire pressure levels. Again this can also help you better judge the condition of the vehicle upon arrival.

Photographic Evidence - One very important thing to do when preparing a car for delivery is to take high-quality photographs of all parts of the car. This provides you with evidence of the car’s condition before shipping should anything happen to it during transport.

What To Do After Delivery

Once the car shipping company you selected has completed their delivery, there are a few things you should do:

Check Vital Signs - Lights, brakes, and engines should all be checked immediately to ensure that the car is in the expected condition, as well as enabling you to immediately raise concerns should anything not be working as it should.

Exterior Condition - You can compare the exterior of the vehicle to the photos taken of it before to ascertain whether any extra damage has occurred.

Check Mileage - This is more relevant to car shipping services where the car is driven to the destination but it can help to check the mileage to ensure that it matches up with the journey taken.

We would greatly appreciate it if you could also leave a review for the auto transport company you used through Shiply so that others can browse car shipping services with the same peace of mind.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Below we have answered some of the most asked questions about car shipping:

How much should it cost to ship a car?

Car shipping prices can vary drastically depending on the circumstances, but on average a journey should cost you around $2.92 per mile if the journey is less than 200 miles, $0.93 if the journey is between 200 and 500 miles and if the journey is over 1,000 miles then this drops to $0.78.

What is the cheapest way to ship a car?

Having someone drive your vehicle to its destination is the cheapest way to ship a car, however, if you need a trailer then a multi-car transporter will be your best option with regard to pricing.

How do I pay for my auto transport?

This is down to each individual auto transport company on Shiply and is something you should discuss with your chosen transport provider before confirming the delivery. Most companies will be flexible with payment options, however.

Can I track my car transport online?

Each car shipping company on Shiply has different ways of operating, but many offer the ability to track your car shipment, with some even able to provide personal updates. If you require tracking, you should message individual transport companies to confirm that this is possible with them.

Does someone have to be present for pickup and delivery?

In most cases the car shipping company will require you to be in attendance for the pickup and delivery of the vehicle. This is because there are likely to be release forms that you need to sign, as well as handing over the car keys.

Can I keep items in my vehicle?

Most car transport companies will be fine with you keeping some personal items in the vehicle when it is transported. However, there are two important things to remember: 1. The weight of the items may affect the price of the vehicle shipment, and 2. Any items in the vehicle will not be covered by insurance for the transport of the car itself.

How much gas should I have in my vehicle during transit?

Generally, you should aim to have around a quarter of your tank full. This allows for easy loading and unloading of the vehicle but will not add too much extra weight to the vehicle.

Can I ship my vehicle if it isn’t running?

You can ship your vehicle if it isn’t in running condition, however, this will be more expensive as specialist equipment is required to load and unload the vehicle.

Can I ship a modified vehicle?

Almost any type of vehicle is able to be shipped on Shiply, with hundreds of transport providers available to bid on your job there will always be someone that is up for the job and has the right equipment to safely carry it out.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Shiply Cover My Area?

Yes! There are couriers using Shiply all over the country and abroad, so whether you need to move a sofa across town or send a car across Europe, we have got you covered.

Does Shiply Have Different Sized Vehicles?

There are thousands of couriers on Shiply, with a wide range of vehicle sizes capable of handling any delivery. Providing the rough dimensions (and pictures if possible) on your listing will allow the delivery company to get the right vehicle sent out to you.

Can I Call Shiply?

Shiply Support is available only on email, at

Who Will Carry Out My Delivery?

Whoever you choose! There are thousands of rated transport providers on our platform ready to make a bid to carry out your delivery. It is up to you to decide which quote to accept.

When Will I Receive A Quote?

You will typically start to receive quotes within 30 minutes. If you are worried about the lack of quotes, try adding some more detail to your listing as transport providers may be unsure of dimensions or weight and feel unable to provide an accurate quote. If your delivery is urgent, you can try our 'featured delivery' feature which moves your listing to the top of the search page for couriers.

When Will I Receive A Quote?

Whilst there is no guarantee of quotes, 98% of our listings receive at least 3 quotes, so you are likely to find someone who can undertake the delivery of your items.

Does Shiply Provide Packing Materials?

f your item requires packing materials or extra care then you should make sure this is highlighted in your listing and discussed with any transport provider whose quote you are considering. Couriers on Shiply are able to provide all levels of service and can help pack your items, just ensure you inform them of your needs.

Will My Goods Be Tied Up Securely?

Transport providers will almost always tie up an item in the transport vehicle, as the risk of damage from moving around during transit is high. You should always confirm safety precautions and packing needs with transport providers before accepting a quote.

Can Items Be Taken Upstairs?

Yes, items can be taken upstairs if needed, and can also be assembled. Transport providers on Shiply are happy to provide these services, but you should ensure that you are mentioning these requirements in your listings as it may mean a second person is required for the move.

Can I Travel With My Goods?

The majority of transport providers on Shiply are only insured for the transportation of goods, however, some are also able to take people. If you need to travel with your goods, make sure to mention this in your listing and to highlight this to any courier who quotes on your listing.

What If I Need To Cancel My Booking?

If you have accepted a quote and paid the deposit but wish to cancel the delivery, then you should first inform your chosen transport provider that you no longer require the delivery. You should then contact us at to have your deposit refunded.

Can I Change The Address Of The Delivery?

If you have not yet accepted a quote then you are able to change the address of your listing. Note that editing details of your listing after publishing will result in active quotes being voided, so you will have to wait for new quotes to come in. If you have already accepted a quote and need to change the address, please let your transport provider know and contact us at .

Does Someone Have To Be Present For Pickup And Delivery?

In most cases, the car shipping company will require you to be in attendance for the pickup and delivery of the vehicle. This is because there are likely to be release forms that you need to sign, as well as handing over the car keys.

Can I Keep Items In My Vehicle?

Most car transport companies will be fine with you keeping some personal items in the vehicle when it is transported. However, there are two important things to remember: 1. The weight of the items may affect the price of the vehicle shipment, and 2. Any items in the vehicle will not be covered by insurance for the transport of the car itself.

Can I Transport My Vehicle If It Isn't Running?

You can ship your vehicle if it isn’t in running condition, however, this will be more expensive as specialist equipment is required to load and unload the vehicle.

How Shiply works

How Shiply Works

How Shiply Works

  • 1

    Request quotes from our 311,823 rated shipping companies.

  • 2

    Compare prices and read previous customer feedback to pick the right quote for you.

  • 3

    Sit back and relax while your item is safely moved by your chosen shipping company.

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How Shiply Helps The Environment

By utilizing spare capacity of vehicles running on the road, Shiply helps reduce the number of otherwise wasteful journeys needed to ship the item.

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Recent Testimonials

Debra W Testimonial

Debra W.

"Communication was great from the time I accepted the quote until the car was dropped off. In terms of the timeline, I was given a potential range for both how soon the car would be picked up and how many days it would be in transport."

Patrick G Testimonial

Patrick G.

"Everything was perfect! Fast, easy and hassle-free process! I definitely recommend and would use them again in the future. Thank you so much!"

Sophie G Testimonial

Sophie G.

"Great experience using these guys. This was my first time having to transport a car using a service like this and I could not be happier. Picked up earlier than expected and delivery was early as well. Quick easy and problem free."

Gary M Testimonial

Gary M.

"I’ve used Shiply twice now and have been really pleased with the result. It’s quick and easy to use. For both occasions the quotes were very competitive and the quality of the job was excellent. I highly recommend it."

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