What is the Average Cost to Ship a Car?


When you are looking for a car shipping service, understandably you want to know what the average cost to shipping a car is. How do you estimate the average car shipping costs?

This guide will help you get the idea of how much car shipping costs and what is a reasonable price on average.


Currently, there are all kinds of auto shipping companies and their tariff is subject to company policy. Furthermore, there are auto transporters that will try to allure you with a ridiculously low car shipping quote. Once the rogue company has your vehicle in their custody, they will increase the price and will not deliver your car until you pay the money.

The Average Cost to Shipping a Car at a Glance

The average cost to ship a car within the 48 continental states is $900. You can expect an average price starting from $700 up to $1,200. The average cost of shipping a car per mile is around $0.60 per mile. That is true for trips which are longer than 1,000 miles.


Generally, you should take in mind that the car shipping price fluctuates based on the season and the current economic state. Normally, if there is an increase in gas price, that will lead to a  spike in the transport cost as well. There are a few important cost factors, but the current market situation can greatly influence your final price. What are these details that affect the car shipping price on average?


Cost to Ship a Car: Distance



As a rule of thumb, the farther your car has to travel, the higher the shipping cost will be. For example, it costs more If you want to transport a vehicle from Massachusetts to California, compared to shipping the same vehicle from Massachusetts to Illinois. Furthermore, out-of-state shipments require more time to be executed, which will incur a higher labor cost for the auto shipping company. Ultimately, that will lead to higher shipping rates on average for the end customer.


Shipments from the East Coast to the West Coast (and vice versa) cost from $900 up to $1200 on average. Hauls with routes originating in the Midwest that need to be delivered to a coastal city can cost from $650 to $1050 on average. Shipments from the North to the South and vice versa usually cost from $700 to $800 on average.

Pickup and Delivery State

When you want to estimate your average car shipping cost, you need to consider your origin and destination location. Both are big factors when it comes to shipping rates. If the desired origin is in a big city metro, there are a lot of trucks and professional drivers that are coming to and out of your area. Since metropolitan areas are greatly populated, there are a lot more opportunities for car carriers to move a lot of vehicles. When there is great competition, that usually lowers the market price for end customers.


On the flip side, if you live in a more rural area, there will be less competition, so you can expect higher bids. Furthermore, truckers will have to deviate from their main routes. Therefore, it will probably take extra money for the truckers to reach a remote location.

Vehicle make and model

Keep in mind that the size and weight of your vehicle have a great impact on your average cost to ship your vehicle. A larger car will occupy a larger space on the car carrier’s truck than a more compact car would take. As you can expect, if your vehicle occupies more space on the trailer, it will cost you more to transport in on average.

Likewise, if you want to ship a car that is bigger than the average car, that will accordingly lead to a spike in the final estimate. Keep in mind that trucks have weight limits that they have to comply with. If there is a very heavy car, that will limit the overall capacity of the trailer. To compensate for the difference, a car carrier will have to increase the price for heavier vehicles.


Cost to Ship a Car: Vehicle Make and Model


Auto transporters also consider the price of your car. If you want to transport a more expensive vehicle, that will cost more to insure your car while in transit. Once again, the extra insurance will increase the final average shipping rate.

Shipping method

The type of car carrier that will be used to transport your vehicle will also influence your shipping price. If you are transporting a general, common brand car, then you would better use an open-air car carrier. That shipping method is less expensive, as the vehicles are exposed to environment elements. However, that doesn’t mean that this method is not safe. Most vehicles that are shipped to dealerships are usually shipped via open car carriers.

Customers that high end cars are advised to choose enclosed transport. With this type of transport, vehicles are protected from bad weather. The enclosed car shipping is more expensive on average than shipping by open-air trailer.

If you require expedited service, that will add up to your final bill. If you need your vehicle urgently, that is not a mission impossible. However, the auto transporter will need to use more resources, so they can fit in the small delivery time frame.

Time of the Year

The time of the year is another cost-affecting factor that you need to consider. If you want to transport a vehicle during the summer, it may cost more than if you postpone it for the winter, which is the slow season.

However, if you are shipping your car from or to the Northern region in the winter, the price may go high due to severe weather conditions. Snow and ice make it harder for the logistics industry to operate regularly. It is risky to drive a big truck when it is heavily snowing. It should not surprise you if the auto shipping company requires more money.


The time of the year is another cost-affecting factor


Keep in mind that your average car shipping cost varies based on the particular route. During March and April, it can cost you more to transport a car from the South to the North. That is true because there are a lot of snowbirds who are moving their cars in that direction. Snowbirds is a demographic group who are mostly retired and want to move to the Southern states where the climate and the living costs are more favorable.


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In order to plan an affordable move for your car, first you need to acquaint yourself with the factors that affect the price of the car shipping service. Auto transport costs vary greatly based on distance, time, shipping method and the vehicle itself. So what is the cheapest way to ship a car? Here are some tips.

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How To Reduce Auto Transport Costs?

To reduce your car shipping costs and avoid potential charges, you need to carefully prepare your car for shipment.

Here are a few essential steps:

Clean out your car - Auto transport companies are not licensed to transport household goods from one state to another state. In fact, the Department of Transportation will penalize a carrier if there are personal items on board. 

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How to Estimate the Average Cost to Ship a Car?

In order to get a clear idea of how much you can expect to pay on average, you will have to reach three to five car shipping companies. Most professional auto shippers provide you with a non-binding shipping quote over email free of charge. Moreover, you can use the car shipping calculators they have online on their websites or apps.

After you receive a good number of car shipping estimates, you will be able to figure out what the average shipping cost is for your route and vehicle. If there are some details that you find difficult to understand, you should speak with the company directly. Make sure you acquaint yourself with extra charges that might occur.

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