How to Ship a Car

Shipping a car is simpler than you may think


Shipping a car can be intimidating, but with the correct information and preparation, it can be a smooth and stress-free process. Whether you’re moving across the country or need to transport a car for a special event, there are vital things to keep in mind when shipping a car. In this guide, we’ll go over the top things to consider and tips you need to know to ship your car like a pro successfully!

Suzane R.
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Chris handled our transport perfectly! Shipping a vintage collector VW bus from Southern California all the way to Key West Florida was no small task. He did EXACTLY what he said he was going to do, and was on time every time. Thanks Chris!
Saul M.
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Nothing but professional service from nationwide. Very easy to deal with and I look forward to using them in the future
Christine D.
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Excellent experience. Great customer service. Would definitely use again. Excellent communication. All went as promised. Great follow up. Reasonable price.
Marc C.
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Great experience!!! Andrew was transparent, responsive and thoughtful throughout the process. I've never transported a car across states and was naturally nervous. Andrew went above and beyond to make a the experience seamless.
Chad G.
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Fast easy reliable. Faster by a week than anyone else at the same rates. Incredible job everything went perfect.
Todd G.
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Very prompt. Very concerned. Nice enclosed two car trailer which is what you want. Not packed in with 6 others like the other transports use. Vehicle delivered to our residence amidst the rain & fog.Transporters were hard workers. Will use again.
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Great job moving two new cars across country during a snowy winter week. Both arrived early and damage free. Recommended his service to to others who had the same results. Will call Chris the next time I move across country next summer.
Chris C.
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Great service! I would definitely recommend them to anyone needing to move a high end vehicle! Very professional, fast, and friendly service at very good rate!! Thanks Again!!
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Nationwide United Auto Transport Corp. has great pricing, Chris, the manager was very easy to work with, gave us updates through the process and delivered our car in perfect condition. I highly recommend this company and would use them again in the future.

How does the car transport process work?

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The process of shipping a car across the state or the country is relatively the same. The car must be picked up at the origin, transported to the destination, and then delivered. Here’s an overview of what you can expect when shipping your car:

  1. Get an estimate
    Before you decide on a shipping company, getting a quote is important. This will give you a better idea of the cost and services available. Be sure to provide the same information to each company to ensure you get an accurate quote.

  2. Schedule the pickup
    Once you accept the quote, it’s time to schedule a pickup. You will need to give the shipping company notice when the car will be ready for pickup.

  3. Prepare your car for shipping
    Before your car is shipped, you’ll need to do some preparation. Make sure your car is clean, and all personal items have been removed. Ensure that your car is in good working condition, with no fluid leaks or other issues. Take pictures and document the condition of the car before it’s shipped.

  4. Wait for delivery
    Once the car is on its way, you’ll need to wait for it to be delivered. The company should provide an estimated delivery date so that you can track your shipment and make necessary arrangements at the destination.

  5. Inspect your car upon delivery
    Upon delivery, Once the car arrives at its destination, inspect it to ensure it’s in the same condition. Inspect your car for any damages and take note of them. If there are any damages, take photographs and notify the shipping company immediately.

Choose the right shipping method

Two main options for shipping a car are open transport and enclosed transport. Open transport is the most common and cost-effective method, but it exposes your car to the elements and potential damage. Enclosed transport offers more protection but is more expensive. Consider the value and condition of your car when making your decision.

Method 1: Enclosed Transport
Enclosed transport is the safest and most secure way to ship a car. The vehicle is placed inside a fully enclosed trailer, protected from the elements and road debris. This method is ideal for luxury, classic, or high-value vehicles. It’s more expensive than other methods, but the added protection is worth the extra cost.

Method 2: Open Transport
Open transport is a more budget-friendly option for shipping a car. The vehicle is placed on an open trailer and is exposed to the elements. While it’s not as secure as enclosed transport, it’s still a safe option for most vehicles. This method is typically used for newer or less valuable cars.

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How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?

Unlike other shipping services, the cost of shipping a car depends on several factors, including distance, vehicle size, and delivery method. Generally speaking, open transport is cheaper than enclosed transport. It’s important to get an accurate quote before making your decision. Be sure to discuss the following factors with the shipping company when getting your quote:

Distance: The longer the distance, the more expensive it will be to ship a car. Long-distance moves are generally more expensive than shorter ones.

Type of car: The size of the car is one of the most important factors in determining cost. Smaller cars are less expensive to ship than large cars.

Shipping method: Enclosed transport is more expensive than open transport, but it provides added protection for luxury and high-value vehicles.

Time of year: Shipping prices tend to be lower during the winter months (September through March) when there is less demand for car shipping services.

Tips on how to ship a car

  • Schedule early: Try to book your car’s transport as far in advance as possible. This will give you more options and lower prices and ensure that your car will arrive on time.

  • Be flexible:  Be prepared for delays and be flexible with your pickup and drop-off times. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to adjust your schedule to accommodate the shipping company’s needs.

  • Choose a reputable auto transport company: When shipping your car; it’s important to choose a reputable and experienced auto transport company. Do your research, check reviews, and ask for references. Make sure to read reviews and check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

  • Check the company’s insurance coverage: Before you book your car’s transport, check and confirm that the company you choose is fully licensed, insured, and bonded. Confirm that your car will be covered in case of damage or an accident during transport. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the coverage.

  • Communicate with the shipping company: Clear communication is key when shipping a car. Ensure to provide the shipping company with all necessary information, including pickup and drop-off details, contact information, and special instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I place items in my car when shipping?
No, you should not place any items inside your vehicle while it is being shipped. The only thing allowed in the car should be a spare tire and jack, if applicable. All other items should be removed to avoid damage or loss during transport.

How long does it take to ship a car?
The time it takes to ship a car depends on the distance and the delivery method. Open transport is typically faster than enclosed transport. On average, car transport can take anywhere from 1-14 days, depending on the route and other factors.

Can I track my vehicle while it is in transit?
Yes, most auto transport companies offer some GPS tracking so you can monitor your car’s progress while it is in transit. This gives you peace of mind that your vehicle is safe and on its way to its destination.

Does my car need to be running to be shipped?
No, your car does not need to be running to be shipped. Most auto transport companies will require you to provide proof that the vehicle can start and move under its own power before they agree to ship it.

Need a quote for shipping a car?

Speak to a friendly transport specialist (800) 311-8305 for an instant quote