Car shipping cost estimates vary by the season, type of vehicle, type of carrier service, location, distance, company and, well, you get the idea. Finding the right price is important, and while some aspects are out of your control, there are a few ways to lower the cost of your car shipment. In this article, we’ll cover average car shipping costs for a few different distances and what you can do to save money.
We’ve reviewed the best car shipping companies on the market. All of our top picks are either brokers or online marketplaces, which means you can compare prices from multiple car carriers at once. You can get free, custom car shipping cost estimates from our top recommended auto transporters below.
Average Car Shipping Costs
According to our research, shorter open transport shipments of 500 miles can average about $600. Car shipments of 1,000 miles average $900, and long-distance shipments of 1,500 miles can average about $1,150. According to Montway Auto Transport, the price per mile decreases as the mileage increases.
For example, if you ship with Montway, your car shipping cost will be calculated as follows:
- Shipments under 500 miles cost $1.96 per mile
- Shipments between 500 and 1,500 miles cost 93 cents per mile
- Shipments over 1,500 miles cost 58 cents per mile
We’ve reviewed quotes from a number of the most popular shipping services in the industry. Below are a few examples you can use as a rough estimate for your transport costs. All of these estimates apply to a standard car that runs. You’ll likely pay more if you’re shipping an SUV, truck or inoperable vehicle.
|Shipping Company||Route||Distance||Open Transport Car |
|Enclosed Transport Car |
|Montway Auto Transport||New York City, NY to Washington, DC||227 miles||$529||$679|
|AmeriFreight||New York City, NY to Washington, DC||227 miles||$561||$1,009|
|uShip||New York City, NY to Washington, DC||227 miles||$617||N/A|
|Montway Auto Transport||Atlanta, GA to Richmond, VA||530 miles||$609||$779|
|AmeriFreight||Atlanta, GA to Richmond, VA||530 miles||$799||$1,257|
|uShip||Atlanta, GA to Richmond, VA||530 miles||$468||N/A|
|Montway Auto Transport||San Diego, CA to Portland, OR||1,082 miles||$909||$1,249|
|AmeriFreight||San Diego, CA to Portland, OR||1,082 miles||$699||$1,257|
|uShip||San Diego, CA to Portland, OR||1,082 miles||$1,020||N/A|
|Montway Auto Transport||Austin, TX to San Francisco, CA||1,500 miles||$909||$1,249|
|AmeriFreight||Austin, TX to San Francisco, CA||1,500 miles||$791||$1,423|
|uShip||Austin, TX to San Francisco, CA||1,500 miles||$1,529||N/A|
What Affects Car Shipping Costs
A wide range of factors can impact car shipping cost estimates. After all, moving a car is a big task and it requires specific technology and coordination between multiple parties. Here are a few of the main things that affect car shipping costs.
- Distance: The total price increases as mileage increases, but the price per mile decreases at the same time. You can pay about $2 per mile for short distances or 50 cents per mile for long-distance shipping.
- Type of service: As you can see in the table above, open car transport costs less than enclosed trailer transport. You may want an enclosed carrier to protect a luxury or classic car, though.
- Time of year: Transport pricing is most expensive during the summer months and during January, because these times are popular for moving.
- Vehicle size: An average open transport trailer can fit between five and nine vehicles, depending on their sizes. If your vehicle is large enough to cause the transport to lose space for another car, you’ll pay more.
- Vehicle operability: If your car works, the trucker can drive the vehicle onto the trailer. If not, they will have to winch the vehicle, and you’ll pay extra.
- Vehicle clearance: Cars with low ground clearance may not fit on an open trailer. In this case, the car will require an enclosed trailer, which is more expensive.
- Price of fuel: When gas is relatively expensive, auto transport companies charge more.
- Carrier competition: When you work with a broker or marketplace, multiple carriers offer bids to win your business, which can drive down your auto shipping cost.
How to Lower the Price of Your Car Shipment
While you might not be able to control the type of vehicle you have, you can do a few things to find the best price available.
- Avoid moving during peak-season times during the summer and January.
- Book your trip at least two weeks in advance, if possible.
- Be flexible with your drop-off and pick-up dates.
- Choose open transport trucks over enclosed trailers if you can.
- Search for companies that offer money-saving opportunities like military, student and senior discounts.
The standard option with most car transport companies is door-to-door service, but you might be able to choose to pick up or drop your car off at a shipping terminal instead and save money. Also, vehicle shipping to rural locations can cost more than shipping to metro areas. You might consider getting a quote for a nearby city to see if you can save money.
Our Recommendations for Auto Shipping
There are a few great options on the market for finding cheap car shipping quotes. Montway Auto Transport and AmeriFreight are both good options for low rates.
Montway Auto Transport: Best Provider
After a thorough Montway Auto Transport review, we rated the company 9.0 out of 10.0 stars and chose it as the best provider overall. Montway works with over 15,000 vetted carriers that are all fully insured. The company has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a 4.39-star rating from customers on the BBB.
Out of all the providers we reviewed, Montway offered some of the best prices as well. To see how much your shipment would cost with Montway, get a free car shipping cost estimate below.
AmeriFreight: Best for Discounts
AmeriFreight is another reputable car shipping company. In our AmeriFreight review, we found the company investigates each carrier it works with to make sure customers receive the best service. The company has an A+ rating from the BBB and a 4.86-star rating from customers on the site.
AmeriFreight makes car shipping costs affordable with a wide range of discounts for military members, first responders, students, senior citizens, returning customers and more. To see how much you would pay with AmeriFreight, click below for a free quote.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the cheapest way to ship my car?
The cheapest secure way to ship your car is by open transport truck. You can ship by train to save some money, but it’s risky, as it doesn’t offer much security against vandalism. Open-truck transport is what most people choose for an affordable and safe option.
How much should it cost to ship a car?
What you should pay to ship a car depends on a variety of factors. If you ship a sedan for 1,000 miles, you can expect to pay average costs between $700 and $1,000. If you need to get an enclosed truck for a large or inoperable vehicle, you’ll pay about $400 more, depending on the carrier.
Does AAA offer car shipping?
AAA Transporters is a company that provides car shipping, but it is completely separate from the roadside assistance company AAA that most people know.
How much does it cost to ship a car 2,500 miles?
According to Montway Auto Transport, after 1,500 miles, it costs about 50 cents per mile to ship a car. So, a 2,500-mile shipment could cost around $1,250. If you need to ship a car to or from Alaska or Hawaii, you’ll pay more than that.