There are thousands of auto shipping carriers in the U.S., each with its own rates based on several factors. The best way to find cheap car shipping is to use a reputable broker, which works with a network of carriers to find you the best rate. Beyond picking the right auto shipping company, there are a few other ways to reduce your overall car shipping costs.
How Much Does Auto Transport Cost?
So, how much should you pay to ship your car? Car shipping costs vary widely and depend on several factors. Also, prices aren’t final until you book your shipment – quotes are usually estimates and often don’t include final fees. We’ve reviewed dozens of auto shipping quotes to get a sense of the market.
From a short, 200-mile shipment to a cross-country, 3,000-mile move, shipping prices can range from $400 to $3,000. For a 1,000-mile trip, average costs are around $900. However, these prices apply to a standard sedan on an open transport trailer. You’ll pay more to ship an SUV or truck. If you need to book an enclosed transport trailer, you’ll need to budget an extra $400 or more, depending on the distance.
Additionally, you pay more per mile for short distances compared to long distances. For example, we found a 500-mile open trailer shipment costs about $600, which is $1.20 per mile. On the other hand, a 1,500-mile shipment costs approximately $1,150, which comes out to 77 cents per mile.
5 Best Cheap Car Shipping Companies
Our top picks for cheap car shipping include Montway Auto Transport, Amerifreight, Sherpa Auto Transport, uShip and Bargain Auto Transport. These companies each have strong affordability and reliability reputations. In our industry-wide review, these companies also held high customer experience ratings, meaning you’ll receive an affordable car shipping rate without it taking away from the company’s customer service.
We rated each company on a 10-point scale.
|Cheap Car Shipping Companies||Overall Rating||Shipping Cost Rating|
|Montway Auto Transport||9.0||9.0|
|Sherpa Auto Transport||8.4||8.0|
|Bargain Auto Transport||8.4||10.0|
Montway Auto Transport: Best Provider
Established in 2006, Montway Auto Transport holds an accredited A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a 4.4 out of 5-star customer review score. Montway works with a network of over 15,000 vetted carriers, each of which carries a standard of $100,000 in cargo insurance. You can also add an extra $250,000 for more protection.
According to Montway Auto Transport, shipments under 500 miles cost $1.96 per mile, shipments between 500 and 1,500 miles cost 93 cents per mile and shipments over 1,500 miles cost 58 cents per mile. Based on quotes we received from the company, Montway offers affordable rates for many shipping services. However, if you cancel a shipment after the carrier has been dispatched, you’ll pay a $200 cancellation fee.
Learn more about our top pick for cheap car shipping in our Montway Auto Transport review. You can also click below for a free, no-obligation quote.
Amerifreight: Best for Discounts
Amerifreight has been around since 2004. The company holds an accredited A+ rating from the BBB alongside a 4.86-star customer review score. Amerifreight’s network includes 10,000 established carriers, and the company thoroughly reviews and vets all members of its network to maintain a high level of service.
According to Amerifreight, it costs between $495 and $1,300 to ship an operable sedan on an open trailer. Quotes we’ve received from the company are competitively priced, ranging from $561 to $1,423 for shipments between 227 and 1,500 miles. Amerifreight also offers a range of discounts that can help customers find cheap car shipping quotes, which include:
- Military: $35 off
- First Responders: $35 off
- Medical Personnel: $35 off
- Student: $25 off
- Senior Citizens: $25 off
- Early Bird: $25 off
- Return Customer: $50 off
- Multiple Vehicles: $50 off per vehicle
The early bird discount is the only discount that stacks. Learn more about this provider by clicking below for a free quote.
Sherpa Auto Transport: Locked-In Pricing
Sherpa Auto Transport is another reputable company in the auto transport industry. Founded in 2017, Sherpa has a 4.88-star customer review score on the BBB along with an accredited A+ rating from the organization itself. Sherpa works with a preferred network of carriers that each hold $1,000,000 in liability coverage plus $100,000 in cargo insurance.
What makes Sherpa Auto Transport unique is its Price Lock Promise. While it takes slightly longer to get a quote from Sherpa, the provider will pay up to $300 if your shipping price increases after your initial quote. Sherpa also offers a free $20 car wash after delivery, as most cars get dirty during transport. Students can also receive a discount from the provider.
Click below for a free, personalized quote.
uShip: Best Shipping Marketplace
uShip is a unique provider on our list – it isn’t a car carrier or a broker. Instead, uShip is an online marketplace that connects customers to thousands of carriers. To get a quote from uShip, you have two options: using its instant quote tool or listing a shipment. If you have a standard shipment – a car or SUV on an open trailer – you can get an instant quote.
For an enclosed transport and non-standard vehicles, you can place a listing and field carrier bids. You can also make a listing if you have a standard shipment. If you’re looking to lower your car shipping costs, marketplace listings usually lead to cheaper rates than instant quotes.
With uShip, you can ship any vehicle domestically or internationally. Since carriers on uShip set their own rates and compete for your business, cheap car shipping quotes are easy to come by. However, using the service isn’t free. For each shipping order, you’ll pay a small fee between $25 and $150. Additionally, uShip doesn’t vet carriers, so it’s up to you to research carriers’ insurance policies, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number and motor carrier authority (MC) number.
Learn more in our uShip review. See how much a uShip shipment might cost you by clicking below for a free quote.
Bargain Auto Transport: Most Affordable
Bargain Auto Transport is another one of our top picks for cheap car shipping. The company’s shipping experts have experience with a network of vetted carriers and can work with you to find the best rate. Bargain was founded in 2019 by seasoned professionals with experience in the industry. It currently holds an accredited A rating from the BBB.
Bargain is known for its affordable rates on door-to-door service. Based on quotes we received, Bargain Auto Transport was cheaper than most competitors. However, it’s still a very new company, so it doesn’t have many customer reviews at this point.
Click below to get a free quote from Bargain Auto Transport and see how much you would pay to ship your vehicle.
Cheap Car Shipping Tips
Before you book a shipment, use these tips to find cheap car shipping rates.
- Get multiple quotes: Auto transportation brokers can compare quotes from multiple carriers, but it’s also best to compare several brokers as well. This gives you an even better view of the prices available to you.
- Avoid peak season: Try to avoid shipping a vehicle during the summer months and January. Prices are higher during these times since it’s a popular time for moving.
- Choose open carrier shipping: Open transport trucks can easily ship up to nine or ten vehicles at once, which makes this the cheapest way to ship cars over land.
- Be flexible with moving dates: If you have to ship your car right away, you’ll pay much more for a last-minute booking. It’s best to search for quotes at least two weeks ahead of time and have flexibility in where the carrier can pick up and drop off your vehicle.
As with most products and services, a price that’s too good to be true may indicate poor service. In the auto shipping industry, you want to know that the carrier moving your vehicle has sufficient insurance and is reliable.
What Factors Affect the Cost of Car Shipping?
Car shipping costs depend on many different factors. For example, the shipper needs to arrange multiple vehicles on the trailer in a specific way, and the type or size of your vehicle can dictate how many other cars the carrier can transport.
The price of car shipping is also affected by:
- Distance: Long shipments cost more than shorter ones, but the price-per-mile goes down with long-distance transports.
- Open vs. enclosed: The cheapest car shipping option on the road is using an open auto transporter. You’ll pay hundreds more to reserve an enclosed car transporter, though it can be worth it for luxury and classic cars.
- Door-to-door vs. terminal-to-terminal: Door-to-door shipping is the most common, but you can save money with some carriers by dropping off or picking up your vehicle at a shipping terminal instead.
- Price of fuel: When gas prices are high, car transport companies charge more to cover their operation costs.
- Carrier competition: When using an online marketplace, carriers can bid against each other to win your business, driving down costs.
- Vehicle operability: If a truck operator needs to winch your car onto the trailer, you’ll pay more to ship it.
- Vehicle clearance: Similarly, if your car has low ground clearance, it might not fit on an open trailer, and you’ll need to pay for enclosed carrier transport.
- Time of year: As mentioned, avoid peak moving times during the summer and January.
To see how much you would pay for car shipping, compare free quotes from a few reputable providers.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car shipping provider to formulate rankings of the best auto transport companies. Our in-depth rating system takes into account pricing, services, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each provider is given a weighted score in four categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend car shipping companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best service.