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. Let us reduce your car shipping costs by introducing you to the best car shipping companies and sharing a few other things worth taking into consideration.
How to Easily Find Cheap Car Shipping
When considering your shipment, use the following tips as a roadmap 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 brokers. This gives you an even better look at the best prices available to you.
- Book as early as possible: The best cheap car shipping rates usually become available long before a shipment date, so book as early as you can.
- Avoid peak season: Try to avoid shipping a vehicle during the summer months and January. Prices are higher during these times since they’re popular times for moving.
- Choose open carrier shipping: Open transport trucks can easily ship up to nine or 10 vehicles at once, making them the cheapest way to ship cars over land.
- Be flexible with dropoff and pickup dates: If you have to ship your car right away, you’ll pay extra for a last-minute booking. It’s best to search for quotes at least two weeks ahead of time and be flexible on when and where the carrier can pick up and drop off your vehicle.
- Select terminal-to-terminal shipping: While door-to-door shipping is more popular and convenient, you’ll save considerable money by picking up your vehicle from the terminal instead of at your front door.
A shipping price that seems too good to be true may indicate a poor car shipping service. For peace of mind when dealing with the auto shipping industry, you want to make sure the carrier moving your vehicle has a sufficient insurance policy and is reliable.
What’s the Cost of Cheap Car Shipping?
So, how much money should it actually take to move a car? Car shipping costs vary widely and depend on a multitude of factors. Also, prices aren’t absolute until you book your shipment. Instead, quotes are usually estimates and often don’t include final fees. We reviewed dozens of cheap car shipping quotes to get an overall sense of the market, and the chart below includes some of our findings.
|Cheap Car Shipping Provider||Route||Distance||Type of Transport||Cheap Car Shipping Quote|
|Montway Auto Transport||New York City to Washington, D.C.||231 miles||Open||$529|
|Montway Auto Transport||New York City to Washington, D.C.||231 miles||Enclosed||$679|
|AmeriFreight||Austin, Texas, to San Francisco||1,757 miles||Open||$791|
|AmeriFreight||Austin, Texas, to San Francisco||1,757 miles||Enclosed||$1,423|
|uShip||Boston to Los Angeles||2,991 miles||Open||$1,266|
Shipping prices typically fall between $400 and $3,000 depending on whether it’s a short, 200-mile shipment or a 3,000-mile cross-country move. For a 1,000-mile trip, average costs are around $900. However, these prices apply to cheap car shipping for a standard sedan on an open car transport trailer. You’ll pay more to ship an SUV or a truck. If you need to book an enclosed trailer, it’s wise to budget an extra $400 or more, depending on the distance.
Additionally, short distances cost more per mile than 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.
What Factors Affect Car Shipping Prices?
The cheap car shipping process depends on many factors. For example, the car 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, ultimately affecting your price.
The price of cheap car shipping is also influenced by:
- Distance: Cross-country shipments such as those from New York to California 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 transport carrier. You’ll pay hundreds more to reserve enclosed transport, though it can be worth it for luxury and classic cars.
- Door-to-door vs. terminal-to-terminal: Door-to-door shipping is more common, but you can save money with some auto carriers by dropping off or picking up your vehicle at a shipping terminal instead.
- Price of fuel: When gas prices are high, every auto transport company charges more to cover their operating costs.
- Carrier competition: When using an online marketplace, carriers can bid against each other to win your business, driving down costs.
- Vehicle condition: If a truck operator needs to winch your car onto the trailer, you’ll pay more to ship it.
- Vehicle clearance: If your car has low ground clearance, it might not fit on an open trailer, and you’ll need to book enclosed carrier transport for your type of car.
- Time of year: As mentioned, avoid peak moving times during the summer and January.
To see how much you would pay for car shipping, it’s best to compare free quotes from some of the best cheap car shipping providers.
The 5 Best Cheap Car Shipping Companies
Our top picks for no-hassle, cheap car shipping are Montway Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, Sherpa Auto Transport, uShip and Bargain Auto Transport. These companies are all known to be relatively affordable and have excellent reputations for reliability. In our industrywide review, these companies also boasted high customer experience ratings, meaning you can get an affordable car shipping rate without sacrificing customer service.
We rated each company on a 10.0-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 4.5 out of 5.0-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 add an extra $250,000 for more protection.
According to Montway Auto Transport, shipments under 500 miles cost roughly $1.96 per mile, shipments between 500 and 1,500 miles cost roughly 93 cents per mile, and shipments over 1,500 miles cost roughly 58 cents per mile. Based on quotes we received from the company, Montway offers cheap car shipping rates across the board. However, if you cancel a shipment after the carrier has been dispatched, you’ll pay a $199 cancellation fee or the amount of your partial upfront payment, whichever is less.
Learn more about our top pick for cheap car shipping in our Montway Auto Transport review.
AmeriFreight: Best for Discounts
AmeriFreight has been around since 2004. The company holds an accredited A+ rating from the BBB alongside a 4.9-star customer review score. AmeriFreight’s network includes 10,000 established carriers, and the company thoroughly reviews and vets all members 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. These discounts include:
- Military: $35 off
- First Responders: $35 off
- Medical Personnel: $35 off
- Students: $25 off
- Senior Citizens: $25 off
- Early Birds: $25 off
- Return Customers: $50 off
- Multiple Vehicles: $50 off per each additional vehicle
Sherpa Auto Transport: Locked-In Pricing
Sherpa Auto Transport is another reputable company that provides excellent and cheap car shipping. Founded in 2017, Sherpa has a 4.9-star customer review score on the BBB website, along with accreditation and an overall A+ rating. Sherpa works with a preferred network of carriers that each holds $1 million in liability coverage plus $100,000 in cargo insurance.
Sherpa Auto Transport is unique because of its Price Lock Promise. While it takes slightly longer to get a quote from Sherpa than some of its competitors, the provider will cover up to $300 if your vehicle shipping price increases after your initial quote. This way, your price is locked in and you’re not responsible for the extra amount. Sherpa also will reimburse you up to $20 for a car wash after delivery, as most cars get dirty during transport. Students can receive a discount from the provider.
uShip: Best Shipping Marketplace
uShip isn’t a car carrier or a broker but 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 enclosed auto transport and nonstandard 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 for cheap car shipping, marketplace listings usually lead to highly discounted rates.
With uShip, you can transport 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 fee between $25 and $150. Additionally, uShip doesn’t vet carriers, so it’s up to you to research carriers’ insurance coverage policies, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) numbers and motor carrier authority (MC) numbers.
Learn more about how the car transport service works in our comprehensive uShip review.
Bargain Auto Transport: Most Affordable
Bargain Auto Transport is another one of our top picks for cheap car shipping. The car transport 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 professionals with experience in the auto transport industry. The company currently holds an A rating and accreditation from the BBB.
Bargain is known for its affordable rates on door-to-door service. Based on the quotes we received, Bargain Auto Transport has cheaper rates than most competitors. However, it’s still a very new company, so it doesn’t have many customer reviews at this point.
FAQ: Cheap Car Shipping
How much should it cost to ship a car?
It generally costs between $400 and $3,000 to ship a vehicle. This broad range exists because the shipment type, distance traveled and carrier chosen all affect the final price tag. Expect cheap car shipping rates to be around $900 for a 1,000-mile trip, with prices increasing as the distance goes up but decreasing in cost per mile.
Which car shipping company is best?
The best cheap car shipping companies are Montway Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, Sherpa Auto Transport, uShip and Bargain Auto Transport. All five providers offer reputable, efficient and cost-effective vehicle transport for those needing to move a car.
Is it cheaper to ship a car by train or by truck?
It’s usually cheaper to ship via train, but it comes with a major caveat. The Auto Train, which runs between the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Florida, is the only operable car transport train in the U.S.
How much does it cost to have a car shipped 1,000 miles?
It generally costs around $900 to ship a car 1,000 miles, though rates vary based on the shipping company, pickup and drop-off locations, and chosen auto transport services.
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.