How Much Does It Cost to Transport a Car Across the USA?

Shipping a car to another state is an excellent way to save money on your new car purchase. Cars can be shipped from one dealership to another for as little as $200, and you can drive them away on the same day instead of waiting several days for them to be delivered. However, shipping a car across the country is more complicated than loading it onto a trailer and driving it yourself. 

How Much Does It Cost to Transport a Car Across the USA?

How Much Does It Cost to Transport a Car Across the USA?

Many hidden A1AutoTransport cost estimations are involved with shipping a car and several options depending on how far you need to go. Read on for everything you need to know about shipping a car across the country.

Estimate shipping costs

Before you even start looking for a car shipping company, you should have an estimate of what the shipping costs will be. Shipping costs will differ depending on the shipper you choose, but they all fall into one of three categories: 

Door to door 

These are the most expensive shipping costs because the shipper will arrange for pickup from your door and delivery to your door. These are often used to ship something too big for a trailer and luxury vehicles because the shipper often provides a car wash, detailing, and cleaning. Expect to pay between $400-$800 for door-to-door shipping. 

Door to the terminal

These are the mid-range shipping costs, where the shipper will pick up your car from your door and drive it to a local terminal for further transport. These are usually used for vehicles that don’t need special equipment or a car hauler. Expect to pay around $300-$600 for door-to-terminal shipping. 


These are the cheapest shipping costs because they are like driving your car to its destination. The shipper will drop your car on a trailer and drive it to the next terminal, then have the following company pick it up and drive it to its final destination. You might have to pay a few hundred dollars to drive the car to the terminal, but it should be cheaper than door-to-door or door-to-terminal shipping.

Which shipper to use

There are many different car shipping companies, so how do you decide which one to use? The first thing is to ensure you’re dealing with a reputable company. Many sites offer reviews of different companies, including sites specific to car shippers, like or 

When choosing a car shipping company, you should look at several factors. You’ll want to ensure they have insurance if anything happens to your car in transit. You should also make sure they have a clean record and good reviews. 

When comparing rates, you should also make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Make sure you’re comparing the exact distances because rates will vary greatly depending on how far away your car is going. Make sure you’re comparing the same services. Door-to-door shipping will almost always be more expensive than door to terminal.

Things to know before shipping a car

There are a few things you should know before you decide to ship your car. Before starting the shipping process, you should know that your vehicle needs to be in perfect shape. This is because many shippers will inspect your vehicle before they accept it for transport, and some might even do a comprehensive inspection. 

For example, if a shipper uses a trailer to transport your car, they might refuse to take it if it has too much dirt or grime. Or if they decide they need to clean it, they might charge you extra for the cleaning. These things happen often, so make sure your car is pristine before looking for a shipper.

How to drop off your car for shipping

Before you drop off your car at the shipper’s garage, ensure you have everything you need before leaving. You’ll want to make sure you have copies of your driver’s license and proof of insurance. You’ll want to ensure your car is void of all personal items, including any keys in the car. 

You’ll want to ensure your car has at least a quarter of a gas tank. If you’re shipping a hybrid or electric car, you’ll want to ensure it’s fully charged. You’ll also want to ensure your car is clean and has no loose items.

When you should ship a car instead of driving it yourself

Generally, you should ship a car instead of driving it yourself if you need to go more than 500 miles. You should ship rather than drive, so you’ll probably spend less time and money in the long run. 

Most companies charge per mile for their services, so you’ll save money if you ship. If you drive a car from Texas to New York, you’ll spend more than $2,000 on fuel alone. If you ship a vehicle for the same trip, you’ll pay closer to $400. 

Another reason you should ship a car instead of driving it yourself is if you have an unregistered vehicle. You won’t be able to ship a car without an ID number, and many shippers won’t take an unregistered vehicle. 

If you have a brand-new car, you might also want to consider shipping instead of driving it yourself. New cars are often targets for thieves and are much more likely to be stolen if you drive them yourself.


Shipping a car is one of the easiest ways to get a new car without paying a lot. However, you should know that shipping is almost always cheaper than driving a car across the country, even if it’s brand new. 

If you’re going long distances, using a broker to find you the best deal is worth it. You should also consider using a car transport company if you’re shipping a car locally.

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