How To Ship a Car Across the Country

How to Ship a Car Across the Country: Keeping it Simple

There is a lot to consider when learning how to ship a car across the country. Not only do you need cross country movers, but you need a cross country car shipping company. You will need to know the type of vehicle transport you are interested in, your shipment date, and the distance of your move.

The most common way to transport your car cross country is by truck transport, which is the most cost-effective option. 

In this complete guide to shipping your car across the country, you will learn everything you need to know regarding shipping methods, the best time of year to ship your vehicle, costs, and factors that affect the total cost of the shipment.

Can You Ship a Car Across the Country?

Yes, you can transport a car across the country through various methods. Many car shipping companies offer coast-to-coast shipping using open, enclosed vehicle transport and sometimes by boat or rail. If you are moving from Texas to Florida for example, you will need to search for a reputable car shipping company, get a quote, and decide your dates for shipping. 

The auto transport company will pick your car up from your current location, load it into their open or closed container trailer, and drive it across the country in their trailer. Shipping your car across the country is typically a better option than driving your vehicle yourself, as it saves a lot of miles on your car.

ship a car

Methods to Ship a Car Across the Country

There are various methods available when transporting your vehicle across the country. Depending on your vehicle type, you may prefer one choice over the other.


Shipping a car across the country by truck is the most common way to ship your vehicle from coast to coast. Using a truck to ship your vehicle is more affordable than many other transport types. 

Depending on the company and location of your delivery, you can ship your car to a specific address. You can choose either an open carrier or enclosed auto transport. 

Open Carrier Transport

Shipping your car across the country using open carrier transport means that your vehicle will be exposed to the elements such as snow, dust, sun, wind, rain, or other severe weather. While this is uncommon, your car risks damage due to the weather or road construction, like dents or paint chips. 

Enclosed Carrier Transport

Shipping a car across the USA using an enclosed carrier transport means that your vehicle will not be exposed to any elements or severe weather. This option is more expensive than open carrier transport, but it is because your vehicle is protected from damage. This option is usually best for classic cars or luxury vehicles. 


Using a boat to move your car across the country is not common, but it can be used for moving your vehicle to Hawaii, Alaska, the US Virgin Islands, or Puerto Rico. Boat shipping is usually best for international moves, but it is a realistic option to ship your car across the ocean. Boat vehicle shipping is affordable compared to truck shipping.


Another option for auto transport across the country is by train. Trains can move your vehicle across the country faster than a truck, but they will cost more. Not many car shipping companies offer train shipping, but Amtrak Auto Train is an option. 

They usually require additional insurance on your vehicle before the vehicle gets on the train for shipment. Amtrak Auto Train might be inconvenient, as you must be on the train during shipment. Shipping your vehicle with the owner on the train is only allowed.


Moving your car to another state is expensive, let alone across the country. Shipping your car across the country by air is the most expensive option, and it can be complicated. 

While it may be challenging to use this method, shipping your car by air is fast and safe. It is complicated because it is difficult to get an object so large and heavy onto an airplane, and it costs a lot. 

driving a car cross country

What is the Average Cost to Ship a Vehicle Across the Country?

The cost of shipping your vehicle across the country can vary depending on various factors, such as size, weight, time of year, and the distance of moving. 

Size and Weight

The size and weight of our vehicle can affect the cost of shipping. For example, a small car like a Toyota Corolla will cost less to ship than a Chevrolet Tahoe because heavier vehicles cost more. 

The weight of your vehicle is determined by your car’s model and make; usually, car shipping companies add an extra 100 pounds to the weight just in case. Essentially, the smaller car you have, the less it will cost to ship. However, classic or exotic sports cars may cost more to transport because they require special attention.

Time of Year

The time of the year is a massive factor in determining the cost of shipping a car across the country. Spring and summer are the peak season for long-distance moves, the busiest time for auto shipping companies. Since vehicle shipping is in such high demand this time of year, the shipping cost is higher than in the fall and winter. 

Shipping your car during the fall and winter is much more inexpensive, but it may take longer because of the weather. Truck drivers need extra caution during the winter, so they may take longer to get your vehicle to your new location.

Distance of Moving

The distance of moving is one of the most critical factors determining the cost of shipping your car across the country. The more mileage the car transport company needs to move your vehicle, the higher it will cost. While shipping your car a short distance is less expensive than a long-distance move, the price per mile drops once you get to over 1,000 miles. 

Therefore, you are better off shipping a car from state to state. According to American Auto Shipping, shipping a vehicle short distance is $1 per mile, and long distances over 1,000 miles are $0.60 per mile.

How to Prepare Your Car for Transport

There are multiple things you should do to prepare your car for transport. Before getting ready to ship your car across the country, you should:

  • Wash your vehicle and remove excess dirt (so the inspector can see any existing scratches or dents)
  • Disable the vehicle alarm, if possible
  • Deactivate your vehicle’s electronic toll pass
  • Check oil, fluids, tires, and battery to ensure your car is driveable
  • Be sure the gas tank is less than one-quarter-full
  • Remove any attachments, such as antennas, bike racks, or tow hitches
  • Test your emergency brake
shipping a car by air

How to Ship a Car Across Country – FAQs

How long does it take to ship a car across the country?

Shipping your car across the country takes longer than shipping it from state to state. A 2,000-mile trip typically takes four to six days for your vehicle to be delivered, but it can be shorter or longer based on other factors. Your car may take longer than this estimate if there is bad weather, high traffic, or road construction. 

Can I keep things in my car when shipping it across the country?

Most car shipping companies allow you to keep a suitcase or a single box in your trunk of personal belongings not weighing more than 100 pounds. However, you cannot keep any loose items in your vehicle. 

Do cars get damaged in shipping?

Most cars do not get damaged during shipping, but there is always a possibility that damage can occur. Some cars can become damaged due to severe weather or chips in the road, but it is unlikely. There can sometimes be major damage, but that is even less likely. 

Does insurance cover car shipping?

Insurance does not cover the cost of car shipping, but many car shipping companies offer insurance that will cover damages to your vehicle that can occur throughout the shipping process. Your car insurance will likely not cover this, but insurance through the transport company can. 

How do I choose a car shipping company?

When learning how to ship a car across the country, you should keep some factors in mind before choosing a shipping company. You should shop around to compare prices and reviews, as some companies are more affordable than others. 

Do your research on your prospective companies, and know that the timing of your move can affect the cost. The company you choose should be flexible and offer both enclosed and open carrier transport.

Final Thoughts

Figuring out how to ship your car across the country can be challenging. Once you know what is involved in a cross-country move, the process of shipping your vehicle across the country seems a bit easier, 

If you are preparing to move across the country and need to ship your car, consider using the Agoyu app. Agoyu can help you find the best car shipping companies in your area while allowing you to review customer reviews and the costs of each company. Check out the Agoyu app today to get started.

Bill Mulholland

Bill Mulholland is the owner of ARC Relocation, a company that relocates thousands of employees annually, to every state in the United States, and more than 90 foreign countries, for organizations like DHL,, GNC, and the U.S. Government. Bill also owns a real estate brokerage and title company in Virginia.