shipping a car to hawaii

Shipping a Car to Hawaii: The Complete Guide

So, you’ve decided to make the big move to the beautiful islands of Hawaii – congratulations! While you’re undoubtedly excited to start your new life in paradise, there’s one big question looming: what about your car? 

Do you sell it and buy a new one once you arrive? Or do you bite the bullet and ship it across the Pacific?

The same rules apply if you’re shipping a car from Hawaii as well. You’ll need to decide if it’s more affordable and reasonable to ship the car or try and sell it. 

If it’s a luxury or exotic car that you can’t part ways with, then shipping it might be the way to go. 

As a moving app that connects folks with the best movers in their area, we get asked about shipping cars to Hawaii all the time. While it’s not a super simple and cheap process, it’s worth it in a lot of situations. 

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about shipping a car to Hawaii, from costs and timeframes to your different options. Let’s dive in!

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Main Takeaways 

  • Shipping a car to Hawaii typically costs between $1,500 and $3,500 depending on factors like distance, vehicle size, and time of year
  • The process takes around 2-4 weeks in total, from dropping off your car at the port to picking it up in Hawaii
  • You’ll need to thoroughly clean your car and remove all personal belongings before shipping
  • Enclosed transport offers more protection but is pricier than open transport
  • Buying a car in Hawaii is an option, but prices tend to be higher due to import costs

H2: Cost to Ship a Car to Hawaii

Here’s a table to help you get an idea of how much it costs to ship a car to Hawaii:

Departure PortArrival PortVehicle TypeEstimated Cost Range
Long Beach, CAHonolulu, HISedan$1,100 – $1,500
Long Beach, CAHonolulu, HISUV/Truck$1,300 – $1,700
Seattle/Tacoma, WAHonolulu, HISedan$1,300 – $1,700
Seattle/Tacoma, WAHonolulu, HISUV/Truck$1,500 – $1,900
Long Beach, CAKahului, HISedan$1,200 – $1,600
Long Beach, CAKahului, HISUV/Truck$1,400 – $1,800
Oakland, CAKahului, HISedan$1,300 – $1,700
Oakland, CAKahului, HISUV/Truck$1,500 – $1,900
Oakland, CAHilo, HISedan$1,400 – $1,800
Oakland, CAHilo, HISUV/Truck$1,600 – $2,000
Seattle/Tacoma, WAHilo, HISedan$1,500 – $1,900
Seattle/Tacoma, WAHilo, HISUV/Truck$1,700 – $2,100

Let’s address the elephant in the room right off the bat – the cost of shipping a car to Hawaii is expensive. Based on quotes from major shipping companies, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500 to transport a standard vehicle.

Why such a wide range? Well, the final price tag depends on several key factors. But in general, you should budget at least $1000 more than you would to ship a car the same distance within the continental U.S. 

That’s because in addition to the overland transport to get your car to the west coast port, you’re also looking at significant costs for the ocean leg of the journey.

car shipping

H2: Factors That Impact Shipping a Car to Hawaii 

So what goes into that $1,500-$3,500 estimate? Here are the main factors that will impact how much you end up paying:

H3: Distance

The port your car departs from will play a big role in the overall cost. If you live on the east coast or in the midwest, you’ll need to account for the cost of getting your vehicle to California or Washington first. The further your car needs to travel on land before even getting on the boat, the more you’ll shell out.

H3: Drop-off and Pick-up Location

You have two main options here – door-to-door service where your car is picked up and delivered to your home on either end, or terminal-to-terminal where you drop off and pick up your vehicle yourself at the ports. 

Door-to-door is more convenient but will add to your total. If you’re on a tight budget, driving to and from the ports yourself will save you some cash.

H3: Vehicle Size

The bigger your vehicle, the bigger the shipping bill. Luxury and exotic car shipping can also be more money because they may only be able to travel in certain containers and ships. 

Larger cars like trucks and SUVs take up more space on the boat, so they cost more to transport than compact cars and sedans. If you’re shipping a motorcycle, however, you’re in luck – these are relatively cheap to transport because of their small size.

H3: Enclosed vs Open Transport 

You’ll need to decide if you want your car shipped in an enclosed container or on an open-air carrier. Enclosed offers more protection from the elements but comes at a premium – expect to pay 35-40% more than open transport. 

Unless you have a luxury or vintage car you’re worried about, open shipping is a safe bet for most vehicles.

H3: Season

Time of year will impact both price and availability when shipping a car to Hawaii. Summer months and January tend to be busiest, so prices are higher and space is more limited. If you have flexibility, aim to ship in the spring or fall for potential savings.

H2: How to Ship Your Car to Hawaii

Okay, so you’ve weighed the costs and decided it makes sense to bring your car to the islands. How do you actually make it happen? Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:

  1. Research reputable shipping companies that have experience transporting vehicles to Hawaii. Look for a licensed and insured company with positive customer reviews.
  2. Gather quotes from multiple providers based on your vehicle details and preferences for shipping dates, pickup/dropoff, etc. Don’t automatically go with the cheapest – the quality of service matters too.
  3. Make your reservation and choose a port for dropping off and picking up your vehicle. The most common ports for Hawaii shipments are Long Beach, CA, Oakland, CA, and Seattle/Tacoma, WA on the mainland side, and Honolulu, Kahalui, Hilo and Nawiliwili in Hawaii.
  4. Thoroughly clean your car and remove all personal belongings. Take photos of the exterior and interior to document the condition before shipping. Keep only a quarter tank of gas – a full tank adds unnecessary weight.
  5. Bring your vehicle to the port on the designated day, along with your photo ID, car title, registration and proof of insurance. Complete the vehicle inspection report with the shipping company rep.
  6. Pick up your car at your destination port in Hawaii! Inspect it again for any damage and report it immediately. Remember to register your out-of-state vehicle with your county once it arrives.

H2: Frequently Asked Questions 

Still have burning questions about shipping a car to Hawaii? We’ve got answers to some of the most common queries:

H3: How to ship a car to hawaii as cheap as possible?

Terminal-to-terminal shipping on an open-air carrier during the low season will be your least expensive option. Drive your car to the west coast port yourself and pick it up at the port in Hawaii to cut out costs for overland transport and home delivery. Discounts for military, seniors, students, or first responders may also be available.

H3: Can I fill my car with stuff before shipping it?

Unfortunately, no. The shipping companies prohibit leaving any personal belongings in your vehicle during transport for liability reasons. Your car should be totally cleaned out before drop off except for floor mats, spare tires, and jacks.

H3: How long will shipping a car to Hawaii take?

From the time you drop off your vehicle at the departure port to the day it’s offloaded in Hawaii, shipping takes about 8-17 days depending on the route and any stops along the way. Building in buffer time on either end for overland transport and processing, plan on 2-4 weeks total.

H2: Final Thoughts 

Transporting your baby to or from Hawaii is a big job but there’s no reason it can’t done efficiently and safely with the right planning and budgeting. 

or many islanders, the freedom and familiarity of having your own car is well worth the upfront expense and effort of shipping.

But if the costs are making you think twice, remember that buying a car once you arrive in Hawaii is also an option. Prices may be higher than on the mainland, but you’ll avoid the hassle and timeframe of shipping. Ultimately, only you can decide what makes the most sense for your situation and finances.

No matter what, it’s crucial that you have the most qualified and reputable car shipping company handle your move. Be sure to use the free Agoyu app and get a moving quote for your car shipment to Hawaii today. 

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.