How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car?

Typical Range:

$700 - $1,200

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated May 13, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

On average, shipping a car in the U.S. costs $1,150 or between $700 to $2,000. You’ll pay as little as $450 and up to $2,000 for most moves. However, air freight costs $2,000 to $5,000 domestically, while shipping a car to Hawaii or Alaska costs $1,500 to $2,800. The per-mile average for moving a car is $1 per mile for trips of 1,000  to 2,000 miles.

Car Shipping Quotes Per Mile

Shipping a vehicle long-distance costs an average of $1 per mile for trips of 1,000 to 2,000 miles. But it can cost anywhere from $0.75 to $4. Shorter trips are more expensive per mile. Factors that affect this price include vehicle size, distance, time of year, and method of transportation. Cost ranges for distance include:

  • <500 miles: $1.50–$4

  • 1,000 to 2,000 miles: $1–$1.25

  • >2,000 miles: $0.75–$1

Cost to Move Vehicles by Size

You’ll spend between $75 and $350 more for heavier, larger vehicles. They take up more space, and since they weigh more, use up more fuel during transport. 

Vehicle Type Avg. Weight in Pounds Est. Cost to Move 1,000 Miles
Compact 3,000 $900
Mid-Sized 3,500 $1,000
Mid-Sized SUV or Minivan 4,300 $1,100
Mid-Sized Pickup Truck 4,300 $1,150
Large Truck 4,300 $1,250

Cost to Ship a Car by Freight

Although trucks are the most used method, your shipping company may use a combination of any or all of these methods.

Freight Type Average Domestic Cost Range
Truck $700 – $2,000
Air $2,000 – $4,000
Train $300 – $1,500
Cargo Ship $1,000 – $5,000

Shipping Truck

The average price to ship by truck is $700 to $1,600. However, you can pay as little as $450 for short moves or as much as $2,000 for coast-to-coast shipping. You can choose between:

  • Open-air or an enclosed truck: Enclosed truck transport adds $300 to $600.

  • Door-to-door service or terminal dropoff: They’ll pick it up at your home for an extra fee, or you drop it off at a shipping terminal.

Airplane

Airplane transportation within the U.S. costs $2,000 to $4,000 and up to $40,000 for most international shipping with some reports mentioning prices as high as $100,000. Shipping to some locations within the United States (such as Alaska or Hawaii) may cost less than international rates, but are still much more expensive than shipping by truck or cargo ship.

You likely won’t use this method; it’s simply too expensive compared to trucks, trains, and ships. But, if you’re relocating overseas and need a stress-free move with an expensive classic or luxury vehicle, you may choose air over a cargo ship.

Train

Shipping by train costs anywhere from $800 to $1,500, but it’s not available to the public. Auto manufacturers and shipping companies have exclusive use of most rail lines, with one exception: Amtrak. Shipping a car by Amtrak costs $300 to $800 and includes a seat for you. There’s one caveat, though: it only runs from Virginia to Florida.  

Cargo Ship

The charge to send a vehicle by boat is around $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the destination. Cargo ships use enclosed containers. For Hawaii, it’s the only option outside of air freight. For Alaska, it’s about the same price as using a trucking company. 

  • Alaska: $2,200–$3,000

  • Hawaii: $1,500–$2,500

Car Transporting Cost Factors

Factors that influence the total price to ship a car include:

  • Distance: Cross-country or in-state makes a difference.

  • Time of year: You’ll pay more in the summer.

  • Luxury and vintage moving: Expect to double the price, but for enhanced safety and care.

  • Taxes: International tax and import fees.

  • Enclosed transportation: Protects luxury and vintage vehicles.

In-State vs. Cross-Country

Distance can also have a significant impact on the cost to move a vehicle, especially if it travels a long distance from its point of origin. Surcharges can include:

  • Gas

  • Tolls

  • Interstate transport

  • Location destination accessibility

In addition, shipments to or from a difficult-to-reach area (such as a location far from the nearest interstate) may be more expensive than shipments from easily accessible, major metropolitan areas.

Time of Year

You can expect to pay $200 to $800 more in summer than in winter due to higher truck demand. You’ll pay less in the fall and winter, except for holidays. But it can be slower. Note that shipping gets backed up in the final weeks of December and companies catch up in January.

Luxury & Vintage Automobiles

Luxury and vintage automobiles cost $800 to $2,000 or up to 60% more to ship domestically in an enclosed truck and up to $40,000 for air freight. Many insurance companies require enclosed transport for high-end vehicles. Many owners will go to great lengths to protect their rare or valuable vehicles. Some of the ways that owners try to protect their vintage vehicles include:

  • Enclosed shipping to protect the vehicle from rain, snow, and ice.

  • Liftgate elevators, since they’re less likely to cause damage when compared to ramps.

  • Door-to-door service to help ensure full protection for the vehicle from pick up to drop off.

Extra Fees

Depending on the company used, method of transportation, and other factors, there may be many surcharges. For example:

  • Express shipments: These cost anywhere from $200 to $500 more, depending on the time of year and other factors.

  • Fuel surcharges: Additional charges vary depending on market fluctuations.

  • Added space: Oversized vehicles need more space, and can cost as much as double the normal price.

  • Insurance: People often opt to protect their rare or valuable vehicles and incur extra charges to do so; costs vary by carrier.

  • Taxes and import duties: The latter applies only if shipping from or to international locations.

Failed delivery can add a hefty surcharge, several hundred dollars. These sometimes occur because owners don’t make contact during the delivery window.

Enclosed vs. Open Transportation

You’ll pay $300 to $800 more for enclosed transportation on a truck. It protects your car from weather and road debris. However, since the company can’t fit as many vehicles in an enclosed container, you end up paying more. All shipping container cargo ships use enclosed shipping containers. 

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Hiring a Car Hauling Service

Hiring a car hauling service costs $450 to $2,500, and sometimes more if you’re going somewhere like Alaska. When hiring a moving service to transport your vehicle, consider their experience, insurance, price, and reviews from previous customers before deciding.

When planning your move and when you hire movers, your vehicle transport options include:

  • Driving or towing the vehicle yourself

  • Hiring a driver and paying for the return flight

  • Hiring a moving company

  • Hiring a car hauling company

If you’re using a moving company for the rest of your stuff, you can check this off your moving checklist. They’ll likely offer services for moving your car, whether they do it themselves or sub-contract it to a specialty mover. But if you’re doing a self-move, you might consider the following.

Experience

Whenever you’re moving an expensive item, like a car, it’s important to hire a well-established business with a good reputation. Start by checking online for reviews and background, but also ask them directly. 

Insurance

Ask for proof of insurance from any company you hire. It should include information on the deductible, damage covered, caps, and any exclusions. Any company that transports your vehicle should offer insurance to protect it from damage. 

Cheap Quotes

Beware of automobile shipping companies that advertise "cheap" or "super-affordable" rates. Some companies keep their prices low by skimping on consumer protections or by adding on hidden fees, bloating the final price. 

Reviews

Check company reviews before making your final choice. Watch for red flags, like reviews with consistent complaints about damage, slow shipments, or customer service problems. Once you have checked reviews, get multiple quotes to compare against each other. 

FAQs

How much does it cost to transport a vehicle to Hawaii?

Expect to pay $1,000 to $1,500 to send a car to Hawaii by ship. Factors that affect the price include the size of the vehicle and method of transportation. Most people choose to send their vehicles by ship because air transportation is very expensive.

How much is it to ship a car overseas from the United States?

This can vary depending on the destination. For example, much of Europe costs up to $5,000, some African nations up to $2,500, Australia up to $5,000, and Germany up to $4,000. Other countries can cost up to $6,000 or more depending on taxes, import fees, and shipping costs. 

What's a reasonable motorcycle shipping cost estimate?

Motorcycle shipping costs $300 to $1,300. Shipping within the continental United States is around $500, while the price to send it internationally fluctuates from $1,000 to $2,500.

Is DIY shipping with a U-Haul car hauler or flatbed possible?

U-Haul and other self-moving companies offer trailers and dollies to tow your car behind a truck or a van. However, after you figure in the added fuel cost of towing a trailer along with insurance and hotels, it’s sometimes less expensive to hire a moving service

Why ship a car instead of driving it?

Moving company costs of $900 to $2,500 don’t generally include shipping a car. If you’re flying to your destination or just can’t take time off of work to drive the vehicle yourself, ship it. A few other reasons you might need shipping include:

  • Luxury or vintage vehicles to keep mileage down.

  • Cars sold out of the state.

  • Vehicles that don't work, such as project cars.

How do you prepare a car for shipping?

Each shipping company will have any tips or notes they’ll recommend, but generally, you’ll want to:

  • Wash and wax the car before dropping it off. The wax will help prevent bugs and debris from sticking to the vehicle during transport. 

  • Photograph the vehicle before loading and note any visible damage. 

  • Take everything out of the vehicle except the spare tire and jack. 

  • Consult with the shipper about any requirements, such as draining fluids from the vehicle. 

  • Drain the vehicle of most gas but send it with a quarter tank so you can drive the vehicle away from the terminal upon pickup.

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