Car Shipping Cost Explained (2021)



The cost to ship a car is not a single fixed price, as car shipping cost is typically determined through a bidding process. Auto shipping is a supply/demand business where those who require auto shipping typically post their request on a broker site and private shipping companies bid on the contract.

You can receive an auto shipping quote from a broker, but this won’t always be the final price that you end up paying. In this article, we’ll explain what goes into car shipping costs as well as average prices, tips for finding the lowest rate, and recommendations for auto shipping providers. To get an idea about how much auto shipping might cost you, get a free quote from leading provider uShip. You can also read our review comparing the best auto shipping companies.


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What Affects Car Shipping Cost?

Many things can impact your car shipping cost. In addition to the size of your car and shipping distance, market factors can impact shipping prices. Because shippers bid on your contract, luck may also be a factor. Below, we outline and explain many of the common factors that will affect car shipping prices.

Car Shipping Factor Details
Vehicle size

The height, length, and weight of your car can all determine the shipping costs. The ground clearance

can also be a factor, with cars lower to the ground being more expensive to ship.

Vehicle condition If your vehicle can steer and brake on its own, it will cost less to ship. Vehicles that are inoperable and must be forklifted or winched onto the truck cost more to ship.
Shipping distance The further you ship your car, the better rate per mile you will get, but the higher the overall cost.
Pickup and destination location Shipping to and from urban areas is cheaper than shipping to rural areas. Also, you can save money by shipping to a terminal instead of opting for door-to-door service.
Extra features

Extra features like insurance, expedited shipping, home delivery, and single-car shipping

(your vehicle ships in its own truck with no other vehicles) will cost more.

Type of transport You can typically choose between open and enclosed transport. Open transport is cheaper.

Auto shipping is more expensive in certain months. The highest rates are in the summer

when there is high demand. Rates also tend to spike in January

when many people migrate south for the winter.

Price of fuel

High fuel prices increase the operating costs for shippers,

which may be passed on to the consumer.




Average Cost To Ship A Car

According to uShip, the average cost to ship a car is $2.92 per mile for distances under 200 miles and $0.78 per mile for distances over 1,000 miles. The typical car shipping cost can range anywhere from $500 to $1,500, depending on the factors mentioned above. uShip is an auto shipping marketplace that works with 750,000 different shipping providers and has posted millions of shipment listings.

Our review team has reached out for shipping quotes from several of the most popular car shipping companies in the industry. While your own rates may vary, the chart below can provide some idea regarding the cost to ship a car. Quotes were requested in January (a peak shipping month) for operable vehicles.

Shipping Company/Broker Vehicle Size Shipping Distance Open or Enclosed Cost
Montway Auto Transport SUV 503 miles Open $679
Montway Auto Transport SUV 1,566 miles Open $929
Montway Auto Transport SUV 1,566 miles Enclosed $1,339
Montway Auto Transport SUV 3,036 miles Open $1,389
Sherpa Auto Transport SUV 1,556 miles Open $1,300
Sherpa Auto Transport SUV 1,556 miles Enclosed $1,800
Sherpa Auto Transport SUV 3,036 miles Open $1,450
uShip SUV 503 miles Open $756
uShip SUV 1,556 miles Open $1,411
uShip SUV 3,036 miles Open $2,240

The numbers above might help give you a rough estimate of car shipping cost, but the only way to know how much it will cost to ship your car is to request personalized estimates. Use the tool below to get started.



Tips For Lowering Your Car Shipping Cost

The best way to find the lowest auto shipping cost for your vehicle is to compare multiple quotes. Whichever provider you choose, there are a number of ways you can bring down your total car shipping cost.

  • Reserve early: The earlier you post your job, the more time providers have to bid on your contract and the better chance you will get a good deal.
  • Drop off and pick up at a shipping terminal: Door-to-door delivery is expensive, and it can be much cheaper to use a shipping terminal. This will be especially true if you live in a rural area where shipping rates are higher.
  • Choose open shipping: Open shipping is cheaper than enclosed shipping. However, if you have a luxury vehicle or a car with low clearance, you may need the added protection of enclosed shipping.
  • Look into multi-car shipping: If you want to ship your car by itself, it will be far more expensive. It’s cheaper to choose a shipper that transports several vehicles together.
  • Be flexible with delivery dates: The stricter your dropoff and pickup dates, the fewer shippers may be able to fulfill your request, and you won’t benefit from the price drop that comes when shippers bid for your contract.
  • Clean out your car beforehand: Adding extra weight to your car can increase the shipping cost.
  • Ship by train: The cheapest way to ship your car is by freight. However, this comes with some major disadvantages. Shipping by train can be significantly slower than shipping by truck. It is also far less secure.



Our Recommendations For Auto Shipping

If you’re looking for a low-cost auto shipping option, we recommend posting your shipping request to Montway Auto Transport or uShip.

Montway Auto Transport logo

Montway is a major online shipping broker that works with over 15,000 carriers across the United States. All Montway Auto Transport shippers are insured, and the company provides an additional $250,000 of coverage on top of your trucker’s policy (should that policy fail to fully cover a valid claim).

Based on our cost research, Montway Auto Transport prices are competitive. You may even be able to find the lowest rates through the company, depending on your shipping needs. You can request open or enclosed shipping, and there are options for door-to-door delivery and expedited shipping as well.

Read our full Montway Auto Transport review for more details on this broker, and visit for a free quote.

uShip logo

Like Montway Auto Transport, uShip is a marketplace that pairs shippers with customers. If you’re trying to ship your vehicle by truck, it’s a good place to find low-cost options. uShip serves the entire U.S. and even offers overseas shipping.

With uShip, you can pay more for an instant rate, or post your request and shippers will bid on your contract, reducing the final cost. While uShip does not guarantee that every contractor has insurance, you can purchase extra insurance protection from uShip for an additional fee.

To learn more about the company, read our complete uShip review and visit for a free quote.



Frequently Asked Questions: Car Shipping Cost

What’s the cheapest way to ship my car?

The cheapest way to ship a car is by train. However, shipping by train does not offer the flexibility in shipping dates and shipping locations that shipping by truck does. Furthermore, shipping your car by train is much less secure than shipping by truck. Your vehicle may be more prone to vandalism on a train.

You can find and compare cheap auto shipping options by posting your request to broker websites such as Montway Auto Transport.

Does AAA offer car shipping?

The roadside assistance provider AAA does not offer car shipping. Companies like Montway Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, and Sherpa Auto Transport offer car shipping.

Can I put stuff in my car when I ship it?

You can put stuff in your car when you ship it, but this might increase the weight of your vehicle and thus increase the shipping cost.

What is the best company to ship a car?

After performing an in-depth industry review, our research team named Montway Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, and Sherpa Auto Transport the best companies for car shipping. The provider that is right for you will depend on your auto shipping needs.

Is it cheaper to ship a car by train or truck?

It is typically cheaper to ship a car by train than by truck. However, when your car is shipped by train it can be more prone to vandalism, and you will have much less flexibility when it comes to shipping dates, pickup dates, and shipping locations.