Finding cheap car shipping isn’t necessarily easy. Auto shipping is a supply-and-demand business in which shipping companies bid on customer contracts. In order to find the best prices, you’ll need to use a reliable broker. There are also several steps you can take to reduce the cost of your shipment.
In this article, we’ll help you understand the factors that go into the cost of car shipping, provide recommendations for brokers, and give tips on how to lower costs. You can also read our article about the best auto shipping companies and start comparing costs right away with our pick for the industry’s Lowest Rates, Bargain Auto Transport.
In this article:
How Much Should It Cost To Ship A Car?
According to Montway Auto Transport, car shipping costs are usually around $1.96 per mile for distances under 500 miles, 93 cents per mile for distances between 500 and 1,500 miles, and 58 cents per mile for distances over 1,500 miles. Many auto shipping providers work through a bidding process, so there aren’t typically fixed prices. This means it’s possible to get cheap car shipping rates from a number of companies.
How Car Shipping Costs Are Determined
There are many factors that will affect your car shipping cost. Here are some of the most common things transporters base costs on:
- Size and weight of your car: The heavier your car, the more you’ll pay to transport it.
- Destination and pickup locations: Urban areas will likely be less expensive to ship to and from.
- Vehicle condition: It’s easier to move a car if it’s driveable, which means working vehicles are less expensive to ship than those that are inoperable.
- Shipping distance: Shorter distances usually have higher per-mile costs but cheaper prices overall.
- Season: It’s more expensive to transport your car in January and summer months, as these are peak car shipping times.
- Type of transport: For cheap car shipping, opt for open carrier transport. But if you want your car to be fully protected, ship it in an enclosed trailer.
- Fuel prices: If gas prices are especially high, some companies charge customers additional fees.
What’s The Cheapest Way To Ship A Car?
The cheapest way to ship your car is by a freight train. However, this option may not be available depending on where you live. Shipping by train also takes a long time, and your dropoff and pickup dates will be less flexible. Most people choose to ship by truck or trailer, as it is safer and far more convenient (though also more expensive).
If you use a truck or trailer, there are several ways to get cheap car shipping quotes from providers:
- Reserve early: The earlier you post your job, the more shippers can bid on your contract. Also, expedited shipping costs much more than standard shipping.
- Be flexible with delivery dates: Shippers choose jobs based on their existing routes and availability. Flexibility with pickup and delivery dates will increase the number of shippers that can take your job.
- Use shipping terminals: You can save money by dropping your car off and picking it up at a shipping terminal rather than selecting door-to-door delivery. This may be especially true if you live in a rural area where shipping costs are higher.
- Request open shipping: Open shipping is cheaper than enclosed shipping. Though this may not be a good idea if your car has low clearance (less than four inches), as it can be damaged.
- Clean out your car: Reduce the weight of your vehicle as much as possible by removing everything inside it before shipping.
- Compare multiple quotes: Look at quotes and offers from multiple shippers and brokers to find the best price. Keep in mind that some brokers may charge a cancellation fee if you post a job and then rescind it.
5 Cheap Car Shipping Companies
Cost is among the most important factors when deciding on a car shipping company. However, you obviously want to make sure your carrier is reliable, not just cheap. Only choose an auto shipper that is registered and licensed. Also, make sure that your shipper has the proper insurance coverage in case your vehicle is damaged during transport.
The table below shows several of our recommendations for cheap car shipping.
|Cheap Car Shipping Companies
|Motor 1 Cost Rating
|Motor1 Overall Rating
|Get a Free Quote
|1. Bargain Auto Transport
|2. Montway Auto Transport
|3. Easy Auto Ship
Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina
Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating: A
As the name suggests, the mission of Bargain Auto Transport is to match customers with the lowest possible price for their shipment. The company only works with vetted car shipping services, so you can feel confident that your vehicle is in good hands during transport.
Bargain Auto Transport’s experts negotiate with carriers on your behalf to get you a cheap car shipping rate and provide you with an estimated cost. These company’s representatives are knowledgeable about average rates and shipping schedules and can help you find the right option.
|Bargain Auto Transport Pros
|Bargain Auto Transport Cons
|Accreditation and ‘A’ rating from the BBB
|Small online customer review profile
|No easy online quotes
To see how much it would cost to ship your vehicle, visit BargainAutoTransport.com.
Headquarters: Schaumburg, Illinois
BBB Rating: A+
Montway Auto Transport is an auto shipping broker that works with over 15,000 carriers across the United States. Montway rates are competitive, and customers can ship to anywhere in the U.S. There aren’t listing fees, but there is a $200 fee if you decide to cancel after a carrier has accepted your shipment.
When we reached out to Montway for a car shipping quote, we found lower prices for open vehicle transport than we did with almost every other company.
|Montway Auto Transport Pros
|Montway Auto Transport Cons
|Works with over 15,000 carriers
|No guaranteed pricing
|$200 cancellation fee
|Military and return customer discounts available
|Strong customer reputation
For more information about this auto transport company, read our full Montway Auto Transport review. Or, visit Montway.com to get a free quote.
Headquarters: Youngstown, Ohio
BBB Rating: A+
Easy Auto Ship specializes in low-cost auto shipping and relocation services. Rates with Easy Auto Ship average around $1.20 per mile, though this depends on your shipping distance and the other factors mentioned above. There are also discounts available for military members and veterans, as well as for paying in cash.
One other nice thing about Easy Auto Ship is that it offers vehicle tracking and sends periodic alerts throughout the transportation process, such as when your car is assigned a driver and when it’s picked up. You can also call the company for a real-time update on the location of your vehicle.
|Easy Auto Ship Pros
|Easy Auto Ship Cons
|A+ BBB rating and accreditation
|More complaints than other top providers
|Offers vehicle tracking
Headquarters: Peachtree City, Georgia
BBB Rating: A+
AmeriFreight is one of our top-rated providers overall. It partners with over 10,000 car shipping companies to transport vehicles nationwide. This broker carefully vets all of its truckers to make sure they are fully insured and consistently meet customer expectations.
The AmeriFreight website claims that the cost to ship a vehicle ranges from $450 to $2,500, with increased fees for shipping to Alaska and Hawaii. Many auto transport brokers do not offer special discounts, but AmeriFreight is an exception. Customers can find discounts for the following:
- Military: $35 off
- First responders: $35 off
- Medical personnel: $35 off
- Students: $25 off
- Senior citizens: $25 off
- Early bird: $25 off if you sign up 48 hours after getting a quote
- Return customer: $50 off
- Multiple vehicles: $50 off every additional vehicle
AmeriFreight does not allow discounts to be combined, however, except for its Early Bird discount.
|A+ BBB rating and accreditation
|Slower online quotes process
|Many discount opportunities
|Strict car shipper vetting process
|Top-rated customer service
If you’d like to get a free, no-obligation quote from this provider, visit AmeriFreight.com.
Headquarters: Austin, Texas
BBB Rating: A+
uShip is a marketplace that lets independent carriers bid against each other to transport your vehicle. When reaching out for a quote, you can either request an instant quote or post your shipping request to the marketplace for bidding. Instant quotes can be more expensive, so if you’ve got the time, we recommend posting your job to find cheap car shipping rates.
In addition to the shipping cost, uShip charges a fee that ranges between $25 and $150. Insurance is included with some shippers and can be purchased for others.
|Established industry reputation
|Does not verify insurance coverages of shippers
Makes it easy to compare offers
from a wide range of shippers and brokers
|Does not have the best process for resolving issues with drivers
|No price guarantee, so quoted prices may fluctuate
Learn more in our complete uShip review, and visit uShip.com to get a free quote for your vehicle.