When you need to ship a car to Hawaii or from Hawaii to the mainland, the practical aspects of the shipping process are unique. You’ll probably need ground transport in addition to sea transport, and the cost to ship a car to Hawaii is calculated somewhat differently than the cost to ship a car across the country. But here’s the good news! When you work with an auto transport management company like Montway, the process of scheduling your shipment will be quick and easy.
That’s because shipping a car to Hawaii is less complicated than most people imagine. The most important step you can take is to choose an auto transport management company that has a lot of experience shipping cars from the mainland to the Hawaiian Islands and back. We have years of experience helping customers move vehicles to Hawaii, and we wanted to answer some frequently asked questions, such as:
- How much does it cost to ship a car to Hawaii?
- How do I find the right company to handle my shipment?
- How does shipping a car to and from Hawaii work?
How much does it really cost to ship a car to Hawaii?
When you are shipping to or from Hawaii, your quote will depend not only on the make, model and year of your car, but also factors like the distance your vehicle will travel to and from the port, as well as the ports of departure and entry. The only way to know for sure how much it will cost to ship a car to Hawaii is to use our instant quote calculator.
From the California Port
With several ports providing auto transport services to and from Hawaii, California is a popular mainland car shipping location. Departure ports in California include Long Beach, Oakland and San Diego with arrivals in Honolulu, Hilo, Kahuli, Lihue, Nawiliwili, Molokai and Lanai. Sailing schedules and frequency vary, but transporting a vehicle from California to Hawaii usually takes an average of 2-4 weeks with costs ranging from about $1,029 to $2,649. A very common route is from Los Angeles to Honolulu which would cost approximately $1,599 for door-to-port service.
From the Port of Seattle
If you’re heading to the islands from Washington, Seattle will be your departure port. The process to ship a car from Seattle to Hawaii is the same as other locations. You can get a car shipping quote online or call a Montway agent to get more information about costs, timeframes and how the process works. As an example, shipping a car from Seattle to Honolulu could cost between approximately $1,989 and $2,499 with an average transit time of 2-4 weeks. Keep in mind that departures are less frequent in Seattle and to include that in your planning. It’s important to mention that you cannot ship an electric vehicle out of Seattle. If you need to ship an EV, the vehicle will need to be first shipped to California and then loaded onto a vessel. Not to worry, Montway arranges all of that! Just be mindful that this can extend your transport time by about 1-2 weeks.
The only way to know for sure how much it will cost to ship a car to Hawaii is to use our instant quote calculator. If you’re just looking for a ballpark, here are some examples of the cost of shipping a car to Hawaii and shipping a car from Hawaii:
- Shipping a sedan from Boston, MA to Kauai: ~$2,349
- Shipping a sedan from Kauai to Boston, MA: ~$2,369
- Shipping a Honda Pilot on the same route costs more than ~$2,500
- Shipping a sedan from Miami, FL to Kauai: ~$2,099
- Shipping a sedan from Kauai to Miami, FL: ~$2,179
- Shipping a Honda Pilot on the same route costs more than ~$2,200
- Shipping a sedan from Columbus, OH to Kauai: ~$2,179
- Shipping a sedan from Kauai to Columbus, OH: ~$2,199
- Shipping a Honda Pilot on the same route costs more than ~$2,300
- Shipping a sedan from Santa Barbara, CA to Kauai: ~$1,529
- Shipping a sedan from Kauai to Santa Barbara, CA: ~$1,529
- Shipping a Honda Pilot on the same route costs more than ~$1,575
One important thing to know is that if you are shipping from a city within 50 miles of the port we ship to and from (such as Long Beach, CA), you can save money by dropping your vehicle off or picking it up right at the port so you’re not charged for ground transport.
At Montway, we strive to be as transparent as possible when it comes to the price of car shipping and always offer free, no-obligation quotes. If you contact another company about shipping to Hawaii, and they use high-pressure tactics or tell you that you can only get a quote by booking, tell them thanks but no thanks.
Is it cheaper to buy a car in Hawaii or ship to Hawaii?
Shipping your car to Hawaii versus buying one on the island is a decision that hinges on several factors. When shipping a car to Hawaii, you must account for the cost, which can range from approximately $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the vehicle’s size and origin. Additionally, there are legal requirements and shipping times to consider. Shipping may take ~2-4 weeks, but it allows you to keep the car you enjoy and are comfortable maintaining. You may save money if your vehicle has a high value or was recently purchased.
Alternatively, purchasing a car in Hawaii might seem simpler, but it’s not without its challenges. First of all, you’ll have to sell the vehicle you have, which involves researching its market value, potentially listing it on a used car website, transferring the title, etc. Also, keep in mind that the car market in Hawaii is often more expensive due to the island’s limited supply and high demand. For example, the average used car price in Hawaii is $32,381—would you be able to sell your current vehicle for that price? Does this expense fit within your budget? It’s worth noting that the selection in Hawaii is not as diverse as on the mainland, however, buying locally does eliminate the need for shipping and any associated wait times.
If you have a relatively new or high-value car or one that you’re particularly attached to, shipping might be the most cost-effective and convenient option. But if you’re looking for a quick solution and don’t mind potentially paying a bit more, buying a car in Hawaii could be the right choice for you.
Here’s how shippers break down costs
Because so many factors influence the cost of shipping a car to Hawaii or the mainland, we can’t answer every question in a blog post, but what we can do is tell you more about how those costs are calculated.
First, your car’s starting point will have a big impact on your total cost. Shipping a car that’s further from a port will cost more than shipping a car that’s already close to one. For instance, shipping a car to Hawaii from the East Coast will cost more because that vehicle must be transported on a car carrier across the country before it gets on a ship at port. If you can drive your vehicle to a West Coast port, you’ll pay less.
Next, the size of your vehicle will influence your shipping price. Smaller vehicles and standard sedans tend to be less expensive to ship than large trucks and SUVs or vehicles that have been modified with lift or lowering kits. The Honda Pilot in the examples above costs more to ship because it weighs more and takes up more space.
From there, your choice of ground transport will be factored in. Ground transport on an open carrier is less expensive than shipping a car in an enclosed carrier. That’s because open carriers can carry more cars and there are more open carriers in operation. However, we understand that exotic, luxury, classic, specialty, high-end, or antique vehicles may need the extra protection they’ll get in an enclosed carrier.
And of course, your choice of sea transport will also impact your quote. Roll on/roll off shipping (aka RORO shipping) is the most affordable type of sea transport. It also tends to be the fastest type of transport because vehicles can be loaded more quickly so boats can launch faster. But again, if you have a vehicle that needs special care and handling, it can be shipped in a cargo container that gives it extra protection during its ocean voyage.
How to find the right auto transport management company
Once you understand how shippers calculate the cost to ship a car to Hawaii or to the mainland, it’s time to find a company to ship your vehicle. Doing that can take a bit more work than most people realize because it’s not as simple as calling the first company that comes up in a Google search and booking a shipment. That’s because there are some shippers out there who will happily take your money without taking much off of your plate in return. A great auto transport management company will make the shipping process easy and will handle the entire process for you, end to end!
Here’s what you need to do to find the right company:
Search for and compare shippers
You can do that Google search, but from there you should click through the results to see what they actually offer. Some shippers will claim to offer car shipping to Hawaii, but they only get your car to port. They don’t handle the sea transport side of your shipment. Others will only handle sea transport, and you have to coordinate any ground transport. Make sure the instant online quotes you’re getting include everything you need. At Montway, we offer door-to-port, port-to-port, and port-to-door services to cover all your Hawaii car shipping needs.
Look beyond your quote
You should never choose an auto transport management company solely by rate. The cheapest company will usually offer the lowest tier of service, though they probably won’t say as much in their marketing materials! Most people find they have the best experience shipping cars to Hawaii when they work with a mid-price shipper with a reputation for reliability, honesty, and great customer service.
Double check what each company offers
If you need (or want) anything beyond transport on an open carrier and basic RORO shipping, make that clear when you call for a quote. Are you shipping a delicate, antique car to Hawaii? Or do you want to work with an auto transport company that offers round-the-clock customer care? Do you want to receive updates while your vehicle is en route? Do you need a door-to-door service? Being upfront about your needs will not only get you the most accurate quote but also help you eliminate shippers that don’t offer the services you want.
Read auto transport reviews
Exploring customer reviews will give you a good idea of the type of experience you can expect from the auto transport company. You can also find customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, along with the company’s rating. A high rating and plenty of positive reviews will tell you that the company is dedicated to customer service and will most likely treat you well.
Ask about deposits
An auto transport company should never charge you before giving you a ship date and assigning your vehicle to a spot on a truck or ship. Make sure you ask about deposits before signing anything. If a shipper tells you that a deposit is non-refundable, move on to the next company.
Check on licenses and insurance
Never, ever book with an auto transport management company that isn’t licensed, bonded, and insured. When you’re shipping a car to Hawaii, there should also be cargo insurance. If you don’t see information about licenses and insurance on a shipper’s website, a representative should be able to give you more information about what kind of credentials and coverage they have.
Finding the right auto transport company for your shipment to Hawaii from the mainland may feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but if you look for a company with stellar auto transport reviews and a great reputation in the industry, your vehicle will be in good hands.
Shipping a car to Hawaii or from Hawaii with Montway
Once you know the cost to ship a car to Hawaii or to the mainland, there’s still more to do. Here’s a step-by-step guide to shipping with us:
Step 1: Get a quote, and if the quote is to your liking, book transport. We can give you an instant quote online and then you can book right in the online calculator, or we’d be happy to book your shipment via phone or our Live Chat.
Step 2: Prepare your car for its journey. That means driving it until it has a quarter tank or less of gas (this is for safety reasons), washing the interior and exterior thoroughly so it’s easier to inspect before it ships, removing all personal items from the vehicle, disabling your car’s alarm system or finding the remote, and making sure your vehicle is in good running order. To ship a car to or from Hawaii, it must have operational brakes, fully inflated tires, no leaks, and doors that will seal.
Step 3: If you’re shipping a car or truck to Hawaii, all you’ll need to do is hand over the keys. But if you’re shipping to the mainland from Hawaii, you’ll need to provide a copy of the title and current registration that will ship with the car and also show a photo ID and proof of ownership. If there are two people listed as owners on your vehicle’s title, both of you will have to be present to ship or you’ll need to show notarized written consent to ship from the owner who is not present. When your vehicle is financed or leased, you’ll also need to provide a letter from the lien holder authorizing the shipment. This must be on company letterhead and will need to be notarized with a stamped date less than a month old.
Step 4: Receive your vehicle at the port. It really is that easy to ship a car to and from Hawaii! You can pick it up yourself or designate a representative to pick up your vehicle for you. All they will need is your booking confirmation number and your vessel booking number.
Unlike many shippers, Montway offers door-to-port service at a great price for its customers shipping cars to Hawaii and port-to-door service when you’re shipping a car to the mainland. That said, if you want to save some money, we also offer port-to-port service where you drop off your vehicle at the port of your choice, and we take care of the rest. Ask us about the options we offer!
FAQs about shipping a car to Hawaii
How much does it cost to ship a car to Hawaii or from Hawaii?
As noted above, there’s no single answer to this question. Using our instant online quote calculator or contacting us for a free, no-obligation quote is the best way to find out how much your shipment will cost.
How long does it take to ship a car to or from Hawaii?
How long your shipment takes will depend on where you are shipping from when you’re shipping to Hawaii or where you’re shipping to if you’re transporting a car to the mainland. Typically, it takes no more than two to three weeks if you’re shipping to or from the East Coast or the Midwest. If you’re shipping to or from cities along the West Coast, you’ll get your car even sooner.
Will my car be exposed to the elements?
During your vehicle’s journey to port, it will be exposed to normal road conditions if it is on an open carrier. Ports don’t offer coverage, but your vehicle will simply be outdoors the way it would be in your own driveway. During its journey to Hawaii, it will be underneath the deck of a ship and so protected from the elements while at sea.
What paperwork is needed to ship a car to Hawaii or to ship a car from Hawaii?
When you’re shipping a car to Hawaii from the mainland, you won’t be required to provide or show any extra paperwork beyond what you would normally show for any car shipment.
However, when you are shipping a car from Hawaii to the mainland, you’ll need to show extra paperwork. If you own your car or truck outright, you’ll need to provide a copy of the title and current registration for it to ship and to show a photo ID and proof of ownership. When there are two owners listed on the vehicle title, both vehicle owners must be present with a photo ID at shipping or you must have notarized consent from the owner who is not present.
Finally, if your vehicle is financed or a lease, you’ll also need to present a letter from the lien holder releasing the vehicle for transportation to the mainland on official letterhead and this must be notarized.
What will I need to pick up my vehicle in Hawaii?
The only thing you will have to provide when you pick up your car at the port in Hawaii is the Matson booking number, which we will give you after you book, once your shipment is scheduled with the port.
Many of our customers are surprised at how easy it is to schedule a car shipment to or from Hawaii and then to transport a vehicle. That’s because we handle everything for you, from booking to delivery. Our goal is to make every Hawaii car shipment smooth and simple, so you can rest easy, knowing your vehicle will make it to its destination safely and on time.
Are you ready to ship your car to Hawaii? Contact us today for a free shipping quote and check out what our customers are saying about their experiences with Montway at Montway Auto Transport reviews.