When you need to transport a car across the country or ship it internationally, you may have a lot of questions about the cost to ship a car. It’s easy to find rough estimates, but it’s important that you realize that those rough estimates aren’t always rooted in reality. Have you ever wondered why auto transport companies don’t simply publish price lists? It’s because there are a lot of factors that influence the cost to ship a car.
We know that cost is important to our customers, which is why Montway, a leading auto transporter, has always and will always offer fair and transparent pricing. We’re happy to explain why the cost to ship a car (or a truck) differs from one shipment to the next. In this post, we dive deep into the many variables that can affect the shipping price of your car and how to easily get no–obligation quotes for your shipment. Here’s what you need to know:
Shipping quotes are not one-size-fits-all
The cost to ship a car will depend on many things, from the distance the vehicle will travel to the weight of the vehicle and price of gas, and for those reasons, it makes it almost impossible to pre-price auto shipments. Sure, we can tell you that it will typically cost about $800 to ship a sedan from Boston to Daytona Beach, but that doesn’t mean it will cost $800 to ship your sedan that distance. The cost to ship a car or truck can change drastically when, for instance, that car doesn’t run or has been modified with a large spoiler or a lift kit. Are you shipping in the height of summer or in the dead of winter? Can you be flexible when it comes to your shipping date?
Montway’s online vehicle shipping calculator generates shipping rates with all user-submitted elements, giving us the power to offer all-inclusive prices without hidden fees. You tell us a bit about your vehicle and where it needs to go, and we generate your one-of-a-kind quote. Montway even allows you to book without putting any money down.
A breakdown of how the cost to ship a car is calculated
Let’s dive deeper into all the factors that will be analyzed to generate your personalized quote.
This is probably the most important factor that we take into account when generating quotes. Shipping a car over longer distances will almost always cost more overall, but the price will be lower when looked at per mile. International car shipping is typically the most expensive since it often involves not only shipping a vehicle long distances, but also transporting it on both a carrier and on a ship.
Here’s the cost to ship the same car (a Honda Accord) from New York City to various U.S. destinations:
- Philadelphia: $359
- Columbus: $639
- Denver: $1079
- Portland: $1159
- Hawaii: $2269
Vehicle make & mode
Whenever you get a quote from an auto transport company, you’ll be asked to provide details about your vehicle’s make, model, year, and any modifications that have been made to it (e.g., oversized tires or a large roof rack). That’s because they need to know how much space your car or truck will take up and whether it will need extra room. Longer and taller cars take up more space and may require car shippers to make adjustments to their equipment in order to accommodate these larger cars. They’re also heavier, which means the truck hauling carrier will use more gas. The cost to ship a car or truck may also be higher when the vehicle being shipped is particularly valuable or antique.
For most auto shipments, you’ll have the option to choose between shipping on an open carrier or on an enclosed carrier. Most Montway customers opt for a safe and reliable open auto transport — the industry standard — because it’s the more cost-effective option. That said, when customers want extra protection for a luxury vehicle, custom car, or classic vehicle, they can pay a bit more for an enclosed transport that shields cars and trucks from road debris and weather.
Door-to-door vs. terminal drop-offs and pickups
Your auto shipping quote may be slightly higher if you opt for door-to-door service, but you’ll enjoy the convenience of having your car or truck picked up and delivered at the location of your choosing. Sometimes door-to-door service isn’t an option because the carrier can’t make it down narrow residential streets, in which case your trucker will agree to meet you at a nearby but still convenient location.
Your vehicle’s condition
The cost to ship a car or truck will also depend on the vehicle’s condition. A car in good working order will ship for less than the cost to ship an inoperable vehicle over the same distance. Non-running vehicles can still be shipped as long as they can roll, steer, and brake, but because they require a winch and other special equipment to load and unload, your quote will be higher.
If you live near or in a major city and you’re shipping a car to another large city, you’re in luck. Busy metro areas usually have a lot of trucks passing through, which means not only will your ship date be sooner, but you’ll also probably pay less for your shipment. That said, at Montway we always look for the best deals for our customers in smaller towns and rural areas. Sometimes agreeing to meet your trucker near a major highway can mean getting a better price.
Weather can influence the cost to ship a car or truck. For instance, harsh winter weather can make some routes impassable or cause slowdowns that drive prices up. The auto transport industry also has its own seasons. Summer is usually the busiest time, and rates may be higher. The winter snowbird migration can also impact prices on certain routes. That means that if you’re flexible and want to get the best possible price, think about shipping your car in spring or fall.
When do you need your vehicle to arrive at its destination? If you can be flexible with regard to your pickup date, you may pay less to ship your car than you would if you needed it picked up as soon as possible. You will always pay more for expedited car shipping, but the tradeoff is that your vehicle will typically be on the road 24-48 hours after booking your order.
There’s so much that goes into generating a car shipping quote, and you may be wondering if it really needs to be so complex. The fact is, however, that it’s you, the customer, who benefits from all the calculations that go into the cost to ship a car. When you’re getting a quote generated just for your vehicle, you can be certain that you’re never paying more than you should be to get your car or truck where it needs to go.
Finding the best rates
It’s no secret that different auto transport companies will have different shipping rates. What you might not know is that not all these companies are as transparent as we are. This is why you should never choose between shippers based on price alone. The cheapest auto transport company probably won’t give you the best customer service or take as good care of your vehicle while it’s en route.
That is why getting a quote is only the first step to choosing an auto transport management company. You also need to do some research to determine which company is the most reliable, has the best customer service, is committed to safety, and won’t mess around when it comes to pricing. At Montway, we take pride in having fair prices, top-notch customer reviews online, and the best customer service in the business. We also make it easy to find out not just the cost to ship a car or truck, but also the cost to ship your exact vehicle with our shipping calculator.
You can calculate the cost to ship just about any vehicle right on our website, and when you book with us, the process of shipping a car is just as easy. Here’s our quick and easy process:
Step 1: Book your shipment. You can book via your online quote, start a chat with us on our site, or call (888) 995-9227 to schedule your vehicle pickup. You won’t pay a dime until your pickup is scheduled.
Step 2: Prep and hand off your vehicle. When your trucker arrives, both of you will inspect your vehicle and sign a Bill of Lading. Then you hand over your keys, and your vehicle’s journey begins.
Step 3: Receive your vehicle. After another brief inspection, you’ll sign the Bill of Lading again and you can hit the road.
Remember, your car is one of the most valuable assets you own, so you should do what it takes to find a great shipper. Montway is an industry leader with an established network of 15,000 carriers, and we partner with some of the largest companies in the country. We’ve shipped hundreds of thousands of vehicles for satisfied customers, from city to city and from state to state, and we’d love to have the opportunity to ship yours.
When you’re ready to ship your vehicle, contact us for a free, no obligation shipping quote.