13 Factors You Need to Consider When You’re Shipping a Car Across the Country

6 min to read
What’s involved in shipping a car across the country]

Transporting a car from state to state — even when those states are thousands of miles apart — is simpler than most people realize. At Montway, we make the process of shipping a car across the country fast and easy, but we understand that our clients have a lot of questions about how cross-country auto transport works. We took those questions and created this blog post outlining the factors you must consider when you need to transport a vehicle.   

Whether you’re shipping a car across the country because you’ve found a great deal on the vehicle you’ve always dreamed of owning, you’re relocating for work or for school, or you want to exhibit your classic car at a faraway show, the fundamentals of successful car transport remain the same. Here’s what you need to know about getting your car from point A to point B: 

Shipping a car across the country is safer

When you need to transport your vehicle, your first inclination may be to drive it to its final destination yourself. There are a few compelling reasons not to do this, however. First, shipping a car across the country is safer. Interstate highways are some of the most dangerous roads in the U.S., but the truckers who work with auto transport management companies like Montway know how to navigate those routes skillfully and safely. They also know quick ways to bypass roads affected by hazardous wintertime conditions. And they’ve trained extensively in the best defensive driving practices, so they can avoid accidents.  

Shipping a car means less wear and tear on your vehicle

By shipping a car across the country, you also avoid putting unnecessary wear and tear on it. If you have a relatively new car, a long road trip may be no big deal, but if your vehicle is older or an antique, those miles can add up to costly repair bills in the not so distant future. You’ll also avoid wear and tear on you. Road trips can be fun, but if you’re currently dealing with the stress of moving to a new city or having to sell a beloved vehicle, it makes sense to let an auto transport management company like Montway handle cross country vehicle transport so you can focus on handling everything else.  

Shipping a car across the country can be less expensive

Still on the fence about road tripping? Then consider this. By shipping your car from state to state instead of driving it, you’ll avoid the cost of gas, food, tolls, lodging, and all the other expenses associated with driving across the country. When you compare the cost of car shipping against the cost of a road trip, shipping a car across the country is often the more economical option. 

Once you’ve made the smart decision to ship your car instead of driving it, there’s still a lot to do, from choosing a reputable auto transport company to registering and insuring your car in your new home state if you’re relocating. Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved in choosing the company that will be shipping your car across the country 

Researching auto transport companies can be tough

Your car is one of the most valuable assets you own, so it’s worth taking the time necessary to find a great shipper. Doing an online search is just the first step! Look for companies like Montway that have free online quote calculators, easy to navigate websites, transparent pricing policies, and great auto transport reviews. 

Finding a great shipper takes time

Given all the things you need to take into consideration when choosing an auto transport management company to handle shipping your car across the country, be sure you start your search well in advance of your planned ship date. And don’t forget that shipping a car takes time, too.  

One way to ensure you don’t end up paying extra for expedited shipping is to plan your shipment from your preferred first available ship date. For instance, if it will take 7 to 10 days to ship a car from New York to California, you can estimate your preferred first available ship date by subtracting 10 days from your ideal arrival date. At Montway, we recommend booking at least two weeks before your preferred ship date. 

Interviewing auto transport companies will help you make a decision 

You should feel comfortable putting your trust into the company that will handle shipping your car across the country. You can learn a lot about whether a shipper is trustworthy by simply calling them up and asking them questions about the services they provide. Here are some questions you might want to ask: 

  • Do you offer door-to-door service? 
  • What type of insurance do you carry? 
  • Can I receive updates about my car’s location and status during its journey? 
  • Can I book without putting down a deposit? 
  • What are my options when it comes to timing my shipment? 
  • Why are you the best company to work with? 

If you have trouble reaching a real person at a certain auto transport companyor the representative you speak to can’t or won’t answer your questions, cross it off your list.  

A history of reliability matters

You should choose an experienced auto transporter to ship your car. 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. 

The cost of shipping a car across the country will vary

How much car shipping costs will depend on what type of car you’re transporting, whether it’s heavily modified if it runs, and whether its being hauled on an open or an enclosed trailer. The distance your vehicle will travel will also factor into the cost, as will the pickup and drop off locations. The quotes you receive may also vary by season. 

On a budget? Open carrier shipping is less expensive than shipping a car in an enclosed trailer. It can be less expensive to hand off and then receive your car in a busy metro area because truckers travel to those cities more frequently. You may also pay less for car shipping if you can flexible about your ship dates.   

Note that at Montway, we offer fair, all-inclusive pricing for cross country vehicle transport without any hidden fees. The best way to find out how much it will cost to ship your car is to simply request a free, no-obligation quote.   

Ready to transport your car with Montway?

Our car shipping advisors are available by calling (888) 666-8929 to answer all your questions.

You shouldn’t choose an auto transport company on cost alone

The chances that the absolute cheapest shipper will also give you stellar customer service are slim to none — and customer service matters a lot when you’re shipping a car across the country. The auto transport management company that will get your vehicle where it needs to go on time and safely probably won’t have the bottom of the barrel pricing, but that doesn’t mean you need to overspend, either. At Montway, we take pride in having both competitive prices and the best customer service in the business. When we ship a car, we also take care of its owner.                  

Now that you’ve chosen an auto transport company, you can check that off your list. However, you’re not done yet. Here’s some more information about what comes next. 

Prepping your car for its journey is easy 

Here’s what you need to do. First, have your mechanic confirm that your car is in good shape, with no leaks, electrical issues, or mechanical issues. They should check the battery, make sure the tire pressure is okay, and top off all fluids. A full gas tank is a potential safety hazard and will make your car heavier, so don’t fill her up. Instead, drive your car around town until you have about a quarter of a tank remaining.   

Next, remove all personal items from your car (including automatic parking passes and toll tags) and secure movable exterior parts so they won’t shift during transport. If you don’t have a second set of keys, have a set made so you’re not giving your driver your only one. Finally, disable or remove your car’s alarm system. 

Shipping a car across the country doesn’t involve a lot of paperwork 

A lot of our customers are surprised to find out that they don’t need to give or even show their assigned drivers a vehicle title or registration at pickup. They only thing your driver will need to load your car onto the carrier is your keys.  

Handing off your car will involve a short inspection

You or a representative will need to be present when your trucker picks up your car so you can sign the bill of lading. This is a good time to inform them about any minor handling issues (e.g. a sticky shifter) so they don’t have any trouble loading or unloading your car. The trucker will also inspect your vehicle and make a note of any existing marks, scratches, dents, and damage.   

There will be a second brief inspection when your car is delivered

When your car is delivered to its destination, you or your designated representative will be asked to sign the bill of lading to confirm that your car has been delivered in its original condition. This is just a way of making sure that you, the customer, are satisfied with the service you’ve received and that your shipper has done a great job. Once the inspection is done, you can hit the road.  

Ultimately, shipping a car across the country can be a worry-free experience if you choose the right auto transport company. Montway’s carriers move more than 200 vehicles a day — will yours be next? 

Ready to transport your car with Montway?

Our car shipping advisors are available by calling (888) 666-8929 to answer all your questions.