Everything You Need to Know About Hawaii Car Shipping

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8 min to read

Relocating to Hawaii, whether forever or just for now, is exciting and takes careful preparation. There’s a lot to think about! Unless you’re relocating for work or as part of a military move, you’ll have to decide which of Hawaii’s islands should be your new home base. You’ll need to find a house or apartment and decide on the best way to get your things packed and moved. And if you’re shipping a car to Hawaii, you’ll need to schedule that, too.  

The good news is that shipping a car to Hawaii — or to the mainland from Hawaii if you’re moving in the opposite direction — is actually very simple when you work with an auto transport management company like Montway. Even if you need ground transport in addition to sea transport, the process of scheduling your shipment will be easy, and once your vehicle is picked up, we’ll take care of everything.  

Before that can happen, however, there are some things you need to consider.  

Your options for shipping a car to Hawaii or shipping a car from Hawaii

Getting a shipping quote and scheduling a shipment work the same whether you’re shipping over land or over water. Your options for ground transport to the port we ship from in Long Beach, California are: 

Open carrier auto transport — This is the option most people choose because it’s priced lower and in many cases faster, too, because there are more spots on more trucks moving across the country. Most cross-country car auto shipping happens on open carriers.  

Enclosed auto transport — If your vehicle needs to stay clean, requires extra protection, is particularly valuable, is an antique, or is a specialty car or truck, shipping on an enclosed carrier may be the best ground transport option for you. Montway is proud to offer the best prices for enclosed auto transport. 

Your options when it comes to sea transport to or from the islands will be: 

Roll-on/roll off transport — Your car or truck will be driven directly into a large cargo ship when you choose fast, affordable RORO transport. While your vehicle will be outdoors at the port, it will be well protected from the elements and the open ocean inside of the ship during its journey.  

How to time your shipment to or from Hawaii 

One of the questions we hear most often from customers shipping cars to Hawaii or shipping cars from Hawaii is, ‘How far in advance should I book my shipment?’ When you’re shipping a car to Hawaii or shipping a car from Hawaii to the mainland, it makes sense to schedule your shipment around a month before the date you plan to move.  

That said, it’s always a good idea to book as early as possible so there are plenty of spots available on carriers and on ships. That makes it easier for us to coordinate your shipment and accommodate any scheduling needs you may have.  

As for how long it takes to ship a car to Hawaii or back to the mainland, the answer varies from shipment to shipment. While the journey from California to Hawaii or vice versa takes about 2 weeks (barring any unexpected weather events), your vehicle also has to make the journey from your location to port.  

At Montway, we try to be as transparent as possible when telling customers about their options, and we always advise people who are within 50 miles of the port in Long Beach that they can save money by dropping their car off or picking it up right at the port so they’re not charged for ground transport. But, if you’re farther from the port (like if you’re shipping a car to Hawaii from the east coast) and need ground transport, it may be a week or two after your pick-up date before your car reaches the port.  

Tip: Once your vehicle has been picked up, you can always get information about where it is over the phone or by using our Live Chat support!  

Explore a few example shipping timelines below to discover how long shipment takes. Remember, it’s an estimated one to five business days for pick up for all routes. Once picked up, the timeline will be as follows: 

Chicago – Hawaii 

1) From Chicago, IL to Long Beach, CA – 5-7 days 

2) Long Beach, CA to Hawaii – 7-12 days (based off Honolulu)

San Francisco – Hawaii 

1) San Francisco, CA – Long Beach, CA 1-2 Days 

2) Long Beach, CA to Hawaii – 7-12 days (based off Honolulu) 

Note: If you leave from the Oakland, California port, shipment will take 7-12 days depending on the sail date of the boat (in most cases its actually faster to bring the car down to the port in Long Beach, California).  

Seattle to Hawaii 

1) Seattle, WA to Long Beach, CA– 4-6 days 

2) Long Beach, CA to Hawaii – 7-12 days (based off Honolulu) 

Note: If you leave from the Tacoma Port, shipment will take 7-12 days, depending on the sail date of the boat (in most cases it’s faster to bring the car down to the port in Long Beach, California).  

How much Hawaii car shipping costs 

If you’re in California, you can take advantage of our port-to-port pricing, which can save you a little extra money. Shipping a car from Long Beach to Lihue costs about $1,200, though you can use our instant quote calculator to see exactly how much it will cost to ship your vehicle in your preferred time frame. Or, check out our recent blog post “Here’s How Much It Will Cost You to Ship a Car To and From Hawaii. For customers who aren’t near Long Beach, we offer door-to-port service to Hawaii and port-to-door service from Hawaii. If you need ground transportation to or from the east coast, you’ll pay about $2,300. To or from the Midwest, the total charge will be about $1,800.  

Those prices are just averages, of course. When you’re shipping a car to Hawaii or back to the mainland, your quote will depend on the make and model of your car, the distance your vehicle will travel to or from port, the transport type (e.g., open carrier shipping or enclosed carrier shipping), how quickly you need to ship, and whether your vehicle has been modified. Heavier, taller, or larger cars take up more space and weigh more, and typically cost more to ship. 

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

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How shipping a car to Hawaii works

Montway offers door-to-port service at a great price for its customers shipping cars to Hawaii, and so many of them are surprised by how smooth and easy the process is. Here’s a short guide on how shipping a car to Hawaii works with Montway: 

Step 1 — Receive your quote and book your transport 

Get an instant price quote with our instant quote calculator. Then, easily book your transport order directly through our online calculator, phone, or LiveChat. 

Step 2 — Prep your vehicle for shipping 

To fully prepare your vehicle for shipping, you will need to do the following: 

  • Have a ¼ tank of gasoline or less in your car  
  • Thoroughly clean your vehicle’s interior and exterior  
  • Remove all personal items  
  • Make sure your car is in operating condition  
  • Disable your vehicle’s alarm or find the remote  

Because the U.S. Coast Guard classifies gas as a hazardous substance, your car’s tank should be no more than a quarter full on pick-up day. Wash your car’s interior and exterior thoroughly — this makes it easier to inspect — and remove all personal items from the interior and the trunk (there’s more information on what can stay in the car, here). Disable your car’s alarm system if you don’t have a remote, and make sure your tires are fully inflated.  

If you want extra peace of mind, do your own inspection before you hand off your vehicle. You can photograph and take a video of your car’s interior and exterior, and document its condition and the mileage on the odometer, too.  

Step 3 — Montway picks up your vehicle

When you’re shipping a car to Hawaii, we pick up your vehicle. We offer Door-toPort service, meaning we pick up your vehicle from your door and deliver it to the port of your choosing.  

You can also save some money by taking advantage of our port-to-port service, where you drop your vehicle off at the port and we take care of the rest. You’ll only need to meet your vehicle when it arrives in Hawaii!  

Step 4 — Meet your vehicle at the port 

Once your vehicle arrives in Hawaii and clears both inspection and customs, you will be required to pick-up your vehicle from the port.   

If you can’t personally pick up your vehicle from the port, you can designate a representative to pick up your vehicle for you. You’ll need to contact Montway to update your booking prior to sending someone in your place to pick up the vehicleIf someone will be picking up your car for you, just let us know first and make sure they have your booking confirmation number and your vessel booking number at the time of pick up. 

If you’re relocating permanently, your vehicle will need to be registered in the county where you’ll be living within 30 days of its arrival. The registration process can vary from county to county, but in general, you’ll need to do the following things:  

  • Buy Hawaii auto insurance  
  • Get the official insurance card by mail 
  • Pass a vehicle safety inspection and get an inspection sheet 
  • Bring the inspection sheet, insurance card, former registration, a receipt of shipment, and your plates to the motor vehicle office 
  • Choose either a Hawaii registration (which gets you Hawaii plates) or an out-of-state permit 
  • Take your new plates or permit to the inspection station for the official inspection sticker 

How shipping a car from Hawaii to the mainland works 

Montway offers both port-to-door service and port-to-port service for customers shipping to the mainland. You might assume that since Hawaii is part of the U.S., shipping a vehicle to the mainland would work exactly like shipping to Hawaii, but there are actually some key differences. Steps 1 and 2 as outlined above are exactly the same. You’ll get a quote, book transport, and prepare your vehicle for its journey over the sea. From there, however, you’ll need to do the following: 

Bring ALL the following to port 

  • Your keys and the alarm remote 
  • A government-issued picture ID 
  • A copy of your car’s title and current registration (this will stay with the vehicle) 
  • Your Montway Order Confirmation and Vessel Booking Number 
  • A notarized letter on official letterhead from the title or lien holder authorizing the shipment 
  • Notarized proof of power of attorney from the second owner listed on the title if there is one 

Pick up or receive your vehicle 

You have two options. Montway can bring your vehicle to your location anywhere on the mainland or you can meet your car at right at the port.  

Keep in mind there are strict shipping rules

When you’re shipping a car to Hawaii or to the mainland, don’t make the mistake of assuming you can ignore the rules. For example, you may have wondered if you can ship a car to Hawaii with stuff in it or get a lower rate by sharing fewer details about your vehicle when booking. 

Here’s our advice: don’t try to save on shipping costs by misrepresenting your vehicle or its condition, or by packing your trunk full of personal items. At best, you’ll end up having to pay an unexpected premium to ship (because your car is larger or heavier) or figure out what to do with all of your stuff there at the port. At worst, your car won’t make it onto the truck or the ship, and you’ll have to reschedule your shipment.  

Can you ship a financed car to Hawaii? The quick answer is yes, but you should always check with your shipper and with your lender to be sure you are authorized to do so. 

Why ship with Montway

As you can see, shipping a car to Hawaii (or shipping a car from Hawaii to the mainland) is simple when you ship with an experienced auto transport company, like Montway. When you ship with us, we aim to make the process simple, smooth, and successful by taking the main responsibilities of auto transport off your plate. We handle your shipment from end to end so you don’t have to worry about coordinating ground transport and sea transport or dealing with multiple companies.  

Once your car is en route to the islands or to your home on the mainland, you can even get information about where it is and when it’s expected to arrive over the phone or via our LiveChat system. That means that when you ship with us, you can focus on other to-dos associated with your move, confident that your car will get where it needs to go.  

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. 

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