How to Ship a Car That You Bought Long Distance

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6 min to read

There are lots of reasons to shop beyond your local dealership when you need a new car. Buying a car online has never been easier, and there are lots of reputable websites selling used, new, and specialty vehicles. You can easily buy directly from owners on sites like Craigslist or eBay. What happens next? After you buy from a faraway seller, you’ll need to think about how to ship a car. The good news is that shipping a car is even easier than buying one.  

In this post, we’re going to take a look at how to ship a car you bought long distance. Before we dive in, however, let’s talk about the buying process.  

Why buy a car out of state

There are a lot of good reasons to search beyond your city or even your state when you’re shopping for a new vehicle. The biggest benefit of shopping out of state will be the price difference. There are some areas of the country, like Miami, that have more vehicles than qualified buyers, and so the car prices are much more reasonable than in, for instance, Los Angeles where the population is more affluent and having a car is an absolute necessity. Buyers in expensive cities can get great deals by shopping elsewhere and booking auto transport once they make a purchase.  

If the price isn’t your main concern and you’re looking for a specific make, model, or option package, you may have to buy from a faraway seller if the vehicle you really want simply isn’t for sale nearby. That’s why there’s always been such an active online market for antique, classic, and specialty vehicles. Collectors and enthusiasts are often able to get the exact vehicles they’re looking for by shopping long distance and having cars shipped home.  

Now even dealerships are starting to see the advantages of listing their inventory online and even letting customers with cash in hand buy right online. Enterprise auto transport services have made it easier to get cars to customers in other cities and states.  

Where to look for cars if you’re shopping long distance

At this point, buying a car and then paying to ship a car from out of state is no more complicated than buying locally. In fact, in many ways, it is easier! You could look in the classified section of online newspapers or go directly to the websites of dealers in other states, but there’s actually an easier way to shop for cars remotely. Car buying sites like and let you browse a huge inventory that includes new and used vehicles for sale by dealers and by owners. There are also auction sites where you can score a great deal, and sites like AutoTempest, which aggregates listings from many different car buying sites.  

So should you buy a car online? Obviously, you need to be careful when shopping online for a new or used vehicle, but if you do decide to buy online, you’ll be in good company. A survey conducted by tech consulting firm Accenture of people around the world found that 69% of car buyers would consider buying a vehicle online 

How to buy a car from an out-of-state dealer

A lot of car buyers don’t look at out-of-state dealer inventory because they don’t have cash in hand. The fact is, though, that it’s possible to get a car loan even when you’re not buying from a local dealership. You may even get a better rate when securing financing through your own bank instead of through a dealer. While every lender will have somewhat different rules about how to apply for a loan and what that loan can be used for, most lenders won’t have a problem with borrowers using a car loan or personal loan to buy and then ship a car home from another state. Just be aware that some lenders won’t include the cost of car transportation or taxes in the loan.  

Why shipping your car is the smarter option

We’ve mentioned car shipping a number of times already in this blog post, and that’s because it’s the easiest way to get the vehicle you’ve just purchased home. Could you fly to the seller’s location and then drive it home? Yes, but the reasons to ship a car go beyond convenience. Shipping a car is actually a lot safer. The interstate highways that crisscross America are some of the most dangerous roads around. Making the choice to ship a car can also cost you less money in the long run. Road trips can put a lot of wear and tear on a vehicle that will lead to costly repairs later. Driving across the country is more expensive than most people realize. And frankly, driving your car yourself is only “free” if you don’t put any value on your own time.  

Ready to transport your car with Montway?

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

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How car shipping works when you buy from a faraway seller 

It’s so simple. Once you’ve purchased your new vehicle, your next step is booking transport. At Montway Auto Transport, we have more than 13 years of experience in the auto shipping industry and know how to get your car to its new home easily and without any hassles whatsoever. All you need to do is visit our online quote calculator. It uses a sophisticated algorithm to generate a real-time quote, and if you like what you see, you can book your transport right there on the website. There are options for different budgets, and we’ll break down the cost of shipping a car below.    

Your quote will be determined by: 

The size of the vehicle

Heavier vehicles and heavily modified vehicles cost more to ship because truckers have to use more gas, and oversized vehicles can be more difficult to load. They can also be more difficult to fit on standard trailers. Chances are your car won’t need special accommodations — everything from compact cars to light trucks can usually fit on the typical ten-car auto transport carrier — but you won’t know until you connect with an auto transport company.  

The bottom line: If you need to ship a car that’s extra long, extra wide, or otherwise non-standard, expect to pay a bit more (or for it to take a little longer to get a spot on a truck). And if you have specific questions about how the size and shape of your vehicle will impact the price to ship or if your new car will need special handling, feel free to reach out to us directly 

The distance it will travel

The cost to ship a car or truck in the United States can vary quite a bit, but one thing that won’t change is the fact that shipping a car a longer distance will cost more money. That said, the shipping cost will be lower per mile when your vehicle is traveling further, and distance won’t always play as big a role in your quote as other factors. 

The pickup and drop-off locations

If you happen to be shipping your new car from and to a major metro area with plenty of truck traffic that’s near a major highway, your quote may be lower than if you or the vehicle you’re buying are located in an out-of-the-way rural area or somewhere that’s tough for trucks to access. In some cases, buyers having a car shipped will opt to have it dropped off somewhere that’s more convenient for the hauler because this can sometimes lower the cost 

The options you choose 

Many people aren’t aware that there are different options they can choose when it comes time to ship a car. Open transport is the industry standard. This safe auto shipping method moves cars on the kind of carriers you see on major highways. Vehicles on these kinds of carriers are exposed to the elements, but the fact is that cars and trucks are designed to withstand weather and everyday road conditions. Plus, there are so many open transport carriers on the road that you’ll get a ship date faster when you choose this budget-friendly car shipping method.  

That said, if the car you’re buying from a faraway dealer or seller is a classic, antique, specialty vehicle, or especially valuable, consider investing in closed transport. Enclosed carriers shield cars from road debris, weather, and prying eyes. Just be aware that there are fewer enclosed carriers on the road at any given time, so you might have to wait longer to get your ship date. 

The season

The auto transport industry has its busy and slow seasons just like every other industry. When the demand for car shipping is low, prices drop in the client’s favor. Summer is usually the busiest time for transporters, and rates may be higher. The literal season matters, too, because certain types of weather can force drivers to slow down for safety. For instance, if you ship a car in the winter and you’re shipping from north to south, your quote may be higher because there is increased traffic from snowbirds and more dangerous road conditions due to the weather.  

Timing also matters

The amount of time it will take to ship a car will vary, and for safety reasons, drivers are limited as to how far they can go in a day. But if you need your new car to be delivered as soon as possible, you can pay for expedited shipping. When you choose this option, your quote will be higher, but the carrier will get your new car onto a truck faster, which means it will get to you faster, too.  

Dealerships are buying into a long distance selling  

We mentioned dealer sales briefly above, but it’s worth noting that the ability to ship a car directly to customers anywhere has prompted many dealers to partner with Montway. Dealerships are welcoming the rush of online shoppers because it means they can market to a whole new — huge — group of people. Don’t assume that you can’t haggle just because you’re buying online from a dealer. If there’s a car you’re really interested in but you’d like to pay a little less, try calling the dealership to speak to a salesperson about it. The worst they can say is no and then you’re no worse off than you were before.   

What you’ll need to do once your car arrives

Any new car you buy, whether long distance or locally, needs to be insured and registered as soon as possible. When you buy at a nearby dealership, they may handle the entire process for you. A faraway dealership that’s still in your own state may also be able to help you register your vehicle. When you buy from a remote seller or dealership in another state, however, you’ll probably need to handle these details on your own.  

One thing you should do before you buy is check with your insurance agent to see if your policy has a clause that automatically covers a newly purchased vehicle for a certain number of days before it’s officially added to your policy. You can also add the car to your policy before you buy it if you have the VIN, the purchase price, and some basic details about the vehicle.   

The best way to handle insuring and registering your new vehicle is to do it as soon as possible. The documents your carrier needed to see to pick up your new car are the same ones you’ll use when insuring and registering it, and some states have limits on how long a car can remain unregistered. Remember that you’ll pay the sales tax on your purchase when you register your new car, so build that into your budget.  

Now that you know it’s a simple matter to buy the car of your dreams remotely, have fun shopping! We’ll handle the shipping.  

Ready to transport your car with Montway?

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

Get an instant quote
Get an instant quote


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