Shipping Your Car to Another State: Everything You Need to Know

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7 min to read


Thousands of people ship their cars every day. Some are relocating for work or education, others are chasing warmer weather or finding somewhere more comfortable to retire. No matter the reason, these movers will need to get their possessions to their new home, and that includes their cars. 

Moving to a new state can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. Fortunately, shipping your car is one of the easiest things to check off your to-do list, thanks to professional auto transporters. Whether you’re moving across the country or just over state lines, this blog has everything you need to know about shipping your car to another state.

What is auto transport?

Auto transport is a service that helps individuals and businesses ship vehicles from one location to another. Instead of driving the vehicle to its destination, owners can have it transported by a professional driver with specialized equipment. There are several reasons why someone might choose auto transport over driving their vehicle themselves:

  • Convenience: Professional auto transporters can pick up a vehicle directly from a customer’s address and deliver it safely to their destination.
  • Safety: Shipping a vehicle can be safer than driving it, especially for long distances or across unfamiliar terrain. It reduces the risk of accidents if the owner were to drive the vehicle themselves, along with unnecessary mileage on the vehicle.
  • Efficiency: Leaving a vehicle in the care of a professional auto transporter allows customers to focus on other important aspects of their move. Rather than drive several hours or days to their new location, customers can travel by plane and meet their car at their destination or have someone receive it on their behalf. 

Auto transport carrier vs. broker

There are two sides to the auto transport industry: carriers and brokers. A carrier is a company that owns and operates the trucks and does the transporting. They will source jobs from multiple places like online load boards, local markets and brokers.

A broker does not own or operate trucks, rather they facilitate business between the carriers and customers. Brokers maintain a network of auto transport companies across the country and use these connections to find the best driver for each customer.

While customers can choose to work directly with carriers, using a broker offers several advantages. Brokers save customers time and money by handling the logistics of finding a reliable carrier, negotiating prices and coordinating the shipping process. Additionally, brokers can help customers find carriers with the right skills and equipment to meet their specific requirements.

How car shipping costs are determined

Transportation costs are determined by various factors, including the distance of transportation, the size and weight of the vehicle being shipped, the transport method and current market conditions. Prices may fluctuate based on supply and demand, fuel prices and time of year. Learn more about why car shipping prices change

To save money on car shipping, there are several simple tips customers can follow like opting for open transport over enclosed and allowing for flexibility in pickup and delivery dates. Continue reading for more cheap car shipping tips

Montway Auto Transport offers a free, instant quote calculator for quick and accurate car shipping estimates. For the best results, provide as much information as you can about your vehicle, shipment dates and locations.

Different ways to ship your car

When it comes to car shipping, there are several types of transport options available to meet customers’ needs and preferences:

Semi-trucks: The most common method for auto transport services. These trucks come in different sizes and configurations, ranging from single-car trailers to multi-vehicle carriers capable of transporting several cars at once. Customers can choose between open transport and enclosed transport options based on their preferences, requirements and budget. 

Open transport is a safe, efficient and cost-effective solution for shipping a wide variety of vehicles. This method is the top choice for auto transport, commonly used by dealerships and manufacturers to ship cars across the country. 

Enclosed transport provides additional protection by shipping vehicles in enclosed trailers with walls and a roof, shielding them from most weather and road debris. This is the preferred option for shipping luxury, exotic or classic cars. Vehicles with low ground clearance or modifications may also require an enclosed trailer.

Train: Shipping vehicles by train is another option for long-distance transportation. Train transport is often used for cross-country shipments and can be an easy and affordable solution, especially for transporting multiple vehicles. 

Towing: Intrastate towing is a viable shipping option for short-distance moves or relocations within state borders. For long-distance towing, interstate towing companies can provide car shipping services across state borders. Discover the cheapest way to tow a car long distance.

RoRo (Roll-on/Roll-off): RoRo shipping involves driving cargo onto specialized ships for transportation across large bodies of water. This method is commonly used for Hawaii car shipments and international auto transport. RoRo shipping is often more cost-effective than container shipping. 

Some auto transport companies offer additional car shipping services to cater to specific customer needs:

Expedited car shipping: For customers who need their vehicles transported urgently, expedited car shipping ensures prompt pickup so the transit process can start as quickly as possible.

Driveaway service: Driveaway service allows customers to have their vehicles driven to their destination by professional drivers, eliminating the need for transportation via carrier or trailer.

Door-to-door car shipping: With door-to-door service, vehicles are picked up from the customer’s location and delivered directly to their desired destination, making the car shipping process even more convenient. 

Hot shot auto transport: Hot shot auto transport services offer expedited shipping, usually on a smaller truck or trailer, for urgent or time-sensitive vehicle shipments.

How to find an auto transporter

There are several tips you can use to find the best trucking company near you. Whether you’re starting your search online or with a word-of-mouth recommendation, follow these steps to make an informed decision:

  • Research and compare options
  • Decide between a local or national auto transporter
  • Read online customer reviews
  • Request and compare car shipping quotes
  • Ask questions about the company and its process

Preparing your car for shipping

Preparing your car for shipping is essential for a smooth and stress-free transport process. Here are some basic steps to follow:

  • Clean the vehicle
  • Check for damage
  • Take photos of the interior and exterior
  • Remove valuable belongings
  • Disable alarm systems
  • Secure loose parts

Read our guide on preparing your car for shipping and follow these car shipping safety and security tips for greater peace of mind while your car is in transit.

The shipping process

The auto transport process typically follows several key steps:

  • Quoting and booking: Customers request quotes from auto transport companies by providing details about the vehicle, pickup and delivery locations and desired shipping dates. If the cost and service are acceptable, they book their order.
  • Vehicle pickup: The auto transport company arranges for a carrier to pick up the vehicle from the designated location. Upon pickup, the driver will inspect the vehicle, review the paperwork and complete the Bill of Lading
  • Transportation: The carrier transports the vehicle to its destination using the chosen shipping method. Throughout the transportation process, customers can contact the carrier to request status updates on their shipment and stay informed about its progress.
  • Vehicle delivery: Upon arrival at the destination, the carrier delivers the vehicle to the specified location. Customers inspect the vehicle with the trucker and sign off on the delivery paperwork, confirming the vehicle has arrived in the same condition as when it was picked up.

We’ve created several guides to provide more transparency into the world of car shipping. Click the links below to learn more.

How Auto Transport Works

Get an overview of the auto transport process in three simple steps and find answers to frequently asked questions.

Common Misconceptions About Auto Transport, Tracking and Delivery

Discover how vehicles are transported and tracked and learn about the logistics behind every successful delivery.

What You Might Not Know About Auto Transport

This helpful explainer will fill you in on the finer points of auto transport. Read this blog to learn about auto transport features you might not have known about.

Shipping Your Car Across State Lines: How to Avoid the DMV Headache

Speaking of preparation and paperwork, this blog will inform you about what documentation you’ll need when you arrive in your new state and how to prepare for a smooth transition.

Additional car shipping tips

  • Beware of scams: Be cautious of potential scams in the auto industry and know how to avoid them. Research companies thoroughly and verify their credentials before booking your shipment.
  • Plan ahead: Give yourself plenty of time to obtain and compare quotes, select a reputable car shipping company and book your shipment to secure your preferred pickup and delivery dates.
  • Consider seasonal factors: Remember that shipping rates, timelines and availability may vary depending on seasonal factors like weather conditions and peak moving seasons.
  • Communicate clearly: Maintain open communication with your auto transport company throughout the shipment process. Provide as much information about your shipment as possible and address any questions or concerns promptly.

Want to learn more? Discover 7 more tips for shipping your car to another state.

An image collage featuring a map of the United States, a car hauler truck, and person looking at a computer screen

Enjoy safe and efficient car shipping with Montway

Montway Auto Transport is one of the nation’s top-rated car shipping companies, having shipped over one million vehicles since its start in 2007. Montway has earned its reputation with a 4.7-star rating from 100,000 reviews across all top review sites. 

With an extensive network of over 30,000 carriers, Montway arranges transport for vehicles in all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska. Dedicated vehicle shipping advisors are available 365 days a year to answer your questions and arrange transport. Call 888-666-8929 to speak with a Montway representative or start a LiveChat.

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