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Best Car Shipping Companies

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    by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
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    Auto transport comes in handy for anyone who wants to move their car without putting extra miles on the odometer. Use our guide to learn about the different ways to ship a car and find local carriers. To help you choose the right option, we compare our picks for the best auto transporters on costs and reviews.

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      Our picks for top car shipping companies

      Car shipping companies are useful if you're a snowbird heading south for the winter, buying a classic online and need it shipped home or are moving long-distance and don’t feel like adding the mileage to your vehicle.

      Even if you've used one car shipper in the past, that company may not be the best choice this time around — some specialize in expedited services, while others focus on getting the cheapest rate.

      Compare our picks on services, availability and cost estimates to find the right option for you.

      To rank the top auto transporters, the ConsumerAffairs Research Team vetted 26 brokers and carriers and analyzed more than 2,300 recent verified customer reviews. Read our methodology to learn how we found the best car shipping companies.

      Our top pick overallSherpa Auto TransportAUTHORIZED PARTNER
      • Services: Ships all types of vehicles door to door. Enclosed and open trailers available. Expedited shipping upon request.
      • Type of company: Broker
      • Availability: Nationwide

      Sherpa Auto Transport has exceptional ratings and reviews on our site and across the internet. The North Carolina-based company works with a network of carriers nationally to move everything from family cars to exotic and vintage automobiles.

      Average costs are under $1,000, though your actual estimate will vary based on a range of factors. To get the best price, it’s smart to book early. Advance notice also helps make it possible to choose the exact pickup and delivery dates. However, the company can accommodate most short-notice situations.

      Why we like it: Sherpa has what it calls its “Price Lock Promise,” where the price to ship your car is locked in. It also offers its “Clean Car Guarantee,” which includes a car wash upon delivery.

      What reviewers say: Many reviews say that working with Sherpa is “simple” and “seamless.” According to a recent reviewer in Kentucky, “The reservation process at Sherpa was straightforward and it was easy to book.” Others highlight the company’s good communication.

      A reviewer in California highly recommends this shipper to anyone looking for a “set it and forget it” experience.

      Our pick for guaranteed pickup dateMontway Auto TransportAUTHORIZED PARTNER
      • Services: Enclosed and open trailers available. Expedited shipping upon request. Ships all types of vehicles door to door.
      • Type of company: Broker
      • Availability: Nationwide

      Montway works with a network of 15,000 car carriers from across the country. It's a broad-based car transport company that ships everything from daily drivers to classic, vintage automobiles and even golf carts.

      It isn't the cheapest or the most expensive. Shipping costs average about $1.96 per mile for short distances ($588 for a 300-mile trip) and 58 cents per mile for long distances ($870 for a 1,500-mile trip).

      Why we like it: Quotes are all-inclusive, and initial fees are charged only once the carrier is dispatched. Plus, the company monitors the transport of your vehicle 24/7.

      What reviewers say: Happy customers consistently say that the reps are easy to get hold of. “They do a real job of communicating, email, texts and I like that. Their website is also really good, easy to understand,” a reviewer in Massachusetts said.

      According to a recent reviewer in Illinois, “The quote was extremely competitive. Also, I didn't get a lot of crazy phone calls and emails from them even when I approached them like I did from the other companies.”

      Our pick for quick deliverieseShipAUTHORIZED PARTNER
      • Services: Enclosed and open trailers available with door-to-door shipping.
      • Type of company: Broker
      • Availability: U.S. and Canada

      EShip is a Florida-based car transport company that has been in business for a decade. It ships a variety of vehicles, including motorcycles and motor homes.

      Costs range from 50 cents to $2 per mile for shipping, depending on the distance, with a 35% increase in costs for enclosed shipping. No upfront deposit is necessary, and there’s a price guarantee.

      Expect to pay around $750 for medium-distance car shipping. Fill out an online form or call to get the most up-to-date cost estimate.

      Why we like it: EShip assigns an agent for vehicle tracking and monitoring throughout the entire process. There’s also rental car reimbursement if your vehicle is late.

      What reviewers say: Recent reviewers highlight speedy transports and good communication. Several happy customers used the service to transport a car to or from college.

      “We had our car delivered across the country in less five days,” said a reviewer in California, who added that it was a “seamless experience.” A reviewer in New York said, “It took one day for them to move the car from Huntsville, Alabama to Bronx, New York.”

      Another reviewer in California said that eShip will “actually give you all the driver's contact information. … They called and text me every step of the way and the car arrived as promised with no issues.”

      Our pick for transparent pricingAmeriFreightAUTHORIZED PARTNER
      • Services: Ships all types of vehicles. Door-to-door transport in enclosed or open trailers.
      • Type of company: Broker
      • Availability: Nationwide

      AmeriFreight probably won’t give you the lowest estimates, but the extra costs are worth the peace of mind for a lot of car owners.

      No upfront money is required, and discounts are available for students, seniors, first responders and medical personnel. You can get an instant personalized quote online or over the phone.

      Most long-distance transports will be on an eight- or 10-vehicle carrier; short-distance shipments are typically on smaller, two- or three-car carriers.

      Why we like it: The company offers AFta PLAN damage protection and a money-back guarantee.

      What reviewers say: Most AmeriFreight reviews are positive. Estimates might not be the cheapest, but at least you know what you’re paying for.

      A reviewer in Texas said that their rep was helpful and knowledgeable: “She wasn't hiding any costs and she explained to me the whole process. … In the end, there was a very minimal difference between the quote I got and the price.”

      “Overall, the price is more than I expected to pay and wanted to pay, but the quality of service was good,” according to a reviewer in Washington.

      Our pick for customer serviceShip a Car Direct
      • Services: Enclosed and open trailer with door-to-door service. Size and type of trailer may depend on distance of shipment.
      • Type of company: Broker
      • Availability: Nationwide

      Ship a Car Direct works with a network of more than 7,500 carriers. It's good for those with limited shipping experience looking for information and advice. It also offers free online quotes.

      Ship a Car Direct uses carriers with enclosed and open trailers for national shipping and smaller, four- to eight-car trailers for regional shipments. No upfront deposit is required.

      Why we like it: Ship a Car Direct has a “Damage Free Guarantee," and it provides customers with videos and emails to help during the shipping process.

      What reviewers say: The company is overall easy to work with. A reviewer in Iowa said they had “a very smooth and transparent experience” and that they “would use them again" if needed.

      A reviewer in Florida said their rep “was very helpful in explaining all the details and within two days my car was picked up. The next day car was delivered as scheduled with no damage and in perfect shape.”

      Our pick for easy booking processRoadRunner Auto TransportAUTHORIZED PARTNER
      • Services: Enclosed and open transportation trailers. Door-to-door service.
      • Type of company: Broker
      • Availability: Nationwide

      RoadRunner Auto is a highly rated New York-based broker. It provides 24/7 shipment tracking online and offers comprehensive insurance coverage.

      The average price for transporting a sedan 1,000 miles is about $800, though costs vary by season and other factors. You can get a quote online or over the phone.

      Why we like it: RoadRunner ships all types of vehicles, including new, used and classic cars, and offers business services for companies and dealers.

      What reviewers say: People seem to like the personalized support — you speak directly with the driver and sometimes find more flexible bookings.

      “Booking the shipment was easy, transparent and quick,” according to a reviewer in Florida. The customer added that the transport “was all handled very professionally with the car arriving quicker than expected. It was a very smooth process.”

      “Good experience except for two items: Price hiked a little ($180) from original quoted price. … Second issue was tracking. I always had to call to get this info,” said a reviewer in Idaho.

      Ways to ship a car

      When you ship your vehicle, it's crucial to consider the type of service that best suits your needs. You have several options to choose from when transporting a vehicle:

      • Door-to-door shipping: With door-to-door transport, a driver picks up the vehicle at your home and drops it off at your chosen destination.
      • Terminal-to-terminal shipping: If you choose terminal-to-terminal shipping, you drop off your vehicle at a terminal and a driver transports it one near your destination. This method is less convenient than door-to-door shipping, but it’s also less expensive.
      • Open shipping vs. enclosed shipping: The large trucks you see on the highway hauling trailers with several levels of cars are called open transport carriers. Enclosed shipping is different — instead of being out in the open, vehicles go inside a container. These containers protect vehicles from outside elements and road debris. Enclosed shipping is ideal for classic cars, high-value vehicles or cars with sentimental value. Enclosed shipping usually costs around 50% more than open shipping, but it’s worth it for some people.
      • Expedited shipping: If you’re short on time, you can ask the company to expedite your vehicle’s delivery. This service increases the total cost of auto transport.

      There’s much to consider when transporting a vehicle, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. To learn more about the ins and outs of transporting a vehicle, read our resource that gives a step-by-step process of how to ship a car.

      What are the best car shipping companies near me?

      Car shipping questions

      What affects the cost of shipping a car?
      Auto transport prices range from $500 to $1,500. Several factors affect the cost of shipping a car. If you’re looking to lower your costs, consider optimizing every aspect of your auto transport:
      • Delivery and pickup dates: The more flexible you are with your pickup and drop-off dates, the less you pay. Rush shipping costs more than regular shipping, so plan ahead if you want to save.
      • Size and condition of the vehicle: Smaller, lighter vehicles are cheaper to ship than larger vehicles. An inoperable vehicle costs more to ship than an operable one.
      • Trip distance: It should come as no surprise that the farther your car needs to be hauled, the more you pay.
      • Pickup and drop-off locations: Urban hubs are easier and cheaper to ship from and to, while remote or rural destinations cost more. International shipping also tacks on additional charges.
      • Open or enclosed shipping: Enclosed shipping, which protects your car from weather conditions and road debris, costs more.
      • Time of year: The auto transport industry has peak seasons and offseasons. Summer is the peak season because many move before the school year starts. Expect to pay more in summer and less in winter.

      There are so many variables involved in shipping an automobile that basing your decision on price alone can simply add to the confusion. Read company reviews and ratings. Interact with the company to get a free quote or to talk with a customer service representative.

      How long does it take to ship a car?
      Expect anywhere from one to 10 days for pickup and one to 10 days for shipping domestically. International shipping takes more time. Inclement weather, poor road conditions, heavy traffic and rural pickup or drop-off locations can also extend the duration of transport. As a rule of thumb, estimate your driver will travel about 500 miles a day.
      What are common auto shipment routes in the U.S.?
      Some of the most common car shipment routes exist between Florida, Texas, California and New York. Because so many vehicles take these routes, car shipping service to and from these locations is often cheaper. Sometimes the demand for snowbird routes creates higher prices, however.
      What are the top auto transport hubs?
      The top hubs for auto transport are easy to get to and from and have lower car shipping costs. Some of these hubs include Los Angeles, New York City, Houston, Chicago, Miami and Washington, D.C. You might be able to save money by having your vehicle picked up or dropped off in one of these cities.
      What do I need to know about transporting a car state to state?
      There are a few things to remember when you ship your car across state lines. First, don’t forget to update your license and registration if you’re moving to a new state. It’s also wise to verify the auto shipper has adequate insurance, especially if your car is being transported across the country. Finally, confirm that the company you want to move with has an MC docket number from the FMCSA. All vehicle transporters must have these in order to transport cars state to state. Most companies prominently display their MC docket number on their websites.
      Can I ship a motorcycle?
      Yes, you can ship a motorcycle, and it’s easy with an auto transport company that has experience doing so. For transporting a motorcycle, there are a few different factors to consider, so make sure you know the ins and outs of the process to find the best motorcycle shipping option.
      Can I ship a car overseas?
      Yes. Shipping a car overseas is a seemingly complex process that becomes much simpler once you know how it works. Choosing a company that has experience shipping cars abroad is essential. Once you’re familiar with the steps involved in international car shipping, the entire experience will be much easier.
      What’s the difference between an auto transport broker vs. carrier?
      Auto transport carriers do the heavy lifting of loading and transporting vehicles and delivering them to their final destination. Auto transport brokers don’t ship vehicles themselves. Instead, they charge a fee and find a carrier for you.
      • Auto transport brokers: This is the most common way to ship a vehicle. The benefit of using a broker is selection: Brokers have access to a wide range of car transporters and can often get better rates than you could find on your own. Even with fees, using a broker saves most people money. Because of the flexibility in carrier options, going with an auto transport broker also tends to result in a quicker pickup than you’d get with an individual carrier.
      • Auto transport carriers: When you work with an auto transporter, you have direct contact with the carrier. This means you have a more accurate idea of pickup and delivery times, overall costs and insurance information. The downside to going directly to the car transporting service instead of using a broker is that you need to do all the work of nailing down pricing information and availability. We don’t recommend this method for people shipping a car for the first time — the top companies listed on this guide are brokers.

      Whichever method you end up choosing, make sure the broker and the carrier are registered with the FMCSA, which is required by federal law. Registered brokers and carriers are given an MC docket number, which should be prominently displayed on their website. FMCSA recommends consumers actively avoid doing business with any auto broker or auto carrier company that doesn’t have its MC docket number displayed online.

      Do I need auto insurance to protect my car during transport?
      Technically, no. Carriers are required to have insurance for damage incurred during transport. However, if you have car insurance, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to see what damages it covers.
      I need to ship my car fast. What should I do?
      Reach out to a car shipping company and request expedited transport. Your car will be picked up and delivered more quickly. Just keep in mind that expedited shipping costs more.
      Is it cheaper to ship a car by train or truck?
      While shipping your car by train is often less expensive than shipping by truck, transport by train isn’t available everywhere and requires extensive planning. Delivery by train can take up to two weeks, depending on the distance between pickup and delivery, and features like door-to-door transportation and expedited delivery are rarely available with this option. We recommend shipping by truck, especially if it’s your first time shipping a vehicle.
      Can moving companies transport cars?
      Most major moving companies offer car shipping services. Choosing a moving company over an auto transport company often costs more, though, because moving companies typically charge by truck weight. Some movers partner with car shipping companies to offer special pricing. Check with your mover to see if it has car shipping services or if it partners with an auto transporter.
      Do car dealerships ship cars?
      Some car dealerships offer home delivery or store-to-store shipping services for a fee. These dealerships typically outsource the shipping to an auto transport company. Depending on the cost, it could be cheaper to arrange transportation yourself.

      Some online car buying sites offer to ship your car at no cost. If you buy a car from an online or out-of-state dealership, ask about home delivery or store-to-store shipment costs.

      Methodology

      To select our top picks for this auto transport guide, we compared all brokers and carriers on our site with reviews over the last year.

      We first eliminated those with an overall satisfaction rating below 3.5 stars. To remain on our list, shippers needed to have at least a 2:1 ratio of 5-star to 1-star reviews.

      The ConsumerAffairs research team also considered availability and recent FMCSA safety data when making final selections.

      Not sure how to choose?

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        Auto transporter author reviews

        Stateway Auto Transport

        This auto transport company claims to provide shipping times that are half the industry standard. Stateway Auto Transport works with individual consumers, car dealerships, auto auctions and moving companies.

        Read more about Stateway Auto Transport
        CarsArrive Auto Relocation

        This auto transport company has an internal fleet of over 150 car carriers. Shipments in the U.S. typically take 14 days. The company claims to deliver 98% of vehicles on time, with 98.8% of all vehicles arriving without damage.

        Read more about CarsArrive Auto Relocation
        EZ Transport

        This auto transport company has access to a network of 5,000 trucking companies and 30,000 car carriers. Transit typically takes two to seven days within the Lower 48. The company specializes in enclosed transports for classic cars.

        Read 5 Reviews
        Direct Express Auto Transport

        This auto transport company offers an easy quote process that lets you give basic information about your move and receive a quote without providing your email address or other personal information. Its website also has information about regional moves, cost factors and preparing for your move. Direct Express ships 90% of orders in under a week, and most of its deliveries take seven to 14 days.

        Read 10 Reviews
        Ultimate Transport 123

        This auto transport company’s website has information to help you move a vehicle, including helpful checklists, unique regional shipping challenges and other resources for first-time shippers.

        Read more about Ultimate Transport 123
        Transport Connection

        This company offers auto transport throughout the U.S. and internationally. It picks up most vehicles in just one to three days. Its long-distance moves take seven to 10 days, and local moves take just three to seven days.

        • Cost: We estimate shipping a four-door sedan with Transport Connection from Washington, D.C., to Portland, Oregon, to cost about $1,220.
        • Types of vehicles shipped: In addition to regular cars, this company ships SUVs for an additional fee.
        • Shipping options: Transport Connection offers door-to-door delivery via open and enclosed carriers. The company does both domestic and international shipping.
        • Additional services: Transport Connection’s customer service is available on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST.
        New World Auto Transport

        New World Auto Transport specializes in corporate relocation and dealer-to-dealer transportation. On average, it takes one to seven days to pick up a vehicle. Vehicle tracking is available by calling the company.

        • Cost: Expect shipping a four-door sedan from Chicago to Miami to cost about $720. Quotes are available after submitting shipment information online. Ask about the company’s military, student and senior discounts.
        • Types of vehicles shipped: In addition to regular vehicles, New World Auto Transport ships specialty vehicles including trucks, motorcycles, golf carts, RVs, motor homes, ATVs and boats.
        • Shipping options: This company normally does door-to-door transport anywhere across the U.S., but terminal-to-terminal transport is available in special circumstances. Customers choose between open and enclosed carriers.
        • Additional services: New World Auto Transport offers storage facilities for drop shipments, easy drop-offs and overnight storage.
        Reliable Carriers

        Reliable Carriers is one of the country’s largest enclosed auto transport companies. It offers services throughout the continental United States and most parts of Canada. The company owns its own fleet of trucks.

        • Cost: Pricing varies depending on a variety of factors, including distance, pickup and delivery dates, location and the time of year you schedule. For the most accurate estimate, contact the company directly for a quote.
        • Types of vehicles shipped: Reliable Carriers ships any type of vehicle.
        • Shipping options: Fully enclosed, open-carrier, fifth wheel and lowboy door-to-door auto transports.
        • Additional services: The company specializes in auto transport. It does not offer additional services.
        Dynamic Auto Movers

        Dynamic Auto Movers guarantees your vehicle stays with the same carrier through the duration of transit. The company uses a variety of trucks, including small flatbeds and large double-decker carriers.

        • Cost: New customers should request a quote from the company directly to learn the most accurate pricing information. The estimate is all-inclusive, meaning there are no hidden fees or additional taxes. The total includes charges for tolls, gas, insurance and door-to door-services. The company does not require money upfront for services. However, a small fee of around $150 is charged once pickup is authorized.
        • Types of vehicles shipped: The company specializes in enclosed transport for vehicles, including exotic cars, classic cars, motorcycles, boats and heavy equipment, such as tractors and bulldozers.
        • Shipping options: Customers can choose from open or enclosed transport options.
        • Additional services: Dynamic Auto Movers offers full-service moving solutions through a partnership with Solomon & Sons. The company provides free, in-home or on-site pricing estimates or consultations for additional services.

        Compare Top Auto Transport Reviews

        by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

        As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.

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