The Cost To Ship A Car, As Explained By A-1 Auto Transport

Wanting to ship your vehicle but lost on how much it’ll cost to ship? 

Below we’ll get into how much it costs to ship a car, by leading auto transportation exports.

We’ll also go into how to pick the right car transportation service so your vehicle gets to your destination without any problems. 

Let’s get started.

What Goes into Car Shipping Costs?

Time of Year

The time of year will affect the price of the car shipping. Towards the end of the year, more items are being shipped for the holidays, thus affecting the cost of shipping containers. If you’re shipping internationally, then look to ship your vehicle earlier in the year.

If you’re shipping domestically, then you can look to ship your vehicle in the winter because there is less demand for it. Since there are many auto transportation companies fighting over vehicles to ship during the colder months, you can often negotiate down the prices.

Type of Car

The type of car you have will also go into the cost of shipping. If you have a luxury vehicle, then that will require a luxury shipping service to take care of your vehicle. If your vehicle doesn’t work, then that will also add to the cost of the shipment because it will require specialized loading.

If your vehicle is a regular car that doesn’t require any special care, then you’ll likely be paying a regular price for your shipment.

Type of Enclosure

There are two types of shipping for domestic vehicle shipping, open and enclosed trailers. An open trailer can load up to 12 vehicles at once and is “open”, just as the name describes. This is the most economical way to ship vehicles but also leaves your vehicle out in the open and prone to theft.

Enclosed trailers are closed trailers that are perfect for luxury vehicle shipments, but they do add extra cost to the shipment. Considering enclosed trailers can only hold 2-3 vehicles at once, this is less economical for the driver.

Fuel Costs

Fuel costs will affect the cost of your vehicle shipment. Big rigs require a lot of fuel, and if the economy is facing high fuel costs, then you’ll also see that later reflected in the cost of the bill.

Shipping Distances

The best way to know exactly how much you’ll pay for shipping your vehicle is by getting a quote from an auto transport price calculator. According to Joe Webster, it’s always best to get multiple quotes from different providers to have some negotiating power when you are looking at many different prices.

How much does it cost to ship a car
How much does it cost to ship a car

What to Look For in a Car Shipping Company?

Well Reviewed

The first place to start with any shipping company is their reviews. While reviews can be faked, one-star reviews always reveal what a company is doing wrong and what to avoid. It may be that the company you’re looking at is great at domestic, but falters during international shipping. 

Check out the BBB, Google Reviews, Yelp and even Trustpilot to get a good understanding of how your shipping company treats their customers. 

Multiple Shipping Options

Multiple shipping options mean that there are multiple ways to ship different vehicles. This means that the company that is transporting your vehicle understands the game and knows how to treat each vehicle type. With more shipping options, it means they have more knowledge and expertise, which leads to more trust. 


A licensed shipping company is going to give you clarity and confidence. Check the DOT authority as well as the FMCSA to see if the company you are considering working with is legitimate. Oftentimes, brokers will act as if they’re licensed but when in fact, they are simply trying to seem that way. 


Deciding to ship a vehicle involves various considerations, including the cost and the selection of a trustworthy auto transport service. The cost of shipping is influenced by numerous factors like the time of the year, type of car, choice of enclosure, fuel costs, and the distance to be shipped. The demand and supply of the shipping industry significantly swing the price. Also, specific needs, such as shipping a luxury or non-working car, can inflate costs due to the specialized services required.

Moreover, when choosing an auto transport service, it’s crucial to do thorough research. Look for well-reviewed companies, verify their licensing and credibility with DOT and FMCSA, and ensure they provide various shipping options catering to different types of vehicles. Always remember to gather multiple quotes for a better understanding of the pricing landscape and to negotiate effectively.

In summary, navigating the car shipping process can be intricate and complex. But with careful planning, understanding key cost components, and choosing a reputable shipping company, you can ensure a seamless and efficient vehicle transport experience.

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