Looking for cheap car shipping quotes online? Our team compared over 400 quotes from 18 car shipping companies to determine average car shipping costs and the cheapest companies to use. In this article, we’ll explain how car shipping quotes work and cover the factors that influence costs. 

To recommend the best car shipping companies, we also interacted with companies through secret shopping, surveyed car shipping customers, analyzed services, and collected industry ratings. The best way to get cheap car shipping quotes online is to compare offers from multiple providers. You can then easily find the best shipping company for your budget and needs.

Why You Can Trust Motor1.com At Motor1.com, we are dedicated to supplying car owners with the well-researched, fact-checked information they need to make sound decisions about auto shipping. Our team analyzes provider offerings and customer insights so you can feel empowered to make the best choice.
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Methodology: How We Rate Car Shipping Companies

Each year, our team scores car shipping companies in the following categories: reputation, cost, services, and customer experience. We surveyed shipping customers to see what matters most to them, and that affected the overall weighted average rating. Aside from the quotes we received, we collect over 400 pieces of data to formulate our industry ratings.

Reputation

You might be looking for affordable shipping companies, but it’s important to know a company has a good reputation, as well. This category includes industry ratings from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as well as complaints on the site and the general nature of complaints. Company longevity and shipping availability by state also factor into this score.

Cost 

Our team compared over 400 quotes from many popular car shipping companies. Our quotes covered short, medium, and long shipping distances as well as open and enclosed shipping. We gave the best cost scores to companies with lower average prices and available discounts.

All of the quotes in this article apply to shipping an operable 2018 Toyota RAV4. You may find different quotes depending on the size of your vehicle and whether it drives. If a vehicle is inoperable, the truck driver will need to winch it onto the truck, which adds to the overall cost.

Services

Most companies offer open car shipping and enclosed car shipping with door-to-door service. We give companies higher scores if they offer add-on insurance coverage, fast average transit times, and guaranteed pickup dates. 

Customer Experience Ratings

We use a variety of techniques to determine how companies serve customers:

  • Secret shopping: We shop for quotes from all the companies we review. We record our experiences with agents and see how they compare to experiences from other customers.
  • Customer surveys: To date, we’ve surveyed 2,000 people who have shipped their cars through many different companies. Survey questions focus on customer experiences and the process of shipping a car from start to finish. We also ask about common issues people encounter when shipping cars.
  • Customer reviews: We comb through hundreds of online customer reviews from sites like the BBB, Trustpilot, and Google, and we include customer ratings in our overall customer experience score.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?

According to the quotes we received, a short shipment of about 500 miles costs $732 on average. A medium-distance shipment of around 1,500 miles costs $1,425, and a cross-country shipment of 3,000 miles costs about $2,313. You can see how the cost per mile decreases as mileage increases. 

We also compared open and enclosed shipping quotes for 1,500 miles. On average, enclosed shipping increased the cost by $351 or 25 percent. Below, you can see average costs for different routes.

Car Shipping DistanceShipping TypeAverage PriceAverage Cost per Mile
503 miles (Chicago to Kansas City, MO)Open$732$1.45
1,556 miles (Los Angeles to Houston)Open$1,425$0.92
1,556 miles (Los Angeles to Houston)Enclosed$1,776$1.14
3,036 miles (New York City to San Francisco)Open$2,313$0.76

Cheapest Car Shipping Companies

Car shipping costs vary by company, which is why it’s important to get multiple quotes when you shop around. We found uShip was the cheapest overall when looking at average cost per mile across all four types of quotes. However, all our top picks were affordable in one way or another, whether it was for enclosed shipping, short distances, or cross-country moves.

Car Shipping CompanyAverage Cost per MileCheap For…
uShip$0.97All shipping distances, open and enclosed shipping
American Auto Shipping$0.99All shipping distances, open shipping
SGT Auto Transport$1.00Short distances, enclosed shipping
Montway Auto Transport$1.01All shipping distances, open and enclosed shipping
Sherpa Auto Transport$1.10Enclosed shipping
AmeriFreight$1.15Medium- to long-distance shipping, open shipping
Easy Auto Ship$1.23Long-distance open car shipping

See how costs from all these companies compare in our cheap car shipping analysis.

What Other Customers Have Paid

So, what do other people pay for car shipping on average? According to our consumer survey, the most common answer was between $1,500 and $1,999, with 22 percent of respondents choosing that option. The next most common answer was between $1,000 and $1,499. Taken together, 41 percent of respondents paid between $1,000 and $2,000 to ship their cars. Only 16 percent paid below $500, and just under 16 percent paid more than $2,000.

bar chart showing how much survey participants paid for car shipping

What Affects Car Shipping Costs?

The cost of auto transport services is based largely on the following:

  • Time of year: Auto shipping rates are highest in January and the summer.
  • Open or enclosed auto transport: Shipping your car in an open carrier is the cheapest way to go. Enclosed carrier transportation is safer but pricier. Enclosed shipping is a better choice if you have a valuable vehicle or a luxury car.
  • Door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal shipping: Door-to-door delivery is more expensive but less of a hassle than picking your car up from a terminal. Only a few companies offer terminal-to-terminal shipping, and it requires you to drop your car off at a shipping terminal and then pick it up from another terminal. This type of shipping often takes much longer than door-to-door shipping.
  • Type of vehicle: Full-size SUVs and pickups can cost more to ship because of their weight.
  • Drop-off and pickup destinations: Shipping to rural towns is more expensive than shipping between major cities.
  • Distance: A cross-country shipment will cost more than hauling your car a short distance, but it will cost less per mile.
  • Vehicle condition: Inoperable vehicles cost more to ship since drivers have to spend extra time and resources winching them onto the trailer.

Tips For Reducing Car Transport Costs

When you’re shopping for car shipping quotes online, be sure you’re getting the best price. Here are a couple of tips you can follow to lower your car shipping costs:

  • Choose terminal-to-terminal shipping: Although less convenient than door-to-door shipping, this option is often much less expensive.
  • Book in advance: The earlier you book your car shipment, the better. You’ll avoid paying for expedited shipping prices.
  • Pickup and drop-off date flexibility: Your final vehicle shipping cost depends largely on carrier availability. If you have wiggle room with your drop-off and pickup dates, car transport companies can often find you better rates.

To ensure the safety of your vehicle during transport, make sure to follow the auto shipper’s instructions on how to ship a car.

What Is A Car Shipping Quote?

Getting a quote to ship your car is a bit different than getting a rate from USPS to ship a large package. That’s because car shipping companies are brokers that work with independent carriers, meaning they don’t have full control over the price.

When you get a quote, the shipping company gives you a price estimate. Then, it posts the shipment to its network of carriers. Carriers can take the job or pass it up for other opportunities depending on the market at that time. 

Quotes Can Change

If demand for car shipping is increasing at that time, the shipping company may have to increase the quote to secure a carrier. This doesn’t happen all the time, and some companies guarantee that the initial quotes they give won’t increase. This is true for Sherpa Auto Transport, Easy Auto Ship, and American Auto Shipping.

How To Get A Car Shipping Quote

The easiest way to get auto transport quotes is to find companies that offer instant car shipping calculators. We’ve confirmed that Montway Auto Transport, Sherpa Auto Transport, Easy Auto Ship, and uShip all provide instant car shipping quotes on their websites.

These car shipping companies connect customers with a wide network of carriers, and the companies’ quote calculators estimate costs based on route information and carrier availability.

The best car shipping companies partner with tens of thousands of truckers. Because the providers coordinate with so many vehicle haulers, getting quotes from an auto transport broker is usually the most cost-effective way to book a shipment.

What You Need For A Car Shipping Quote

Many providers allow you to use an instant car shipping cost calculator online, while other providers need to check market conditions manually before giving you a price. In any case, you’ll need to provide some basic information to get accurate car shipping quotes. For a hassle-free experience, you should have the following information on hand whether or not you use a car shipping calculator:

  • Vehicle make, model, and year
  • Vehicle operability status
  • Drop-off and delivery locations
  • Drop-off and delivery dates
  • Shipping preferences, such as enclosed or open transport and terminal-to-terminal or door-to-door shipping
  • Your contact information including email and phone number

How Payments Work

After you find a quote that you like, you’ll continue with booking the shipment. That’s when you’re committed to shipping your car with the company. But the car shipping company hasn’t secured a carrier yet. Once a carrier is found, the shipping company will dispatch your car to the carrier, which means the carrier is now committed to picking up your vehicle.

Car shipping companies offer electronic payments or cash on delivery options. With electronic payments, you may pay a deposit at booking and the rest upon dispatch, or you may pay the whole amount at booking.

With cash on delivery, you’ll make an electronic deposit at booking. Then, you’ll pay the rest to the truck driver when they deliver your car. You can pay by cash or cash-equivalent like a money order. Generally, paying by cash costs slightly less than paying entirely online.

Using A Shipping Marketplace

One other way to get a car shipping quote online is through a marketplace such as uShip, which is one of the few companies operating in this way. Instead of acting as a liaison between carriers and customers, uShip offers a platform for customers to post jobs and carriers to accept them.

uShip is a bit like eBay. If you use the uShip quote system, you’ll post your shipment details to the marketplace. Then, you’ll wait for offers as car carriers bid on your shipment. uShip will notify you of each bid, and you can pick the one that works for you.

uShip does have an instant quote option, but a marketplace listing will probably bring you a better price. Since uShip is a marketplace, it doesn’t verify the insurance of carriers on the platform. However, it does offer an insurance add-on for extra coverage.

How Does Car Shipping Work?

Understanding the auto transport industry can help you make sense of car transport costs and have a better car shipping experience overall. Learn more about the different types of auto transport services below.

Open Vs. Enclosed Car Transport

One key decision with car shipping is whether you want open or enclosed auto transport service. An open auto transport trailer can fit more vehicles, making it cheaper. However, your car will be exposed to the elements. Minor damage from road debris can happen with open car shipping.

An enclosed trailer is more expensive but also protects your car from road debris and the elements. It’s a good idea to get an enclosed carrier if your car is valuable or sentimental and you want to avoid any type of damage.

You may need an enclosed auto transport service if you have low vehicle ground clearance since the ramps on an open trailer can’t accommodate cars with fewer than four inches of clearance.

Door-To-Door Service

Door-to-door service is the standard way car shipping companies pick up and deliver vehicles. The truck driver will meet you as close as possible to your origin and destination addresses. If you live on a tight neighborhood street, you might have to meet the truck at a nearby parking lot, instead.

The less-common option is terminal-to-terminal shipping. This is only available from some companies and in some locations. In this case, you’ll drop your car off at a shipping terminal and pick it up from a terminal at the destination. You may need to wait days or even weeks for the car to get shipped out, though.

Cross-Country Car Shipping Service

If you’re planning a move from California to New York, you’re probably looking for ways to save money. The good news is that rates per mile decrease with long-distance shipments. Auto shipping costs for a 3,000-mile trip are about $2,313 between major cities with open transport services. This is about 76 cents per mile, while a 500-mile trip can cost over $1.40 per mile.

International Car Shipping

Not all major online car moving companies offer international shipping. Some companies may offer a car shipping quote calculator for domestic moves but not international ones. If this is the case, you’ll need to call the auto transport provider for a price.

International car shipping takes longer than domestic shipping. Roll-on/roll-off (RORO) is the cheapest option. In this situation, the car transport company drives your vehicle onto a boat and parks it in a large garage with other vehicles. You can also use a shipping container or air freight depending on your auto transport needs.

What Other Consumers Experienced When Shipping A Car

Chart showing survey respondents' satisfaction with car shipping companies

In our consumer survey, we found most people (69 percent) were satisfied with their experience overall. However, some customers experienced issues. For example, a number of customers saw their rates increase after getting online car shipping quotes. In fact, about 35 percent of respondents said the price increased after booking, and some of those customers had understood the price to be guaranteed.

Other issues to be aware of include:

  • The vehicle was damaged upon delivery
  • The carrier’s insurance policy wouldn’t cover damage
  • The car transport service extended more than a week beyond the delivery estimate
  • The driver asked for a larger tip on delivery
  • Lack of communication with auto transport company or driver

There are many variables to be aware of when shipping a car. It’s not easy to transport ten cars across the country through all kinds of weather conditions and traffic. If you have flexibility in your expectations, you’ll have a better experience overall.

Car Shipping Quote: Conclusion

In this review, we talked about everything you need to know about car shipping quotes. What they are, how to get them and how much they will cost. Below are some companies you should look at when searching for a quote.

Car Shipping Companies: Best For Quotes

If you’re ready to look for car shipping quotes online, we recommend you start by reaching out to two of our top-rated providers: Montway Auto Transport and AmeriFreight. Both auto shipping companies scored high in our review of the auto transport industry and are known for affordable prices.

Montway Auto Transport: Best Overall

Montway’s network of more than 15,000 carriers provides auto shipping services anywhere in the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. We gave the broker 4.7 out of 5.0 stars in our Montway Auto Transport review based on its smooth booking process, competitive pricing, and strong customer reputation.

All Montway shipping partners are fully insured, but to help customers have peace of mind, the broker provides additional contingent cargo insurance of up to $250,000. Cargo insurance covers damage to your vehicle during transport. This insurance kicks in if your driver’s policy fails to fully cover a valid claim.

Montway Auto Transport has an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB and a 4.6 out of 5.0-star rating based on reviews from over 2,300 customers. It’s easy to get car shipping quotes online from Montway since the company offers free and instant rate estimates.

Montway Cost

Our team found Montway to be affordable for many different shipping distances and for both open and enclosed transport. Monway quotes came in at $1.01 per mile on average, but this varies depending on the distance and service.

Shipping TypeRouteCost
OpenChicago to Kansas City, MO (503 miles)$719
OpenLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,369
EnclosedLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,739
OpenNew York City to San Francisco (3,036 miles)$1,809
Montway Auto Transport Highly Rated
4.7
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 844-601-0286
Pros & Cons
Pros Network of over 15,000 car carriers Competitive prices Military, return customer, and pay-in-cash discounts available Strong customer reputation Cons No guaranteed pricing $199 cancellation fee
Summary

Montway Auto Transport tops our list of the best car transport companies in 2022. The company works with over 15,000 carriers across the nation and can ship a car to anywhere in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. According to our consumer vehicle shipping survey, Montway Auto Transport had the highest satisfaction rating of any major provider.

AmeriFreight: Best Discounts

AmeriFreight has a careful vetting process for its car carriers, working with only fully insured drivers who receive consistently high customer reviews. The company severs ties with partners that regularly fail to meet customer expectations.

In our AmeriFreight review, we rated the broker 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. AmeriFreight offers a streamlined shipping process, a simple pathway for car shipping quotes online, and the following discount opportunities:

  • Active-duty military: $35 off
  • First responders: $35 off
  • Medical personnel: $35 off
  • Early bird: $35 off if you sign up no more than 48 hours after getting a quote
  • Students: $25 off
  • Senior citizens: $25 off
  • Return customers: $50 off
  • Multiple vehicles: $50 off each additional vehicle

AmeriFreight has an A+ rating from the BBB and a 4.9 out of 5.0-star rating on Google based on over 900 reviews. Like many shipping companies, AmeriFreight offers free car shipping quotes online.

AmeriFreight Cost

Looking at quotes from AmeriFreight, we found it to cost slightly more than Montway on average at $1.15 per mile. However, AmeriFreight quoted us $1,598 for a cross-country shipment, which was one of the cheapest prices for this distance of any company.

Shipping TypeRouteCost
OpenChicago to Kansas City, MO (503 miles)$996
OpenLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,199
EnclosedLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$2,038
OpenNew York City to San Francisco (3,036 miles)$1,598
Amerifreight Best Discounts
4.5
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 888-207-1503
Pros & Cons
Pros A+ rating from the BBB and accreditation Many discount opportunities Strict car shipper vetting process Top-rated customer service Cons Slower online quote process
Summary

This provider offers more discount options than any other auto shipping broker. Amerifreight also offers 17 years of industry experience, and shipping for motorcycles, RV’s, and ATVs.

Car Shipping Quotes: FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about car shipping quotes: