Finding cheap car shipping isn’t necessarily easy. Auto shipping is a supply-and-demand business in which shipping companies bid on customer contracts. In order to find the best prices, you’ll need to use a reliable broker. There are also several steps you can take to reduce the cost of your shipment.
In this article, we’ll help you understand the factors that go into the cost of car shipping services, provide recommendations for brokers, and give tips on how to lower costs. You can also read our article about the best car shipping companies and start comparing free quotes right away with our top picks.
In this article:
- What’s The Cheapest Way To Ship A Car?
- How Much Should It Cost To Ship A Car?
- How Car Shipping Costs Are Determined
- 5 Cheap Car Shipping Companies
- Frequently Asked Questions: Cheap Car Shipping
What’s The Cheapest Way To Ship A Car?
The cheapest way to ship your car is by a freight train. However, this option may not be available depending on where you live. Shipping by train also takes a long time, and your dropoff and pickup dates will be less flexible. Most people choose to ship by truck or trailer, as it is safer and far more convenient (though also more expensive).
If you use a truck or trailer, there are several ways to get cheap car shipping quotes from providers:
- Reserve early: The earlier you post your job, the more shippers can bid on your contract. Also, expedited shipping costs much more than standard shipping.
- Be flexible with pickup and delivery dates: Shippers choose jobs based on their existing routes and availability. Flexibility with pickup and delivery dates will increase the number of shippers that can take your job.
- Use shipping terminals: You can save money by dropping your car off and picking it up at a shipping terminal rather than selecting door-to-door shipping. This may be especially true if you live in a rural area where shipping costs are higher.
- Request open shipping: Open shipping is cheaper than enclosed shipping. Though this may not be a good idea if your car has low clearance (less than four inches), as it can be damaged.
- Clean out your car: Reduce the weight of your vehicle as much as possible by removing everything all personal items before shipping.
- Compare multiple quotes: Look at quotes and offers from multiple shippers and brokers to find the best price. Keep in mind that some brokers may charge a cancellation fee if you post a job and then rescind it.
How Much Should It Cost To Ship A Car?
The price of long-distance car transport services isn’t set in stone. According to Montway Auto Transport, car shipping costs are usually around $1.96 per mile for distances under 500 miles, 93 cents per mile for distances between 500 and 1,500 miles, and 58 cents per mile for distances over 1,500 miles.
Many auto shipping providers work through a bidding process, so there aren’t typically fixed prices. This means it’s possible to get cheap car shipping rates from a number of companies.
How Car Shipping Costs Are Determined
There are many factors that will affect your car shipping cost. Here are some of the most common things transporters base costs on:
- Size and weight of your car: The heavier your car, the more you’ll pay to transport it.
- Destination and pickup locations: Urban areas will likely be less expensive to ship to and from.
- Vehicle condition: It’s easier to move a car if it’s driveable, which means working vehicles are less expensive to ship than those that are inoperable.
- Shipping distance: Shorter distances usually have higher per-mile costs but cheaper prices overall.
- Season: It’s more expensive to transport your car in January and summer months, as these are peak car shipping times.
- Type of transport: For cheap car shipping, opt for open carrier transport. But if you want your car to be fully protected, use enclosed transport.
- Fuel prices: If gas prices are especially high, some companies charge customers additional fees.
5 Cheap Car Shipping Companies
Cost is among the most important factors when deciding on a car shipping company. However, you obviously want to make sure your carrier is reliable, not just cheap. Only choose an auto shipper that is registered and licensed. Also, make sure that your shipper has the proper insurance policies in case your vehicle is damaged during transport.
The table below shows several of our recommendations for cheap car shipping.
|Cheap Car Shipping Companies||Motor 1 Overall Rating||Cost Rating||Get a Free Quote|
|Montway Auto Transport||4.5||4.5||Get Quote|
|Sherpa Auto Transport||4.0||4.0||Get Quote|
|Easy Auto Ship||4.5||5.0||Get Quote|
Montway Auto Transport: Best Overall
Headquarters: Schaumburg, Illinois
Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating: A+
Montway Auto Transport is an auto shipping broker that works with over 15,000 motor carriers across the United States. Montway rates are competitive, and customers can ship to anywhere in the U.S. There aren’t listing fees, but there is a $200 fee if you decide to cancel after a carrier has accepted your shipment.
When we reached out to Montway for a car shipping quote, we found lower prices for open vehicle transport than we did with almost every other company.
|Montway Auto Transport Pros||Montway Auto Transport Cons|
|Works with over 15,000 auto carriers||No guaranteed pricing|
|Competitive prices||$200 cancellation fee|
|Military and return customer discounts available|
|Strong customer reputation|
AmeriFreight: Best Discounts
Headquarters: Peachtree City, Georgia
BBB Rating: A+
AmeriFreight is one of our top-rated providers overall. It partners with over 10,000 car shipping companies to transport vehicles cross-country. This broker carefully vets all of its truckers to make sure they are fully insured and consistently meet customer expectations.
The AmeriFreight website claims that the cost to ship a vehicle ranges from $450 to $2,500, with increased fees for shipping to Alaska and Hawaii. Many auto transport brokers do not offer special discounts, but AmeriFreight is an exception. Customers can find discounts for the following:
- Military: $35 off
- First responders: $35 off
- Medical personnel: $35 off
- Students: $25 off
- Senior citizens: $25 off
- Early bird: $25 off if you sign up 48 hours after getting a quote
- Return customer: $50 off
- Multiple vehicles: $50 off every additional vehicle
AmeriFreight does not allow discounts to be combined, however, except for its Early Bird discount. Customers can also receive locked-in pricing if they choose AmeriFreight's First Class Rate.
|AmeriFreight Pros||AmeriFreight Cons|
|A+ BBB rating and accreditation||Slower online quotes process|
|Many discount opportunities|
|Strict car shipper vetting process|
|Top-rated customer service|
Sherpa Auto Transport: Locked-In Rates
Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina
BBB Rating: A+
Sherpa Auto Transport has an excellent customer reputation and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. While the initial quotes you receive from Sherpa may be a slightly higher than some competitors, the company is unique in offering a Price Lock Promise.
With other auto shipping providers, your initial quote is an estimate and your final rate may be higher. With Sherpa, your final rate could be lower, but it will not be higher than your quoted price. When all is said and done, Sherpa rates may well be lower than other shippers and you can rest assured that your first quote is the highest rate you will possibly pay with Sherpa.
|Bargain Auto Transport Pros||Bargain Auto Transport Cons|
|Price Lock Promise guarantees you won't pay more than your quoted rate||Slightly more expensive than competitors initial quotes|
|Vetted network of insured carriers||No terminal-to-terminal shipping option|
|Easy-to-use booking process and quick shipper matching||No instant online quotes|
|A+ rating from the BBB and very few customer complaints|
|Free car wash included with every transport|
Easy Auto Ship: Best For Cash Discounts
Headquarters: Youngstown, Ohio
BBB Rating: A+
Easy Auto Ship specializes in low-cost auto shipping and relocation services. Rates with Easy Auto Ship average around $1.20 per mile, though this depends on your shipping distance and the other factors mentioned above. There are also discounts available for military members and veterans, as well as for paying in cash.
One other nice thing about Easy Auto Ship is that it offers vehicle tracking and sends periodic alerts throughout the transportation process, such as when your car is assigned a driver and when it’s picked up. You can also call the company for a real-time update on the location of your vehicle.
|Easy Auto Ship Pros||Easy Auto Ship Cons|
|A+ BBB rating and accreditation||More complaints than other top providers|
|Offers vehicle tracking|
Read our Easy Auto Ship review for more information. To get free pricing estimates for your vehicle, contact Easy Auto Ship below.
uShip: Best Car Shipping Marketplace
Headquarters: Austin, Texas
BBB Rating: A+
If you want car shipping for cheap, you can let auto transporters bid directly for the job. uShip is a marketplace that lets independent carriers bid against each other to transport your vehicle. When reaching out for a quote, you can either request an instant quote or post your shipping request to the marketplace for bidding. Instant quotes can be more expensive, so if you've got the time, we recommend posting your job to find cheap car shipping rates.
In addition to the shipping cost, uShip charges a fee that ranges between $25 and $150. Insurance is included with some shippers and can be purchased for others.
|uShip Pros||uShip Cons|
|Established industry reputation||Does not verify insurance coverages of shippers|
Makes it easy to compare offers
from a wide range of shippers and brokers
|Does not have the best process for resolving issues with drivers|
|Hassle-free shipping||No price guarantee, so quoted prices may fluctuate|
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of car shipping companies to formulate rankings of the best transporters. Providers receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Reputation: Shippers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category.
- Cost: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of shipping routes, distances, and vehicles. Companies with lower prices and many discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Services: This rating is based on types of auto transport services available, insurance coverage, and the ability to guarantee pick-up and dropoff dates.
- Customer Experience: We comb through customer reviews and perform our own shopper analysis to get a sense of the responsiveness and helpfulness of each car transporter.