How do I Ship a Car?

Mary McMahon

There are several ways to ship a car, depending on where the car needs to be transported to, the type of car, and how quickly the car will be needed at the other end. Numerous firms specialize in auto transport, moving cars from place to place within the same country, and sometimes offering international shipping as well. Rates for car shipping services vary, depending on a number of factors.

Car shipping may be a viable option for getting a vehicle across the ocean.
Car shipping may be a viable option for getting a vehicle across the ocean.

Some firms offer car shipping in which a car is moved alone on a flatbed truck or in a container or trailer from one location to another. This method to ship a car is most commonly used by people who have very valuable cars which could become damaged in transit, or by people who need a car shipped quickly, or moved between remote locations. Someone with a vintage Rolls Royce Phantom, for example, would definitely want the extra security provided by this type of service. Likewise, someone relocating who wants their car immediately on the other end of the move might want to use a private shipping service of this type.

Some firms use flatbed trucks to transport single automobiles.
Some firms use flatbed trucks to transport single automobiles.

Other firms transport cars in large batches, moving them together in racks. This method to ship a car tends to be less expensive, because the owners of all of the cars share the cost of the shipping. However, it can be inconvenient, as the delivery time may be prolonged, or scheduled at the whim of the shipper. The shipper may also be unwilling to travel to remote locations, as the trip could be costly and not very productive.

Another way to ship a car involves talking with a car dealer to see if it is possible to have a private vehicle bundled onto the dealer's shipments. Some friendly dealers will allow people to do this for a fee if they bought their cars from the dealer, or the dealer may be able to connect a customer with an auto transport service which does not advertise to the public. In some cases, transport may be available at reduced cost because the shipper needs an extra car to balance the load, but this lucky circumstance is fairly rare.

Overseas car shipping can get more complicated, as there may be substantial paperwork involved when people ship a car across international borders. Firms with specialize in international auto transport usually agree to handle all of the paperwork as part of their fee, which can save people a great deal of effort. Companies may offer express and conventional service, with conventional service taking longer because the company waits until it has a large batch of cars to ship. Express service may involve flying the car, rather than taking it by boat, and it can be much more costly, but it gets the car to the end destination very quickly.

Alternatively, one could become a head of state or prominent diplomat. Many heads of state travel with their own vehicle fleets, with the government footing the bill.

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Discussion Comments


I got complete information about shipping car, thanks to you! As I know, shipping cars using closed transport is very costly compared with a common freight trailer.

You are forget about another method: using and airplane carrier or train. These two methods are not more popular than using a truck, but offer another option to transport our cars.


Nationwide Autogistics is a great company to use. No upfront deposit.


Great advice. Here's one more: the train. I think Amtrak will allow you to just pull up with your car and load it, and train it to a destination near your aim, for a reasonable fee. But this service has limitations in date and locations. I have not checked on this one in some time, so correct me here, if I am wrong.


You need to be aware of the rules before you ship a car. Shipping an older car might not be permitted to another country because they do not want to deal with somebodies else's junk.


That Smith guy is a pretty smart dude! Please thank him for me.

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