How to Find Cheap Car Shipping (2021)
Finding cheap car shipping from reputable auto transporters can be difficult, especially given the high number of auto shipping brokers available. Luckily, we've narrowed down the four most affordable car transport companies for you.
In this article, we'll discuss the top cheap car shipping companies as well as ways to reduce your overall auto transport costs. We'll also review what factors affect the price of car shipping so you're well-informed before reaching out to companies for quotes.
Since there's no one-size-fits-all auto transporter, it's best to get multiple quotes when shopping around for cheap car shipping. We ranked and reviewed the best car shipping companies in the industry. Get free, non-committal quotes to see how much you would pay for your vehicle.
How Much Does Auto Shipping Cost?
Car shipping costs depend on many factors, but based on quotes we received from auto transporters throughout the industry, auto shipping costs an average of about $1,200. This average reflects quotes received for an operable 2018 Honda CR-V and an operable Lexus ES 350. These quotes also reflect shipping distances between 520 and 2,445 miles during January, a peak month for auto shipping.
According to uShip, average car shipping costs in the U.S. are $2.92 per mile to ship a car less than 200 miles and 78 cents per mile to ship a car 1,000 miles or more. However, the cost of auto shipping can fluctuate day to day, which we'll explain below in more detail. There are a few ways to save on auto transport services, including by choosing an affordable auto transporter.
How to Find Cheap Car Shipping
Comparing quotes from several companies is the best way to find your cheapest car shipping option. However, there are a few additional ways to save money when transporting your vehicle. As you begin to reach out to auto transporters, consider these tips to reduce your overall car shipping price:
1. Leverage discounts. As we mentioned, some car shipping companies offer discounts, including Montway Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, Sherpa Auto Transport, and uShip. When contacting a company about your car shipping quote, make sure to ask about discount opportunities.
2. Choose open auto transport and terminal-to-terminal shipping. These two shipping preferences are often the cheapest. Open car transport drives costs down, as it increases the number of trucks available to transport your car. Terminal-to-terminal transport cuts down on fuel costs since your trucker only needs to travel to a hub rather than your home, which may be out of the way. Keep in mind though that not all auto transporters offer terminal-to-terminal shipping.
3. Be flexible. By having flexible pickup and dropoff dates and locations, more carriers will be able to bid on your shipment. If you work around a carrier's delivery schedule and location, you won't front the costs for convenience.
4. Plan in advance. Reach out for a quote as soon as possible. The additional time will allow for more carrier bids, giving you more options.
5. If possible, move during off-peak months. January and the summer months have noticeably higher car shipping costs, as these are popular times of the year to move. If your schedule allows, reach out for quotes during off-peak times.
6. Go with a shipping company that doesn't charge extra for insurance. Some providers may tack on additional costs for insurance coverage. While having the extra protection is smart, see if it's possible to pick an auto carrier or broker that includes coverage at no cost to you.
Related: How to Ship a Car
Top 4 Cheap Car Shipping Companies
For cheap car shipping, we recommend Montway Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, Sherpa Auto Transport, and Easy Auto Ship. Each auto transporter received 4.0 stars or higher in our industry-wide review, which considered reputation, cost, shipping services, and customer experience. These companies also offer some of the best prices and discounts in the auto transport industry.
- Montway Auto Transport: Best Availability
- AmeriFreight: Best Discounts
- Sherpa Auto Transport: Best for Locked-In Prices
- Easy Auto Ship: Best for a Quick Pickup
Montway Auto Transport: Best Availability
Ranked No. 1 in our best auto shipping companies review, Montway Auto Transport offers a wide variety of shipping services in all 50 states, including open and enclosed transport, door-to-door service, expedited, and Hawaii car shipping (for owners already on the West Coast). The auto transport company shipped over 100,000 vehicles in 2019 and is backed by an accredited A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Quotes we received from Montway Auto Transport ranged from $689 to $1,159, which included 520-mile, 1,489-mile, and 2,445-mile shipments for an SUV and a coupe. The broker offered below-average prices for short-distance shipments, costing about $100 less than competitors. To further lower the cost of auto transportation services, Montway Auto Transport offers four types of discounts: military, returning customer, multiple vehicle, and pay-in-cash.
AmeriFreight: Best Discounts
AmerFreight is another broker that offers cheap car shipping services in 50 states. Though its pricing tends to be a bit higher off the bat, the auto broker offers the most discounts for a variety of circumstances. These discounts include:
- Military: $25 off
- First responders: $35 off
- Medical personnel: $35 off
- Students: $25 off
- Senior citizens: $25 off
- Early Bird: $25 off
- Returning customers: $50 off
- Multiple vehicles: $50 off per vehicle
Car owners can only qualify for one discount per shipment order, except the Early Bird discount, which can be combined with another discount.
AmeriFreight is available nationwide and can ship standard cars, trucks, and SUVs as well as all-terrain vehicles and recreational vehicles. The auto broker holds exceptional customer service and industry ratings: an accredited A+ rating from the BBB with a 4.86 out of 5-star customer score and a 4.8-star Google customer reviews rating. AmeriFreight also vets every car carrier it works with, ensuring you're in good hands.
Sherpa Auto Transport: Best for Locked-In Prices
Sherpa Auto Transport is a relatively new company that was founded in 2017. The shipper does things a bit differently than the others on our list. Instead of providing quotes that can change once a carrier picks up a job, which is standard practice in the industry, Sherpa provides locked-in prices that won't go up.
Quotes are normally considered price estimates that can change. But if you want to be certain that the first price you see is what you pay in the end, it's a good idea to get a quote from Sherpa.
In researching prices from Sherpa Auto Transport, we found that quotes for open transport ranged from $975 for a 1,500-mile trip to $1,650 for a 2,450-mile trip. Enclosed trailer transport prices for the same distances started at $1,650 and extended to $2,775.
Sherpa Auto Transport has a 4.89-star rating from customer reviews on the BBB and a 4.7-star rating from reviews on Google.
Easy Auto Ship: Best for a Quick Pickup
Since 2013, Easy Auto Ship has made a name for itself in the car shipping industry for its reliable service and great prices. Easy Auto Ship reviews from customers frequently reference low vehicle shipping rates, and that's a good thing to see. We've done our own research into Easy Auto Ship's prices and found that the shipper is affordable.
Quotes ranged from $718 for a 500-mile trip to $1,362 for a 2,450-mile trip. On average, we found that Easy Auto Ship's prices for a 1,500-mile trip are about $100 cheaper than those of its competitors.
We also recognized Easy Auto Ship as the provider with the best extra benefits—the company will pay for a wash and detail if your car arrives dirty, and it will cover a rental car if the transit time exceeds 14 days.
Easy Auto Ship has an A+ rating with accreditation from the BBB. It also has a 4.63-star rating from customers on the BBB and a 4.6-star rating from reviews on Google.
What Affects the Cost of Car Shipping?
There are several factors that affect the cost of car transport services. By understanding these factors, you'll be better equipped to find cheap car shipping from a reputable company.
Here's what impacts the cost of shipping services:
- Vehicle make, model, age, and operability
- Vehicle size
- Fuel prices
- Carrier competition
- Distance of transport
- Open carrier versus enclosed carrier transport
- Door-to-door shipping versus terminal-to-terminal shipping
- Additional insurance and service fees
FAQ: Cheap Car Shipping
What is the cheapest way to ship my car?
The cheapest way to ship a car by carrier is to use open auto transport and terminal-to-terminal shipping. Freight shipping, which uses trains, is very inexpensive but may subject your vehicle to more damages and is much less convenient. To find cheap car shipping, look for providers that offer discounts and make sure to get multiple quotes.
How much should it cost to ship a car?
According to uShip, average car shipping costs in the U.S. are $2.92 per mile to ship a car less than 200 miles and 78 cents per mile to ship a car more than 1,000 miles. However, the average cost of car shipping depends on your vehicle, when you're shipping it, current economic conditions, the distance of the shipment, and more.
Can you put things in your car when you ship it?
Some car shipping companies, like Montway Auto Transport, allow you to include a set weight of personal belongings with your auto shipment at no additional cost. However, most other companies will either charge you extra for shipping personal items or not allow it at all.
How much is it to ship a car to California?
Based on quotes we received for an operable SUV and coupe, shipping a vehicle from New York, New York, to Los Angeles, California, would cost between $1,389 and $2,775.
What's the best moving company?
Auto shipping ratings are based on a comprehensive comparison between every major car transport company in the industry. We rate providers based on cost, available services, company reputation, and the customer experience. Each auto transporter receives scores in these individual categories and an overall score out of 5.0 stars.
To formulate rankings, our review team considers a company's offerings compared to competitors, ratings from experts like the Better Business Bureau, and customer reviews. We also collect sample quotes across a variety of shipping routes, distances, and transport types to measure pricing against the industry average.