How to Successfully Transport a Car Interstate?
With any interstate move, it might make more sense to ship your belongings and fly, rather than driving everything over yourself.
And, with that being the case, working out how to ship your car – including logistics and how to fit the cost into your budget, is something worthwhile doing in advance.
Why Ship a Car Interstate?
There are many reasons you might need to transport a car.
Aside from just moving or relocating your household, you might be selling a car, buying a car, displaying it in a show or want to have your own car with you while on vacation.
Either way, we’ll go over everything that you need to know in order to successfully transport a car from state to state, with a few helpful hints for making sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Finding a Transport Company
The first thing on your to do list if you’re looking to transport a car to another state is to find reputable car transport companies.
Use our free vehicle transport online quoting form and find companies that are willing and able to facilitate your move.
There are a lot of good transport companies out there, so your decision will likely be based on availability and total cost.
To start with, know what to look for in a good car carrier.
Do your research, start by narrowing down your list to companies. Request quotes and ensure that you’re getting a deal that works best for you.
How Much Does it Cost to Move a car to Another State?
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the total cost to ship a car interstate, though average car shipping costs are about $800-$1,500 for a four-door sedan and $900-$2,000 for a small van, pickup, or SUV.
You’re more likely to find options at the lower end of the range if you’re moving in the off-season winter months. Likewise, expect to spend more if you’re moving in the summer.
Other factors that will affect the total cost of transporting a car include:
- The size and weight of your car. The bigger and heavier your car is, the more it’s going to cost to move.
- The distance of your move. As you would probably expect, longer distance moves cost more due to increased labour charges, fuel charges and tolls.
- The make and model of your car. The specifics of your car do factor in when it comes to total cost. Expect to spend more if you’re transporting a luxury or classic car, since it will require more individualised attention from the carrier.
- The time of year you’re moving. As previously mentioned, you’ll spend more to transport a car interstate if you’re moving in the summer than in the winter, since there’s a higher demand for auto transport services at that time.
- The type of transport you choose. Costs vary depending on if you opt for an enclosed carrier or an open air carrier. We’ll get into more detail on those below.
An important additional cost to consider is insurance.
Whilst some car transport companies carry insurance, many don’t.
Even if they do carry insurance it may not be sufficient for your needs—especially if your car is very valuable. Check with your existing insurance policy to see if your plan covers long distance transport, or consider purchasing supplemental insurance that will protect your car in the event something happens on the road.
Enclosed transport vs. open air transport
A big cost determinant is the type of transport method you choose—i.e. an enclosed carrier or an open air carrier.
Open air carriers tend to be the most popular shipping method since they run cheaper than enclosed carry transports, but there are a few variables to keep in mind aside from just cost.
Open Air Carriers
You’ve likely seen a lot of open air carriers transport vehicles on the road.
Typically, they hold about nine to 10 cars at a time on two separate levels, each car safely secured to the base so it doesn’t move around.
These types of carriers are more readily available, which is part of the reason that they’re the more affordable option.
Having your car completely visible during the entire trip is also an advantage in that it allows the driver to notice any signs of damage immediately.
That being said, open air carriers mean that your car is exposed to the elements during transport, including sun and rain that comes its way.
Another notable aspect of an open air carry transport is timing.
Since open air carriers transport nearly a dozen vehicles at a time, they’re usually making multiple stops along their journey. This can push back the delivery date of your vehicle, and may also mean that your car is dropped off at a central depot in your area instead of directly at your door.
If you want your car to be completely protected during the shipping process you’ll want to choose an enclosed carrier, though it is going to cost you more.
Enclosed carriers have a few big advantages that warrant the price hike, including a lack of exposure to outside elements and higher overall security. And many times, there are only about three to five vehicles on the carrier at a time, which means you get your car back faster.
The biggest disadvantage, of course, is the price tag which can be 75% or more above those of open carrier transport. If you’re worried about exposure to the elements though, and especially if you’re shipping a luxury or classic car, it’s definitely worth looking into.
Getting Your Car Ready for Interstate Transport
To ensure your transport goes off without problems, prepare your car before it hits the road.
The auto transport company you work with will generally go over the specifics that you need to do prior to pick-up, but be prepared to do these tasks either way:
- Check your fuel gauge and ensure that it is no more than one-quarter full.
- Empty out all items from your car. The company you hire may require your car to be completely empty or may just have a set weight limit that you have to abide by.
- Remove all valuables, including those that don’t add weight on to your car, such as important documents in the glove compartment and standalone GPS devices.
- Check your car’s tyres to ensure that they are inflated and in good condition.
- Check your car’s battery to ensure that it is fully charged.
To be safe, it’s also a good idea to check your car closely for any existing damage and to photograph it from all angles. That way, if it incurs any damage on the road you will have proof that it was not pre-existing and can go through the appropriate insurance channels to be reimbursed.
Other Ways to Transport a Vehicle Interstate
Car transport companies aren’t your only option when it comes to interstate car shipping. Here are some other methods that you may want to consider.
Hitching your car to your moving truck
If you’re driving a moving truck to your destination you may be able to hitch your car to the back using a tow dolly or car trailer.
Check with your truck rental company to see if it’s something that they allow (if they do, most will also rent out the equipment that you need).
Do note however that this will add a bit more of a challenge to your drive in terms of mobility, so if you’re already uncomfortable about hauling a big moving truck, you may not want to deal with a car trailer too.
Hiring a driver
Professional driving companies (such as Driving Services Australia) allow you to hire a driver to make the trek for you in your car. This option can be pricey and it will put miles on your car.
Of course, if you are going to hire a driver, always go through a driving company, instead of just finding someone online. These professional transportation companies run checks on their drivers and have the move covered by insurance.