Tips for Hassle-Free Car Shipping Across the United States

Shipping a car across the United States can be a daunting task, but with the right preparation and knowledge, it can be a smooth and stress-free process. Whether you’re relocating, buying a vehicle from a distant seller, or sending a car to a family member, these tips will help you navigate the car shipping process with ease.

1. Research and Choose a Reputable Auto Shipping Company

The first and most crucial step is to select a reputable auto shipping company. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

  • Check Reviews and Ratings

Read online reviews and check ratings on platforms like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Google Reviews. Look for consistent positive feedback and any red flags in customer experiences.

  • Verify Credentials

Ensure the company is registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and has valid insurance coverage. This guarantees that they comply with federal regulations and can legally operate as a transport service.

  • Get Multiple Quotes

Obtain quotes from several companies to compare prices and services. Be wary of extremely low quotes, as they might indicate subpar service or hidden fees.

2. Plan and Book in Advance

  • Schedule Early

Plan your car shipment well in advance, especially during peak seasons like summer or around holidays. Booking early ensures availability and might also get you better rates.

  • Flexibility with Dates

If possible, be flexible with your pickup and delivery dates. Flexibility can lead to lower costs and more scheduling options.

3. Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipping

  • Clean Your Car

Thoroughly clean your car inside and out before shipping. This helps in inspecting the vehicle for any pre-existing damage and ensures it arrives in a presentable condition.

  • Document the Condition

Take detailed photos of your car from various angles, noting any existing scratches, dents, or other damage. These photos will be invaluable if any disputes arise regarding the condition of the car upon delivery.

  • Remove Personal Items

Remove all personal items from the car. Auto transport companies typically do not allow personal belongings inside the vehicle during shipping due to safety and insurance regulations.

  • Check for Leaks and Mechanical Issues

Ensure there are no fluid leaks and that the car is in good working condition. If there are any mechanical issues, inform the shipping company beforehand.

  • Disable Alarms

Turn off any car alarms to prevent them from going off during transport.

4. Understand the Shipping Process

  • Pickup and Delivery

On the scheduled pickup day, the carrier will inspect your car and document its condition. You’ll need to sign a Bill of Lading, which outlines the terms of the shipment. Upon delivery, the carrier will inspect the car again and you’ll sign the final Bill of Lading to confirm the car’s condition.

  • Tracking

Most reputable auto shipping companies offer tracking services, allowing you to monitor your car’s progress throughout the journey. Make sure to get the tracking details from your chosen company.

5. Be Prepared for Delivery

  • Inspect Your Car

Upon delivery, thoroughly inspect your car for any damage. Compare it with the pre-shipping photos to ensure there are no new dents, scratches, or other issues.

  • Sign the Bill of Lading

If everything is in order, sign the final Bill of Lading. If there are any discrepancies, document them immediately and contact the shipping company to file a claim.


Car Shipping across the United States doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By choosing a reputable auto shipping company, planning ahead, and properly preparing your vehicle, you can ensure a hassle-free process. Following these tips will help you navigate the car shipping journey with confidence and peace of mind.


1. How much does it cost to ship a car across the country?

The cost of shipping a car varies depending on factors like distance, type of transport (open or enclosed), and the time of year. On average, it can range from $500 to $1,500.

2. How long does car shipping take?

Shipping time depends on the distance and the specific route. Typically, it takes 1-2 weeks for cross-country shipments.

3. Can I ship a non-running car?

Yes, many auto transport companies can ship non-running cars, but it may require special equipment and incur additional costs. Make sure to inform the company about the condition of the car beforehand.

4. Is my car insured during transport?

Reputable auto transport companies provide insurance coverage for your vehicle during shipping. Verify the coverage details with the company before booking.

5. Can I track my car during shipping?

Most reputable auto shipping companies offer tracking services, allowing you to monitor your car’s progress. Ensure you get the tracking information when you book the shipment.

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