How to Transport a Car that Doesn’t Run to and from Hawaii

How to move a car that doesn’t run

How to move a car that doesn’t run? You might have purchased a lemon car that needs some love. Maybe you have a jalopy that’s loaded with sentimental value and you want to restore it. Or, you simply need to get your vehicle repaired for a minor issue.

Nonetheless, you know that your Non-operational vehicle needs to be transported and you’re looking for reliable options.


Key Highlights

  • Not all car shipping companies can ship inoperable vehicles due to required special equipment for loading.
  • To ship an inoperable car to Hawaii, you need to find a car shipping company with experience and prepare the car accordingly (clean, no leaks, all four wheels, rolls, brakes, steers).
  • The cost of shipping an inoperable car to Hawaii depends on distance, the chosen transport type (open or enclosed car transport), and the car shipping company.


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How to Transport a Car That Doesn’t Run to Hawaii

There are a couple of difficulties that are explicit to shipping a non-running car and a couple of challenges that come with shipping from Hawaii. 

The primary thing you need to know when shipping a car to Hawaii is that not every auto transport company will offer the service of inoperable car shipping due to the frequent requirement of special equipment(a piece of equipment called a winch) when trying to load an inoperable vehicle into the transport carrier as transport trucks don’t come with it. 

The auto transport companies that provide inoperable car shipping services usually have enclosed car carriers with a lift gate for loading and unloading the inoperable vehicles. This liftgate usually keeps the vehicle controlled and stable.

First, let’s get over a quick briefing to make sure you’re on the right track.

How to Move a Car that Doesn't Run

What is considered an inoperable car?

A non-running or inoperable vehicle is determined when the vehicle is not able to be operated on the road.

What are some common causes that classify it to be non-running?

  • Flat or missing tire

  • Broken windows or windshield

  • Missing engine

  • Missing battery

  • Broken transmission

  • Broken driveshaft

  • Missing or outdated license plates or other necessary documentation

  • Evidence of fire damage

  • Any obvious signs of having been abandoned (e.g: filled with garbage, excessive rust)

The list could be longer but I think you get the point; anything prohibiting it from being driven on the road is considered inoperable.


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General knowledge About Inoperable Vehicles 

You need to be clear about your intentions regarding the vehicle. Some states do not permit you to store the vehicles if it’s seen as an eyesore, especially in public areas.

In addition, it’s not only about what’s unsightly. Some of the issues it garners are vermin, toxic chemicals (which must be properly disposed of), and people who might want to strip it or use it for their personal use.

If it’s in an urban location, it might occupy parking space. Addedly, kids might play around with it which could potentially be dangerous for them, especially if it’s deteriorating.

Nonetheless, if you’re intention is to repair or restore it, it’s best to get coverage for it. In fact, in most states, if you have it registered you must have it insured. Talk to your insurance company about any available options and the storage requirements mentioned in the policy.

You’ll likely hear about comprehensive insurance (also known as comp-insurance); it covers non-accidental damages such as fire, theft, vandalism, and weather damage.

Now that we’re clear on the basics of non-running automobiles, you’re ready for what you came for.

How to Move a Car that Doesn’t Run to or from Hawaii?

There are a few different steps you need to take when shipping a car that doesn’t run. In this article, we’ll go over the steps in some detail.

To get the best quote it’s generally a good practice to contact at least 2 to 4 shippers to check the availability of the required services and to compare their prices, services, and customer support service.

The absolute first thing is to ensure the car shipping company you contact is capable (and willing) to ship your inoperable vehicle because not all car shipping companies have the special equipment and expertise required to ship a non-running vehicle.  

After contacting a couple of auto transport companies, it will be relatively easy to determine which car shipping company is experienced in offering quality service.

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How to Prepare Your Inoperable Vehicle for Hawaii Car Shipping

The first thing you need to know is that not all auto transport companies can accommodate your non-running vehicle as a means of safe transport; the carrier selected must have the proper equipment.

It’s fundamental to clarify to your car shipper transport coordinator the reason why it’s non-running; including the dimensions of the vehicle and any modifications that it has. These details define how the vehicle will be transported and the accurate pricing of your land and maritime shipping.

To prepare your non-running vehicle, be sure it:

  • Is clean
  • Doesn’t leak
  • Has all four wheels
  • Rolls, brakes, and steers
  • Is dropped off with a notarized letter permitting the carrier company to drop it at the port (if the owner of the vehicle won’t be able to do it themself)

As for the information that you’ll need to share, you must state:

  • Your VIN (you can find this on your vehicle registration certificate or usually someone on your dashboard)

  • The registration plate and the state it’s from

  • The color of the vehicle

  • An authorization letter (if you have a lien in your paperwork or if the vehicle is not under your name). This is ONLY required when shipping a car from Hawaii to the Mainland.

  • Clear out the fuel tank as there is no need for fuel in the vehicle to be transported; it will simply add to the weight, thereby subsequently expanding the vehicle cost

Remember: After moving your vehicle to Hawaii, You will need to take it to the Hawaii Vehicle Registration office within 30 days to register and title it.

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Related Article: How to Register a Car in Hawaii

Cost to Ship Inoperable Vehicles to and from Hawaii 

A car shipping cost is probably the greatest worry for the vast majority of shipping a vehicle. The cost might be changed based on the distance, open or closed, the type of vehicle, the season of the year, and the auto transport company you choose to ship your car to.

For more detail, read our updated blog post on “cost to ship a car to Hawaii“, or get the exact price by using our car shipping cost calculator below.

    Choose transport type
    Car Condition

    *We will use this info to contact you with a quote.

    What Type of Non-Running Vehicle Can I Ship to Hawaii 

    There is no limitation to the kind of inoperable vehicles that you can transport. This may include cars, SUVs, Sports Cars, trucks, military vehicles, and even large-inoperable vehicles are welcome also

    Shipping Non-Running Car or InOperable vehicles to and from Hawaii 

    As previously mentioned, if the vehicle rolls, brakes, steers, doesn’t leak, and has all 4 wheels, it is a feasible car shipment.

    However, what happens if your pickup/delivery location on the Mainland is not near the port (in San Diego)? You’ll need land transport with one of our partners (car carriers) who has the proper equipment to conveniently transport it to or from your location.

    Regardless of the type of shipment, your Car shippers coordinator will assign, it’s important to share any unusual quirks about the vehicle. You’ll want to avoid trouble resulting in a waste of time and possibly more resources. In the end, it’s about working as a team to make sure the experience goes as smoothly as possible.


    In conclusion, shipping a non-running car to or from Hawaii requires extra preparation and consideration compared to operational vehicles. While not all car shippers accept inoperable cars, there are reliable companies that can handle the job. Key things to remember include: finding a qualified auto transport company, prepping your vehicle (including draining the fuel tank), and providing necessary documentation. Once your car arrives in Hawaii, you’ll have 30 days to register it. Whether you’re shipping a classic car, SUV, or even a military vehicle, with careful planning you can successfully ship your inoperable car to or from Hawaii.

    Are you looking to work with a reliable car shipping company that can help you ship your inoperable car to or from Hawaii? Fill out the quote below to get started!

      Choose transport type
      Car Condition

      *We will use this info to contact you with a quote.


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      Mark Dugger

      Mark Dugger

      Born and raised in Southern California, grew up in an athletic environment where he excelled at football, baseball, wrestling, golf, skiing, and water skiing. He chose computers as his professional calling, accepting the position of Systems Officer for a prominent cruise line. For the next ten years, he would circle the globe multiple times, visiting over 100 countries. Mark joined AutoStar Transport Express just 1 year after it was created. He is one of the pillars the company was built on. He started off as a coordinator, he excelled though the years with his hard work and dedication. His job performance not only grew his career but our company and as a whole. Mark now holds the position of operations manager overseeing the engine that makes our company run.
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