What is the Cheapest Way to Ship a Car

What is the Cheapest Way to Ship a Car

Are you considering moving to a new city, a place, or a town? You may be thinking of what is the cheapest way to ship a car to the place where you are/will be. Well, there are plenty of cheapest car shipping options available to you when it comes to vehicle transport. Let’s check out a few….

The most common and cheapest way to ship a car cross country is by open transport with the terminal to terminal delivery. Make sure you choose only the best company to ship your car.

There is, however, a lot more to this answer.

Let’s dig deeper into the 6 various car shipping options and see which ones suit you the best.

Transporting a vehicle by Car Carrier Trailer

open car transportIt is considered to be the most used method of shipping a vehicle. You might have noticed heavy multi-wheeled carriers carrying so many cars moving on the roads in the United States. It’s easy and usually fast depending upon the shipping company you hire.

Despite being the most common method, it is not always the most affordable. Shipping your by enclosed carrier or door-to-door service can make shipping a car by trailer quite expensive.

This option will also vary in price depending on the distance you’re sending your car. Typical car shipping costs for a shorter distance up to 500 miles are $1.5 per mile or around $450 for 300 miles.

The cost of shipping between 500 and 1,200 miles is about $0.75 per mile. More than 1,200 miles will cost about 60 cents per mile.

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    Is open transport the cheapest way to ship a car cross country?

    Yes, open transport is still consistently the cheapest way to ship a car. Open car carriers can transport 10 vehicles at a time, making them more cost-effective and easier to arrange than enclosed trailers.


    • Ease/Convenience. ( A phone call to the company usually gets the job done)
    • Insurance: (You can claim damage if there’s any during the shipping process)
    • Cost-Effective: (Open Car Carrier Service is the most economical type of transport. )
    • Fast and Efficient Service: Over 90% of truckers use open road trailers, which means more options to end up with your car, so open car transport is faster.
    • Multiple car transfer (You can transfer a number of cars on one go)


    Open auto transport poses a small risk of rocks and other debris hitting the vehicle, but the risk is about the same as if the vehicle were driven. Damage can occur (gas leakage/worn brakes, bad road conditions, etc.)

    How much does enclosed auto transport cost?

    It is usually more expensive to ship a car enclosed than to ship it in an open carrier. Typically, owners of luxury, exotic, and sports cars and classic cars opt for enclosed car transport.


    • Extra Protection: Car transport that is enclosed protects your vehicle from the elements, rocks, and other external damage.
    • Stress-Free Experience: The driver will come to you directly. With this service, you won’t need to do any work and can just sit back and wait for your car at the destination.
    • Convenience: Since enclosed auto transport is a less frequent choice, auto transport companies are more flexible in scheduling pickups and drop-offs.


    Expensive: The only disadvantage of enclosed auto transport is that it is more expensive than transport by open carriers. In most cases, enclosed auto transport will cost about 60% more than shipping an open vehicle.

    See Also: How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car by Trailers

    Ready to ship your car with AutoStar Transport Express?

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    Car Shipping by Train Across the Country

    Train Car TransportThere are also train lines running in the United States which can transport your car efficiently. It is cheaper than road transfer. A train is the cheapest way to ship a car cross country compared to a car trailer since several cars need to be shipped and a train uses much less fuel per car than a trailer.

    Apart from being cheaper than shipping a car by truck, auto shipping by rail allows you to load up your car with boxes before it is loaded. As a result, you may be able to save money on shipping for your belongings.

    Also, the services you prefer can affect the cost. You can ship a vehicle by train either open or enclosed. Open transport is cheaper than enclosed transport.

    When using open transport, be aware of how long it may take to get your vehicle fixed if it is damaged by weather, like hail. In the same way as the car shipping trailer, the price will depend on the distance and the features you want.


    • Enclosed carrier/Open-carrier option available
    • They have insurance by the law.
    • Ship the whole bulk at a cheaper price.
    • Taking the train has a lower carbon footprint, so it’s better for the environment.
    • The majority of major routes in the US are served by rail.
    • It’s a well-managed system.


    • In many cases, it isn’t the cheapest way to ship a car when you consider additional costs, such as getting your car to the station.
    • The issue with the train transfer is the location. If you live close to the train terminal, it’s easy to access. Otherwise, you’ll need to hire a local car hauler to take it to the train terminal or receive your vehicle from where it is delivered.
    • In most cases, shipping a car by rail takes much longer.

    Air Car Transportair transport is one of the Mode of Car Transportation

    Airfreight, or the transport of a car by plane, is the most expensive method of transportation, no matter where the car is going and how far it must go. Prices are typically at least 2-3 times higher than shipping by ocean container.

    Air Car Transport sounds like the quickest method of transporting a car, yet like other procedures mentioned above, it also comes with merits and demerits.


    • Great for an expensive and rare car
    • Quick delivery: It is the most efficient method for shipping a car, and typically takes one or two days
    • Overseas shipping: An individual might choose to ship their car by airplane if they have to ship it overseas.


    • Can be extraordinarily expensive, sometimes more than the vehicle itself.
    • It can sometimes take as much time as a land transfer via truck/carrier.

    Transport Via Shipship transfer

    This is one of the most popular methods for shipping cars to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or any other island. It costs around $1,000 to $5,000 to ship a vehicle by boat. You have two options when it comes to transporting your car. It’s possible to transport your vehicle by Roll On Roll Off (RORO) or by container.

    RoRo Shipping

    Roll-on Roll-off also known as RoRo are vessels built for shipping wheeled cargo, it is a shipping method by which vehicles roll-on/roll off the ramp, that is how they are driven on and off the ship.

    Once vehicles are loaded on the RoRo vessel, every vehicle will get tied down securely in its assigned spot and the vehicles will have all the protection against external elements.

    This is the most well-known, secure, effective, and cheapest way to ship a car When compared to container shipping.

    RoRo is the best choice if you meet the following criteria:

    • You want your vehicle to be shipped faster
    • your vehicle is in running condition
    • Car Owner Doesn’t have to ship their personal belongings with the car

    Container Shipping

    If you want a more secure way to ship your luxury car, container shipping is the ideal choice for you. you have two options to consider between an exclusive container and a shared container shipping.

    Shared Container Shipping

    In shared container shipping, more than one vehicle is loaded into a container. To leave the warehouse for shipping, the container should be totally loaded up with vehicles. However, This method doesn’t provide fixed departure dates as the RoRo method does.

    However, shared container shipping has its benefits as far as cost-viability. The shipping costs will be split among the vehicles loaded into the container. 

    Also, customers cab ship extra items in the backseat of their vehicle, which is generally thought to be the only genuine benefit container shipping has compared to RoRo.

    Exclusive Container Shipping

    Instead of the shared container, an exclusive container means that a vehicle doesn’t share the container with any other vehicle. This is also a decent alternative if owners need to dispatch their personal items along with the vehicle. However, exclusive container shipping is the most expensive auto shipping method, compared to shared container and RoRo shipping.

    Container Shipping is a perfect option for shipping a luxury or exotic car because shipping the vehicle through a container ensures that it will arrive at its desired destination without damages.


    • Multiple cars can go in one ship
    • It’s safe.


    • It is slower than the other modes
    • Routes and terminals are fixed
    • There are port duties/taxes involved
    • Tracking is hard during transportation

    Using a Drive Away Auto Transport Service

    hiring someone to drive your car across the country.A drive-away service is when you hire someone to drive your car and they arrange a trained driver to physically drive your car. That individual will drive your car to the destination. Drive away is not a common practice that people adopt for certain reasons, and is usually reserved for RV’s, travel trailers large trucks, etc.

    With that being said, a driveaway service offers many advantages compared to more traditional carrier service, but it also comes with a few disadvantages as well.



    • Can be more expensive than in a truck
    • Wear and tear happens
    • Multiple car transfer costs more as more drivers are involved.

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    Should I Drive a Car Myself?

    Driving your car is almost always cheaper than shipping it, especially for shorter moves, but auto transport is a lot more convenient and worth the price if you’re moving over 500 miles

    It might seem like a good idea to make the drive yourself so you can save some money, but it could end up causing you more trouble (and more money) than it’s worth if you’re moving for a long distance.

    Your car’s parts, from its tires to its engine, will only last so long before they become unreliable and need to be replaced. It is also not worth as much when you try to sell or trade-in a car that has many miles logged on the odometer. As a result, you reduce the resale value of your car and shorten its life by one month.


    • It’s exciting for short distances
    • Independence of stopping over for food, snacks, etc.
    • Beautiful scenery comes along the way


    • You might not find great food along the way
    • Roadkill- seeing dead animal scenes on the road can be disturbing for some people.
    • Weather/ natural occurrences are unpredictable
    • Accidents can happen due to heavy traffic and large vehicles like high-speed carriers
    • Darker Roads( Some roads are deserted and not safe for driving)

    Cheapest Way to Ship a Car (At a Glance)

    Car Shipping Carrier Air Transport Sea Transport Drive Away ServiceDrive it yourself
    Convenient/Affordable by most peopleFaster and high-class serviceAlmost as expensive as the truck servicePersonalized Service makes it expensive than sipping by auto transport companyExciting and affordable
    Open auto transport is cheapest way to ship a car but exposed to natural elements, like weatherGreat to transport expensive carsCarries in bulkIt’s faster,
    Door to door service
    Weather/ natural occurrences are unpredictable
    Enclosed auto transport is 40% expensive car shipping method than open carrier but more secureExtremely ExpensiveGood for long distances/overseas transportWear and tear involved
    Due to wear and tear involved, the resale value of your car is reduced

    What’s the Best Way To Ship A Car Across The Country?

    Open transport is far safer, hassle-free, and the cheapest way to ship a car. Open car carriers can accommodate 10 cards at once, which makes it the much easier and cheapest way to ship a car.

    Your car and you are companions. That’s why your safety and the safety of your vehicle are number one. To make your search ask friends, acquaintances, or call AutoStar Transport Express directly at 888-802-8250.

    You’ll find so much info regarding your car shipping.

    Take notes while you do a thorough search and make comparisons of all kinds, from prices to facilities, time, insurance, and more. Reading online reviews helps greatly as well.

    Check for the legitimacy of the shipping company online.

    Call Us 888 802 8250, Best Auto Transport Quote

      Get your instant quote now!

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      Choose transport type

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      *We will use this info to contact you with a quote. We will never share your info