How to Ship My Car Across Country?

What are the best options for taking your car with you on a cross-country move? We provide an inclusive overview of available options.
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How To Get My Car Cross Country During A Move - Moving APT
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Your car is the second most expensive thing you own, right next to your house and it most probably ranks high in your heart as a dear possession.

Hence, it becomes a terrible headache once it’s time to move cross country; the resounding question in your mind: how do I get my car, safely, cross country? You can’t carry it with you in your briefcase, and you definitely wouldn’t dream of leaving it behind.

You probably asked advice from a friend and he said through drunk lips, “Dude, it’s a car, why not simply drive it?” But you know the truth that you would rather find a different approach, and then you tried to google your problem away.

That didn’t work either as you only saw companies touting themselves as the best shippers in the country. Somehow, Lady Luck smiled on you, and you found this article, this life-saving beauty of words written with a clear-cut intention to save you the trouble of figuring out how to move your car cross country.

There are four ways you can get your car moved across the thousands of miles that stand between you and your new location and the very first is the solution your drunken friend suggested.

Top Tips How To Get Your Car Cross Country

1. Drive the Car Yourself

It’s a car! Drive it. Sounds pretty easy, your car is a means of transportation, you can literally just pack your things into your car and make the move while enjoying the beautiful scenery of places you never thought existed and basking in the thrills of a new adventure

Don’t forget that you also get boasting rights and stories to awe anyone you would meet from then on. Just imagine the admiration of people’s faces when they discover that you drove from New York to California! And how you met Keanu Reeves and became his best friend, but most importantly, in a world where so few do anything that’s story-worthy, you did something worthy, you drove cross country.

Driving your car across the country yourself is, theoretically, the cheapest way to get it moved.  Accounting for fuel, food, and lodging in cheap hotels along the way, you’ll most probably spend less than $1000, which is cheaper than all the other options available for moving your car.

However, there are drawbacks to driving your car cross country. The biggest drawback, of course, is the amount of time you would spend driving your car thousands of miles and the stress that comes from that. The second biggest is Murphy’s Law.

You see, Murphy’s law roughly states that if there’s a chance that a thing would go wrong, it most probably will; and there a lot of things that can go wrong when you drive your car across the country yourself, you could get in an accident, or have your car break down, you could get your things stolen or suffer from so much road exhaustion that you suffer a break down in health, any amount of things could go wrong and Murphy’s law assures you that they will.

But if you would like to dare the odds and join the ranks of the many that get to boast online to everyone who would listen that you achieved this feat, or maybe you just want to save some bucks, then here are some tips for you.

2. Make sure your car is in good working condition

This point cannot be stressed enough. If you want to drive your car across the distance, make sure it can go the distance. Check your oil levels, tires, the health of your engine and everything. Ascertain that your car can make the trip

3. Do your research

Make sure you find out what routes are safest and how far you would have to drive to find hotels to lodge in for the night. Talking about hotels, make sure you confirm whether there would be festivals or any other activities that would lead to a situation where all available hotels are booked up.

4. Make a plan

Using the information from your research, plan your trip. This doesn’t mean that you have to follow the plan to the letter, but having a plan would make the flow of your cross country drive better. Just make the plan and thank us later.

5. Do not sleep in your car

No matter what you do, do not sleep in your car. Just don’t. Sleeping in your car exposes you to risks that you should avoid, the biggest of all being robbery. We know that this depends on what part of America you’re driving through, but we’d still advise you to just don’t.

There you have it, your guide to moving your car cross country by driving it yourself, if you do not like this option and think that it might be too much of a headache, then read on to the next option.

6. Pay Someone to Drive Your Car for You

You don’t want to stress yourself and go through all the trouble of driving your car 3000 miles while watching your back for mishaps that may happen? Then you can pay someone to drive your car 3000 miles for you.

There are companies that offer the option of a professional driver to help you get your car cross country, but it’s a pretty expensive service, costing well above $1000.

The hired driver would be responsible for the fueling of the car, his feeding, lodging and other things that may arise during the trip but you would remain responsible for insurance.

A cheaper way to exploit this option is to pay a college student who wants to travel in that direction or a friend who is willing to make the trip to drive your car all the way for you, and then pay for their return flight.

This option looks hassle-free, though it would put a lot of miles on your odometer as well as subject your car to a lot of wear and tear, not to mention the risk involved in handling your keys to a complete stranger and hoping they are trustworthy.

If you would like to exploit this option, we would advise you to only pay a part of the agreed amount of money in advance and pay the rest on the safe delivery of your car. If on the other hand, you do not want the wear and tear and risks involved with this option, check out the third option.

7. Shipping Your Car by Truck

This is most probably the most popular way people move their vehicles cross country. Acquiring the services of an auto transport company assures you that your car would be handled with the expertise that comes from years of experience.

Shipping your car by truck usually takes longer time than the other two options discussed above, but it protects your car from wear and tear, does not add a single mile to your odometer, and allows you the comfort of leaving the hard work of moving your car across thousands of miles to others.

However the average cost of shipping a car cross country is usually pretty high, sometimes inching past the $2000 line, though this depends on several conditions like the distance of travel, point of pick up and whether you want home delivery or would pick it up at an agreed terminal.

The type of carrier employed would also largely affect the cost of shipping, an open carrier is at least 60 % cheaper than an enclosed carrier, but an enclosed carrier offers more protection for your car. This makes the enclosed carrier a suitable option for transporting luxury cars.

Despite the reported high costs, there are a few cheap moving companies that offer credible auto transport services alongside moving your properties. If you’d like to employ this option in getting your car cross country then we have a few tips for you.

8. Make Sure You Get a Car Shipping Quote

Don’t just ask a friend or get some information from the internet, fill the car shipping quote form of several companies, at least seven or ten, and get as many quotes as possible, this will allow you to weigh the offers and services of the companies that offer cross country vehicle shipping, and choose the one that you think would best serve your purposes.

9. Check the Car Shipping Company Credentials

Now most auto transport companies you’d find online are not companies that directly handle the transportation of your car, but brokers that would arrange and scout for a truck driver that would transport your car, and this means that you need to be careful while choosing a company to transport your car, so as not to entrust it in the wrong hands.

Overall, it’s just much smarter to check out the credentials of the auto transport company that would be moving your car.

Before arranging a trip with a shipping company, check the company’s credentials online at, you can also check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration using the company’s motor carrier to number to ensure that it is licensed to do business.

Finally checking with the Better Business Bureau would make an all-round check. While moving your car, nothing would feel better, than the assurance that you have entrusted it in the right hands.

10. Book a Shipping Appointment

Once you have settled on a company ship your car, you would then need to book a shipping appointment with them. Some companies still require that you speak with physical representation in order to book your shipment while many others would allow you the comfort of filling the shipment online.

After you’ve done this, the company will propose a pickup date and location, depending on the amount you want to spend, you can usually choose between getting your car picked up at your doorstep or drive it to an agreed location for pick up.

11. Prepare Your Car for Shipping

Preparing your car for shipping is an important step, this saves your car from any risks as well as prevents mishaps that may damage your car and saves you from losing your insurance claim should anything happen to your car while it’s in transit, which is a rare occurrence if you’re shipping with a verified auto transport company but still a possibility.

Begin your preparation by cleaning your car thoroughly and taking note of all scratches, dents or chips on its body. Also, note the mileage on your odometer, you can employ a camera in doing this and it will help with inspecting your car for damages after delivery.

Remove everything from the car, most companies would not allow you to pack your belongings in your car, as it might put them in a bad position should any of your things get missing during the trip.

Make sure you disable security alarms, remove everything from the passenger compartment, and remove any aftermarket accessories from the car. Your personal items are not insured during the shipping, and the carriers would definitely not take responsibility for the damage that may occur in the interior of the car due to the movement of things you left inside of it, so make sure you remove all that’s yours.

12. Receiving Your Car at Shipping Destination

At the point of receiving your car, ensure you inspect it for any damage or missing parts. Also, check your odometer to ensure that your car has not been driven anywhere by anyone during the shipping. Usually, this is also the point where you pay the truck driver for the service provided.

There you have it, an option that’s both expensive and complicated but also convenient. There’s still a fourth option though, so read on and find out if there’s a better option than shipping your car by truck.

13. Shipping Your Car by Rail

Few people know that they can get their cars across the country by rail, but that’s an available service, and it supposedly costs less than shipping by truck for distances exceeding 800 miles. While being transported by rail, your car sits secured in an enclosed space, giving it protection from sunlight, rain, and other unpleasant elements.

This method of transporting cars is however majorly used by car dealers who transport a large number of cars, an individual looking to ship a single car by rail would be hard-pressed to find an open slot or schedule a specific date for pick up.

Another factor to consider is the fact that the option of rail transport for autos is only available in select locations and would still require a truck for pick up and drop off for an additional fee; this probably makes it stressful and possibly more expensive than shipping by truck.

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