Cheapest Way To Ship A Car: Overview

Cheapest Way to Ship A CarWhat is the cheapest way to ship a car? The cheapest way depends on what type of truck you will need for your specific vehicle. Are you looking to ship a Ferrari? If so, the cheapest way to ship it would likely be enclosed transport. While more expensive than open transport, it protects your vehicle from the elements which is great if your vehicle is rare or expensive. Open transport is the method of choice for most customers, though. This is because there are more open carriers on the road than any other and they can handle most any vehicle. If the vehicle you need shipped is one you drive daily, open shipping is the way to go. It is almost always the cheapest way to ship a car. But that breaks down the trucks; what about methods?

Cheapest Way to Ship A Car: Terminal-to-Terminal Car Shipping

No matter which way you look at it, the cheapest way to ship a car is via terminal-to-terminal. Terminals can be a great way to ship a car if you’re pressed for cash, but we usually don’t recommend it. It is often slower and less convenient than door to door shipping. It helps that many major cities have a terminal or two you can drop your car off at, and nowadays they’re fairly secure. However, you still take a risk with terminal shipping because you have to leave your vehicle there. It is out of your sight, often for days or weeks at a time. Terminal shipping can also take more time than door to door as not all carriers want to stop at a terminal to begin with. This can lead to longer pickup times for terminal transportation services.

Cheapest Way to Ship A Car: Door-To-Door

Door-to-door shipping on an open transport truck is the standard method of shipping a vehicle in the industry today, and so in terms of standards it really is the best way to ship a car for cheap. We recommend door-to-door shipping for anyone shipping a standard vehicle they drive daily. All transporters are insured at a federally-mandated minimum $750,000, with many simply going up to $1 million worth of insurance on their truck. Open air car shipping is the cheapest way to ship a car safely and securely, and we stand behind that statement.

If you are interested in shipping your vehicle don’t fret. Whether you need terminal shipping or door to door transportation services, fill out our free car shipping calculator HERE. It shouldn’t take you more than a minute or two from start to finish, and will get you a free quote from American Auto Shipping. We are fully licensed and bonded and only work with top-rated insurance companies and will be the cheapest car shipping company that moves your vehicle in a reasonable period of time. This way, you know you’ll be in good hands no matter what. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us any time at 800-930-7417.


08/16/2019 - We're officially out of the busy season. August 15th usually is the date when it becomes clear the summer rush is over. This tends to result in lower prices to ship your vehicle. Make sure to contact us for a quote and see how we can save you money on your next shipment.


Inclement weather is going to be making its impacts on auto transport routes soon. Heavy snows can cause delays, and areas that see a lot of problematic weather tend to increase in price a bit, such as the Midwest and central New England. Keep that in mind when searching for rates and get the best rates before the weather changes for the worse.


If your vehicle doesn’t roll (as in, it doesn’t have tires), a forklift will likely be required to load and unload it. Carriers don’t take forklifts with them, so it’ll be on you to make sure there’s a method to get the vehicle onto and off the truck at pickup and delivery. This will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.


If you’re pressed for time and money, shipping to and from major metro areas is always cheaper than the suburbs around them. You could potentially save some money by moving your pickup or delivery location to a larger city nearby.


For oversized freight, which includes large pickup trucks, ice cream vans and other box vans, construction equipment, and any other larger-than-normal vehicle, we need the dimensions in order to get you an accurate quote. Please have them on hand when you contact us for a quote.


Typically, household items are not allowed in a vehicle that is being shipped. Many carriers will still take vehicles with household items in them so long as they are A) out of sight, and B) not over 100lbs. If your items exceed 100lbs or are visible from outside the vehicle, additional fees will likely apply, and at the carrier’s discretion as well. Try to clean your vehicle of any household items to avoid unnecessary fees and delays.


Remember, pickup trucks are much larger than a standard vehicle and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. To get the most accurate quotes for your pickup, especially quotes that will move it when you need it moved, make sure to have all available information on the pickup including modifications, lift height, tire size, etc.


We offer returning customer discounts! If you’ve shipped a vehicle with us before, and need to ship another, we offer a discount for that. This is great if you are a dealership or someone who deals with transporting a lot of vehicles, especially on a regular basis. Speak to a representative for more information.


If you are a member of the armed forces, you qualify for a military discount! Discounts are a great way to save money on your shipment, especially since ours comes out of our own fee. Discounts don’t affect the price you pay the carrier, which means they won’t affect how quickly we find a carrier to move your vehicle.


Getting the right price is important, but it can be difficult depending on who you’re talking to. Multiple quotes makes it easier to find companies offering competitive prices, but you never want to book with the lowest price you get. That ends up taking longer to ship and may end up costing you more in the long run.


A vehicle that doesn’t run will cost more to ship, usually about $200 more. If your vehicle doesn’t run because of a battery or spark plugs or a starter, you could actually save money by having that issue fixed before transport and getting it running. This way, you avoid paying extra to ship a non-operating vehicle.


Many companies will be starting to lower prices as we get into the fall shipping season. It isn’t happening yet, at least not on major routes, but we’ve already seen the beginning of the trend away from summer prices. Keep an eye out on quotes and make sure to compare prices thoroughly so you know you’re getting the best rate.

July 2019


Many companies offer what is called “standby shipping,” but don’t be fooled – standby in auto transport means giving you a deliberately low rate in the hopes that some carrier will take it despite being too low. While this saves you money, it takes weeks – sometimes months – to find a carrier this way.


If you’re shipping overseas to Alaska or Hawaii, you should expect prices in the triple digits. Budget shipping overseas isn’t a thing, really – the only way you save there is on the overland transport to the port. Port prices are fixed so don’t let anyone make you believe otherwise.


Prices are almost always estimates. Auto transport companies set their prices to help your vehicles move at competitive rates. We are constantly working with carriers on adjusting prices and making sure that our prices remain competitive. This is why it’s important to always make sure you gather multiple quotes before you book – different companies price freight differently.


August tends to see the industry start slowing back down, which usually results in prices on major routes beginning to drop. While it’s still important to book at a reasonable price, lower prices might move cars more quickly, especially as the month drags on.


Piggybacking a bit off yesterday’s tip, longer pickup trucks tend to cost more to ship. This is due to the length and additional weight that comes from the bed. It’s important that you let us know just how big your pickup truck is. It could mean the difference between a successful shipment and a canceled dispatch.


Did you know that even the difference between a coupe and a sedan can make or break a price? Sedans tend to be longer and heavier as they are built to hold more people. As such, the difference could result in a difference in price. Always be thorough when telling your representative what kind of vehicle you are shipping.


It can be a really good idea to get quotes to ship a car early as it could result in lower prices. However, prices on routes fluctuate over time, and they could end up increasing during your waiting period. Make sure that if you get quotes a while before your shipment to get them updated before you book.


As mentioned in Friday’s tip, dimensions of an oversize vehicle can have a drastic impact on your overall price. A difference of just an inch or two can be the difference between a carrier being able to take it or not. Accurate dimensions can also yield a cheaper price, sometimes by hundreds, as opposed to a rough estimate of the vehicle’s size.


Motorhomes and recreational vehicles are not as easy to ship as standard vehicles. As such, it’s important to have the dimensions on hand when getting quotes and to not be intimidated by high prices. It’ll be expensive to ship regardless of the route.


Terminal to terminal shipping is slowly being phased out of the industry, but we still know a few that are in major metropolitan areas. They aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but they can still be effective at saving you a bit of cash.


Pickup trucks are more expensive to ship because they are larger, and the larger they are, the more expensive they will be to move.


Own or operate a dealership? If so, you can get great returning customer rates if you use American Auto Shipping to move your vehicles! Give us a call and speak to one of our representatives about how to get frequent shipper discounts and more.


Don’t forget to ask your representative if there are any discounts you might qualify for. The most common are military discounts for military members, and members of AAA, but there might be more, so don’t be afraid to ask.


If you need your vehicle picked up right away, ask us about our priority pricing. Priority adds extra money to an order to ensure it gets picked up when you need it picked up. Speak to a rep to learn more.


A big reason why it’s important to go with a price that’s more in the middle of the range is that prices can change quickly. A low price won’t get a car moved especially if prices on the route increase.


Don’t be surprised if your vehicle is assigned to a carrier the same day you book. We price our vehicles to move within one to seven days. Sometimes, they move pretty much immediately.


It’s true that in auto transport, cheaper isn’t always better. However, the highest price isn’t always the best either. Higher prices will garner more interest from carriers, but sometimes it might just be too high and you can get a better rate that’s more in the middle.


Most carriers don’t mind if you have personal items in a vehicle they are scheduled to pick up. However, they need to know about it, and they may have to charge more due to the added weight. If you’re planning on leaving anything in your vehicle during transport, you need to let us know.


If you’re unsure about how much it will cost to ship a vehicle that’s not a standard size, give us a call! We can get you a price to ship just about any vehicle under the sun, no matter its size or weight. Let us help you transport your heavy duty equipment or other large or unwieldy vehicles.


Now’s probably the best time to book an order to ship a vehicle, as prices tend to be higher between Independence Day and Labor Day, and drop after the latter.


If you’re shipping a pickup truck it’s imperative to understand how weight and size will impact your price. Larger trucks will cost more to ship no matter who you ship with, so make sure to get the right rate as opposed to just the lowest. This way, you’re not stuck waiting for a carrier that will never show because you’re not offering enough to ship your vehicle.


If you’re on the fence about shipping multiple vehicles, it’s almost always going to net you a lower rate per vehicle to ship two at a time as opposed to one.


If you’re looking to lock in a great rate before the holiday starts on Thursday, make sure to give us a call and get a quote! Carriers are taking what they can now so they can spend the 4th with their families, which means that some will be taking freight at lower rates to fill their trucks.

June 2019


It’s always better to book a shipment with a reputable company who is priced properly as opposed to a company that has a low rate but doesn’t have the ratings to back it up.


Sometimes the cheapest quote you get isn’t the best quote for your needs, especially on more popular routes between major metro areas. Make sure to compare rates and find the right one for your needs.

Recent Auto Transport Reviews

Read what some of our customers have to say about getting the cheapest price to ship their car

Great Overall Service For A Great Price

I love the service they provided. The communication was spot on and vehicle arrived earlier than expected. We had some unexpected changes to our plans and the carrier accommodated us. I would totally use them again.

Andy P

Transport Reviews

Earl T.

Phoenix, AZ

Transport Reviews

Sedan And Pickup Transported

I needed to transport a car and truck from the SW US to the East Coast US. The transportation price was very competitive. I did shop around for competing prices and American Auto Shipping came in as the lowest. I even got a discount for 2 cars transported. My contact, Aerin, was very supportive throughout the process even when I was indecisive. The cars are insured while in transport and you're in contact with the truck driver when they're in range of the destinations. My cars actually arrived earlier than expected which was a pleasant surprise. I'd be happy to transport again with them.

Great Price And Fast Delivery

They were very helpful in shipping my personal car across the US. They had the lowest prices and were very fast at delivering. Would definitely recommend.


Transport Reviews

Dave Armstrong

Auto Transport Content Guru at American Auto Shipping


Dave has been a part of the auto transport industry since 2007. He has worked in every part of the industry except driving a transport truck itself. Withover a decade of experience shipping cars, Dave knows all the ins and outs of the industry.

Since 2007 Dave has written all the content and blogs for American Auto Shipping and during this time added the duties of customer support and transport logistics.

He currently resides in Washington with his three kids and their mom and cat. A fan of Marvel movies and good stories, when not shipping cars Dave can be found working on his novel, enjoying a good book or playing some tournament HALO.