Step-by-Step Guide to Shipping Your Car Across the Country

Four Easy to Follow Steps for Cross-Country Auto Transport

You’ve finally located the car you have been searching for. Congratulations! Do you need the new car picked up from a dealer? Or a private buyer? Maybe you want to send your college student or military personnel their car from home? Do you have a big move planned to a new home? Are you driving the moving truck and someone else needs to drive the cars?

The biggest question is… are you traveling a long distance, maybe even coast to coast?

In this article, you will learn all the steps to seamlessly ship your car cross-country, with the complete peace of mind a professional car transport company provides.

Let’s get started with the basics and throw in advice along the way.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car Cross-Country?

First, you must know there is no simple answer to the question of vehicle transport cost. Whether you are traveling coast to coast or New York to Miami, the distance for your move is the largest factor in transportation cost. Shorter distances up to 500 miles may cost around $1.00 per mile, but as the distance increase, the prices decrease. You can expect to pay approximately $.40 to $.60 per mile for cross-country shipping.

Here is a list of factors figured into your instant quote:

  • Distance, of course.
  • Make, model, and year of the vehicle.
  • Length and Height of the vehicle.
  • Vehicle condition
  • Time of the year
  • Transport type: Open or Enclosed Transport
  • Pick up and Drop off Locations

It is a good idea, when researching car carriers, to get multiple quotes and average them to know where they fall. Keep in mind the services the companies offer and their reputations. In other words, do your research!

TIP: The cheapest Auto Transport Company is not necessarily the best company.

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car Cross-Country?

In today’s culture, clients usually want what they want right now! Other than calling a genie out of a lamp, your car will take a few days to arrive. As with everything regarding car shipping, there are factors to consider…

  1. Distance, again, of course.
  2. Weather conditions.
  3. Traffic patterns
  4. Both locations (urban or rural)
  5. Other transports on the same car carrier.

Shipping times average 4 to 7 days for 1,000 – 2,000 miles and up to 14 days for 2,500 miles and up. Drivers can usually cover 500 miles per day.

Now let’s get into exactly how to ship your car cross-country with these 4 Easy to Follow Steps.

  1. Get a Quote from a Reputable Auto Transport Service.

    Affordability is usually the first concern for anyone shipping such a large and valuable package across the country. This is where researching car shipping quotes can be time-consuming, but worth it in the end.

    Aim for 5 good quotes from car shipping companies that meet the following criteria:

    1.  Are they Licensed?
    2.  Are they open 7 days a week?
    3.  Do they have a reputation for being good communicators along the trip?
    4.  Do they offer varied quotes with all the types in consideration?
    5.  What kind of insurance policy do they carry?
    6.  Do they advertise their customer testimonials?
    7.  Be sure they comply with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).

    Tiger Auto Transport meets all those qualifications and more!

    Their excellent rating on Google, Trustpilot, and with the BBB makes them the number one choice!

    Click on the Free No Obligation Quote Calculator below to get your first quote out of the way now.

    **One more point to add when gathering your quotes… make sure you have decided on open-air or enclosed transport and your method of pick up and delivery. Refer to Step 2 for more information.

  2. Choose Between Delivery Types

    If you are looking for an efficient way to transport your vintage automobile or a brand-new car, you will need a different type of transport than if you are shipping the family vehicle or your daughter’s college car.

    Enclosed Transport is the method of choice for prize possession automobiles. It is more expensive, but the car will not be exposed to the elements.

    Open-Air Transport is a bit less expensive, while still being safe. The car will be outside but is well cared for none the less. It is the preferred method of vehicle shipping for most transports.

    After that debate is settled, your vehicle will be shipped by one of the following delivery types:

    Door-to-Door transport allows for personal delivery by the carrier and is the most requested and hassle-free way. The transport company will pick up the car at your home and deliver it to any door you choose, as long as the truck can get there!

    Terminal-to-Terminal transport is one of the cheapest ways to ship a car. You do need to drop off your car at the terminal and retrieve it from the drop off terminal. Also, think about whether your vehicle can be exposed to the elements in the parking lot.

    Transport by Rail is an increasingly popular method of shipping. Although it is inexpensive, it is a slower method. The biggest problem facing rail transport is the availability to get one car or two shipped. Most railways want to fill the railcar with as many vehicles from one location as possible.

    For a more detailed comparison on these methods, reference our guide on the Cheapest Way to Ship Your Car.

  3. Arrange for Vehicle Pickup

    Prepping your car is important to add to your to-do list the day before pickup. Follow these simple steps to get your car ready for its big adventure:

    1. First, you’ll want to check car functions like tire pressure, battery charge, and look for fluid leaks to be sure they are all in good condition.

    2. Next, remove the antenna, disable the alarm system, and remove trackers or toll beepers to avoid charges on the trip.

    3. Now, remove all personal belongings from inside the car and trunk, including registration and insurance information.

    4. Fill or remove gas to a quarter full. Gas is needed to move the car but adds to the payload of the truck. So, a quarter is enough.

    5. Give the inside and outside a good and detailed cleaning. Then take pictures of every angle of the car. They will be useful at the arrival inspection.

    6. Lastly, hand over the keys to the car transporter when they arrive. You are finished for now!

    You may be asking yourself, “Is there a way to track my car?” The answer is YES! In fact,

    Tiger Auto Transport is the only company to offer the Touch Point Team personal customer service. When you book with Tiger, a member of the friendly and knowledgeable Touch Point Team will be assigned as your point person for the entire trip.

    What can they do for you? The Touch Point team will notify you every step of the way of the details of the shipment. They are open 24/7 to alleviate any concerns you may encounter. They offer a level of care that ensures informed deliveries and happy customers.

  4. Receive at your Destination

    Once your vehicle has reached its destination, there are only a couple things left to do.

    The shipping services driver will check your ID or that of the person picking up the vehicle.

    Then you start the destination evaluation. Take pictures of the car and look it over for scratches or dents that were not there before shipment. Be sure the driver is with you during this process and document any damage you see.

    Lastly, you and the driver sign the delivery papers called the Bill of Lading… and you get your keys back! It’s really that easy.

Additional Tips

A lot goes into shipping your car cross-country that you need to be aware of and other shipping companies handle for you. Using a professional and reputable auto transport company saves you time and trouble so you can focus on other things.

A few final notes…

Shipping personal items in the vehicle is never recommended. There is no way to track or insure those items and they will add weight to the payload of the auto carrier. For your peace of mind, ship those valuables independently.

Insurance is carried by the drivers and the transport companies to cover damages. Ask your transporter about their insurance coverage in detail. If you do not find it sufficient, you are welcome to add third-party insurance.

In conclusion, it is a chore to search for the right auto transport company that ships across the country. With the right shipper, the process is made much simpler. So when you find the company you want to go through for your auto shipping, you can relax and let them handle the move. It all starts with research and getting quotes.

Start NOW and get your quote locked in with Tiger Auto Transport. Then, get to relaxing!