Shipping a car across long distances within the United States can seem like a daunting task ship a car across the country. However, with proper planning and utilizing the services of reputable car transport companies, getting your vehicle from one coast to another or anywhere in between is very achievable.

In this in-depth guide, we will cover the different options available for transporting a car overland across states, the process involved, important factors to consider as well as tips for a smooth shipping experience.

By the end, you will have comprehensive knowledge of how to ship a car across the country with ease.

Methods of Car Shipping

Enclosed Transport

With enclosed transport, your vehicle will be fully enclosed within the trailer of the transport truck. It offers protection from elements like rain, snow or debris on the open road. Cars are driven onto trailers powered by hydraulics and secured with straps or tiedowns.

Most high-end or collectible vehicles are shipped using this method. While enclosed transport ensures maximum security, it also tends to be the most expensive option.

Open Transport

As the name suggests, cars shipped via open transport will transported out in the open on the flatbed of a truck. They

 are firmly tied down with heavy-duty straps but remain exposed to the external environment. This is the most affordable option but also carries some risks such as potential paint damage from airborne debris. Suitable for regular passenger vehicles without any accessories that could get damaged.

Route Selection

Transport companies utilize major highways like interstate routes for optimal convenience and efficiency.

However, certain factors like vehicle dimensions, weight limitations on specific roads or bridges may necessitate alternate routes. Carriers will plan the journey after discussing these aspects with you.

Car Shipping Process

Get Estimates

Contact multiple car transport brokers or companies, provide vehicle details and get binding shipping estimates. Factors affecting rates include distance, transport method, size/weight of vehicle, in-cab pickup/delivery etc.

Schedule Pickup and Delivery

Select carrier offering best cost, services and reviews. Book transport dates ensuring flexibility in case of delays. Prepare paperwork and get vehicle inspection done if required.

Prepare Your Car

Empty car fully of belongings, fill up gas tank to prevent runs, remove Garmin/phone mounts to avoid damage, back up important files and disable any anti-theft systems.

ship a car across the country – Loading Day Arrives

Carrier representative will inspect vehicle, provide instructions, supervise loading and secure it properly before dispatch. Collect shipping documents.

Transit and Delivery Updates

Driver will update your number with periodic ETA/location texts for transparency. They will also call a day before reaching destination for delivery coordination.

ship a car across the country – Unloading and Inspection

Meet carrier at delivery site, inspect vehicle jointly for any issues during transit before signing delivery form. Tip driver for good service.

Factors to Consider


Shipping costs depend on distance, vehicle specs, carrier chosen. Get multiple quotes and check additional fees upfront.

Vehicle Condition

Inform carrier about pre-existing issues to avoid disputes. Do not transport accident vehicles without documentation.

ship a car across the country – Transit Time

Enquire estimated delivery timelines based on destination. Plan accordingly, ensure carrier can meet deadlines.


Preferred to use DOT-registered transporters with insurance, good ratings on third-party sites, operating experience.

ship a car across the country – Tips for a Smooth Shipment

Confirm Load/Unload Addresses

Double check pickup and delivery addresses are correct to avoid reschedules or additional costs.

ship a car across the country – Prepare Required Documents

Gather ownership papers, driver’s license, power of attorney if needed for registration updates on arrival.

Communicate Special Requests

Inform carrier about enclosed transit need, in-cab pickup/delivery preference at time of booking.

ship a car across the country – Inspect Vehicle Jointly

Note existing defects jointly before and after transit to address carrier accountability if required.

Go with Reputable Providers

Choose transporters with proven track record to avoid delays, ensure vehicle and shipment safety.

ship a car across the country – Parting Words:

Using a specialized car carrier and following proper procedures makes transporting your vehicle across long distances straightforward and secure. Factoring in relevant details at planning stage and open communication throughout the process helps minimize complications. Conducting appropriate research helps pick credible transport services for a highly satisfactory shipping experience.