Long Distance Auto Transport

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Long Distance Auto Transport

Long Distance Auto Transport | Car Shipping Services

Long distance car shipping is typically reserved for shipping a car from one state to another, but it can also apply within the same state, especially those that are big enough to warrant a delivery that takes more than a day within the same state. In general terms, anything over roughly 500 miles constitutes long distance auto transport, though that can easily stretch to over 2,000 miles for some shipments, particularly for shipping across the country, or from one coast to the other.

Long distance auto transport

There’s a handful of factors that contribute to the cost of long distance car shipping, the first of which, no surprise, is the distance the vehicle is being shipped. The longer the trip, the more it will cost, though the per mile charge tends to be less with greater distance. The type of vehicle also plays a role in the cost you can expect, as does the method of delivery and the type of carrier that needs to be used.

Cost & Time to Ship your car Examples

Phoenix, AZ to Houston, TX$7051175 miles4-6 days
Seattle, WA to Denver, CO$7831305 miles4-6 days
Memphis, TN to Phoenix, AZ$8551425 miles4-6 days
Denver, CO to Charlotte, NC$9381564 miles5-7 days
Boston, MA to Dallas, TX$10621770 miles5-7 days
Los Angeles, CA to Chicago, IL$10082015 miles6-8 days
Atlanta, GA to Los Angeles, LA$10932185 miles6-8 days
Las Vegas, NV to New York, NY$10082521 miles7-9 days
Las Vegas, NE to Miami, FL$10142535 miles7-9 days
New York, NY to San Jose, CA$11742935 miles7-9 days

*Prices and times are estimated. They can vary depending on the season and the type of vehicle.

*Save the ground transport cost by delivering the vehicle to the nearest port.

*Allow an additional 10 days to process the documents.

*Prices are for 1 car in a dedicated 20ft container. This is the safest and most reliable way to transport a vehicle internationally. Other items may be included in the container to help save you money when moving.

*Using the RoRo (roll on, roll off) method is less expensive and shipments can be completed in fewer days. Contact us now for a free RoRo quote.

Terminal & Door to Door Shipping

The basic method of delivery for most cars that are shipped in the U.S. involves the vehicle being dropped off at a shipping and storage terminal owned by the company moving the car. Some companies have reciprocal relationships with others so that they can jointly use terminals in the same area, particularly smaller cities that may not warrant usage by just one shipper. In the case of delivery to a terminal, the customer must retrieve the vehicle from the terminal to complete delivery, typically the closest available location.

Door to door shipping is just what it sounds like: your car is delivered to a specific address. Obviously this eliminates the need for picking the car up at a terminal and provides the ultimate in convenience for customers that prefer not to do any legwork on the back end of the process.

Do you have questions about long distance car shipping? Call us today at 1-800-452-2880 or send us an email to learn more, or if you’d like a FREE, no obligation price quote! All estimates are given in real time by our highly trained staff and they’re happy to help you understand your options and explain anything that needs clarification!

Types of Carriers

There are two main types of transport carriers that are used in auto transport: open and enclosed. While those terms are fairly self-explanatory, there are some subtle differences between the two that affect both the cost and delivery time you can expect.

The most common transport truck is an open air carrier that hauls several vehicles at once, sometimes up to 10 or more cars. By contrast, an enclosed carrier (due to the limited space) only transports one or two vehicles typically. Unlike the double-decker style setup of an open carrier, most enclosed carriers have only one level of storage, though same may have a second deck to move another vehicle.

Long Distance Car Shipping Services

  • Coastal to Midwest – Whether you need a car shipped from the east or west coast, we offer some of the most competitive and comprehensive savings packages you’ll find available. Over 25 years, we’ve moved thousands of cars from both coasts to the Midwest and vice versa.
  • North to South, Southeast and Southwest – Whether you’re relocating, just visiting, or a snowbird looking for some time in the sun, we offer affordable and discounted transport services throughout the southern United States. These are some of our most popular national auto transport routes, especially during the fall and winter months.
  • Midwest to the East or West Coast – Our large fleet of auto transport carriers allows us to maintain delivery and pick up terminals in most major cities on both the East and West coast, allowing for quick and affordable delivery times to any location across the U.S.
  • Mainland U.S. to Alaska or Hawaii – Our services aren’t just limited to the continental United States! We also transport vehicles to Alaska and all the major Hawaiian Islands.
  • Coast to Coast – Our coast to coast auto transport services feature the most modern carriers and latest in logistics technology. With GPS tracking on every truck, you can get instant updates every step of the way!

A-1 Auto Transport ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-452-2880 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.

How Long Does Long Distance Car Shipping Take?

As with any other type of shipment, the primary factor that affects how long car shipping will take is the distance being shipped. There are, of course, other factors (which we’ll cover below) but the amount of miles between your pick up and drop off locations is the main thing that will impact delivery times.

Due to transport laws and logistical limitations, 500 miles is about the furthest you can expect a vehicle to be transported in one day. Using that figure, we can estimate fairly accurately how long it will take for most shipments. For example, shipping a car from Los Angeles, California to Tucson, Arizona—a distance of roughly 500 miles—could be accomplished in one day, assuming optimal driving conditions. If a car is being shipped from Dallas, Texas to New York City, the quickest timeframe would be three to four days to cover the 1,500 mile trip.

What Causes Slowdowns & Delays?

Aside from the 500 mile daily distance limit, there are other things that can cause a vehicle delivery to be delayed. Due to trucking laws, drivers must take mandatory rest periods at certain intervals during which they are not permitted to advance the load they’re hauling. Additionally, there’s a weekly cap on how many consecutive days a driver may work, although it’s not typically an issue with car shipped within the continental U.S.

Weather can also be a limiting factor since it causes slowdowns and traffic congestion, which cuts into the amount of distance that can be covered over a standard driving shift. For example, if you need a car shipped to or from the East Coast during winter months, wet or snowy conditions can have an impact on delivery times.

By the same token, excessive traffic, road work, and accidents can have the same affect. Anything that slows down commuters and daily drivers has the same outcome with transport carriers, sometimes even more so since the vehicle and the weight being hauled are significantly heavier than other vehicles on the road.

If you plan to ship a vehicle long distance, contact us today to learn about your options and how to save money! We offer FREE cost estimates to all interested parties and are happy to answer any questions you may have!

Long Distance Auto Transport | Methods & Options

The type of transport service you request also has a bearing on how long it can take to delivery a vehicle. For example, if you choose door to door shipping, it can take longer depending how far off the main roads and highways the final destination is. Along the same lines, using an open air carrier, while cheaper than enclosed, also takes longer since there’s more vehicles on board and therefore a heavier load. It’s also worth noting than open air car carrier is much bigger than an enclosed carrier and less capable of navigating smaller spaces like residential streets and neighborhoods.

Most auto transport services will offer expedited or express delivery as an option if time is a key factor. This almost always involves using the smaller, enclosed carriers to maximize daily mileage.

Understanding How The Deposit Works

There’s a lot of confusion around the topic of deposits in car shipping mainly due to the fact they’re sometimes handled differently depending on which company you use. That said, there are some aspects of the deposit process that should consistent throughout the industry. In the first section, we’ll present a general overview of how the process should work, the second section will cover some red flags that tell you a shipper is not operating in good faith when it comes to the deposit.

auto transport deposit

Most auto shippers won’t require a deposit until arrangements have been made to pick up your vehicle. That means you’ll have been contacted by the driver, or have their contact information, and they have communicated the scheduled day and time to pick up your car, truck, or motorcycle. To be very clear about this, no deposit should be made prior to official arrangements to pick up your vehicle for shipping.

You may come across some articles online that insist no deposit should be requested, which is simply not the case. What they should indicate is that the deposit should be a portion of the total payment, with the balance being paid upon delivery. Some shippers may not charge the deposit until the vehicle is loaded onto the carrier. This is the standard when it comes to deposits among auto transport companies. The amount can still vary from one shipper to another, but the basic framework should be the same.

Do you have questions or concerns about long distance car shipping, either the about the deposit or other aspects of the process? Call us today at the number at the top of the page & we’ll be happy to answer your questions! We also provide 100% FREE price quotes that require no obligation on your part!

Auto Transport Deposit Red Flags: How It Should Not Work

Requesting Payment Before Transport Is Arranged

This is a pretty clear indication that a company is not operating according to industry standards, or with the best interest of their customers in mind. If you do not have the full details of the process, including pickup dates and times, expected delivery dates, and the total cost of shipping, you should not be paying a deposit. You should also be issued the details of your shipment, either in writing or electronically, before any deposit is paid.

Asking For Full Payment Up Front

Another clear indication that you should continue looking for other options is if a company request the full payment amount for shipping before your vehicle has been moved. This one is fairly obvious, but it’s a tactic that still ensnares people from time to time. The full cost of shipping—or at least the balance after the deposit—should not be paid in full until your car has arrived.

Long Distance Car Shipping: Licensed, Bonded & Insured

If there’s one common thing you’ll find among legitimate auto shippers, it’s that they are licensed, bonded, and insured. You’ll likely encounter that exact phrasing on the website of almost any car shipping company, providing that they have valid operating authority and meet the criteria spelled out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that allows them to move vehicles.


Of these three terms, licensing is the one that is most accessible to most readers since it’s something applies widely to other industries. Just like hiring a contractor or seeing a doctor, professionals in those fields must have a valid license that allows them to practice their trade or they are in violation of the law. The same applies to auto shippers and commercial carriers: they must be registered and licensed with the appropriate authorities, in this case the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.


This is another term that is clear to most people, though there’s slightly more to it than it appears at first glance in the car shipping world. Any car shipper currently in operation must have valid insurance, carrying the minimal amount stipulated by the FMCSA. This amount is currently $750,000 in liability insurance, though many shippers opt to carry $1,000,000 or more in liability insurance.

As a consumer, you should pay attention to the amount of cargo insurance they carry as well since that is what would cover potential damages to your vehicle. One million dollars in liability insurance won’t mean much if a shipper doesn’t carry enough cargo insurance to cover anything that could happen to your vehicle. The majority of auto haulers will offer at least $50,000 in coverage for you vehicle while they move it, but you’ll obviously want to seek out a company with more coverage if you’re shipping a high value, rare, exotic or luxury vehicle that exceeds that amount in value.

Call us today at the number at the top of the page to learn more about the car shipping process, or if you’d like a FREE price quote for shipping anywhere in the U.S. and overseas! Our staff are happy to help in any way we can!


A bond is a form on consumer protection that auto carriers must have in the event that there is a dispute or damages during shipping. A bond acts as a form of “insurance” on behalf of the consumer if the service agreement isn’t met or there are potential damages to the vehicle through fault of the carrier. The bond is not under the control of the company shipping the vehicle, but rather the company that issued it, making it much easier for the consumer to get compensation in case of a mishap. In order to have current, valid operating authority, every shipper and carrier must have a surety bond in place.

See the link below for more information about what a bond is and how it works.

Brokers & Carriers

A point of confusion for many people seeking a long distance car shipping company is the difference between a broker and a carrier. There are some obvious and some not so obvious reasons for the confusion. In this article, we’ll pull back the veil and explain the differences in clear terms, as well as how both fit into the world of car shipping and auto transport.

What Is A Broker?

A broker basically acts as a go between for the customer and the car shipper, finding a company that matches the needs of the customer and connecting them with the right option or options. Brokers tend to be more widely available and easier to find online since their role in the industry is so important. While some carriers do have a full customer service department and a strong online presence, most of them rely on the work of brokers to find clients, just as many clients rely on brokers to find a shipper.

What Is A Carrier?

A carrier is the company or person that physically transports your vehicle from location to destination. As noted above, the broker is the party that puts the customer in contact with the carrier, which is their main role, along with gathering relevant information that the carrier will need. The relationship between brokers and carriers is one of the main components of the industry and, when done in good faith, benefits all parties involved.

Are you in need of auto transport services in the U.S. or internationally? Give us a call today and learn about our affordable rates, learn about our many quality services, or just have some questions you’d like answered before going further. All callers are eligible for a FREE price quote, no obligation required!

Auto Shippers That Are Brokers And Carriers

Brokers & Carriers

Now that we’ve covered the distinction between brokers and carriers, there’s another important thing to keep in consideration. There are some companies that operate as both a broker and a carrier. That may seem confusing on the surface, but it makes a certain degree of sense once you look at the big picture.

Larger companies that ship all over the U.S., or even worldwide, often have more business than they can handle on their own. These are the instances in which they operate as a broker and put the customer in touch with a company that has room on a carrier, or in some cases, that simply operates more regularly in a certain region. This is not an uncommon occurrence in the auto transport industry and a number of the larger carriers also act as a brokers. You’ll often encounter this arrangement when using long distance or international car shipping services since the logistics get more complicated with longer deliveries.

The Cheapest Way To Ship A Car Long Distance

Long distance car shipping isn’t cheap, but luckily there are a number of things you can do to help minimize the cost while still getting the service you’re looking for. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best methods for reducing costs when shipping a vehicle, as well as steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the best deal available.

Compare Prices

One of the first and easiest things you can do to save money when shipping a car is to compare prices and services. That may seem like a no-brainer to many readers, but you’d be surprised by how many simply go with the first shipper they find that can do the job. By comparing prices, you’ll be able to easily determine a baseline expectation of what you’ll be paying and be able to better assess price quotes from competing companies, not to mention that you’ll be able to choose from a number of options to get the best service at the price.

Give Yourself Time

When you book an auto transporter with little lead time or flexibility, you can expect to pay more for the service. By the same token, if you do have some flexibility and are able to provide enough time (usually, a couple weeks), it can save you money. As you might expect, there are some circumstances under which customers need a car shipped right away or delivered more quickly than usual, which naturally comes with a higher cost and typically falls under the banner of premium services for most companies.

Are you shipping a car long distance or do you have questions about the process of vehicle shipping? Give us a call today at the number at the top of this page to learn more, get a FREE cost estimate, or if you just have some questions that you’d like answered before going forward!

Discounts, Specials & Saving Money On Long Distance Vehicle Transport

Transport Method

The method of transport and type of service you request definitely has an impact on the overall cost you’ll pay. The two main methods to choose from include the type of carrier used—open or enclosed—and the where the vehicle is shipped—to a shipping terminal or to a specific address. Enclosed shipping, while providing more protection and privacy, does cost more than an open air carrier, mainly because fewer cars can be hauled in an enclosed carrier. Delivery to a specific address or location (known as “door to door transport”) also costs more due to extended mileage and delivery time.

Discounts & Specials

While not every car shipping will offer discounts, many of them do and it’s a worthwhile time investment to seek out the ones that do have such a program. Common discounts include things like being a AAA member, current students, senior citizens, active and retired military, and customers shipping more than one vehicle at once. If you fall under any of these categories, be sure to ask about discounts. Even if you don’t, it’s generally a good practice to ask about available discounts anyway.

See below under the resources section for more information about discounts and specials, including the many programs we have available.

Open Versus Enclosed Carriers In Long Distance Car Shipping

You’ll encounter two main types of carriers among car shipping companies: open and enclosed. While the actual transport of the vehicle remains more or less the same in each case, there are some key differences to note between to the two processes. There are also pros and cons of each method that should be considered if you’re considering which type of carrier is best suited to your personal needs.

Open Carrier

An open transport carrier, sometimes called “open air transport” is the most common method of transporting vehicles over a long distance, and it’s also the most affordable. Part of the reason it’s more affordable is that open air carriers have space for several vehicles to be moved at the same time, thus reducing the overall cost for each car being moved.

Open carriers

Enclosed Carrier

Enclosed carriers are smaller than open carriers, but can only move a couple cars at once—sometimes just one. Unlike an open carrier, an enclosed transport carrier is covered on all sides, providing more protection, discretion, and general safety for the vehicle during the transport process. If you’re concerned about any scratches or damages from dust or road debris during shipping, an enclosed carrier is the way to ensure you’re protected.

Whether you’re planning to ship a vehicle on an open or an enclosed transport truck, we can help! Call or email us today to learn about our affordable pricing structure, many available options and superb customer service! All price quotes are FREE and our staff are happy to answer any questions you may have!

Long Distance Enclosed & Open-air Transport: Pros & Cons

There are a number of reasons why someone may prefer an open or enclosed carrier over the alternative. Most of them have to do with what type of service you need and personal preference, but there’s also pros and cons to each method, which we’ll briefly go over here.

Open Pros and Cons

Open trailer car transport is the most affordable route so it’s a good option if you’re looking to save some money. It’s also the more common of the two methods so it’s typically easier to find a carrier for open-air trailers and it’s also preferable if you need to ship more than one vehicle at a time. The downside is that there is less physical protection for the vehicle, it can’t be as easily delivered to a specific address, and it usually takes a little longer to ship than an enclosed trailer.

Enclosed Pros and Cons

Enclosed vehicle shipping offers the privacy and protection that is lacking with an open-air transport trailer, but it does cost slightly more. As noted prior, the enclosed trailer is smaller and thus able to ship more quickly and more directly, making it easier to accommodate door-to-door car shipping. Those that prefer an enclosed transport trailer are often shipping a vehicle that is higher in value than those you might find on an open-air carrier.

Long Distance Luxury, Exotic, & Classic Car Shipping

There are many things to consider when shipping any type of car, but there’s even more to keep in mind when shipping an exotic, classic, or luxury car. The main reason for this is the difference in value between these types of vehicles and a standard “daily driver.” If you’re shipping a high-end vehicle over a long distance, you’ll want some assurance that you’re getting the best, safest, and most secure method of transport available to you. With this in mind, let’s take a look at two of the things to keep front of mind when shipping a luxury or classic automobile long distance.

Enclosed Transport

If you’re hiring a company to transport a car that falls under the category of luxury, classic, or exotic, you’re likely going to want to use an enclosed transport truck. Just as the name implies, an enclosed carrier protects the vehicle on all sides during the transport trip, keeping it safe from any potential road debris, dust, and weather damage due to the elements. If privacy is a concern at all, an enclosed carrier offers that as well, whereas an open carrier would not.

Door To Door Shipping

Another option you’ll want to keep in mind when shipping a luxury or classic car is that of door to door shipping. Unlike standard auto transport, which delivers the vehicle to a shipping terminal where you retrieve it, door to door shipping drops your car off directly at your door or a specific address. Door to door car shipping is the ultimate in service and convenience and eliminates a step in the process since you won’t have to pick up your car at a delivery terminal.

Are you shipping a classic, luxury or exotic vehicle? Call us today at the number at the top of the page to learn about our affordable services or if you just have questions! We’re happy to help in any way we can and we offer FREE price quotes to all interested parties!

Luxury & Classic Car Shipping | Research & Insurance


Before you hire any company to transport your car, it’s important to do some cursory research to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable and established name in the industry. There’s a handful of places you can look online to find information about shippers, many of them the usual suspects like Yelp! and the Better Business Bureau. However, the best resource at your disposal is the website for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which you can find here.

The online tool on the FMCSA website is the most helpful and trustworthy information you’ll find about car shippers and it’s relatively easy to navigate with just some basic information.


Insurance can be tricky when assessing a car shipper, especially for those transporting a luxury or high value vehicle. The reason for this is that the standard (minimum) amount of insurance a carrier has is generally around $50,000 per vehicle. Obviously, this falls well short of the value of an exotic, luxury or classic car, so it’s important to seek out a company that has insurance that reflects the cargo they’re moving.

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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