Cross Country Auto Transport

You may have meticulously planned every other step of your cross country move, but have you considered how you’ll get your vehicles to your new home? It’s a relocation detail many people forget about, but it can be one of the most frustrating aspects of a long-distance move. If you’re thinking about driving your car yourself, be sure to consider the additional costs of putting those miles on the odometer. In addition to requiring spending at the gas pump, putting miles on your car depreciates its value and accelerates maintenance issues. Plus, if you have a multi-day journey ahead, you’ll have to budget for hotel rooms and eating out along the way. After tallying up the expenses of a cross-country road trip, you may find it’s more cost-efficient to ship your vehicle.


Fortunately, there are several options available if you’re looking to ship your car. We can help you find a reliable auto transport company in your area who can get your vehicle safely to its destination. Every car shipping service in our network is fully licensed and insured for your peace of mind. Request a free estimate for transporting your vehicle now!

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Average Cost to Move a Car Across Country

The average cost of shipping a car cross country is $600-$1200. There are several factors that will influence the total cost to transport your vehicle, including:


  • Make & model of your vehicle (smaller vehicles are cheaper to ship) 
  • Time of year
  • Type of carrier (enclosed vs. open)
  • Distance of the relocation
  • Flexibility of shipping schedule

Options for Shipping Your Vehicle

If you’re looking to move your vehicle across state lines without having to drive it yourself, there are a few options available to you. Many of the car transporters in our network move vehicles via trailer, while there are also multiple rail line services that handle auto transit. Here are a few of the most popular options:


Open Air Trailers

Open air trailers are the most common means of shipping vehicles. If you’ve ever driven on the highway, you’ve probably seen trucks like these in one form or another. They vary from simple flatbeds that carry a single car to multilevel trailers that can carry as many as 10. Regardless of the model of open air trailer being used, the fundamentals are the same. You’ll get the services of a professional driver who picks up your car or truck near to or at your starting location and drops it off at your destination. They may even be able to offer door-to-door service from one driveway to the next. As far as car transit services available, open air trailers are the most affordable option. This is partly because open air trailers are more lightweight and thus use less gasoline than enclosed trailers. They are also able to accommodate multiple vehicles, making them more efficient. These factors also make them the most environmentally conscious option you’ll find.


The primary disadvantage of using an open-air trailer is that it exposes your car to the elements more than other transportation methods. This makes vehicle vulnerable to road debris and weather conditions, like hail. Fortunately, all the auto shipping companies available through our service are fully licensed and insured, so you can make use of an open-air trailer service without too much concern for the risks involved.


Enclosed Trailers

A closed trailer offers the most security and protection for your vehicle. Since it’s surrounded by walls on all four sides and a roof above it, your car will be fully guarded from the environment and any damage that could be caused by roadside debris, weather conditions or other vehicles on the highway. While more conventional open-air trailers are adequate for most people, enclosed trailers are ideal if you’re the owner of an antique or otherwise valuable car. While you shouldn’t have much to worry about with an open trailer, an enclosed alternative can provide you with an added sense of security.


As befits this greater level of care, enclosed trailers are the most expensive option around. Since closed trailers are heavier, they tend to be less environmentally effective than the alternatives. Additionally, the fact that the car is sealed inside a trailer means that drivers can’t make full inspections of the vehicles inside as often.



Though several rail companies offer vehicle transit services, Amtrak is the most commonly used line. For those concerned about their carbon footprint, carrying a vehicle by rail is the most ecologically-friendly option available, and it can be significantly less expensive than transporting your car via the highway. Many rail lines offer both passenger and car transport on the same track, so you can travel with your car without having to even get behind the wheel.


However, the fact that trains are tethered to the rail lines is limiting. Since you’ll have to load your car or truck at the station, you may still have to drive a significant distance to get it to its destination. So, the advantage of train transport depends on the proximity of stations to your origin and destination. The longer the distance between your old home and your new one, the more advantageous a train is likely to be for you. There can also sometimes be a significant amount of paperwork and red tape to deal with when you choose to move your car by rail, so you should plan to make sure you’re prepared.

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How to Ship Your Car Cross Country – Tips & Tricks

You probably wouldn’t just throw your belongings randomly into the back of a moving truck without first packing and securing them and preparing your vehicle for your relocation is no different. If you intend to enlist the services of a trailer or train to transport your vehicle, you’ll want to take a few simple steps to minimize the inherent risks and make the process easier.


Document the Existing Condition

The auto shipping companies you’ll find here are reliable and conscientious, but sometimes the unexpected happens. Being prepared for the unforeseen can save you a lot of headaches. Make sure you carefully document any existing damage to your vehicle before you ever pass it off to the transport company. You’ll want to start by giving it a thorough wash and detailing, then take clear pictures of the exterior. Make sure to focus in on any existing dents, scratches, or other forms of damage. Also, ensure that the date stamp on your photos is clearly visible, so you have an added layer of accountability in case the circumstances are disputed. Be sure to examine and record the mileage on your odometer.


Remove Everything from Your Vehicle

Remove all valuables from your car including electronics like custom stereo systems and GPS devices, as these aren’t included with standard shipping insurance. It’s recommended that you leave nothing behind but the standard equipment (such as the jack and emergency kit) that came with your vehicle. It’s unlikely that you’ll have to worry about anything happening, but it can never hurt to be vigilant where your vehicle is concerned.


Make Sure Your Vehicle is in Working Order

If your vehicle is inoperable, you’ll need to notify the transport company ahead of time. If not, you’ll need to perform a routine maintenance check before loading it onto the trailer or train. This check entails examining and topping off all fluids, making sure that your tires are fully inflated, and evaluating the condition of your car battery, which should be both fully charged and tightly secured within its holder. Any reputable moving company will only be driving your car to load it on and off the trailer, so make sure your gas tank is only a quarter of the way full to decrease the weight of your vehicle. If there are any outstanding mechanical issues, be sure to inform the shipping company.


Remove All After-Market Accessories

After tuning-up the car, remove any unnecessary or dangling parts that could be damaged during the move, especially if you’re making use of an open-air trailer. This step includes removing the antenna and custom spoilers, folding in your side mirrors, and detaching baggage, bike, and ski racks.


Do a Final Sweep

Most of the preparatory steps you need to take with your vehicle can be handled a few days before delivering your car, but there are some things you should do right before you’re ready to leave. Perform a full sweep of the interior so that you’re certain that you haven’t left any valuables behind. Your delivery company should have no reason to unlock your vehicle apart from loading it and removing it from the trailer or train, so lock your doors for an added sense of security. Also, be sure to keep a spare set of keys for yourself when you surrender your vehicle to your shipping provider. You’ll also want to disable your security system before you leave your vehicle with the mover. Your tag should remain secured to the back of your vehicle, though you should remove toll tags. Make sure to keep your auto insurance current while the car is in transit.


For your cross country car moving needs turn to Kip’s Cross Country Movers. We make finding an auto transporter you can trust fast and easy! Request free quotes from multiple carriers now.

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