How Do Auto Transport and Car Shipping Companies Work

An international move represents one of the most exciting and daunting events you’ll ever undertake. Whether you’ve got a job with a transnational corporation, have decided to study abroad, or must deploy to a new duty station.

Not only must you uproot your life, but you’ve got to decide when and how you’ll move your belongings to a new home base. Among the major choices you’ll have to make? Whether to bring your car overseas. 

Some people assume selling their automobile stateside and buying a new one overseas will be the most expedient and affordable option. But car shipping companies can often provide you with deals so good you don’t have to give up your beloved ride.

Keep reading to learn more about the companies that will ship your car and how they can help.

International Car Shipping Companies

Shipping a car overseas can prove a costly and tedious experience. Especially if you’re not sure what you’re doing.

And who is? Car shipping worldwide is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Despite the uncharted territory, you must make sure you’re working with the best auto transport company possible. After all, our cars often represent the second most expensive investment we’ll ever make after our houses. 

To say the least, you don’t want to leave your ride’s international transport to chance. What to do? Start with a thorough understanding of how much it costs to transport a car overseas and why. 

Automobile Shipping Costs

According to Consumer Affairs, it can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 to transport a car by sea. Depending on which company you work with and where you go, however, your final price may fall into the $750 to $40,000 price range.

If your jaw just dropped at seeing the $40,000 price tag, don’t panic. This price range is for SUVs transported by airplane. In other words, you can generally avoid a final invoice like this by understanding the ropes of car transport. 

This topic brings us to a vital question. Which factors influence the final price you’ll pay for car transport services? They include:

  • Distance
  • Vehicle make and model
  • Vehicle height
  • Vehicle length
  • Condition of the vehicle
  • Auto transport type
  • Pickup and delivery locations
  • Seasonal considerations

Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors and how they could impact the final price you pay, whether you need to ship a car across the country or overseas.


One of the primary considerations when it comes to a car shipping quote remains distance. After all, distance indicates to the company how much time, labor and gas must be invested in transporting an automobile. 

While you’ll pay less overall for short moves, know that the per-mile cost will actually prove higher. Like buying “family size” bulk items from a supermarket, you get more per unit for longer drives. The same goes for overseas transport.

Vehicle Make and Model

Another vital factor when it comes to car shipping is vehicle make and model. These factors directly impact what you’ll pay to have a car relocated. After all, some makes and models take up more room than others, and they also weigh more. 

These factors are vital considerations for carriers when it comes to how many cars they can shipper trip. The fewer cars, the greater the overall price of each unit.

Vehicle Height

Along with make and model, the transporter will consider the height of your vehicle. After all, height can have a direct impact on cost.

The majority of sedans come in at a height of 57 inches or less. But SUVs can average 63 to 73 inches tall. That’s a significant height difference. And it’s one that impacts transport costs.  

Tall SUVs force transporters to ship sedans under or over them to accommodate taller and weightier vehicles.

Vehicle Length

The length of your car could also mark a significant factor when it comes to the final price you’ll pay for an international move. For this reason, some vehicle shipping companies use vehicle length in the creation of their shipping calculations. 

Sedans generally come in around 189 inches, making them both affordable and easy to relocate. For vehicles measuring more than 196 inches, though, placement on a car hauling trailer or ferry gets trickier. Costs rise as cars take up more room.

Condition of the Vehicle

Apart from size matters, vehicle conditions can also play a huge part in the final price you’ll pay. Cars in good working condition are cheaper to move than cars with mechanical issues or that don’t run. 

Always note if a car’s inoperable when asking for a shipping quote. Otherwise, the price quoted by a given company could be off by hundreds of dollars, if not more. 

Auto Transport Type

You can’t change the model, make size or weight of your vehicle. But you can make decisions about how you’d like to have it shipped. Decisions about open versus enclosed auto transport have a direct impact on the bottom line. 

If you’re not sure what type of auto transport service is best for your vehicle, contact the experts to learn more about your options and various price points. 

Pick-Up and Delivery Locations

Your car’s origin point and final destination can also have an impact on what you’ll end up paying. In general, urban destinations prove cheaper for transport. That’s because demand is higher, and so drivers go there more regularly.

If you live in a very rural area, expect charges to go up. After all, a driver will have to come off their normal route to make a special stop for your vehicle.

Seasonal Considerations

Last but not least, bear in mind seasonal considerations. Cars are typically cheaper to ship during the winter months because drivers don’t have to contend with difficult driving conditions such as snow and ice.

That said, the warmer months also see a much higher demand for moving companies because that’s when most people prefer to relocate. To avoid seasonal considerations, book early during the temperate months, where possible. 

Companies That Will Ship Your Car Coast-to-Coast and Internationally

Not all car shipping companies have the resources necessary to facilitate a state-to-state or coast-to-coast move, let alone an international one. That’s why you should never settle for anything less than an expert service.

As you shop around for the best car shipping rates for your upcoming move, bear in mind the different factors covered in this article. You must understand how considerations such as vehicle make and model, condition, and shipping distance impact the final price you pay. That way, you’ll know whether a shipping quote is reasonable or inconceivable. Are you interested in learning more about car shipping services? Keep reading for an explanation of different transport options and what they mean for your upcoming move.

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