How to Transport Your Car Coast to Coast

Shipping a car coast to coast is no easy task and there are quite a few factors that could make or break your experience. 

Some of these factors aren’t apparent at first glance, like choosing a company that will care about the safety of your car during the shipping process. There are also rules about what can be transported across state lines, which could affect what kind of service you choose. 

So, you need to know your way around this process or how to find a reliable company to help you move your vehicle from one state to another. This way, you arrive at your destination on the other side of the country with your car intact.

Schedule Coast-to-Coast Auto Transport in Advance

It’s vital to decide when the right time is to ship your car. Ideally, you want to allow for at least a week before your car will be transported. The extra time can help you gather all the requirements and prepare your vehicle before the shipment date.

Additionally, scheduling your car transport weeks or months in advance could help you save money because vehicle shipping costs vary based on seasonal demand. So if you book early, you’ll secure a car transport carrier and an affordable rate.

To help you further cut car shipping costs, consider booking the transport during low seasons, which is from December to February. Keep in mind that if you’re shipping to or from a region prone to snowy winter conditions, your car transport could experience delays.

Peak season runs from June to August and the great weather across the country means faster shipment deliveries. However, the demand is also high so the average car shipping costs may be higher, with less availability. 

So, if you’re working on a budget with your car transport, then scheduling during months with lower seasonal demand and booking in advance is the best course of action.

Research the Best Auto Shipping Company

Once you have a set of dates for shipping your car,  it’s time to find out which shipping company will help you get the job done. Since there are many auto transport companies that transport vehicles from coast to coast, you’ll have to do your research to determine the best one for your needs and budget.

To narrow down your choices, begin by checking the car transport companies in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). Companies must have a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and motor carrier (MC#) number to prove that they’re a legitimate, registered auto carrier. 

Next, head to review sites like Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Yelp to get a sense of what other, previous customers think about their experience with the auto shipping company. 

These experiences can give you a detailed insight into how the delivery was processed and scheduled, as well as the condition of the car when it arrived. For example, Guardian Auto Transport has a 4.95-star rating, with customers highlighting the detailed customer service, smooth, on-time deliveries, and transparent updates and troubleshooting when trusting us with their car transport needs.

Finally, finish off your in-depth research by scouring mentions of your potential auto shipping companies on social media. How they conduct themselves when replying to users should give you a taste of what you can expect if you book your auto shipment with them.

Vet Auto Transport Companies Online

Being selective when choosing a coast-to-coast auto transport company helps you minimize, if not eliminate, problems and issues during the process.

After compiling a shortlist of shipping companies to choose from, you need to vet them further by connecting with their customer support and asking questions. Talking to their staff is a great way to gauge the quality of service once you hire them for auto transport.

Consider posing the following questions:

  • Do you offer a free no-obligation quote? You don’t want to get tied up with an auto transport company that provides a quote with strings attached.
  • What’s included in your quote? You want to know if the company will demand transport costs that aren’t included in the quote.
  • How do you calculate rates? You want a company that’s transparent with its rates and breaks down every item in its quotes.
  • What are your payment methods? Find a company that offers the payment method you’re most comfortable with.
  • What goes into the car shipment process? Let them explain to you what takes place during a car shipment and what you should expect.

The goal of asking these questions is to see if companies can offer you car shipping rates that match the level of service they provide and the promises they’re making before you request a no-obligation quote.

Gather Quotes

You want to find an auto shipping company that offers reasonable prices in their quote. However, “cheap” prices don’t necessarily mean that you’ve landed a good deal. 

Car shipping prices may be a factor in influencing your decision as to which vehicle transportation service to go with, but they shouldn’t be the main one. In fact, prices that are too-low should be a red flag because they’re indicative of unreliable or poor-quality service.

You could end up paying more for cheap services if you don’t take other variables into account like the safety of your car. Not only should a quote be affordable, but a company should have solid customer reviews and a transparent process.

To help you get the most out of your car shipment, consider the following factors that go into building coast-to-coast shipping quotes:

  • Terminal-to-Terminal Service vs. Door-to-Door Service — The former is more affordable because it requires you to bring your car to the terminal yard of the car carrier to the nearest terminal location for pick up. The latter is more expensive because the company will pick up your vehicle from your home and deliver it to your desired destination.
  • Open vs. Enclosed Car Transport ServicesOpen auto transporters are the most cost-effective way to ship your car. On the downside, the car transport truck exposes your vehicle to potential damages during the shipment. On the other hand, enclosed car shipping protects your vehicle from damages that it may incur along the way. For this reason, it is also the more expensive option of the two.
  • Insurance — If your car is damaged during the shipment process, it is covered by the insurance provided by the company.
  • Shipping Fees — Determine how much the company is charging by the mile based on their quote. Costs are lower if the company is shipping multiple vehicles to the same location as yours.
  • Policies — Find out if you’re eligible for refunds and when this could happen. This ensures that you are covered if the company fails to deliver your car.
  • Discounts — Most auto transport companies offer military discounts for military members, student discounts, and senior discounts. Ask for other discounts that apply to you so you can cut down on the cost to ship your car.

Prepare Your Car Before Transport

Once you’ve decided on a company, you want your vehicle to be in top shape before you move it out for transfer.

Checking your car will help to eliminate potential problems you might encounter along the way. For example, if you notice that your car sustained damages during the trip, but don’t have proof that the damage wasn’t there before transporting, you can’t request compensation.

There are three ways to prime your car before shipping:

  • Remove personal items from the car — Most companies recommend leaving personal items out because they might get lost along the way.
  • Inspect for damages — Know if your car has been damaged or not before the delivery. Take photos of it for documentation purposes. This will come in handy if the car incurs damage during the trip.
  • Empty your car — To decrease your car’s weight and lower the costs, don’t fill the gas tank.


Transporting your car coast to coast is an involved process. However, choosing the right transport company can make all the difference.

Guardian Auto Transport is a trusted name in coast-to-coast auto transport. The reason for its rave reviews is the car shipping company’s ability to provide complete insurance and door-to-door delivery for a hassle-free experience. 

Guardian doesn’t charge upfront nor do we levy cancellation fees, so you don’t have to worry about extra costs if plans change. To learn more about how Guardian can help you as you ship your car across the country, reach out to us. Our live booking agents can assist you and provide you with a no-commitment quote.