Best Car Shipping Companies in California


California State is a hub for car enthusiasts and relocations. Finding the right auto transport company is crucial for a smooth and secure move. This review examines some of California’s top car shipping providers based on key factors like reliability, customer service, and industry reputation. Our assessment avoids bias, drawing on data and insights from industry experts. This ensures a comprehensive and trustworthy review for those seeking reputable car shipping services in California.

Key Highlights

  • Explores best car shipping companies in California, ways to choose a reputable car shipping company.
  • The estimated cost to ship a car across California ranges from $400 to $1000, depending on the various factors.
  • Outlining steps to navigate the car shipping process in California confidently and cost-effectively.

Why You Trust Us

We are committed to providing dependable, unbiased evaluations and insights. Our approach integrates thorough data analysis and expert advice to craft our content. Additionally, our team of professionals carefully verifies and evaluates information to ensure its accuracy and relevance. Through comprehensive research and analysis, we assess car shipping companies across multiple criteria, with the ultimate goal of empowering you with the most informed decision-making experience.

Top California Car Shipping Companies: A Closer Look

California boasts a diverse range of car shipping companies catering to various needs and budgets. Here’s a closer look at five reputable companies:

AutoStar Transport Express

Renowned for its focus on luxury car shipping and expedited services, AutoStar boasts a vast network of carriers and a proven track record. They excel in international and domestic car transport, including Hawaii and Alaska. Notably, their customer service receives high praise, along with their ability to handle oversized vehicles.

  • Luxury cars shipping specialization
  • Updated information on website
  • Experienced in handling various vehicle types
  • Transparent pricing
  • Great customer support in English and Spanish language
  • No 24/7 support
  • No mobile app

Montway Auto Transport

A fully licensed and bonded auto transport management company, Montway offers competitive rates and a nationwide network. They consistently deliver on quoted prices and timeframes, earning them positive customer reviews. Montway caters to individuals, dealerships, auction houses, and various industries.

  • Top rated customer service
  • Reliable pickup dates
  • Versatile shipping options
  • 24/7 availability
  • No international Shipping
  • Real-time tracking is not available​

Sherpa Auto Transport

Sherpa Auto Transport prioritizes clear communication throughout the shipping journey. Their “Price Lock Promise” guarantees no surprise charges, and their “Clean Car Guarantee” reimburses car washing upon arrival. Additionally, Sherpa ensures all carriers have the necessary insurance coverage for vehicle protection.

  • Instant online quotes​
  • Ongoing updates throughout shipping
  • Price lock commitment ensures consistent pricing
  • Slightly higher pricing compared to some competitors
  • Does not offer international shipping


Providing nationwide car shipping services, AmeriFreight stands out for its diverse insurance options for added protection. They offer various levels of extra coverage to address potential damage concerns beyond the standard carrier insurance. AmeriFreight maintains a vetted network of carriers. Although quotes aren’t available instantly and real-time tracking capabilities are absent, AmeriFreight offers a compelling package with its additional insurance options.

  • Provides free online quotes
  • Multiple discounts available, including for military, students, and returning customers
  • Offers additional shipping insurance coverage (AFta gap coverage) for deductibles, damages, and rental cars
  • Does not offer international shipping options
  • Lacks GPS tracking services for shipments

Easy Auto Ship

Known for its budget-friendly options and excellent customer service, Easy Auto Ship specializes in transporting antique cars and heavy equipment. They carefully evaluate carriers for reliability and offer contingent insurance coverage options. Notably, Easy Auto Ship provides a rental car if your shipment exceeds 14 days and washes your vehicle upon arrival if it gets dirty during transport. They cater to both domestic and international car shipping needs.

  • Offers long-distance shipping
  • Simple booking process
  • Affordable pricing
  • No 24/7 customer support
  • No mobile app

Comparison of Companies

Company Name Average Rating International Shipping Price Transparency Special Features
AutoStar Transport Express
Personalized customer service,Money-back guarantee
Montway Auto Transport
Expedited shipping, online tracking
Sherpa Auto Transport
Clean Car Guarantee, online reservation
Discount programs, AFta gap coverage
Easy Auto Ship
Free damage protection,Expedited shipping

Choosing the Right Car Shipping Company

Selecting a reputable car shipping company forms the cornerstone of a successful car shipping experience. Here are key considerations to guide your decision:

Feedback and Reputation: Look for companies with a solid track record, evidenced by positive online reviews and industry recognition. Research their complaint history and how they handle customer concerns.

Certification and Assurance: Ensure the company possesses valid licensing from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and carries adequate insurance to protect your vehicle during transport. Verify both the carrier’s and broker’s (if applicable) insurance coverage.

Transparency in Pricing: Don’t go for companies with hidden fees or unclear pricing structures. Seek upfront quotes that detail all associated costs to avoid unwanted surprises.

Skill and Experience: For specialty vehicles or specific needs, prioritize companies with experience handling similar situations. Look for details on their expertise in transporting classics, luxury cars, motorcycles, or oversized vehicles.

Customer Care: Responsive and transparent communication is crucial. Choose a company that offers reliable customer support throughout the process, from initial inquiries to final delivery.

Average Cost to Ship a car in California

Cost of shipping a car in California can vary depending on where you’re shipping. Usually, for open carrier transport, it costs between 40 to 50 cents for every mile the car travels. If you’re shipping a car across the state, which might be around 2,500 miles, it could cost you about $1,000. But that’s just an estimate. The final price depends on several factors. If you’re going a longer distance, the cost per mile might be lower. Shorter distances could cost more per mile because of fixed loading and unloading fees. To get the most accurate price, it’s best to contact car shipping companies directly.

Understanding the Cost Factors

The cost of shipping a car within California can vary significantly depending on several factors:

Distance: The primary cost driver, longer distances generally translate to higher costs. Most companies charge a base rate per mile.
Vehicle Type and Size: Larger and heavier vehicles like trucks occupy more trailer space and require more fuel, leading to increased costs. Vehicle modifications can also influence the price.
Transport Type: Choose between open car transport (exposed trailer) or enclosed car transport (covered trailer). While open transport is cheaper, it offers less protection from the elements. Enclosed transport is ideal for classic cars, luxury vehicles, or situations requiring maximum protection.
Location: Shipping to or from major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego is generally more economical due to the higher concentration of car shipping companies. Rural locations may incur additional costs.
Timing and Season: Prices tend to fluctuate based on demand. Peak seasons like summer or around holidays witness higher costs. Winter conditions might cause cost increases due to challenging road conditions.
Delivery Preferences: Door-to-door delivery offers convenience but comes at a premium compared to terminal-to-terminal transport, where you would drop off and pick up your car at designated locations.

Estimated Shipping Duration: How Long Will It Take?

The estimated shipping duration within California depends on the distance involved:

Shorter Distances (within Major Cities): Expect your car to be transported within 1-5 days. Common routes include Los Angeles to San Francisco and Los Angeles to Phoenix.

Longer Distances (500-1000 Miles): Transit times typically extend to 3-9 days. Examples include Los Angeles to Denver and Los Angeles to Dallas.

Cross-Country Shipping: For shipments like California to the East Coast, expect a longer time frame of around 10-14 days.

What Factors Affect Time
Several variables can influence the transit time:

Weather Conditions: Inclement weather like heavy rain, snow, or wildfires might necessitate alternate routes or slower driving, impacting delivery timelines.
Road Conditions: Construction, traffic congestion, particularly in major California cities, can cause delays.
Driver Regulations: Regulations concerning driver hours and mandatory rest periods can factor into the overall delivery time.
Peak Moving Seasons: During times of high demand, increased shipment volume can lead to longer transit times.

While most companies offer approximate timeframes, it’s wise to incorporate a buffer for potential delays due to unforeseen circumstances.

Essential Information for Using Car Shipping Services in California

Here’s a breakdown of key things to know when utilizing car shipping companies in California:

Understanding Cost Factors: Recognize that longer distances, larger vehicles, enclosed transport, peak seasons, and door-to-door delivery typically cost more.

Choosing a Company: Prioritize reputable companies with positive reviews, consider services offered (open/enclosed, cross-country), and compare quotes from multiple companies for competitive pricing.

Preparing Your Vehicle: Remove all personal belongings to avoid potential damage during transport. Inspect the vehicle’s condition before and after shipping to document any existing damage.

Strategies for Saving Money: Book well in advance, compare quotes from different companies, ship during off-peak seasons (spring/fall) compared to summer, go for open transport if your vehicle isn’t a classic or luxury, consider terminal-to-terminal shipping for longer distances, and prepare your car beforehand.

Shipping Process: Companies will assess your details, provide quotes, and connect you with a suitable carrier. Carriers will pick up and deliver the vehicle based on the agreed timeframe and service level. The proximity of the transport company to major California cities can be a consideration when choosing a provider.


By understanding the key factors influencing cost, thoroughly evaluating car shipping companies, carefully preparing your vehicle, strategically planning your shipment timing, and implementing cost-saving strategies, you can navigate the car shipping process in California with confidence and ensure a smooth, cost-effective experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

The cost of car shipping in California typically ranges from $500 to $1,500, depending on factors like the vehicle type, pickup/delivery locations, and shipping service selected. Open car transport is the cheapest option, while enclosed transport provides more protection for the vehicle.

The average time it takes to ship a car in California is 1-2 weeks. Pickup can be arranged within 1-3 days, with an additional 5-8 days for delivery.

It is recommended to book your car shipping at least 2 weeks in advance to secure the best price and availability.

Customers can generally track the status of their vehicle shipment by contacting the transport company.

Inoperable vehicles can be transported, as long as they can still roll, steer and brake properly.

If any damage occurs during transport, it should be noted on the bill of lading and the transport company should be contacted immediately before signing any paperwork.

The initial deposit is typically paid by credit card, but the remaining balance is due in cash or certified check upon delivery.


  • Mark Dugger

    Raised in the vibrant atmosphere of Southern California, Mark's early years were defined by his prowess in sports such as football, baseball, and wrestling. Despite his athletic talents, Mark's professional path veered towards the world of computers, landing him a role as a Systems Officer for a prestigious cruise line. Over the span of a decade, Mark's career took him across the globe, immersing him in the cultures of over 100 countries.Mark's journey with commenced shortly after its inception, marking him as an essential asset to the company's foundation. Starting humbly as a coordinator, Mark's relentless work ethic and commitment to excellence propelled him steadily upward. Today, as the operations manager, Mark stands at the helm, guiding with expertise, ensuring its continued success and growth.

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