Shipping a car to Hawaii will require more planning and expense than shipping within the continental U.S. It will also require more time. Plan to start your research at least three months in advance so you have enough time to gather information and make a thoughtful choice.
It is generally easier and cheaper to ship from the west coast. If you live in another area of the country, you have a couple of options –
- Ship your car to a port location on the west coast
- Hire a driver to deliver your car to a port
- Drive the car yourself to the port
You can expect delivery of your car in as few as 10 days from the time it ships from the west coast. It is wise to build in time for delays due to weather or other issues. Although the average delivery time is 10 to 14 days, certain conditions could extend that time to as long as six weeks. If you are shipping from the east coast, remember to factor in an additional 10 to 14 days to get your car to the west coast for shipping to Hawaii.
The rules vary among carriers. Some charge a flat rate regardless of vehicle type and weight. Others charge based on the same factors. Review your contract line by line to understand total cost as well as an explanation of said costs. Average costs for car shipping from the west coast to Hawaii range between $1,000 to 2,000 depending on where your car will be delivered in Hawaii and what kind of transport will be used for shipping. You should expect higher costs for premium shipping for custom, antique or high-value cars.
Preparing your car
Your car should be thoroughly cleaned and in good working condition prior to drop off for shipping. Deliver the car with no more than ¼ tank of gas and with the windshield fully intact. Top off all fluids, especially antifreeze. Cars that are dirty or with cracked windshields cannot be safely transported. Cars traveling to Hawaii are subject to USDA inspections. Inspectors will want to verify that cars are free of any invasive plant species, so take special care to remove all dirt from the tires and body of the vehicle.
Remove personal belongings
Most carriers will assume no responsibility for personal belongings. Policies on transporting non-valuable items vary. Check with your shipper to learn about their policies and any rules regarding types of items that can or cannot remain in the car as well as how they should be packed. In most cases, it is best to protect yourself by removing everything from the vehicle, including the trunk.
Take several clear pictures or your car both inside and out prior to drop off. Have a clear understanding about your recourse in the event of any damage.
Shipping your car to Hawaii requires a little extra planning but is easily managed with minimal hassle. Ease the process by starting your research early, reading your contract carefully and delivering your car clean, in good repair and free of personal belongings.