How to Ship Your Car to and From California
Shipping your car to another state is a very specific service that requires a professional touch, especially for a coastal state like California.
Most of the time it would be difficult to do this on your own, unless your personal situation meets the optimal criteria: the move is a short distance away from where you live, you don't need to move any special items, and all of your friends are reliable and ready to help you. Renting a truck from a moving company may be another perfectly smart solution.
However, when it comes to transporting your vehicle to a different state that is far away, the only option you have is to either drive all the way there with all of your belongings (which is not recommended) or use the help of a professional car shipping service.
The most important qualities you should look for when selecting a shipping company are trustworthiness and affordability. The last thing you need to worry about on top of all the stresses of moving is your car shipment breaking the bank or your car arriving dented or scratched.
At Ship a Car Direct, we meet all of the criteria for professional car shipping to and from California. We review thousands of carriers and weed out the ones that do not meet our elite standards.
We’re so confident that you will be satisfied with your shipment that we also provide an Iron-Clad, Damage Free Guarantee, so you know your car will look just as good upon arrival in California as it did when it left your home.
Find out more on shipping your car to California and the things you need to know when working with our brokers and carriers below.
How to Prepare Your Car
Being prepared is the best thing you can do when it comes to car shipping. First and foremost, each of your family members will need to pitch in for your car shipment to be a success. Before your family helps you with preparing your car, however, you will need to choose a reputable auto transport company. After you've chosen the appropriate shipping service, it is time to turn your attention toward preparing your car for shipping.
You will want to start by washing down the exterior of your car.
Getting a visual inspection of the vehicle is a good idea, as it will allow you to account for any damages your car has incurred up until now. Document any damages you spot with your phone, and then upload them to the cloud on the Ship a Car Direct phone app. This way, you will have a record for the inspection report you will need to receive and sign before the actual shipping company arrives.
Inspect your vehicle for any signs of leakage. Also inspect the engine compartment and underneath your car. Make sure there is absolutely no leaking around your fuel tank. If you see any leaks, no matter how small, you should have them fixed before the auto shipping company arrives.
To make sure that the shipment does not have any extra weight, you may want to leave your gas tank only 1/4 full. Likewise, the battery in your vehicle needs to be completely charged before they arrive, and the battery should be secure to help prevent it from shifting around while your car is being transported.
Your tires should have a good amount of tire pressure and should have no air leaks.
Check to make sure that the emergency brake in your vehicle is working properly because you will not be able to ship it if it is not.
You will need to remove any expensive personal possessions from the vehicle, such as cell phones, jewelry, and external GPS navigation systems. You will need to do this since the vast majority of shipping companies will not provide extra coverage for personal items.
Try to remove or disable the alarm in your car; many shipping services may be required to remove it in any way they deem suitable should your alarm set off at an inopportune moment.
If your car has any mechanical issues, alert the truck driver of these issues as soon as they arrive. Keep in mind that when the auto shipping company arrives, you will be required to keep your license plate on your car. Other car accessories, like spare tires, emergency kits, and car jumpers can stay in your car. If your vehicle happens to be a convertible, you will need to keep the top secured to help prevent any weather damage while your car is being transported.
Automatic toll tags need to be removed or deactivated before the truck driver comes. You should check with your auto insurance carrier to ensure that your insurance coverage will stay active until your car is delivered. Remember to write down the numbers on your odometer and keep them in a secure area.
Average Pricing Breakdown
The cost of shipping a car can vary, the price can sometimes average to around $500 for short transports and around $1,500 for shipments that are across the country. Of course, shipping your vehicle internationally will cost far more. The size of your vehicle will also play a factor in the shipment price.
If you would like to get a better idea of an estimate for your car transport, try using our free instant car shipping estimate calculator.
How Does Location Affect Transport?
Many factors can influence cost and transit time depending on where your car needs to be picked up, or if you’re moving out of California.
- Car shipping from coast to coast: Whether you’re shipping from New York State or Florida, that’s nearly 3,000 miles of ground to cover. The average length of time for these trips is one to two weeks, depending on conditions.
- Moving out of California: If you’re one of many California residents looking to make another state your home, Ship a Car Direct services cities across the state. Just like with shipping to the Golden State, the price and length of time depends on the distance of your final destination.
- Southern California: SoCal is known for its year-round moderate conditions, seeing very little rain and absolutely no snow in the winter months. This makes transporting your car much easier for the carrier. However, Los Angeles traffic is notoriously heavy even outside of rush hour, so keep in mind that this may cause delays if you’re relocating to this city.
- San Francisco Bay Area: This region is a great place for both dropping off or picking up vehicles. Not only does it have nice weather, but it’s close to many ports if you’re looking for overseas shipment to Hawaii, for example.
Why You Should Hire a Shipping Company Like Ship a Car Direct
Along with the resources we’ve previously mentioned, we have created helpful car shipping videos to answer any questions or concerns you may have with car shipping. We have a large database that has over 2,500 screened auto shippers for you to choose from, whether you want to ship your car to California, whether it’s San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles or anywhere else. We do not require an upfront fee to provide you with this service. We take the hassle out of car shipping.
If you need further convincing, simply look at the numerous 5-star reviews our team has worked effortlessly to receive.
Contact us today at 866-854-1023 for a free auto shipping quote!
Frequently Asked Questions1
Answers to Your Car Moving Questions
The hardest thing for people researching car moving companies to understand is that the prices they are getting are not hard and fast gaurantees, but rather ESTIMATES of what one company thinks it will take to get a vehicle moved promptly versus another company's opinion of what it will take. Don't be fooled, there are not carriers committed to take your vehicle at these quoted prices, the company you choose will still have to get to work getting a carrier to commit to move it at the price they quote you.
Your total price breaks down into two parts, the broker's fee (or 'deposit' as everyone calls it) and the carriers fee (your COD amount) Make no mistake about this, EVERYONE YOU ARE GETTING SALES CALLS FROM IS GOING TO BROKER YOUR MOVE. In this industry, there are brokers who try to fool you into thinking that they are the actual carriers and there are an equal amount of carriers who sell themselves on the fact that they have a truck or two but are not being honest about the fact that they broker out 90% of the orders they book. Here is a quick easy way to tell, if a company takes an up front fee, whether they call it a deposit or any other name, they are a broker. Carriers do not take any payment until the vehicle is delivered.
In our opinion, you are crazy to do so. Have you ever been paid up front for the work that you perform for your employer? Why would you pay a fee up front when there are reliable and trustworthy companies like ours that won't ask for it until we provide you with your carriers details?
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will be between one and two weeks. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.