The Ultimate Car Transport Guide

If you’ve just purchased a car in another state and don’t feel like driving it home, just pay an auto transport service to deliver it to your curb.
Here at PrivateAuto, we’ve partnered with RunBuggy so that our users can get seamless car transport right within the PrivateAuto app when buying a car!

Amazing customer service
Competitive rates
No friction (integrated into the PrivateAuto transactional workflow)
Insurance coverage for the vehicle during transport

What Are Vehicle Transport Companies?

Auto shipping companies specialize in shipping vehicles from one location to another via a car carrier, enclosed box trailer, or other transport method. From sedans to pickup trucks to larger vehicles such as boats or RVs, there are vehicle shipping services for almost any type of vehicle.

Some vehicle shipping companies even specialize in specific niches:

commercial car shipping
military car shipping
motorcycle shipping
truck shipping
exotic car transport
boat shipping
classic car shipping
recreational vehicle (RV) shipping

RunBuggy is an auto transporter that we’ve integrated into our transactional workflow. Get your car shipped at competitive prices. The entire process—from buying your car to paying for it to shipping it—all happens through your PrivateAuto app.

Get an instant quote now!

How Are Cars Shipped?

The most common car shipping options are open transport or enclosed transport.

What is Open Car Transport?

Open car transport is the most common way cars are shipped and is the cheapest option. Cars are transported on an open trailer that is exposed to the elements. It’s not hard to see why open transport is more economical than closed transport.

What is Enclosed Car Transport?

Enclosed auto transport is a more specialized service that provides greater protection for the vehicle. An enclosed trailer shields the vehicle from the elements and road debris.

Enclosed car shipping is usually reserved for expensive, classic, or luxury cars and is more expensive than open transport. Where open auto carriers can hold up to 12 cars at a time, many enclosed carriers accommodate a single vehicle only.

Can You Buy a Car Online and Ship it?

Until PrivateAuto, there was no great way to get a long-distance deal done. Escrow services are expensive and cumbersome, and buying a car remotely with no escrow is just plain risky.

PrivateAuto gives you escrow-like services in the palm of your hand. It’s easy to buy a car long-distance and have it shipped.

Here’s the process:

1. Contact the vehicle seller through our in-app messaging to arrange a pick-up time that works for them
2. Have a local inspector meet the seller and act as your agent
3. Over the phone, the inspector/agent confirms to you that the car is as advertised
4. You and the seller each electronically sign the bill of sale in the PrivateAuto mobile app
5. The app notifies you that the seller is contractually bound via the bill of sale
6. The app prompts you to send payment and you do so via PrivateAuto Pay
7. The seller receives payment instantly and confirms receipt
8. The seller signs over the title and gives it to the inspector, along with the keys
9. The inspector sees the car loaded onto transport and sends the title to you via certified mail
10. You track your car’s progress in the PrivateAuto app until it arrives at your driveway

The entire process is so smooth and simple that you won’t believe it. No more juggling and arranging between multiple parties; you orchestrate the entire transaction through the PrivateAuto app.

How Much Does Car Transport Cost?

Car shipping prices can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. For long-distance hauls, expect to pay 40 to 60 cents per mile for most types of vehicles.

Rates are based on the following factors:

1. The distance between the pickup location and the delivery location
2. Vehicle type: larger vehicles usually cost more to transport
3. Whether the transport is land-only or across the ocean (for example, to Hawaii)
4. Shipping method (open-air carrier vs enclosed transport type)
5. Whether you need the shipment expedited
6. Your pickup and drop-off dates—certain dates may incur extra cost
7. The specific details of your vehicle, such as dimensions, weight, and other criteria
8. Functionality: inoperable vehicles cost more to ship

Average costs of open car shipping tend to be in the $1,000 to $2,000 range. To know how much your car will cost to ship, get a free car shipping quote from RunBuggy today!

How Can I Save Money on Car Shipping?

Shipping a car can be costly, but there are several ways you can save money on car transport services. Here are a few tips to keep transport prices low and get the best deal on vehicle shipping:

Plan ahead: shipping companies usually require at least a week's notice, and the more time you give them, the better. If you're in a hurry, you'll likely pay a premium for expedited shipping.
Consider different transport options: open and enclosed shipping both have their pros and cons, and the prices can vary significantly, so research different vehicle shipping options and choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.
Check for discounts: many car shipping companies offer discounts for military members, students, and senior citizens, and you may also be able to get a discount by shipping multiple vehicles at once or by choosing a slower shipping option.
Prepare your vehicle to avoid any extra fees. Remove all personal items from the car, give it a good car wash, and make sure it's in good working order.

By following these tips, you can get your vehicle transported safely and affordably.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Ship a Car Overseas?

When it comes to getting a car across the ocean, the cheapest type of transport is container shipping. Comparing international shipping rates from different companies and booking in advance is crucial if you want to save money on overseas transport. Understanding the international car shipping process and choosing the right destination port can also help reduce costs.

How PrivateAuto Enables Long-Distance Car Purchases

Whether you’re trying to sell a used car or are shopping for one, we’ll help you get the deal done. We give you escrow-like services to buy a car remotely in a safe and secure manner, after which you can have it shipped with one of our preferred providers.

It’s a good idea to have the car inspected, and many inspectors can act as your agent to help you get the deal done. Then you can send a fee-free, instantaneous payment via our integrated banking gateway after the inspector has verified the car is as advertised and the seller has signed the vehicle bill of sale.

Our innovative platform connects buyers and sellers and gives them all the tools to complete the deal, from in-app financing to secure messaging to integrated payments to shipping.

Browse used cars for sale by owner on PrivateAuto to start your vehicle purchasing journey.

What is DealNow?

PrivateAuto is an all-encompassing platform for private individuals to buy and sell cars. We’re the world’s only transactional automotive marketplace. Where other online “meetingplaces” connect a buyer to a seller and leave them to navigate how to get the deal done, we take them through every stage, from initial messaging through payment and shipping.

We don’t hate other listing sites, though. If you decide to shop for used cars—or list your car for sale—on platforms such as Craigslist or eBay Motors, we’ve created a solution just for you.

It’s called DealNow. You get to skip the listing process altogether and go straight to closing the transaction with the power of PrivateAuto Pay—the only instantaneous and secure payment method for amounts over $5K.

Here’s how it works:

1. Invite the seller (or buyer) to DealNow via a custom link.
2. Enjoy identity verification, in-app messaging, and our test drive scheduling feature (none of which require you to exchange contact info).
3. Meet in person and complete the test drive.
4. Buyer and seller go together through a step-by-step transaction process in which you each confirm relevant details right in the PrivateAuto mobile app. From mileage to the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to the condition of the vehicle, we help you both prevent any errors.
5. Both parties electronically sign an official bill of sale. This is stored in your PrivateAuto account as a legal record you can refer to down the road.
6. Buyer is prompted to initiate payment, and the funds transfer instantly.
7. Seller gets a notification of funds received and confirm receipt of payment.
8. The seller signs over the car title and hands over the keys.

DealNow is so smooth, so safe, and so fast that you’ll never want to buy a car without it. No matter what platform you use to find your buyer or seller—DealNow will help you get the deal done.

Car Transport FAQ

Is shipping a car a good idea?

If you need to get a car from Point A to Point B and you don’t want to drive it, shipping the vehicle is probably your best option. Vehicle transportation can save time, reduce wear and tear on your vehicle, and provide a more convenient way to move your car.

Choose a reputable and trustworthy auto transport provider such as RunBuggy to get safe transport at an affordable price.

Get a free auto transport quote now.

How much gas should be in the gas tank when a car is shipped?

How long is a car transporter?

What is the cheapest way to ship across the states?

What is the best company to ship a car?

Are there any auto transport companies to avoid?

How much does enclosed car transport cost?

What are guaranteed pickups and deliveries when transporting a car?

Do I need to pay sales tax after transporting a vehicle from another state?

How do I transfer the vehicle title after having a car shipped?