Top Auto Transport Companies in California USA

Sun-kissed beaches, towering redwoods, bustling cities – California has it all! But what about getting your car there? Skip the long haul and ditch the road trip stress. This guide unlocks the secrets of door-to-door car shipping in California, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free journey for your vehicle. Buckle up and get ready to experience the Golden State in style!

Key Highlights: 

  • Estimated Costs: Shipping a car to or from California generally ranges from $800 to $1,200 for over 500 miles). Get multiple quotes for accurate quote. 
  • Transit Durations: Anticipate shipping times from California to various U.S. locations (over 500 miles), averaging between 5 to 7 days. (Actual times can vary due to carrier schedules.) 

California Car Shipping Companies

AutoStar Transport Express
AutoStar Transport Express
Montway Auto Transport
Montway Auto Shipping
AmeriFreight Auto Transport
AmeriFreight Auto Transport
Sherpa Auto Transport
Sherpa Auto Transport

The Choices on the California Highway:

  1. Door-to-Door Shipping: The ultimate in convenience, your car gets picked up from your origin and delivered directly to your California destination. This is ideal for those who want a hassle-free experience. (See previous guide for detailed breakdown)
  2. Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping: This option offers a more budget-friendly approach. You’ll need to drop off and pick up your car at designated terminals within California.
  3. Driving Yourself: For some, the road trip is part of the California dream! Consider gas costs, wear-and-tear on your car, tolls, and the time commitment before hitting the open road.

Choosing Your Path:

Here are some key factors to consider when deciding which car shipping method is right for you:

  • Budget: Door-to-door offers convenience but at a premium. Terminal-to-terminal is more cost-effective, while driving yourself requires factoring in gas, tolls, and potential maintenance.
  • Time: Door-to-door is the fastest option, while driving yourself and terminal-to-terminal involve additional travel time for drop-off and pick-up.
  • Convenience: Door-to-door provides the ultimate ease, while terminal-to-terminal requires more planning and flexibility. Driving offers the most control over your journey.
  • Distance: Longer distances may make door-to-door more appealing, while shorter distances might make terminal-to-terminal or driving more feasible.
  • Vehicle Type: Classic or luxury cars might benefit from the extra protection of enclosed trailers, which may be available with any of the shipping methods.

Understanding the Process:

  1. Get Quotes & Compare: Research car shipping companies, comparing prices, reputation, insurance coverage, and shipping methods (open vs. enclosed trailers).
  2. Book Your Shipment: Provide details about your vehicle, pick-up/delivery locations, and preferred timeframe.
  3. Prepare Your Vehicle: Ensure it’s clean, empty of belongings, and in good working order. Remove non-permanent fixtures (check company guidelines).
  4. Pickup & Inspection: The car carrier will conduct a pre-shipment inspection and carefully load your vehicle.
  5. Transportation: Your car travels securely on a specialized carrier with other vehicles.
  6. Delivery & Final Inspection: Upon arrival, the car carrier will deliver your vehicle, perform a final inspection, and collect any final payment.

Choosing the Right Car Shipping Company:

  • Research Reputation: Opt for a company with a strong track record of excellent customer service and reliable service.
  • Licensing & Insurance: Ensure the company is licensed and carries sufficient insurance to cover your vehicle in case of any damage during transport.
  • Shipping Methods: Choose between open or enclosed trailers based on your budget and desired protection level for your car. Open trailers are more affordable, while enclosed trailers offer more protection from the elements.
  • Price & Quotes: Don’t just go for the cheapest quote. Compare details and inquire about all fees and insurance coverage.

Cost Considerations:

  • Distance: Longer distances generally cost more.
  • Vehicle Size & Type: Larger or classic cars may incur higher costs.
  • Shipping Method: Enclosed trailers are more expensive than open trailers.

Estimated Costs (within California):

  • Short Distances (within 200 miles): $300-$500 (standard sedan)
  • Medium Distances (200-500 miles): $500-$800
  • Long Distances (over 500 miles): $800-$1,200+

Estimated Timeframes (within California):

  • Short Distances: 1-3 days
  • Medium Distances: 3-5 days
  • Long Distances: 5-7 days

Steps to Ship a Car from California

  • Research Auto Transport Companies: Look for reputable car shipping companies that operate in California. Ensure they are licensed, insured, and have positive customer reviews. 
  • Request Multiple Quotes: Contact multiple car shipping companies for quotes. Provide details like the vehicle’s make, model, desired shipping date, and destination. 
  • Choose a Transport Method: Decide between open or enclosed transport. Open transport is cost-effective but exposes the vehicle to the elements. Enclosed transport offers more protection but can be pricier. 
  • Book the Service: After comparing quotes and choosing a suitable company, book your car shipping service. Finalize the pickup and delivery dates. 
  • Prepare Your Vehicle: Clean your car thoroughly, remove personal belongings, and conduct a pre-shipping inspection. Take note of any existing damages and document them with photographs. 
  • Meet the Carrier: On the scheduled pickup day, be present to hand over the vehicle to the carrier. Sign the required paperwork and ensure you receive a copy of the shipping contract. 
  • Track Your Shipment: Most reputable carriers offer tracking services. Stay updated on your vehicle’s location during transit. 
  • Receiving Your Vehicle: Upon arrival at the destination, inspect the car for any damages. Note and document any new issues compared to the pre-shipping inspection. 
  • Payment and Documentation: Pay any remaining balance to the carrier after confirming the vehicle’s condition. Sign off on the delivery and ensure you have all necessary documentation. 
  • Feedback and Reviews: Provide feedback based on your experience with the car shipping company. Share your feedback via reviews or testimonials to help future customers. 

Additional Tips for a Smooth Move:

  • Read reviews and check the company’s reputation.
  • Ask about additional fees and insurance coverage.
  • Document any existing damage before pick-up.
  • Communicate clearly with the shipping company throughout the process.
  • Consider weather conditions (avoid harsh winters for open-air transport).

Example Estimated Costs from Los Angeles, California 

From To Cost 
Los Angeles, CA New York City, NY $900 – $1,200 
Los Angeles, CA Miami, FL $800 – $1,000 
Los Angeles, CA Chicago, IL $700 – $900 
Los Angeles, CA Houston, TX $600 – $800 
Los Angeles, CA Seattle, WA $500 – $700 
Prices may vary based on specific requirements.

Example Estimated Transit Times from Los Angeles, California 

From To Time 
Los Angeles, CA New York City, NY 5-7 days 
Los Angeles, CA Miami, FL 6-7 days 
Los Angeles, CA Chicago, IL 4-6 days 
Los Angeles, CA Houston, TX 3-5 days 
Los Angeles, CA Seattle, WA 2-4 days 
Actual times can vary due to carrier schedules.

Final Thoughts 

With door-to-door car shipping, you can focus on the exciting aspects of relocating to California. Relax, explore the Golden State’s beauty, and leave the car transport to the professionals. Now, get out there and start chasing your California dreams!

Bonus Tip: Many car shipping companies offer online quote calculators. This allows you to get a quick estimate on the cost of shipping your car within California.

Car Transport Companies Across the United States