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5 Options for Shipping Cars Across the Country

Transporting a vehicle across the country can present challenges, whether you're relocating for work, selling a car to someone in another state, or embarking on an extensive road trip.

By Sheryl WrightPublished 9 months ago 3 min read

Transporting a vehicle across the country can present challenges, whether you're relocating for work, selling a car to someone in another state, or embarking on an extensive road trip. Sometimes, driving the distance yourself isn't a practical or viable option. Fortunately, there are various solutions available for shipping cars across the country. This article delves into five of the most commonly used and convenient methods.

Open-Air Transport

Open-air transport is a popular and budget-friendly method for shipping vehicles across the country. In this approach, your vehicle is loaded onto an open trailer alongside other cars, exposing it to weather conditions and the elements during transit. While this option is generally safe, it may not be the best choice for high-end or vintage vehicles that require extra protection from environmental factors.

It's worth noting that open-air transport is often chosen for its affordability and widespread availability, making it an attractive choice for many customers looking to transport their vehicles over long distances.


Economical in comparison to enclosed transport.

Widely accessible through numerous carriers.

Generally speedy and efficient.


The vehicle is subjected to varying weather conditions and can come into contact with debris on the road.

Unsuitable for high-value or sensitive vehicles.

Enclosed Transport

If you possess a valuable or classic vehicle that demands safeguarding from the elements, an enclosed auto transport becomes the preferred option. In this method, your vehicle is securely loaded into a fully enclosed trailer, providing meticulous protection against adverse weather, dust, and debris during transportation.

This level of care extends to shielding your car from potential theft or vandalism, making it the ultimate choice for those who prioritize the utmost safety and security for their cherished vehicles.


Offers maximum protection for valuable or delicate vehicles.

Shields the vehicle from weather, road debris, and potential theft.

Ideal for luxury and vintage cars.


Higher cost when compared to open-air transport.

Limited availability of enclosed carriers.

Door-to-Door Shipping

Door-to-door shipping is a convenient and stress-reducing option, especially for individuals with busy schedules or those who want to avoid the hassle of driving to and from terminals. When you choose this service, a professional carrier will arrive at your doorstep or any specified location, carefully load your vehicle onto their transport, and then deliver it directly to your chosen destination.


Convenient pick-up and delivery at locations of your choice.

Time-saving and hassle-reducing.

Suitable for individuals unable to drive their vehicles over long distances.


Slightly more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping.

Limited availability in remote areas.

Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping

Terminal-to-terminal shipping entails delivering your vehicle to a specified terminal at the origin and collecting it from another designated terminal upon reaching your destination. This option is typically more affordable than door-to-door service but may require additional arrangements for transportation to and from the terminals. It's important to note that while it may save you money, the convenience factor may vary depending on the locations of the terminals and your accessibility to them.


Cost-effective option.

Available at various terminals nationwide.

Suitable for those on a budget.


Requires extra effort and time for drop-off and pick-up.

Inconvenient for those without easy access to terminals.

Driveaway Services

For those seeking cost savings on shipping and not minding some added mileage on their vehicle, driveaway services offer an alternative. These services provide a qualified driver to transport your vehicle to its destination by driving it.

While cost-effective and environmentally friendly, this option may not be suitable for very long distances or high-value vehicles due to the increased wear and tear on the car during extended journeys.


Cost-effective compared to traditional shipping methods.

Reduces wear and tear on your car.

Suitable for those who prefer a personalized touch to the transport process.


Availability in certain regions is constrained.

It may not be the most suitable option for very extended journeys.

This method may not be appropriate for valuable or fragile vehicles.


Regarding the transportation of vehicles across the country, a variety of choices are available, each offering its own distinct benefits and disadvantages. Your decision should hinge on factors such as your budget, the vehicle's value, your convenience preferences, and the distance of the journey. Whether you opt for open-air transport, enclosed transport, door-to-door, terminal-to-terminal, or a driveaway service, it's essential to carefully assess your needs to ensure a smooth and stress-free car shipping experience.


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Comments (1)

  • Dave Wettlaufer9 months ago

    Do your research. Get references from custom car shops in your area and who they use, some of these transport companies are weekend drivers making a little extra jingle and far from being professional or … insured.

Sheryl WrightWritten by Sheryl Wright

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