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How To Successfully Ship a Car Across The Country [Quick Guide]

Sometimes, you need to get your car from one end of the country to the other. At first glance, it might seem as easy as driving it. However, what if you’re moving and using a U-Haul? What if you’re flying to your destination to get there quickly? Sometimes, you need a solution other than hopping behind the wheel, and that can be a complicated process. 

Here’s a quick guide on how to ship a car across the country without any hiccups. 

Choose a Method:

There are three main ways to ship a car across the country. First, the obvious one is that you can drive it, but we already mentioned the problem with that. 

You can also choose to tow it. Certain U-Haul models do have the capacity to tow sedans and similar-sized cars safely. If you have a larger vehicle, like a truck, you can always rent a flatbed trailer. The problem with the DIY towing method is that you’re not a professional driver trained to handle it. Behind a U-Haul, you’ll have to accommodate for the extra swing of having another vehicle attached to what you’re driving. Even if you get a flatbed, they’re not easy to drive, and the added weight can make navigating tricky routes a serious risk. Also, a flatbed rental really isn’t much cheaper than our preferred recommendation. Saving $100 or so isn’t worth it. 

Finally, you can hire a car transport service. This is our recommended method. It only costs a little more than a long-distance flatbed rental, and the service takes care of all the complicated work. 

The obvious way to ship a car across the country is that you can drive it.

Compare Services:

Don’t just call the first service you find online and commit. Compare price quotes from several companies to find the best vehicle transport service for your needs. Look at the vehicles they use to transport your car, their reputation, and of course, the service price. 


Once you’ve settled on a company, it’s time to prep your car. Your main concern revolves around making it operational without filling it full of gas. 

Check your fluids, make sure there’s just under a quarter of a tank of fuel, and make sure the E-brake is working. The service will need to drive it very short distances to get it on and off trailers. Ensuring your battery is good is also key. 

Once you’ve made sure it’s operational, it’s time to clean it out and minimize the risk of damage. This includes removing attachments like oversized spoilers, CB antennas, spare tires, and anything like that. Then, clear out all your personal items. You don’t have to remove everything, but if it’s something that’s easy to remove and valuable, take it out. 

Finally, wash the car, deactivate your alarm to keep it from going off every time the service tries to use it, and deactivate any automatic toll devices you have. You don’t want to get charged for every toll road your driver goes through. 

We also recommend photographing your vehicle from several angles. 

Retrieval and Damage Check: 

Now, we’re in the post-transport process. This is simple. You’ll meet the service representative at the agreed drop-off point, pay, and sign a few pieces of paperwork. Don’t leave just yet though. Take a moment to look over your car and make sure you successfully shipped a car across the country. If anything is messed up, bring that to the service’s attention.

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