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Your Complete California Guide to Hassle-Free Auto Transport

Looking to ship a car to or from the Golden State? Get all the answers about California car shipping in one place. From pinpointing costs to understanding the delivery timeline, this no-nonsense guide unpacks the complexities, giving you the facts you need to make informed decisions without the sales pitch.  

Key Takeaways

Seamless Vehicle Transport Solutions

ShipYourCarNow is acclaimed for its comprehensive vehicle transport services in California, offering benefits like door-to-door delivery and specialized transport options, backed by a professional team focused on customer satisfaction. Ship Now

Understanding California Car Shipping Costs

Car shipping costs in California vary based on factors such as shipping service type, vehicle size, distance, and time of year, with average costs typically being $1,150 or $1.15 per mile for a 1,000-mile journey. Ship Now

Essential Car Shipping Preparation

Key steps when preparing a car for shipping include a thorough wash, removing personal items, disabling alarms, securing loose parts, and ensuring correct fuel or battery charge levels, as well as documenting the vehicle’s condition to avoid disputes upon delivery. Ship Now

ShipYourCarNow: Top-Rated California Auto Transport Company

Choosing a reputable car shipping company in California involves finding a service that is both reputable and reliable. Among the numerous car shipping companies, ShipYourCarNow stands out as a top-rated auto transport company that’s earned high praise for its efficiency, reliability, and commitment to customer satisfaction. The company positions itself as an industry leader in vehicle transport, offering a comprehensive range of services from door-to-door delivery to specialized enclosed transport.

With ShipYourCarNow, you can rest assured that your vehicle is in capable hands. Their experienced team of professionals is committed to ensuring a seamless car transport process. From obtaining a detailed quote to having your car picked up by a carrier and delivered to your desired location, ShipYourCarNow prioritizes customer satisfaction at every step of the way.

Whether you’re shipping a classic car or a family SUV, you can trust ShipYourCarNow for a safe and prompt cross country car shipping vehicle delivery. With our reliable cross country car transport services, your vehicle will be in good hands.

Quick and Easy Steps

How our California car shipping works

Understanding the process of shipping a car in California is vital before you embark on it. At its core, car shipping involves four main steps:

  1. Obtaining a quote

  2. Providing vehicle details

  3. Having the car picked up by a carrier

  4. Tracking the shipment progress until delivery.


  • Step 1

    Obtaining a quote marks the first step in the car shipping process. This involves providing the auto transport company with details about your car, including:

    • its make
    • model
    • year
    • any modifications
    These details will help the company provide you with a detailed quote and an estimated timeline for delivery. If you’re shipping your car to California, you’ll also need to understand the state’s unique emissions standards overseen by the Air Resources Board (ARB). Opting for reliable and experienced auto transport services is crucial in the auto transport industry, and it’s important to verify that the car transport company, such as Montway Auto Transport, is licensed, insured, and reputable.

  • Step 2

    Once you’ve received a quote and confirmed the details of your vehicle, the next step is to arrange for a carrier to pick up your car from the agreed location. This involves scheduling a pick-up time that’s convenient for you and ensuring that the location is accessible for the carrier. It’s a straightforward process, but one that requires clear communication between you and the car shipping company to ensure a smooth pick-up.

  • Step 3

    The car shipping process concludes with preparing your vehicle for transport and monitoring its progress during transit. During the shipping process, the transport company maintains communication, providing updates on the vehicle’s transit and confirming when the car has reached its destination safely. This step allows you to keep track of your vehicle’s whereabouts and ensures that you’re kept in the loop every step of the way.

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Shipping Your Car to California - Cost & Delivery Estimates

Having covered the basic steps of the car shipping process, it’s time to discuss costs. If you’re shipping your car to California, there are a few factors that can influence the cost. The average cost to ship a car in the United States is $1,150, or $1.15 per mile, over a typical distance of 1,000 miles. However, this can vary depending on several factors such as the type of shipping service you choose, the size of your vehicle, and the time of year.

For instance, open carrier shipping, which is the more common option, ranges from $550 to $1,600, while enclosed carrier shipping averages between $1,000 and $2,450. The size of your vehicle also influences the shipping cost, with each size increase potentially adding $150 to $250 to the shipping cost. It’s also worth noting that the time of year can affect shipping costs, with the possibility of paying up to 15% less by avoiding peak transportation seasons. Lastly, choosing terminal-to-terminal delivery is typically cheaper than door-to-door shipping.

Factors Affecting California Car Shipping Costs & Timelines

Beyond the costs, another important aspect of car shipping is the timeline. Several factors can influence the cost and timeline of car shipping in California. The cost to ship a vehicle from Florida to California, for example, is influenced by the distance, which can range from $0.38 to $0.76 per mile, averaging around $0.50 per mile. The shipping options you choose also play a role. For instance, open carriers are less costly, while enclosed carriers offer more protection at a higher price.

The make and size of your vehicle, as well as the time of year, can also significantly impact your car shipping costs and timelines,. For example, compact cars are cheaper to ship compared to larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks. And while summer is a popular time for people to move and ship their cars, it’s also a peak season for car shipping, which means higher rates and longer delivery times. So, if you want to save a few bucks and avoid potential delays, consider shipping your car during off-peak seasons.

How much does car shipping cost to or from California?

You might be wondering, “How much does it really cost to ship a car to or from California?” The answer, as you might have guessed, depends on various factors. The typical cost to ship a car is approximately $1,150, which translates to about $1.15 per mile for a distance of 1,000 miles. But this cost can range from $550 to $2,450, depending on factors like the type of vehicle, the distance travelled, and the transportation method chosen.

For example, open carrier shipping tends to be more economical, with prices from $550 to $1,600, while enclosed carrier shipping averages between $1,000 and $2,450. The distance is also a major factor, with costs per mile ranging from $0.60 to $1.70, and longer distances generally resulting in lower costs per mile. The size of the vehicle influences the cost, with larger vehicles increasing the price by $150 to $250 per size increment. And, as with other services, the time of year can affect pricing, with higher costs during the summer and potential savings of up to 15% in off-peak seasons.

Cost & Delivery Estimates - Shipping Your Car from California

Ship Car FromShip Car To

Estimated Route Distance (miles)

Estimated Delivery TimeEstimated Cost
CaliforniaTexas1407.13-5 days$965
CaliforniaFlorida2703.87-8 days$1305
CaliforniaHawaii24675-7 days$2035
CaliforniaVirginia2647.37-8 days$1145
CaliforniaIllinois2108.56-7 days$1025

Cost & Delivery Estimates - Shipping Your Car to California

Ship Car FromShip Car To

Estimated Delivery Time

Estimated Route Distance (miles)

Estimated Cost
TexasCalifornia3-5 days1407.1$695
FloridaCalifornia7-8 days2703.8$1135
HawaiiCalifornia5-7 days2467$1405
VirginiaCalifornia7-8 days2647.3$1105
IllinoisCalifornia6-7 days2108.5$905

*Disclaimer: Please note that all durations, distances, and estimated costs provided in this table are general or best estimates. Actual shipping durations, distances, and costs may vary depending on various factors such as specific origin and destination locations, vehicle type, shipping method, seasonal variations, and other circumstances. Each shipping scenario is unique, and additional factors not accounted for in these estimates may impact the final shipping details. For accurate and personalized shipping information tailored to your specific needs, please start a free quote.

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How long does car shipping take to or from California?

When it comes to shipping a car to or from California, another common question is, “How long does it take?” The answer can vary based on a few factors, including the total distance to be travelled and the time of year. For example, proximity to Interstate 5 (I-5) can influence the speed and cost of shipping a car to or from California, with locations near I-5 typically offering quicker and cheaper transport.

Cities along California State Route 99 (CA-99) and United States Route 101 (US-101) are considered more accessible for car shipping within California. However, certain areas can pose challenges. For instance, San Francisco might pose challenges due to toll bridges, high gas prices, and vehicle size restrictions on city streets, leading to potentially higher costs and longer transport times.

Similarly, remote areas of California, such as mountainous or forested regions, may require customers to meet drivers at major highways or interstates for the pickup or delivery of vehicles. And, of course, the cost of fuel in California, typically higher than in other states, can impact the overall price and duration of the car shipping process.

Choosing the Right California Car Shipping Company

Selecting the right car shipping company in California is a key step in the car shipping process. It’s important to do your homework and find a company that not only offers competitive prices but also provides reliable services and has a good reputation in the industry. One way to do this is by reviewing customer feedback across multiple platforms, such as the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Affairs, Facebook, Google Maps, and Trustpilot.

Beyond customer reviews, you should also evaluate the company’s customer support services, background, pricing and insurance options, and the variety of services they offer. For example, a company that offers a variety of services like open or enclosed shipping, door-to-door delivery, terminal-to-terminal transport, international shipping, and additional services like GPS tracking or multi-car transport can provide more flexibility and cater to a wider range of shipping needs.

Furthermore, you should verify the company’s coverage, ensuring they operate in the necessary states, including California, and any other states involved in the transport. Finally, consider the expert opinions provided by editorial teams on aspects such as unique services, website usability, transparent pricing, and company reliability.

Preparing Your Vehicle for California Car Shipping

There are several preparatory steps to take before your vehicle is picked up for shipping.
Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Thoroughly wash your car to expose any scratches, dents, or paint chips that may be concealed by dirt.
  2. Conduct a detailed inspection of your clean vehicle for existing damage and document it with photographs and written records.
  3. This will help you avoid potential disputes over the vehicle’s condition upon delivery.

Next, you should:

  1. Remove all personal belongings and vehicle add-ons, such as toll tags
  2. Ensure any custom alarm systems are disabled before transporting the car
  3. Secure or remove any loose parts of the car’s exterior that could pose a risk or incur additional costs due to modification of the vehicle’s dimensions.

Lastly, perform a maintenance check to ensure the vehicle can roll, brake, and steer, and inform the transport provider of any issues. Also, ensure the car’s fuel level is around one-quarter full to minimize weight but still allow for loading and unloading by the transporter. If you’re shipping an electric vehicle, ensure the battery charge is between 45-65% and provide the charging cables for the transport. And, of course, don’t forget to hand over a set of keys to the transporter and consider having a backup set in case of loss or misplacement.

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What’s the best way to ship your car to or from California?

Although the optimal method for shipping your car to or from California depends on your unique needs and circumstances, several general recommendations are worth considering. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Enclosed transport: For maximum protection from weather and road debris, high-value or classic cars are often shipped using enclosed transport, despite its higher cost compared to open transport.
  2. Open transport: Open transport is more common and cost-effective. The majority of vehicles are shipped via carrier truck, which offers both open or enclosed transport options.
  3. Plane or train: While less common, shipping by plane or train may be an option to consider depending on your specific situation.

While shipping a vehicle on an airplane is the fastest method, it is also significantly more expensive, generally reserved for extremely high-value vehicles, or when time is a crucial factor. Shipping a car by train is a middle-ground option cost-wise, less expensive than air shipment but generally more costly and slower than shipping via a truck. Ultimately, choosing the best method for shipping your car to or from California depends on factors such as your vehicle’s value, your budget, and your timing requirements.

What is the cheapest way to ship a car from California?

For those seeking the most affordable method to ship a car from California, consider the following options. Open transport is one of the most affordable options for shipping cars, accommodating up to 20 vehicles on a carrier and being commonly used for non-collector cars. Enclosed transport is preferred for collector cars and can carry around eight vehicles in a trailer that protects against road debris.

Private transport involves an individual with a truck and trailer, usually carrying two to three cars, offering a balance of cost efficiency and scheduling flexibility. Some open carriers also offer shrink wrapping, which provides protection similar to enclosed transport. Finally, financial transport is a method where a car is sold at the origin and a similar one is purchased at the destination, potentially reducing costs to just the registration of the car in the new location. With these options available, finding the right car transport service to suit your needs becomes easier.

Each of these options has its pros and cons, so it’s important to consider your specific needs and circumstances when choosing the cheapest way to ship your car from California.

Pro tips for transporting a car to or from California

With the proper guidance and advice, shipping a car to or from California can be a seamless and straightforward affair. Here are a few pro tips to ensure a successful car shipping experience in California.

Firstly, to avoid potential disputes over the vehicle’s condition upon delivery, document its current state in detail before shipping, including taking photographs.

Door-to-door shipping services enhance convenience by picking up and delivering the vehicle directly from and to the addresses provided by the customer. Tracking options provided by shipping companies also allow customers to stay updated on their vehicle’s location during transit.

Moreover, to cut down shipping costs, consider:

  • arranging the shipment during off-peak times
  • being flexible with pickup and delivery dates
  • choosing open transport over enclosed transport for standard vehicles to save on shipping costs, reserving enclosed transport for luxury or classic cars.

And before shipping a car, customers should clear out personal items from the vehicle to prevent theft, damage, or loss during transit. Following these tips can help ensure a smooth and hassle-free car shipping experience in California.

Door-to-Door vs. Terminal-to-Terminal Services in California

In terms of car shipping services in California, the primary options are door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal. Door-to-door car shipping involves the transport truck coming as close to the specified pickup and delivery locations as possible, allowing direct interaction with the carrier. This service offers great convenience as it eliminates the need for you to travel to a specific location to drop off or pick up your vehicle.

On the other hand, terminal-to-terminal shipping can be more suitable for people with busy schedules who are unable to wait for a carrier and prefer to drop off and pick up their vehicle at shipping terminals. Though often offered at a discounted rate, terminal-to-terminal shipping can take longer to arrange as it requires the carrier to consolidate a full load of vehicles from the terminal. While terminal-to-terminal shipping offers benefits for certain customers, such as those who travel frequently or have unpredictable schedules, it is less common now due to the convenience of door-to-door transportation.

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Enclosed vs. Open Transport for California Car Shipping

Deciding between enclosed and open transport is a decision you’ll have to make when shipping a car in California. Open transport is the most common and affordable option. It can accommodate more vehicles per trip, making it an economical choice for standard, non-collector cars. On the other hand, enclosed transport offers more protection but at a higher cost. It typically carries a smaller number of vehicles, usually two to three, using specialized trailers.

While open transport exposes vehicles to weather elements and road debris, potentially arriving quite dirty, enclosed transport shields vehicles within a covered trailer. There tends to be more availability of open carriers compared to enclosed carriers, which can lead to faster transport times for open transport methods. However, enclosed transport can be up to 50 to 100 percent more expensive per mile when compared to open transport. Therefore, the choice between enclosed and open transport will depend on factors such as your vehicle’s value, your budget, and your desired level of protection.

Inoperable Vehicle Shipping in California

Shipping a non-running or inoperable vehicle in California requires a few special considerations. Transporting a non-running vehicle is more costly than shipping an operational car due to the need for specialized equipment and trained personnel. The make and model of the inoperable vehicle can also influence transport costs, as larger vehicles occupy more space and add weight to the carrier.

To load a non-running vehicle onto a carrier, an auto transport company might use a winch or a liftgate, depending on whether the service is open or enclosed transport. Additionally, the company will need detailed information about the condition of the non-running car, including whether it can roll, brake, or be steered, to prepare for transportation. Proper preparation for inoperable vehicle transport includes securing all loose parts and removing personal items from the car. So, while shipping an inoperable vehicle may require a bit more planning and cost, it’s certainly possible with the right transport company.

New California Residents: Driver's License and Vehicle Registration

New California residents must undertake a few additional steps after shipping their car. First, you’ll need to obtain a California driver’s license to legally operate a motor vehicle. California driver’s licenses include the holder’s full name, birthdate, address, signature, photograph, and physical description, and must be carried when driving. Starting from May 7, 2025, a California driver’s license must be REAL ID compliant to be used for boarding domestic flights.

The application process for a new California driver’s license can begin online but must be completed at a DMV office. There are several categories of noncommercial driver’s licenses in California, including Class C for standard vehicles, Class M1 or M2 for motorcycles, and specialized classes for larger vehicles like travel trailers and motorhomes. California offers both REAL ID compliant and federal non-compliant driver’s licenses, with REAL ID allowing holders to board domestic flights and enter certain federal facilities.

Veterans in California may add a ‘VETERAN’ designation on their driver’s license, and organ donors have the option to include a pink ‘DONOR’ dot on their license.

Tips for a Smooth California Car Shipping Experience

In conclusion, here are some extra tips to guarantee a smooth car shipping experience in California. One of the most important tips is to thoroughly wash your car and document its current state before shipping. This includes taking photographs of any existing damage to avoid potential disputes over the vehicle’s condition upon delivery.

Opting for door-to-door shipping services can also enhance convenience by:

  • Allowing for direct interaction with the carrier
  • Eliminating the need to travel to a specific location to drop off or pick up your vehicle
  • Providing tracking options that allow you to stay updated on your vehicle’s location during transit

These benefits make door-to-door shipping a great option for transporting your vehicle.

To cut down on shipping costs, consider arranging the shipment during off-peak times and being flexible with pickup and delivery dates. And, of course, remember to clear out personal items from the vehicle before shipping to prevent theft, damage, or loss during transit. Following these tips can help ensure a smooth and hassle-free car shipping experience in California.

ShipYourCarNow service areas in California by Zip Code

Ship Car from

Ship Car to (zip code)


90620, 90621, 92801, 92802, 92804, 92805, 92806, 92807, 92808, 92867, 92868, 92870, 92886, 92887 & surrounding areas


93203, 93220, 93301, 93304, 93305, 93306, 93307, 93308, 93309, 93311, 93312, 93313, 93314 & surrounding areas


93611, 93612, 93619, 93650, 93701, 93702, 93703, 93704, 93705, 93706, 93710, 93711, 93720, 93721, 93722, 93723, 93725, 93726, 93727, 93728, 93730 & surrounding areas

Long Beach

90713, 90731, 90740, 90755, 90802, 90803, 90804, 90805, 90806, 90807, 90808, 90810, 90813, 90814, 90815, 90822, 90831 & surrounding areas

Los Angeles

90001, 90002, 90003, 90004, 90005, 90006, 90007, 90008, 90010, 90011, 90012, 90013, 90014, 90015, 90016, 90017, 90018, 90019, 90020, 90021, 90023, 90024, 90025, 90026, 90027, 90028, 90029, 90031, 90032, 90033, 90034, 90035, 90036, 90037, 90038, 90039, 90041, 90042, 90043, 90044, 90045, 90046, 90047, 90048, 90049, 90056, 90057, 90058, 90059, 90061, 90062, 90063, 90064, 90065, 90066, 90067, 90068, 90069, 90071, 90077, 90079, 90089, 90090, 90094, 90095, 90210, 90212, 90230, 90232, 90247, 90248, 90272, 90275, 90290, 90291, 90292, 90293, 90402, 90405, 90501, 90502, 90710, 90717, 90731, 90732, 90744, 90745, 90810, 90813, 91030, 91040, 91042, 91105, 91214, 91303, 91304, 91306, 91307, 91311, 91316, 91324, 91325, 91326, 91330, 91331, 91335, 91340, 91342, 91343, 91344, 91345, 91352, 91356, 91364, 91367, 91371, 91401, 91402, 91403, 91405, 91406, 91411, 91423, 91436, 91504, 91505, 91601, 91602, 91604, 91605, 91606, 91607, 91608 & surrounding areas


94577, 94601, 94602, 94603, 94605, 94606, 94607, 94608, 94609, 94610, 94611, 94612, 94613, 94618, 94619, 94621, 94704, 94705 & surrounding areas


92501, 92503, 92504, 92505, 92506, 92507, 92508, 92509, 92518, 92553, 92557, 92879 & surrounding areas


95652, 95660, 95673, 95758, 95811, 95814, 95815, 95816, 95817, 95818, 95819, 95820, 95821, 95822, 95823, 95824, 95825, 95826, 95828, 95829, 95831, 95832, 95833, 95834, 95835, 95837, 95838, 95841, 95864 & surrounding areas

San Diego

91911, 91914, 91915, 91932, 91942, 91945, 91950, 92014, 92025, 92027, 92029, 92037, 92064, 92065, 92067, 92071, 92075, 92101, 92102, 92103, 92104, 92105, 92106, 92107, 92108, 92109, 92110, 92111, 92113, 92114, 92115, 92116, 92117, 92118, 92119, 92120, 92121, 92122, 92123, 92124, 92126, 92127, 92128, 92129, 92130, 92131, 92132, 92134, 92135, 92139, 92140, 92145, 92147, 92154, 92173 & surrounding areas

San Francisco

94102, 94103, 94104, 94105, 94107, 94108, 94109, 94110, 94111, 94112, 94114, 94115, 94116, 94117, 94118, 94121, 94122, 94123, 94124, 94127, 94129, 94130, 94131, 94132, 94133, 94134, 94158 & surrounding areas

San Jose

94089, 95002, 95008, 95013, 95014, 95032, 95035, 95037, 95050, 95054, 95070, 95110, 95111, 95112, 95113, 95116, 95117, 95118, 95119, 95120, 95121, 95122, 95123, 95124, 95125, 95126, 95127, 95128, 95129, 95130, 95131, 95132, 95133, 95134, 95135, 95136, 95138, 95139, 95140, 95148 & surrounding areas

Santa Ana

92606, 92614, 92701, 92703, 92704, 92705, 92706, 92707, 92780, 92866, 92868 && surrounding areas


95202, 95203, 95204, 95205, 95206, 95207, 95209, 95210, 95211, 95212, 95215, 95219, 95231, 95242, 95336 & surrounding areas


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