Should I Sell My Car or Ship It?

Joe Roberts
Researcher & Writer
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Published on September 20, 2021
4 min read

At a glance

Deciding to ship a car or sell it comes down to how much it costs. In particular, you want to identify how much it costs to sell your vehicle, ship it, and buy a new one. We’ve found that it’s almost always more cost-effective to ship your automobile—especially if you use one of the best car shipping companies. However, if your vehicle is nearing the end of its life, you may want to skip the shipping process and sell your car.

Auto shipping rates vs. car prices

Cost info
2018 Toyota Corolla
2020 Ford Explorer
2017 Ford F-150
Trade-in value after 100,000 miles$11,750$17,240$14,320
Purchase price$14,800$32,770$23,190
Cost to ship 1,000 miles$1,100$1,210$1,330
Cost to ship 2,000 miles$1,360$1,520$1,730

Trade-in value and purchase price as of 9/20/21 based on Kelly Blue Book values for vehicles in good. Car shipping prices as of 5/24/21. Average cost calculated by comparing costs for 3 vehicle sizes across 11 distances. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Understanding car shipping costs

Car shipping prices fluctuate based on factors like seasonality and the popularity of a route between two cities. This means that the rates we’ve provided may not perfectly predict what you’ll pay for your shipment.

That being said, it’s clearly much cheaper to ship a car than to buy a brand-new one; though, like we said earlier, you could feasibly break even if you bought a used car for the same price you sold your old one for.

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Other options

If both shipping and selling sound like more money (and hassle) than you can afford, we recommend renting a vehicle trailer and hauling your car behind your moving truck or another vehicle. This is by far the least convenient option, but it can save you a lot of money.

The fourth method is to hire someone to drive your car from point A to point B. This is risky since you have to trust a stranger to get behind the wheel of your car, and it will put extra miles on the vehicle, but it can be cheaper than shipping.

uShip

Shipping vs. selling your car

Shipping your car

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Cheaper than buying a new car
Pro Bullet Usually less stressful than working with a car dealership
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Not ideal for vehicles with low resale value

Since auto shipping is so pricey, assess the value of your car before deciding to ship it. Does your vehicle still have a couple years of reliable service in it, or are you due for a new one? Would it cost more to ship the car than it’s even worth? To help you decide, look up vehicle trade-in values on Kelly Blue Book.

Of course, a vehicle’s monetary value isn’t the only factor. Maybe the car has some sentimental worth, for example, or you still have a few years left on your lease. Or maybe you’re really looking forward to actually paying off your car loan.

Plus there’s the hassle of looking for a new vehicle, filling out paperwork, and possibly going weeks or months without transportation in the process.

If your old car is still in good condition and you decide that it’s worth keeping, we recommend hiring one of our favorite auto shippers to deliver it to your new home.

And if you’re shipping a classic Ford or an irreplaceable Ferrari, check out our guide to the best classic car shipping companies. These shippers specialize in classic and collectible cars, but their services do cost a lot more.

Money
Ship your car without breaking the bank

If your budget is limited but you need to ship your car, don’t lose hope. uShip lets you peruse various quotes from multiple companies, so you can find an option that’ll work for your wallet. To get the service you need at a price you can manage, check out our crash course on cheap car shipping.

Selling your car

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet No need to pay for shipping
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Cost of a replacement vehicle
Con Bullet Insurance and registration fees for your new vehicle

Buying a new car is always more expensive than shipping an old car. But getting a fresh new vehicle—or a great used car—is also much more cost-effective than shipping an old beater thousands of miles.

If your car is on its last leg (or wheel), then the price of shipping it probably isn’t worth the handful of months the car will keep running. Save the money you would pay to ship that junker and put it toward a new set of wheels once you reach your destination.

As an added bonus, you’ll also be able to use the money you get from selling your car as a down payment for the new hotness. To know exactly how much you can expect to get for your old car, check what it’s worth on Kelly Blue Book.

If you don’t want to ship your car but also can’t afford a brand-new one, you could shop for an affordable used car after your move. If you find a suitable replacement that costs exactly the same as what you sold your old car for, you could break even except for the cost of registration and insurance (which you’d have to pay either way).


Car shipping FAQs

Can I finance my auto shipment?

Yes! Car shipping is expensive, and some people may not be able to take out a personal loan or pay for it all up front. Companies like Montway are aware of this and allow customers to finance their shipments. However, many companies will give discounts if you pay with cash.

Can the company that’s moving my furniture also ship my car?

Some companies can handle auto shipments in addition to standard moving services. In fact, some of our favorite moving companies are one-stop moving shops:

However, not all moving companies do car shipments, so you should always ask beforehand if you need this service. We also want to mention that some companies offer auto transport as a brokerage service, which means they’ll connect you to a shipping partner they trust instead of handling the shipment themselves.

Can I pack my car up with stuff before shipping it?

Nope. The U.S. Department of Transportation prohibits the storage of personal belongings inside cars on auto carriers. And since items packed in your vehicle can shift and bounce in transit, they’re likely to get damaged or wreak havoc on the inside of your car. So we don’t recommend this anyway.

What is the best car shipping company?

Montway Auto Transport is the best car shipping company, according to Move.org. The car shipping service has low prices, offers open transport and enclosed transport, and provides nationwide shipping in all 50 states.

What is the shipping cost for an enclosed carrier?

The shipping cost for an enclosed carrier is approximately $1,500, according to Move.org. Enclosed shipping prices vary based on delivery distance, vehicle size, and transport company.

Which shipping method should I use for my Tesla?

Many auto transport companies recommend using the enclosed transport shipping method for your Tesla. While the car shipping cost is about 40% more expensive than an open car carrier, enclosed transport keeps your car safer during transit.

What is the shipping price for a motorcycle?

The shipping price for a motorcycle is approximately $880, according to Move.org. Prices vary depending on how far you’re traveling, how big your vehicle is, and which auto transport service you use.


Joe Roberts
Written by
Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over four years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.