How to Ship a Car to Hawaii

Kurt Manwaring
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Published on October 27, 2021
8 min read

At a glance

Shipping a car to Hawaii works pretty much the same way as transporting a vehicle to other states. You don’t need to worry about many details because you pay one of the best car shipping companies to handle the logistics. However, there are two things unique about Hawaii car transport: it takes a long time and is super expensive. The earlier you get started, the sooner your vehicle arrives—and the more you can save.

8 steps for shipping a car to Hawaii


The whole picture

1. Understand the basics

It helps to know what makes shipping a car to Hawaii different from transporting a vehicle within the continental United States. The most critical differences boil down to cost, company, transit times, and pickup details.

You pay (a lot) more

Hawaii auto transport is about $1,000 more expensive than regular car shipping. That’s because you’re paying for two services: ground transport to a West Coast port, plus overseas shipping.

Regular mainland shipping costs typically run about $1,100. Prices can go up or down depending on factors such as your destination city and vehicle size. Overseas shipping costs average around $2,100, plus whatever the broker may charge to set things up. Put them together, and you’re looking at an average total of approximately $3,200.

Hawaii car shipping costs
Average ground transport cost
Average overseas transport cost
Average total cost
$1080
$2110
$3190

Data as of 5/14/21 for ground transport and 10/5/21 for overseas transport. Average ground transport cost calculated by comparing costs for 3 vehicle sizes across 11 distances. Average overseas transport cost calculated by averaging prices for vehicles with measurements less than 21’ 8” x 7’ x 6’3” from three mainland ports to four Hawaiian ports. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

You work with an extra shipping company

When shipping a car to Hawaii, you work with a car transport broker and carrier—and an overseas shipping company that physically transports your vehicle across the ocean. Your broker will give you the company’s information but otherwise handles the shipping details for you.

Note: You need to hire a separate Hawaii transport company if you want your car delivered to your new home (rather than the port).  

Types of Hawaii car shipping companies
Type of transport companyService provided
Transport brokerConnects you with a transport carrier and overseas shipping company
Transport carrierDelivers your vehicle to a West Coast port
Overseas shipping companyDelivers your vehicle to a Hawaiian port
Hawaii car transport company (optional)Delivers your vehicle from the Hawaii port to your home

You wait longer

Shipping a car to Hawaii can take up to seven weeks. Your estimated transit time depends on things like the availability of transport trucks and overseas carriers, as well as your destination and arrival ports. In general, you can expect the following shipping timeframes:

  • Your home to a mainland port. Up to two weeks.
  • Mainland port to Hawaiian port. Up to five weeks.
Light Bulb
Is neighbor island barge sailing included in my delivery estimate?

Yes, your overseas shipping company typically includes 4–14 days for neighbor island barge sailing in your delivery estimate.

You pick up your vehicle at the port

Usually, a car shipping company will deliver your vehicle to your home. But that’s not the case with Hawaii auto shipping. You either need to pick up your vehicle at the port in Hawaii—or hire another auto transport company to deliver your vehicle from the Hawaii port to your home.

The most popular Hawaiian ports include:

  • Hilo
  • Honolulu
  • Kahului
  • Kaunakakai
  • Lanai City
  • Nawiliwili

2. Pick a shipment date

Tell the auto transport service when you need your vehicle picked up. In most cases, they’ll give you a one-week pick up window built around the date you provide. So, make sure you won’t already be gone at the tail end of the pick-up window—or arrange for family or friends to hand off your vehicle to the car shipping company.

3. Choose a company

Ask three or four car shipping companies for transportation quotes and compare your options. Pick the cheapest transporter about one month before you leave. And beware of companies with estimates that seem too good to be true (it’s an easy way to avoid car shipping scams).

For example, we looked at a list of uShip transporters that recently delivered cars to Hawaii and noticed a huge red flag. While four out of five companies had an average price of $3,260, one said it could get the job done for less than $600—an impossible price. It’s no surprise that the company received a 0-star rating.

uShip

Sample uShip ratings for Hawaii auto transport

uShip ratings for Hawaii

Watch out for car transport prices that seem too good to be true. In this example, Ace Auto Tranz offered an unrealistic rate more than five times lower than the other companies and received a 0-star rating.

4. Select shipment types

You need to select a transport option for both ground and overseas delivery. For ground delivery, you can choose between open and enclosed transport. Almost everyone uses open transport because it’s more affordable. However, enclosed transportation is ideal for high-end luxury vehicles like a Porsche or Ferrari.

For overseas transport, you have a few options:

  • Port-to-port delivery. Drop your vehicle off at the mainland shipping port and then pick it up at the Hawaiian port. This is the cheapest option, but it’s available only if you live near one of the main ports in Long Beach, California, Oakland, California, or Tacoma, Washington.
  • Door-to-port delivery. Most customers choose to have the car transport company come to their homes (or front “doors”) and deliver their car to a mainland port. While this adds about $1,100 to the price tag, it’s the only option if you don’t live near a West Coast port.
  • Door-to-door delivery. Very few car shipping companies can pick up your vehicle from your home on the mainland and deliver it to your front door in Hawaii. If you need door-to-door service, you must find a local Hawaiian company that can handle the last leg of the delivery (they’re usually the only ones that can transport your car from the port to your home).
Megaphone
Door-to-door transport in Hawaii

Full-service moving companies will often deliver your vehicle to your new address (rather than the port) if you ship it alongside your home’s belongings.

5. Prepare your vehicle

Take steps to prepare your vehicle for transport. In addition to standard precautions like checking for leaks and topping off fluids, you should also focus on details that are especially relevant to Hawaii transport:

  • Keep your gas level low. Your gas tank often can’t be filled to more than 5% capacity (much lower than the 25% threshold for domestic shipments). Ask your car transport company about its specific requirements, and then keep an eye on your fuel gauge.
  • Check your battery. Make sure your battery isn’t running out of juice. Many car shipping companies won’t transport your vehicle to Hawaii if it won’t start.
  • Wash your car. Clean your vehicle before transport and look for existing scratches and dents. Then, compare the condition of your automobile before and after delivery in case you need to file an insurance claim.

6. Hand over your keys

Give your keys to the car shipping company. This usually occurs when the transport truck driver arrives at your home. For those living near a mainland shipping port, you take the vehicle directly to the port following instructions from the broker.

In either case, the driver will help you conduct an inspection of your vehicle and ask you to sign a bill of lading. It’s a car shipping insurance document that helps you justify a claim if your vehicle gets damaged in transit.

7. Pick up your car

Pick up your vehicle when it arrives in Hawaii. The transport broker will tell you how to track your delivery status and where to pick up your car when it comes. Follow the instructions and contact your broker with questions.

8. Inspect your vehicle

Check your car for damage at the time of delivery. In most cases, if you don’t tell the driver about new scratches or dents, you won’t be able to  . Look for things like dents from hail storms and windshield chips from road debris. Be sure to examine your roof and look under the bumper. Mark any suspected new damage on your bill of lading and contact the car shipping company immediately to report the problem.

woman inspecting car

Check your vehicle for new damage, such as paint scratches or windshield chips, and document what you see on your bill of lading.


Recap

Shipping a car to Hawaii is similar to transporting your vehicle on the mainland. The best car shipping companies typically take care of everything you need. Still, you should be aware that shipment is slow and expensive. You also interact with an overseas car shipping company that adds another $2,000 or so to your price tag. You can increase the odds of a stress-free shipping experience by following a simple eight-step guide:

  1. Understand the basics. Hawaii car shipping costs more and takes longer than domestic shipments. You also must either pick up your vehicle at the delivery port or hire a separate company to deliver it to your new home.
  2. Pick a shipment date. The car shipping company will usually pick up your vehicle within a one-week window of the shipment date you provide. Be sure you or someone you know will be there to hand over your keys.
  3. Select shipment types. Choose between an open and enclosed carrier for ground shipment. Then, select door-to-port or port-to-port shipping for the overseas leg of your journey.
  1. Choose a company. Compare quotes from three or four companies and read up on customer reviews. Stay away from auto transporters with bad reviews or prices that seem too good to be true.
  2. Prepare your vehicle. Get your car ready for shipment by lowering your gas tank to about 5% capacity. Also, make sure your battery has plenty of life left, and wash your car so you can inspect it for existing damage.
  3. Drop off your car. Give your keys to the delivery driver who arrives to pick up your vehicle. Similarly, turn over your automobile to the overseas shipping company if you’ve selected port-to-port shipment.
  4. Pick up your car. Follow instructions provided by the broker to track your delivery status and pick up your vehicle when it arrives.
  5. Inspect your vehicle. Thoroughly examine your vehicle for any new damage. If necessary, document any problems on a bill of lading and file a car shipping insurance claim.

Hawaii car shipping FAQ

How much does it cost to ship a car to Hawaii?

The average cost to ship a car to Hawaii is about $3,200, according to Move.org. This includes ground transportation costs of around $1,080, plus overseas transport fees of about $2,100.

How much is enclosed auto transport to Hawaii?

Enclosed auto transport to Hawaii is approximately $3,600. The price includes ground transportation costs of roughly $1,500 and overseas shipping fees of around $2,100.

What are the best companies for auto shipping to Hawaii?

The best companies for auto shipping to Hawaii are Montway, AmeriFreight, and American Auto Shipping. All three companies ship to all 50 states, have reasonable prices and get excellent customer reviews.

Does Easy Auto Ship transport cars to Hawaii?

Yes, Easy Auto Ship transports cars to Hawaii. The transporter is known for highly accurate quotes, additional insurance options, and free car rentals.

What documents do I need to ship my car to Hawaii?

You don’t need any documents to ship your car to Hawaii. However, transport companies typically require a lienholder authorization, vehicle title, vehicle registration, photo ID, and proof of ownership if shipping from Hawaii to the mainland. 

Is my car exposed to the elements during overseas shipping?

No, your car isn’t exposed to the elements during overseas shipping. Vehicles shipped to Hawaii are stored inside of a shipping container or underneath the deck of a ship. These safety precautions protect your car against rain and hail.

Which ports can I use to ship a car to Hawaii?

The most popular ports to ship a car to Hawaii are Long Beach, California, Oakland, California, and Tacoma, Washington. There are also several ports in Alaska. However, not all shipping companies use every port, so you should verify your options before booking a reservation.

Which ports can I use to ship a car to Hawaii?

The port you use to ship a car to Hawaii depends on the overseas shipping company. In most cases, transport companies use ports in Long Beach, California, Oakland, California, and Tacoma, Washington. In some cases, you may also be able to use West Coast ports near Los Angeles, California and San Francisco, California (East Coast ports don’t go to Hawaii).

Can I ship a car from Alaska to Hawaii?

Yes, you can ship a car from Alaska to Hawaii. Just be aware that the costs are about $1,680 higher than using a mainland port in California or Washington.

Can I ship my car to Hawaii with stuff in it?

No, you can’t ship your car to Hawaii with stuff in it. Most vehicle shipping companies will require you to empty all of your personal belongings before picking up your vehicle.

Is it worth shipping your car to Hawaii?

It depends on the value of your car. Since the average cost to ship a car to Hawaii is over $3,000, you probably want your vehicle to be worth at least that much.

What is the overseas shipping cost to Honolulu?

The overseas shipping cost (not counting ground transportation) to Honolulu ranges from about $1,500–$2,800, depending on your departure port.

Is there a car shipping port in Hilo, Hawaii?

Yes, there is a car shipping port in Hilo, Hawaii. Other popular Hawaiian ports include Honolulu, Nawiliwili, Kaunakakai, Lanai City, and Kahului.


Kurt Manwaring
Written by
Kurt Manwaring
Kurt Manwaring brings nearly a decade’s worth of research experience as a business consultant to the Move.org team. He specializes in taking complicated issues (like moving) and presenting them in a way that everyone can understand. His writing has been featured in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, Martha Stewart Living, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He brings a BS in sociology and an MPA (masters of public administration) to the Move team. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.