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To Ship A Car

Does anyone have experience with shipping a car? Wynne emails:

I was wondering if you might be able to help a mama out. We are in need of an additional car (we have one wagon, three large dogs, a husband, a baby, a mama, a stroller and more babies to come sooner than later). Yes, i like to ride my bike and carpool; I am green and eat organic, but we still need an additional car. Anyway, we are looking for something quite specific and can only seem to find it online, far away. We need to learn about shipping cars. The quotes I've gotten so far are $1k to $1700 (eek!), and we want to hear about other people's experiences. Is that a reasonable quote? Is it safe? Does anyone recommend any specific companies?


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We shipped our car when we moved from Chicago to Oregon about two years ago. It was about $1500 and I shopped around. We used Dependable Auto Shippers. They were fine. We shipped a 3 series BMW with the sports package (very low clearance) and it got here in perfect condition. We were a little nervous about it! You can use their calculator online for a quote. If you decide to use them, they may quote you a higher price but just tell them about your online quote. It will take a few weeks to get your car. They drop off the cars in Troutdale so you'll have to go out there to get it.

We had one shipped from PA in summer 2006 and it was about $1,000 (originally priced at $600 then it rose with gas prices, reportedly). They delivered it right to the end of our street. It arrived with one very slight ding. I don't know the name of the company since the shipper took care of that. Generally, no complaints. Hope that helps.

We've also used Dependable Auto Shippers a couple of times for cross-country moves. I think we paid around $900(???). It's been a few years, though, so I don't really remember the price for sure. We even had them ship our Chevy Tahoe and had no problems.

We just did a lot of research on auto shipping, as we recently shipped two vehicles here when we relocated from the Wash, DC area. Dependable Auto Shippers is a widely used company, though they get very mixed reviews. Some people have great luck with them, and others have horrible experiences based on my research. We ended up going with a company called Coast to Coast Auto Transport. To date they've received pretty much universally great reviews from those who have used them, and we loved them. Yes, they were more expensive than DAS (about $1250 for each car versus about $1,000 for DAS), but to us it was worth it to have that piece of mind that our cars would arrive when they said they would. I highly recommend them. You can check out reviews of both companies and others at a fabulous web site called www.movingscam.com.

Whoops - that would be "peace of mind", not "piece of mind"!

When we moved out here from Nashville, we had the movers take one of our cars. It was on a trailer behind one of the moving trucks. They couldn't get the car to our house so we met them at a nearby big parking lot. It arrived unharmed. It was about $500 for the car. I believe there was a discount through Kaiser. The movers were wonderful - the same guys loaded us up in Nashville and delivered our stuff here. I would definitely use them again.

Our friends who recently moved to Denver had a very different experience (with a different company). Their car was loaded inside a truck with the rest of their stuff. The car wasn't strapped down, so it rocked back and forth - into a steel support beam - smashing the entire front. It was a brand new adorable Mini.

We had a car shipped from PA about 3 yrs ago. It was about $600 and the car arrived fine. I do have friends that shipped their cars and ran into problems. I think its a hit or miss.

Do you have a friend or family member that loves to travel? When we moved here my husband asked his friend if he would drive our car up here. So we spent about $200 for a round trip airticket (he didn't care about the time of the flight, just needed to be back in time for work). Hubby and friend were happy, they don't get to see each other that often so it turned into a great visit for the guys. A friend of mine hires her college age nephews to deliver items that they purchase online. Its cheaper and the boys love the adventure and getting money for their parties. lol

murphy's idea is brilliant. i know that even my own husband would be thrilled if someone asked him to bring their car accross the country! he loves to travel and loves to drive so the idea that someone would ask him to do that and then pay him a small fee on top of it is his idea of heaven. i'm sure he's not the only one out there who loves this kind of thing.

when we wanted to ship our jeep cherokee from here to rhode island we were quoted several appproximately $1,000 prices- and that was three or four years ago.
one thing to look out for when you are shopping around is to ask specifially if/how the car is strapped down and IF ITS GOING TO BE COVERED. lots of places ship cars just loaded onto open air flatbeds and that is how you get a lot of the roadside dings and scratches.
lastly, :-), if you'd rather hire a driver to fly out and pick it up for you- i'd loooooove the roadtrip! :-) best of luck to you!

I recently helped out a friend that bought a car here and needed it in Kansas. They knew that I lived out here and I jumped at the chance to take a week off to drive out to Kansas with my two year old and visit for a few days and then fly home. I drove it out to them and they paid for all of the gas and hotel and my airfare back. I believe the quotes they received were in the $800 to $1000 range and that was only half-way across the country. I think they actually felt more comfortable having me drive it than having a company they weren't familiar with ship it. If you happen to know someone that would want to drive it out for you the things you have to worry about in advance are having the car temporary tagged and insuring it for the additional driver. Good luck!

In terms of pricing, I recall spending $1,300 for our car from east coast to Portland (in 2003). I know that price depends on whether the car is inside a truck or on an uncovered rack or whether the car rides on the top or bottom of the rack. I think our car rode inside a truck and we had no major dings or blemishes. Riding uncovered could lead to lots of chips or dings, depending on the distance traveled. So, if that matters to you, it could be a consideration.

I am asking my husband to find the name of the company. If he digs it up, I will post it here.

thank you, mamas, for your suggestions and information! you are a tremendous resource! murphy and rae ann, i love that you are volunteering your men but as it turns out, we got it all taken care of ...the dealership happens to be selling another car to a northwesterner and so we got a deal on the shipping...not to say it wasn't still $1200 but it's with a "reputable" company and the dealership says they've used them tons of times and have had no problems. cross your fingers...this makes me VERY nervous. if it were not snowing, we'd probably have flown back and driven it ourselves. anyway, thanks again, i truly appreciate the advice.

Like Virginia, I shopped around and shipped my car form Boston to Oregon using Dependable Auto Shippers. It cost me about $1000 and took about a month to get here. That was my only compliant, i wasn't sure what day of the approximate week it arrived so i had to rent a car in the meantime.
The pickup was in Troutdale which is about 40 minutes from where i live but the price was right, and no damage to my baby as it trekked across country.

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