The Original Car Shipping Quote Calculator

Our car shipping quote calculator requires No Personal Information to get a price. Find out why Direct Express Auto Transport is the highest rated and most reliable car transporter!

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No Payment Required To Book Shipment!

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How Car Shipping Works

The car shipping industry can be best separated into Brokers and Carriers. The Brokers book the vast majority of customer orders and rely heavily on car transport Carriers to move the vehicles. This very efficient system allows Brokers and Carriers, usually on CentralDispatch, to collaborate and get the vehicles shipped. The Brokers absolutely need Carriers. The reverse is also true as the Carriers, too busy on the road, depend on the Brokers to fill their truck space.

6 Easy Steps to Having Your Car Shipped

Car Shipping Quote Step 1 cartoon image of truck transporting cars

1. Get Your Car Shipping Quote

Simply enter your origination zip code from anywhere in the continental USA, and also the destination zip code. The city, town or area will auto-populate. Then choose the year, make and model of the vehicle(s) you are shipping. Select whether it is running or non-running? And then finally, choose whether you wish to go Open or Enclosed transport? That’s it. Click the “Get My Quote Now” button and you should see your car shipping cost in 15 seconds!

Direct Express does not ask for any personal information before providing you with a car shipping quote. We are one of the only car transport brokers in the business to do this! Your name, phone number and email address are not required to get a quote.

Car Shipping Quote Steps 2 & 3 The Tiers cartoon image of a desktop

2. Select From Three Car Transport Tiers

At Direct Express Auto Transport, we offer three tiers of pricing based upon how much of a hurry you are in? Most customers don’t realize it, but they are actually competing against other customers for space on a car transport trailer. Obviously, a carrier will want to select the best paying orders. We are very good at figuring that out. Our car shipping cost calculator determines the most basic rate (Standard Tier), that works well on popular routes with little competition. But in remote locations at either end, or in stiff competition on popular routes, we recommend selecting the Expedited Tier. If in an even bigger hurry, choose the Rush Tier.

Standard Tier Car Shipping Quote Image Of Speed Gauge

Standard Tier

There is such a thing as a basic auto transport quote and this is it. You are competing against other customers for car transport trailer space. Standard tier only works well when there is little competition and the route is popular. Otherwise, go to a higher tier to avoid being frustrated.

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Expedited Tier

If there is a logjam of similar vehicles on a popular route, a little bit more can go a long way. All of a sudden, your vehicle is more appealing to car transport carriers. Expedited tier also should be used for remote locations to lure a carrier. We highly recommend it.

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Rush Tier

Some people are in a big hurry. Maybe in a bind or very anxious. The higher paying Rush tier vehicles always ship first. Of course, there still needs to be a car carrier making that run and one vehicle alone cannot make that happen. But that is the exception. Rush tier usually works like a charm.

Car Shipping Quote Steps 2 & 3 The Tiers cartoon image of a desktop

3. Order Your Car Shipment

Once you’ve decided the best car transport cost tier for you, please proceed online to easily place your vehicle shipment order in just minutes. Or call a Direct Express Auto Transport customer service representative during normal business hours at 800-600-3750.

Either the online form or customer service representative will ask you to provide pertinent information such as your pickup and destination contacts, and the first date that your vehicle is available for pickup. Upon checkout, please enter your credit or debit card information so that your order is officially entered. Your credit card will only be charged upon assignment. Isn’t that nice? No deposit is required to place an order.

Assignment to Auto Transport Carrier Step 4 image of envelope

4. Assignment to a Car Transport Carrier

Upon booking, you will instantly receive an Order Confirmation email. Look for that in your email inbox or drag it over from another folder. Direct Express Auto Transport will notify you via email regarding your carrier assignment, which will contain the name of the driver, his phone number, and the estimated dates for pickup and delivery.

The earliest you may see the Carrier Assignment email is a few days prior to your first available date to ship. But it may also be a number of days after your first date available before a carrier calls to lay claim to your order. It is generally not every day that a carrier is leaving one town with a full load for another. The first available date is simply the starting date and might take longer. Talk to our customer service team about how to hasten the car shipping process.

Car Shipping Quote Step 5 Vehicle is Picked Up image of customer service

5. Your Contact is Notified and the Vehicle is Picked Up

At the same time that Direct Express notifies you via email of the Carrier Assignment, we also send the carrier your pickup and destination information, including contacts. Please be sure your contacts make themselves available to speak with the carrier. Your pickup contact needs to be vigilant and react quickly. You don’t want to miss the car transport carrier because it might be awhile before another is ready to go.

The carrier driver will not just show up unannounced. He or she will call your pickup contact first to coordinate time and place to meet, and also verify information. Most times it is necessary to meet the carrier close by your neighborhood at a place the driver can safely maneuver his or her big truck. That is still in the spirit of door-to-door service. Keep in mind no money changes hands at pickup. Simply fill out a vehicle condition report authorizing the car shipment and hand over the keys. No other paperwork is necessary. It’s actually very easy.

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6. The Car Transporter Delivers Your Vehicle

The vehicle transporter, or carrier, is once again not supposed to just show up unannounced. The driver ideally should call the day before to alert your destination contact of his pending arrival, and will give a rough estimation of what time of day to expect. They almost always miss the target time, so please be patient and understanding. Other customers may delay him. Traffic conditions might slow him. Mechanical difficulties or inclement weather might throw a monkey-wrench into his plans. He wants to deliver your car as fast and as badly as you do. Time is money and delays frustrate him too.

When the car transport carrier does arrive, you should thoroughly inspect your vehicle for any damage, which rarely happens. That is your opportunity to speak up, make proper notes on the vehicle condition report and even take digital photos. Any issues will be addressed later. Regardless of the condition, industry rules state that you are to pay the carrier the balance owed with Cash or Money Order before receiving your vehicle. There you have it. Direct Express Auto Transport usually makes this six-step process a breeze and you can drive off with your vehicle.

Car Shipping Quotes

There are many factors that determine the car shipping cost. The Direct Express Auto Transport quote calculator takes all of them into consideration.

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1. Car Shipping Distance

The distance between origination and destination is probably the main factor determining how much it costs to ship a car. Kind of obvious, right? Philadelphia to Boston is going to cost a lot less than Philadelphia to Los Angeles. The price per mile typically goes down the farther the distance, but the overall cost goes up none the less. The higher the number of miles on the route, the higher the car shipping cost.

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2. Vehicle Length

The length of a vehicle affects the car transport quote. The average sedan is about 192 inches long. Longer vehicles, especially over 196 inches, start to squeeze an auto transport trailer. Vehicles over 200 inches are more costly to ship because they may inhibit space for another vehicle. Instead of able to carry ten vehicles, a car mover might only be able to accommodate nine. So the longer vehicles need to pay for intruding on that space. These are things that the average customer doesn’t think about, but are a major concern for car shipping companies.

Auto Transport Vehicle Height 3 Cartoon image of an SUV

3. Vehicle Height

The vehicle height also matters. It works the same way as length. Most sedans are about 57 inches high, midsize SUVs 67 inches, and the larger SUVs are about 73 inches. By and large, all those work fine in most situations. However, the extra tall SUVs, Pickup trucks, and Vans ranging from 75 to 79 inches, are pushing the limits of an auto transporter. What happens is that vehicles 80 inches or higher basically eliminate the option to fit even a small car above it. So the vehicles over 80 inches must pay for two spots. Oh my. But there’s no way around it.


For a car transport company, every trip is a puzzle piece to be put together just right. It is a combination of mathematics, spatial awareness, creativity, common sense and skill.

Auto Shipping Vehicle Ground Clearance 4 Cartoon image of a red car

4. Vehicle Ground Clearance

The lower the vehicle ground clearance, the more prone to scrapping the bottom or damaging the bumper, especially when shipping Open carrier. Enclosed car transporters are better equipped to safely handle low ground clearance vehicles.


As a general rule, vehicles with above 5 inches of ground clearance are probably safe to go Open car transport. Anything with a ground clearance of 4 inches or less, however, should be shipped Enclosed. If your vehicle is between 4 to 5 inches ground clearance, it’s a judgement call. Most every Open car transport service will think twice about hauling a vehicle with only 4.5 inches ground clearance. That is why it may take longer. They shy away. We recommend either the Expedited Tier in those situations if shipping Open, or better still, going Enclosed to be safer.

Vehicle Shipping Curb Weight 5 Cartoon image of a yellow truck

5. Vehicle Curb Weight

Auto transporters must get through the weight scales like every other freight company. The maximum weight for a truck on a U.S. interstate is 80,000 pounds. Subtracting the weight of the truck and empty trailer, that leaves approximately 45,000 lbs. for cargo, in this case vehicles. Assuming ten vehicles will fit on such a big car hauler, the average weight for each can be no more than 4,500 lbs.. It becomes a puzzle piece on weight too. The lighter vehicles will allow for more heavier vehicles.

Over the decades, Americans especially have gravitated to heavier SUV’s and Pickup trucks. Car shipping cost has risen as a result. It is also for this reason that auto transporters limit extra items placed in the vehicle. It is due to a concern for overall weight.

Vehicle Transport Condition 6 Cartoon image of a green car to represent car condition

6. Vehicle Condition

Maneuvering non-operational vehicles on and off a car transport trailer is a big challenge. Car shipping companies much prefer operational (running) vehicles because it gives them an easier option to reposition their entire load. Non-running vehicles take considerably more time to get on and off the trailer. So the car shipping quote must reflect the higher cost. Many auto transporters don’t have a winch and cannot accommodate non-running vehicles. That is one reason it takes longer on average to ship non-operational vehicles. Fewer do it.

If at all possible, fixing your vehicle before trying to ship it will save on the non-running car transport cost, and make the process go faster.

Car Shipping Quote Calculator Open or Enclosed image of a cartoon truck transporting several cars

7. Open or Enclosed Car Shipping

Open car transport means the vehicle will be exposed to the elements, such as weather and the road. Enclosed car shipping is the opposite, as the vehicle is protected from the elements. The average auto transport cost is about 50% higher for Enclosed over Open carrier. That is partly because Enclosed carriers can fit about 50% fewer vehicles while incurring about the same expense, but also because of the extra care and protection.

It should be noted that roughly 97% of all car shipments are Open carrier, which is more cost effective, and also very safe. In either choice, Open or Enclosed carrier, damage complaints are less than 1% of all shipments, and those incidents are relatively innocuous. Enclosed auto shipping is often the choice for high priced, luxury, or collector cars.

Seasonal Fluctuations in Auto Transport 8 Cartoon image of the Fall season

8. Seasonal Fluctuations in Auto Transport

Seasonal fluctuations have a major affect on car shipping cost, sometimes dramatically. A typical year will start with a backlog of vehicles in January, as the number waiting to ship nearly doubles, because car transport carriers stay home for about ten days over the Christmas and New Years holidays. Auto transport quotes rise significantly in a classic over demand vs. under supply equation.

It takes three weeks, or until late January, for equilibrium to return. The vehicle shipping market stays soft in February and March, until April, when the Florida Snowbirds return to the northern states. The same thing happens in other warm weather states, such as California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, which continues busy through all of May.

The Summer is exceptionally strong everywhere. It reaches a fever pitch for about two weeks surrounding the 4th of July, as again many carriers stay home, and car transport costs rise. It takes until late July to settle down. August and September are moderately busy with college students shipping their cars. Then October, November and early December tend to be much slower. Auto transport quotes go down.

But come late December the holidays return, the Snowbirds head south to the warmer states, and the ensuing backlog causes auto transport pricing to spike again. And so it goes …

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9. Car Shipping Locations

Location also has a big affect on how quickly a vehicle will be shipped. If either the origination or destination are remote or have small populations, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there is less truck traffic and car shipments may take longer. Conversely, according to the 2010 United States Census, roughly 81% of the U.S. population lives in major urban areas, which makes it much easier for car transporters to amalgamate full loads and get on the road quicker.


A good example is in Michigan. Car shipping to San Francisco from Detroit might take just a few days to assign a carrier. But from somewhat remote Grand Rapids, it could be twice as long. Harder still would be from very remote Traverse City, where up north it could be many weeks before a carrier is heading to San Francisco. Depending on location, a customer should have realistic expectations and plan ahead. Going with the Expedited or Rush tiers help enormously to speed things up.

Auto Transport Is What We Do

When Do You Need Auto Transport Services?

People turn to auto transport services when they are buying a vehicle hundreds or thousands of miles away, and they need it shipped to their home. Or they are moving to another city or state and don’t want to drive their vehicle themselves. So they ship it instead. College students and military personnel commonly use car shipping services for the same reason. Retirees, often called snowbirds, will use car transport companies to save the hassle of driving. Auto transport services are usually very affordable because carriers use the same trucks that also deliver new vehicles to dealerships. 

Door-to-Door Auto Transport Service

Our car transport carriers will ship in the spirit of door to door, getting as close as possible to the customer locations while still able to turn around a huge ten car hauler. Google Maps helps with that.

Customer Service Professionals

We have an experienced staff of customer service professionals ready to give the best advice for car shipping across country. Call us now at 800-600-3750.

The Car Shipping Carrier Network

We have at our disposal a network of over ten thousand auto transport companies. We pride ourselves on having established solid professional relationships with car transport companies in every continental state.

Car Transport Service States

Car Transport Quotes And More In New England

Connecticut (CT) | Maine (ME) | Massachusetts (MA) | New Hampshire (NH) | Rhode Island (RI) | Vermont (VT)

Including service to Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Providence, Manchester, Hartford and New Haven.

Car Shipping Advice On The East Coast & Atlantic Seaboard

Delaware (DE) | Washington D.C. | Maryland (MD) | New Jersey (NJ) | New York (NY) | North Carolina (NC) | Pennsylvania (PA) | South Carolina (SC) | Virginia (VA)

Including service to New York City, Long Island, Buffalo, Newark, Trenton, Freehold, Toms River, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Wilmington, Washington DC, Baltimore, Bethesda, Alexandria, Richmond, Norfolk, Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, Raleigh, Columbia and Charleston.

Auto Transport Quotes For Florida

Florida (FL)

Including service to Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Daytona, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Pensacola and Panama City.

Car Shipping Cost Calculator For The Southern States

Alabama (AL) | Arkansas (AR) | Georgia (GA) | Kentucky (KY) | Louisiana (LA) | Mississippi (MS) | Tennessee (TN) | West Virginia (WV)

Including service to Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, Augusta, Marietta, Alpharetta, Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville, Mobile, Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Louisville, Lexington, Covington, Huntington, Jackson, Little Rock, Fayetteville and New Orleans.

Car Shipping Quotes And Tips For The Midwest

Illinois (IL) | Indiana (IN) | Iowa (IA) | Michigan (MI) | Minnesota (MN) | Missouri (MO) | Ohio (OH) | Wisconsin (WI)

Including service to Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Des Moines.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car In The Great Plains?

Kansas (KS) | Montana (MT) | Nebraska (NE) | North Dakota (ND) | Oklahoma (OK) | South Dakota (SD) | Wyoming (WY)

Including service to Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Omaha, Lincoln, Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Fargo, Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Missoula, Cheyenne and Casper.

What Price To Ship A Car In The Rocky Mountains?

Colorado (CO)

Including service to Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Aurora.

Car Moving Quotes And More In Texas & The Southwest

Arizona (AZ) | New Mexico (NM) | Texas (TX)

Including service to Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, El Paso, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Mesa, Tucson and Yuma.

Best Car Shipping Quote Calculator For California & The Western States

California (CA) | Nevada (NV) |Utah (UT)

Including service to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Anaheim, Irvine, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Modesto, Stockton, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas, Henderson, Laughlin, Reno, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo.

Great Advice Shipping A Car In The Pacific Northwest

Idaho (ID) | Oregon (OR) | Washington (WA)

Including service to Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Spokane, Vancouver, Portland, Salem, Eugene, Boise and Pocatello.

Car Shipping Reviews for Direct Express Auto Transport

Direct Express Auto Transport consistently earns high car shipping reviews, usually five stars on TransportReviews, TrustPilot, FaceBook, the BBB and Google. Some reviewers are later offered a small rebate on their deposit, which is not tied to their rating score nor price, as an incentive to share their experience. We have shipped over 300,000 new and used vehicles and while not perfect, ours is an amazing track record of success.

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Our car transport quote calculator does the best job of providing free and accurate car shipping quotes, so we have a much higher percentage of satisfied customers. It also helps that Direct Express Auto Transport has an experienced staff of customer service representatives. We care and it shows. Call us today at 800-600-3750!

Hours of Operation

Direct Express Auto Transport Customer Service Person

Hours of Operation

Eastern: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Central: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Mountain: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Pacific: 6:00 am – 5:00 pm