How To Ship a Car You Just Bought

In your quest for their ideal car, truck, or SUV or simply looking for that outright fantastic deal, car buyers like you have the ability to explore far and wide, utilizing an endless amount of online resources. Car prices in certain areas are very high, while simply just buying a car from another state can save money.

Couple that with it becoming easy and commonplace to do everything online, including even getting a car loan, an increasing number of buyers are purchasing vehicles from dealerships or even private sellers listing a car that can be located across the country. At the same time, long distance selling has become the norm for dealers and sellers alike, with dealers taking on full sales departments dedicated to selling a car online.

Regardless, long distance car buying will require your new car (or new to you car) to make its way home one way or another.

You could fly to the location, have someone drive you there, or have the owner or dealer ship the car to you.

Warning: Having a private seller ship to you directly can be risky and part of a sales scam. If using an auto transport company, you should always arrange to ship a car directly.

fly to pick up car just bought

Buy and Fly - Flying to Pick Up Your Vehicle and Drive it Home

Some car buyers from afar prefer to take everything hands on, and be a part of the entire process. The good thing about this choice is you can bring cash or payment right to the seller and see first hand the deal is good. The bad thing is that it can take time, can be inconvenient, and you will add a lot of unnecessary mileage, plus wear and tear.

ship a car you just bought with auto transport company

Using an Auto Transport Company to Ship a Car Bought Long Distance Online

Auto shipping companies emerge as the preferred choice for transporting a newly purchased vehicle. Years ago the rise of car sales platforms like eBay, Auto Trader, Facebook Marketplace, BAT, and more have expanded the reach potential buyers have, allowing a buyer like you to purchase a car not just in your area, but from another to state, across the country, or even globally. For example, as of 2024, nearly 80% of eBay Motors sales involve interstate car shipping or some sort of remote buyer.

The challenge for most online buyers has been arranging the delivery of their purchase from the seller's location to their doorstep. Securing a reliable and efficient transport service for such a significant investment like a car is very important and can seem overwhelming at first.

While some car dealerships offer delivery services and are even licensed to ship cars, the responsibility often falls on the buyer to organize their own reliable form of transportation. Fortunately, a number of auto shipping companies like NX have focused on customer service are stepping up to assist in the transport of cars bought long distance.

Jumping online and searching through vehicle shipping companies is just step one of many to get your car home. Regardless if you find us to be your choice to pair you with an auto carrier, we're providing a quick guide on shipping a vehicle long distance.

Here are essential tips for anyone needing a car shipped that they've purchased online, aimed at saving money and achieving peace of mind:

woman on laptop looking at many shipping quotes

Obtain Multiple Quotes

Prices can vary significantly among carriers and brokers alike. Research thoroughly, paying attention to the fine print regarding additional fees and whether quotes cover door-to-door or terminal to terminal service. Remember, the lowest quote isn’t always the best choice.

Getting multiple car shipping quotes will make sure that you not only see what the average fair market price is, but the price difference where some may be charging low or scam pricing and conversely overcharging for the service and trying to make too much from your car shipping costs.

The auto shipping industry is competitive and can come with it's share of surprises for the unprepared. Do research before you trust just anyone with your new car.

research auto auto shipping

Research and Choose a Reliable Auto Transport Company

The first step in shipping your car is to research and select a reputable auto transport company. Look for companies with positive reviews, a strong track record, proper licensing and insurance. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website can be a valuable resource for checking the credentials and safety records of transport companies.

Check on any car shipper’s license and insurance record as well as of there are any complaints have been made about the company, licensing wise.

Key Research Areas


Check customer car shipping reviews on platforms like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Google Reviews. An auto transporter should not have less than a 4.5 star rating.


Always make sure the car transporter offers adequate insurance coverage in case of damage during transport.


As mentioned, obtain quotes from multiple companies. Be wary of quotes that are significantly lower than the rest, as this may indicate a compromise in service quality or hidden fees, bait and switch pricing.

open vs enclosed

Understand The Shipping Options

A car shipping company will offer various options, including open transport and enclosed transport. Open transport is generally cheaper and by far the most popular option, but keep in mind your vehicle will be exposed to the elements and road debris. Whereas enclosed transport offers and additional later of protection but at a higher cost for you car to arrrive.

Full List of Shipping Options


The most convenient and most used option for both open transport and enclosed auto transport, (discussed below) where the carrier picks up the car and the carrier arrives as close to the specified addresses as physically possible or legally permitted.

Terminal to Terminal

Using terminal to terminal transport can be cheaper but requires you to drop off and pick up the vehicle from designated locations which may or may not make it inconvenient.

Open Transport Carriers

As briefly discussed, open carrier transport is just as it sounds. In fact, you've seen these trucks full of cars on the road all the time. They cary up to 10 vehicles and are two stories high. Although vehicles are exposed to the elements, like rain, snow, hot sun and more, it's the most popular because not only is it very safe, it's also the cheapest way to ship a car with an auto transport company.

Enclosed Transport

Also known as "covered", enclosed auto transport is the safest way to ship a car. A vehicle is tucked away inside of a car carrier trailer, shielded from weather, debirs, prying eyes, and more. It's ideal for high-end or high-value vehicles such as luxury cars, valuable classic cars, or exotics.

Manage Pickup and Delivery

Coordinate with the car transport company for the pickup and drop off location of your vehicle. Be sure to understand the process and what is required from you.

Key Points to Understand


Have all necessary documentation ready, including proof of ownership, the bill of lading, and any other paperwork required by the car transport company.


Have someone be present during both the car pickup and car delivery inspections. Confirm the condition of your vehicle upon delivery against the initial inspection report at pickup. Make sure you have the seller send a copy of the pick up inspection to you immediately after it's finalized.


Understand the payment terms. Most companies require a deposit at time of a carrier being assigned, with the balance due upon delivery. Some will alllow you to use a credit or debit card for the whole the whole transport cost. Keep in mind, when using this option, it's normal for the whole charge to be made upon the carrier being scheduled for pick up.

auto buyer going over shipping contract

Dealing with And Avoiding Shipping Problems


In the rare event of any issues with your car, such as delays or damage, communicate directly with the transport company and the driver for the carrier. Keep all documentation and correspondence as a record. If damage occurs, report it immediately and file a claim with the auto transport company's insurance. All damage must be noted on the bill of lading or it cannot be claimed, regardless of other proof of damage.


Plan Ahead

Shipping a car can take from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the distance and route. Plan accordingly to avoid any inconvenience.

Verify Condition

Have the carrier send you photos from the pick up. It's a great way to verify the vehicle is as described. At least from the outside.

Verify the VIN

If you are buying a common vehicle from a dealer that has a ton of them, verify the VIN (vehicle identification number) to make sure the staff at the dealer gives the trucker the right car! There have been times the carrier has almost loaded the wrong vehicle based on instructions from the dealership itself.

Stay Informed

Request updates from the car transport company regarding your vehicle's status and expected delivery date.

Read the Fine Print

Before finalizing the deal, thoroughly review the contract and understand the terms and conditions.

In Conclusion

Shipping a car you've just bought online doesn't have to be a horrible task. With the right esearch, you can make sure it's a smooth and stress-free situation. By choosing a reputable car transport company, understanding your car shipping options, preparing your vehicle properly, and managing the pickup and delivery process effectively, you can have your new purchase delivered safely to your door.

Carl has a decade of experience in the car shipping industry. He has worked in nearly every aspect of the transport business since 2014, taking charge of various roles in the company such as dispatching, sales, and customer service.

During those years, Carl amassed an invaluable amount of experience which has contributed to his writing of every article and and guide on NX since taking over content in 2015.