Leaving your car in the hands of a stranger can be unsettling, so choosing an auto transport company to ship your car across the country is a tough decision. To help calm your nerves, our partners at Consumer Affairs researched the best car shipping companies in Detroit and provided a break-down of what you need to know before handing off your keys.
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When choosing an auto transport company, it’s important to consider cost, reliability and your personal needs. In fact, your transport needs will impact the cost of the service. Take a look at a few of the factors that influence cost:
The size/type of car: Large trucks and cars, SUVs, collectibles and luxury vehicles cost more to transport than mid-line sedans because they take up more space in a carrier. Inoperable cars tend to cost more as well.
Closed vs. open carriers: Closed carriers provide extra protection for your vehicle, shielding it from road debris and weather, which makes the service more expensive. People with antique or expensive vehicles typically pay for closed carriers, whereas most personal vehicles are transported in open carriers.
Pick-ups vs. drop-off: Some companies offer pick-up services, whereas others make you drop your vehicle off at a terminal. Pick-up services tend to be more expensive than a standard drop-off.
Rural vs. urban: If your vehicle needs to be transported to/from a rural area, there may be an extra fee.
Gas prices & season: The price of gas and seasonal demand can fluctuate throughout the year, causing an increase or decrease in operating costs for auto transport companies in Detroit.
Despite variables, the average cost of shipping a vehicle to/from Detroit is between 60 cents and 75 cents per mile during peak season, which runs from May to August. Local rates drop to about 50 cents per mile from September to mid-November. Take a look at some estimates below:
Estimated transport rates to/from Detroit
New York City
Palm Springs, Fla.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Palm Springs, Fla
Note: This data is based on the transport of an operable sedan in an open carrier, booked 45 days in advance.
After evaluating your needs and getting a quote from a company, it's important to ask a few more questions:
Does the quote cover all fees and insurance?
Is the price guaranteed?
If not, what events/circumstances will increase the price?
When is payment rendered?
Who do I pay and what forms of payment are accepted?
In the case of an accident, you want to understand who pays for damages. Before leaving your vehicle with any company, request a hard copy of their insurance and any additional protections offered, then read a few customer reviews to see if they are as reliable as they advertise. Coverage varies widely from company to company. To increase your likelihood of the best outcome, make sure you understand the coverage before signing any contract.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or the FMCSA, has noted an increase in fraudulent and deceptive practices from small online-based auto transport brokers. Vehicle hauling companies and auto transport brokers are required by law to register with and be permitted by the FMCSA. You can verify the license of your preferred company on the Department of Transportation FMCSA Licensing and Insurance page by using their USDOT number.
As an extra measure, you can inquire if the company is a member of any professional organizations, like:
Auto Haulers of America Association
National Association of Small Trucking Companies
State transportation authorities
The auto haulers division of the American Trucking Association
Membership isn’t a guarantee of professionalism or customer satisfaction, but most professional organizations require members to follow best practices, guidelines and/or a code of conduct.
After you’ve chosen a company, signed a contract and are ready to drop your car off, there are a few things you should do. First, thoroughly clean your car, removing everything that isn’t essential. Next, take pictures of any scratches, dents or dings. Finally, top off all your fluids with the exception of fuel. Experts say the safest way to transport a vehicle is with a quarter tank of gas.
Now that you know the basics about hiring a vehicle transport company, its time to look at companies. Read the descriptions below about the best car shipping companies in Detroit.
With licensed and bonded drivers, guaranteed competitive rates and a personal agent to oversee every booking, eShip is a popular option for auto transport in Detroit. eShip gives customers the chance to track their vehicles online. Detroit clients praise the ease of the tracking feature as well as eShip’s knowledgeable, responsive and friendly representatives.
Sherpa Auto Transport offers a customer-oriented, smooth transport experience. Backed by their Price Lock Promise, Sherpa offers one data-driven price and sticks to it. After your vehicle is delivered, customers can redeem a free car wash through their Clean Car Guarantee. A licensed and bonded company, Sherpa Auto Transport services all continental states and offers free online quotes. Cancellations can be made before the vehicle is picked up for a small fee depending on the timeline.
AmeriFreight has a track record of success and loyal customers to prove it. This award-winning company has a reputation for being transparent about costs, terms and process. They offer discounts to military, police, first responders, senior citizens and students. Customers in Detroit highly recommend AmeriFreight, saying that the process is hassle-free and representatives are honest.
Ship a Car Direct, started in 2008, offers a no-damage guarantee and never requires a deposit up front. This company rigorously screens their carriers to ensure they’re fully insured and well-rated so you can get the best service possible. Vehicles are shipped from door to door.
Our partners independently research and analyze the companies mentioned in our guides and work with subject matter experts to add valuable information that helps consumers make smart purchase decisions. Our partners will not include companies on these guides that do not meet specific quality standards. The compensation we receive from our partners may impact how and where companies appear on our site, including the order in which they appear.
Our partners independently research companies, and use editorial discretion to award companies with special recognition (i.e. Best Value) based on their staff’s judgement or subject matter expert’s judgement. Our partners do this to help you identify companies that will meet your specific buying needs, and do not receive compensation for these designations.