Shipping A Car from California to Texas – Possible Ways, Cost, Delivery Time

So, you have decided to relocate to Texas from California and plan to drive to the Lone Star State yourself. Well, think again! It is not essentially the ideal option because of the different obstacles (such as deserted areas, woodlands, deserts, etc.) along the way and over 1,900 miles distance from Sacramento, CA, to Houston, TX. It could take 5 to 7 days (depending on your origin), and that may not be suitable for your schedule and budget. So, what’s the best way of shipping a car from California to Texas?

Today, we will discuss all the possible ways, the cost of shipping, the time required for transportation, and finding the best car shipping company.

Shipping A Car From California to Texas – Best Options

shipping a car from California to Texas
Image credit: Pixabay

You have four main choices when it comes to shipping a car from California to Texas. Your decision to select any of these would depend on your budget, time of the year, vehicle type, and delivery timing, amongst various other aspects.

Drive Yourself from CA to TX

The first option you can take is to drive the vehicle yourself to Texas in the company of your friends or family. Turn your moving into a family getaway or road trip by stopping at several places, indulging in various activities, and trying different Southern-style cuisines.

However, that’s easier said than done. You have to travel for more or less 6 days, which would obviously be exhausting and demanding to avoid road accidents. It will also be a costlier affair stopping at various places and spending on accommodation for night stays. Traveling with multiple people means you have to pay extra for food, fuel, and possible repairs.

Let Someone Drive You to Texas

How about hiring a driver or a firm to ship a car from California to Texas? You can also ride along with the driver and save an airplane ticket. The key here is to find a driver expert in cross-country driving.On the downside, this method will only suit you if you are relaxed about letting a stranger driver drive your vehicle. Furthermore, you might have to bear the driver’s insurance cost.

Transport via Train

If the above two methods of shipping a car from California to Texas aren’t favorable for you, find a cargo train for this route. While locating such a train might not be hard, micromanagement can be. You have to take care of arriving at the station with your vehicle, loading it, waiting for a few days to get it in Texas, and then reaching the station there to unload your vehicle. Besides, train transport could also be expensive if you are transporting a big vehicle requiring the entire coach.

Hire A Shipping Company

One of the least expensive options for shipping a car from California to Texas is also one of the safest and most reliable. The vehicle transport company is responsible for loading and unloading your vehicle while an expert driver takes care of your car by avoiding uneven roads and traffic jams.

The cost of car shipping will depend on various factors (we will discuss them in detail later). However, a lot will also rely on the type of transport you choose to ship your vehicle.

Types of Transport

Shipping a car from California to Texas requires you to choose between open and enclosed transport. Your selection will determine the cost and delivery time.

1. Open car transport

As the name suggests, your car stays in the open while shipping, which can be affected by rain, hail, dust, and snowfall. Although this option is suitable for a cheap passenger car, you might want to consider the enclosed transport for an ultra-luxury vehicle. However, enclosed transport will cost you more than open shipping.

2. Enclosed car transport

The shipping company loads the car onto a closed container and places it on a trailer or a truck. Apart from being a costlier option than open car transport, it may also take more time.

We suggest you opt for this if you are transporting a new posh vehicle or a classic. You definitely do not want dust and rain to spoil the exterior & interior and lower its value.

Cost of Shipping A Car from California to Texas

When selecting the right car shipping firm, price is one of the biggest determining factors. Here are a few things that affect the shipping cost from California to Texas.

Your Moving Location

Shipping a car from a major location in California to a central point in Texas will be cheaper than transporting it to and from a remote place. Shipping firms do not have to hire extra assistance for main locations and make special arrangements.

To save costs, you have to be flexible with the pick-up and drop-off locations.

The Trip Distance

The shortest distance between California and Texas is from San Diego, CA, to El Paso, TX, slightly more than 700 miles. On the other hand, from Sacramento, CA, to Houston, TX, travel is one of the lengthiest between the two states (around 1,950 miles, depending on the route).

We are telling you this just to understand that your trip distance will determine the cost between CA and TX. The longer the shipping distance, the more you have to pay. There are several reasons for that, such as extra danger for possible damage to your vehicle, more gasoline usage, and extra cost the shipper has to pay to the driver.

Normally, car shipping firms charge a price per mile, so it is better to get a quote from various shippers before deciding on a company.

Car Shipping Season

You may not believe it, but car shipping companies have highs and lows. It means shipping a car from California to Texas will cost less or more in specific seasons. It is the same we see in other industries. Therefore, if you have the flexibility to choose the season, we highly recommend moving your vehicle in the summer. Why?

Well, transporting your vehicle in winter (snowbird season) is costly. It is the time when seniors and many others move to Southern parts like Texas. It means moving companies have to face more traffic on the road, and the chances of accidents increase, driving up the shipping cost.

Transporting At Different Seasons

We suggest you consult your shipper and inquire about shipping charges in different seasons. You can decide on your car moving depending on when they offer the lowest price.

However, keep in mind certain seasons can also affect your transportation type. For instance, if the winter season can bring snow and hail on your route, you might have to consider enclosed shipping for protection, which is a costlier option compared to open shipping.

Flexibility in Delivery Time

If you are flexible about the delivery time, you will be able to enjoy a better price while shipping your car from California to Texas. However, if you need your vehicle delivered on certain dates in a quick time, you have to pay more.

Generally, the quicker the shipping service you need, the higher you have to pay. It is what happens in any other shipping service. The reason is the car moving firm has to take extra precautions to design a route to deliver your vehicle on time.

You can save a lot with a more flexible schedule, allowing the shipping firm to keep its regular routes and schedules. It saves the company some money, so they charge less to you.

Types of shipping services

Continuing our previous point, how fast you need your shipper to pick up your vehicle and deliver determines how much you have to pay for transportation. The two main options are:

1. Guaranteed pick-up

The guaranteed pick-up service often collects your vehicle within 24 hours and starts the transportation process. It is costlier than the regular service, but it would be worth it if you want to move your vehicle from California to Texas on short notice.

2. Express shipping

Express shipping is even faster than the guaranteed pick-up. How fast the company will pick up your vehicle depends on the shipping company you choose, but rest assured, you will get the vehicle in Texas quickly.

How Long Will It Take to Ship a Car from California to Texas?

The time it will take to ship your vehicle from California will depend on your pickup and drop-off locations. Since a driver can cover around 500 miles in a day, as per government rules, you can guess the delivery duration. However, every shipping firm has its own rules and routes so delivery time may vary for each firm. The average delivery period is between 2 to 6 days.

That said, you should always be ready for the worst scenario because traffic jams and road closures can delay delivery.

How to Identify The Best Car Shipping Company?

  • Start by reading shipping company reviews on different websites as well as inquire from genuine customers.
  • Compare the shipping companies’ costs and see which offers better value for your money.
  • Make sure the auto shipping company you choose is available for the routes that suites you.
  • Talk to customer service to see how cooperative and attentive they are to your needs.
Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.