Buying, renting or shipping a car in Hawaii

Buying, renting or shipping a car in Hawaii

Moving to Hawaii is something thousands of people dream about, and who would blame them. It’s a melting pot of culture, the temperature is almost always perfect, a deep blue ocean surrounds the islands, and there are some neat things you can do.

If you’re ever in a position to move to Hawaii, there are lots of things to consider. One fundamental issue is thinking about how you’re going to get around the islands. If you’ve already got a vehicle, are you going to take it with you? Or do you think it’ll be much easier to buy a new one or rent a car? In this article, we’ll look closely at your options, help you weigh up the pros and cons, and come to the right decision. 

However, before we look at what you’re going to drive, perhaps it’s best to discover what it’s like to drive in Hawaii. 

Driving in Hawaii - Some things you need to know

Driving in Hawaii

Ask any of the locals, and they’ll tell you that driving in Hawaii is quite an experience. However long your journey, you’ll feel a range of different emotions and wonder at the gorgeous scenery around you. The minimum driving age (fully licensed) is 17 years of age, and all drivers must possess a valid US or International driver’s license when operating a vehicle. 

They strictly enforce speed limits and traffic rules across the islands, and the roads have good direction signs. When driving a private vehicle, you must wear a seat belt at all times and use a hands-free device when talking on a cell phone while driving. 

Rush hour is between the hours of 6 am to 8.30 am, and 3.30 pm to 6 pm and unless you absolutely have to be somewhere, you’re better staying at home.

When you first arrive on the islands, don’t worry if you miss a sign and get lost. There are lots of friendly locals who will happily provide you with directions.

One of the best parts about driving in Hawaii is that there are only a few roads to follow if you want to see most of the island’s coastline. You can cruise around the island of Oahu by sticking to Kamehameha Highway. On Kauai, stick to the Kuhio Highway and the Kaumualii Highway, for example.  

One last tip. Only use your horn in an emergency. The locals frown on honking, and many of them have bumper stickers reminding visitors to “Relax!!!! This ain’t the mainland!”

Now you know a little more about the driving experience in Hawaii, let’s look at what you’re going to drive when you get there. 

Shipping a car to Hawaii

You can ship a car to Hawaii from various ports on the mainland. They include Long Beach, Oakland, and San Diego in California. Tacoma and Seattle are ports in Washington. Once your vehicle has left the mainland, you can collect it from one of the following ports:

  • Oahu, Honolulu
  • Honolulu, Big Island of Hawaii
  • Maui, Kahului
  • Kauai, Nawiliwili

If you want to ship a car to Hawaii, we offer a door to port service here at SGT Auto Transport. This is a very convenient Hawaii car shipping service because we pick your vehicle up from a location of your choosing, and we deliver it to a port on a Hawaii island of your choosing. This is where you collect your vehicle. 

We can collect your vehicle from many different places. You could choose right outside your home if it’s safe and legal to do so. Alternatively, there might be a parking lot near where you live, a wider street in your neighborhood, or we could pick up your car from where you work.

How Hawaii auto transport works 

Shipping a car from the mainland to Hawaii is a straightforward process in 3 simple steps: 

1. Get a quote and book your order

The first step is to get a quote and book your order. Choose SGT Auto Transport, and you can get an instant quote online using the quote calculator. Alternatively, you can speak directly with a shipping advisor by telephone or Live Chat. If you’re happy with the price, you’ll make your booking and get your car ready for shipping. 

Prepare your vehicle for shipping

When shipping a vehicle to Hawaii, make sure you to take the current title and registration, a notarized letter of authorization from any non-present part and a valid ID when you pick up your car from the port in Hawaii. Apart from that, there are a few things you need to do to get your vehicle ready for its journey. You should:

  • Check the vehicle is operational, including a working emergency brake. Check that your vehicle is not leaking any fluids, the brakes and emergency brake are in good working order, the wheels move, and the windows are intact. 
  • Clean inside and outside the vehicle. You do this for two reasons. The first is that it means your car will be nice and clean when you collect it. The second reason is that it allows you to check the condition of your car. Take some clear photos of any existing damage and make a record of any dings, scratches, and dents. 
  • Disconnect all alarms.
  • Remove all personal items. You are allowed a few items inside the vehicle when it is shipped. These include a spare tire, a jack, jumper cables, infant car seats, and floor mats.

Additionally, check with your finance or leasing company to make sure you can ship your vehicle to Hawaii.  

2. The car shipping company picks up your vehicle

When you book Hawaii car transport, you provide details of the pick-up location. It could be right outside your home, but that’s not always possible. There could be parking restrictions in the street where you live, overhanging branches, or low power lines that could damage an auto transport truck and trailer. If any of these apply, the carrier may ask you to meet at an alternative location. It might be a parking lot, outside your workplace, or an adjacent street. 

The auto transport company will contact you a few hours before the scheduled pick-up time to confirm the details. When the auto transport driver arrives, you’ll both check over your vehicle and record any scratches, dents, or dings on the Bill of Lading. You’ll get a copy of this document. Keep the document safe because you’ll need it when you collect your vehicle from the port in Hawaii.   

3. The car shipping company delivers your vehicle

The Hawaii car shipping company will deliver your vehicle to a port in Hawaii. You get to choose one that is most convenient for you. Upon its arrival, you should examine its condition and make sure everything is in order. Use the copy of the Bill of Lading to compare your car’s condition when it was first picked up. 

If you’re happy that everything is in order, accept your vehicle and drive it away.  

How much does it cost to ship a car from the mainland to Hawaii?

The price you have to pay to ship a car from the mainland to Hawaii depends on several things, for example:

  • The distance between the pick-up and delivery location
  • Whether the pick-up location is in a metropolitan area or a more rural location
  • What make and model of the car you want transporting and the year of manufacture
  • Whether the car is running or not
  • What type of auto transport you require, for example, open vs enclosed auto transport
  • What time of year you want your vehicle transporting 
  • How popular your particular route is

How long does it take for a car to be shipped from the mainland to Hawaii?

The ocean leg of the journey is 2,400 miles. That’s a lot of water to cover. Add the distance between your pick-up location and the port on the mainland, and you can expect the timeframe to be as long as three weeks in some cases.

To give you a rough idea of how long it might take, here are some examples:

From city/state To city/state Shipping time in days
Miami, FL City in Hawaii 13-20
Houston, TX Hillo 9-16
New York, NY Honolulu 13-20
Atlanta, GA Kahului 12-19
Cincinnati, OH Kawaihae 13-20

The Avg. Transit Times shown up above can be affected by weather conditions, road conditions, traffic, etc.

The advantages of choosing Hawaii car transport

All this information might leave you thinking that shipping a car from the mainland to Hawaii is far too complicated. It’s easier, quicker, and cheaper than you think. All you have to do is make the arrangements, and an auto transport management company, like SGT Auto Transport, does the rest. They pick up the car from your home on the mainland and deliver it directly to the port in Hawaii. All you’ve got to do is make sure you’re available to collect your car from the port. 

Here are some of the benefits of Hawaii car transport:

  • It’s always the cheaper option
  • No wear and tear on your car
  • No extra miles added to the odometer
  • There’s no stress involved
  • It saves time and effort
  • You can ship multiple vehicles at the same time
  • Choose enclosed auto transport, and you get extra protection for valuable vehicles

The cons of choosing Hawaii car shipping

There are only a couple of downsides, and they’re more of a minor inconvenience. It might take a little time to find the best partner to work with, and you’ll need to be flexible with your pick-up and delivery dates. This is because demand is high for Hawaii car shipping. 

Buying a car in Hawaii

One of the main disadvantages if you choose to buy a car in Hawaii is the cost. You’re probably going to be keeping a tight rein on your expenses, and investing heavily in a new car might tip the scales too far in the wrong direction. 

A new car might come with more bells and whistles than the car you’ve already got, but is the extra expense really worth it. There’s also the high cost of depreciation to take into account. 

Shipping a vehicle to Hawaii is going to save you money. You don’t have to pay out for a brand-new or even a second-hand vehicle. All you have to do is get a new license plate for your old vehicle and get ready to hit the road.

How do you feel about getting rid of your existing vehicle? Would it be too much to bear because the whole family is very fond of and sentimentally attached to your faithful sedan? 

Ship your car to Hawaii from the mainland, and you don’t have to deal with the stress of moving house and swapping out your favorite car for a new one. If your current vehicle is running great, do you want to run the risk of buying a lemon in Hawaii?

There are many cars in Hawaii to choose from, but is it worth the risk if the car you’ve already got runs perfectly. And how long is it going to take to find the right vehicle for you and your family? 

You could spend weeks, even months, visiting car dealerships and trawling the internet for a car to replace the one you’ve left behind. One more decision to make is whether to lease the car or buy it outright.

All these decisions you’ve got to make could mean you’re without a vehicle to get around the island. While you might have a lot of things to do that keep you in your new home, such as unpacking, cleaning, and generally settling in, it’ll also do you good to get out and about and explore Hawaii. Having a car of your own to drive around makes it much easier to take a break and spend some time away.       

Renting a car in Hawaii

Renting a car is a viable option if you’re not planning on staying in Hawaii permanently. If you’re going to be staying more than a couple of weeks, the cost of car rental in Hawaii could break the bank. If you rent a car for a month, the cost could be more than a thousand dollars. 

Something else you’ll need to worry about if you think car rental in Hawaii is the best option for you. There is always a risk of your rental car getting damaged. It might be through no fault of your own, but it is often the case that the rental car insurance fails to cover you because of a loophole or hidden clause. Partial coverage might be provided, but there’s a good chance you’re not going to be covered completely. You’re also going to face a hefty repair bill or charge for any little scratch, ding, or dent. 

Shipping a car to Hawaii is the best option if you’re staying there for any length of time. It’s also the better option if you don’t want to spend money buying a new car or renting a car long-term. Knowing the car you’re driving is your own brings a certain peace of mind, and you’ll be more aware of the ins and outs of your insurance policy and the vehicle itself. 

Another advantage of shipping a car is that there will be no restrictions on driving the car. Rental and lease companies, for example, often limit how you drive and the distances you cover. 

Knowing more about your options means you’re in a better position to make the right decision for you and your family. You should always consider shipping your current vehicle to Hawaii before you look into buying or renting a car. You’ll save money in the long run, and you’ll enjoy the freedom of having your own vehicle to drive. 

If you want to know more about Hawaii car transport, don’t hesitate to contact our shipping advisors. Speak to them directly on (864) 546-5038, or use our Live Chat option. 

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