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Can I Ship My Car from Michigan to California?


When it comes to moving from Michigan to California, how you’re going to move your car tends not to be the priority. Transporting all your belongings will be your first consideration, and you might be tempted to drive your car from Michigan to California. 

But what if you’ve got more than one vehicle you need to transport or haven’t got the time to spend up to a week or longer on the road?

“Can I ship my car from Michigan to California?” is a question many people ask, and we’re about to give you the answer. 

In just a few words, the answer is “Yes, you can!” It’s a very simple process, and you’ll find out more below.    

How much is it to ship a car from Michigan to California?

Wondering about the cost to ship a car from Michigan to California? It might surprise you to learn that it’s more affordable than you think.

If you want to know exactly how much to ship a car from Michigan to California, the best place to start is by getting a quote, using our online instant quote calculator.

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It’s not possible to give you an accurate price in this post because car shipping rates are worked out on an individual basis. Several factors can also affect the actual cost of shipping a car from Michigan to California and vice versa. 

If you want to find out what these are, keep reading.

  • The type of vehicle: The dimensions and weight of your car make an enormous difference. For example, if you want to ship a sedan or compact it’ll cost less than shipping an SUV, pickup truck, or van. Modifications can also affect the price.  
  • How your car is being delivered: Door-to-door auto transport tends to cost more than terminal-to-terminal shipping but it’s worth it for the convenience. It’s also less stressful and saves time in dropping off and picking up your car from a terminal.  
  • Type of car transport: Standard auto transport options are open or enclosed. Open car transport is the most popular because it tends to be cheaper. Enclosed is the best option if you own a high-end, classic, custom, or modified vehicle.  
  • Distance your car needs to travel: The further you need to move your car the more it’s going to cost. 
  • Time of the year: There are times of the year when auto shipping services are in great demand. Summer months are considered the peak times, while fall is considered the best time to ship your vehicle.  
  • Delivery time: If you want your car delivered super quick you should expect to pay more. The industry standard time is 1-5 business days to pick up your car and 7-10 calendar days to ship it across the country.  
  • Whether your vehicle is operable: If the carrier needs specialist equipment to load and unload your car, there will be an additional cost. 
  • Cost of fuel: The price of fuel goes up and goes down. It also varies from area to area. Fuel is one of the biggest variables and changes in prices at the pumps tend to be passed on to the customer.

The Average Costs of Car Shipping

Here at SGT Auto Transport, we believe in delivering a transparent car shipping service for everyone who needs it. One aspect that many people are concerned about is the cost, believing that it’s too expensive and an unnecessary expense. 

To put your mind at rest, and to dispel the myth, here are some rough estimates for the cost of auto transport between Michigan and California.


Shipping locationsType of transportAverage price per mileSample distanceAverage price
Grand Rapids, MI to Sacramento, CAOpen transport$0.492,206 miles$1,080
Detroit, MI to San Francisco, CAOpen transport$0.492,398 miles$1,175
Detroit, MI to Los Angeles, CAOpen transport$0.492,281 miles$1,117
Lansing, MI to San Jose, CA Open transport$0.492,366 miles$1,159


How long does it take to ship a car from Michigan to California?

On average, an experienced car shipping company can cover several hundred miles in one day. However, the actual time it takes for a car to be transported between Michigan and California depends on several things. 

At the top of the list is the distance the carrier has to travel. Distances of more than 2,000 miles, for example, can take between 7 and 9 days. If the pick-up or delivery locations are in a remote area instead of a metropolitan area, your auto transport service could take longer. 

In addition to the factors above, several others can affect the overall time frame. 

Traffic conditions

Traffic conditions along the route can significantly impact transit times, especially in densely populated areas or during peak travel hours. 

Adverse weather conditions

Adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, snow, or storms, can also affect transport schedules. Severe weather may lead to delays or rerouting for safety reasons. 

Road construction and detours

Road construction and detours further contribute to potential delays in car shipping. Construction zones may result in slower speeds and temporary closure, necessitating alternative routes. 

Seasonal considerations

Seasonal considerations play a crucial role when shipping a car between Michigan and California. Weather disparities between the two states can be substantial, particularly in winter when Michigan experiences cold temperatures and snow while California enjoys milder conditions.

These differences can affect shipping times, as inclement weather in either location may require adjustments in the shipping schedule for safety and logistical reasons. 

In summary, the time it takes to ship a car is subject to a multitude of variables, including distance, traffic, weather conditions, road construction, and the season. When planning car transportation between Michigan and California, it’s essential to consider these factors to ensure a smooth and timely shipping process. 

Shipping a car from Michigan to California in 3 easy steps

If you’re wondering how to ship a car, let’s walk you through the process and then you’ll appreciate how easy it is. 

Step 1 - Get a quote and book your order

To get a quote you must provide some details. For example:

Most auto transport companies offer the option of an instant online quote. Alternatively, you should be able to speak with a shipping agent directly by phone or via Live Chat.

If you like the price, you confirm the details and make your booking. Here at SGT Auto Transport, we’ll find the best carrier to meet your needs and confirm your pick-up date by phone. Our shipping agents will also fill you in on the next steps of the process.

For those who opt for the Discounted Cash Price payment option, we take a small partial payment at this time. If you choose the Regular Price option, full payment is taken to reserve your spot on the trailer.  

Step 2 - The carrier picks up your vehicle

A few hours ahead of the scheduled pick-up time, you’ll be contacted by the carrier. They want to confirm the details and make sure someone will be there to release the car. 

When the carrier arrives, you’ll inspect your car with the driver and note any existing damage on the Bill of Lading. 

Once the paperwork is complete, the driver will load your car onto the trailer and be on their way. We can arrange regular updates by phone, Live Chat, or email or you can contact the driver at any stage of your car’s journey. 

Step 3 - The carrier delivers your vehicle

In a few days, your car will be almost home. The carrier will contact you a few hours before the delivery to ensure you’re available to receive your vehicle. If you’re not at home, simply nominate a neighbor, friend, or relative to receive it on your behalf. However, they do have to be over the age of 18.

When the carrier arrives with your car, take the time to inspect it closely to ensure everything is in order. If you’re happy that it is, sign the Bill of Lading and accept your car. If you opted for the Discounted Cash Price, now is when you make the final payment in cash, cashier’s check, or money order. 

If you’re ready to make your auto transport arrangements, please call SGT Auto Transport at (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat option.  

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