How to Ship a Car to Hawaii in 3 Easy Steps

How to Ship a Car to Hawaii in 3 Easy Steps


If you find yourself moving to Hawaii, you’re probably wondering whether it’s worth taking your car with you. Should you ship it all the way there or leave it behind to be sold and buy a new one when you reach your chosen island? 

One aspect that might put many people off taking their car with them is the mistaken belief that doing such a thing would be expensive and far too inconvenient. The truth is that you can ship a car to Hawaii in 3 simple steps, and it won’t break the bank when you do it.

How Hawaii car shipping works

Shipping your vehicle to Hawaii is a very straightforward process, especially if you choose SGT Auto Transport. All it involves is the following three steps. 

Step 1: Get a quote and book your order 

The first step is to use our instant quote calculator to find out how much it costs to ship a car to Hawaii. Getting a quote couldn’t be easier. All you do is input a few basic details. 

  • Pick-up and delivery locations
  • Choose whether you want open car transport or enclosed auto transport
  • Year, make, and model of the vehicle you want to ship
  • You'll be asked whether your car is running, but it’s not possible to ship inoperable vehicles to Hawaii.
  • First available pick-date

If you don’t want to use our instant quote calculator, you also have the option of calling (864) 546-5038 or using Live Chat.

As soon as you receive your quote, you should check the information, and if you like the price, go ahead and book your Hawaii car shipping service.  


Step 2: We pick up your vehicle

Your carrier will contact you shortly before the pick-up date and schedule a time and convenient location. 

When the carrier arrives, you and the driver inspect your vehicle and note its condition on the Bill of Lading. You’ll get a copy that you’ll need to take with you when you collect your vehicle from the port in Hawaii. 


Step 3:  You collect your vehicle

We will contact you and so will the port to let you know your vehicle is ready to be collected. This is a courtesy call to make sure you’ll be available to collect it. When you arrive at the port to collect your vehicle, you must inspect it very carefully. Compare its condition with the Bill of Lading, and if everything is in order, sign the Bill of Lading to receive the car and then simply drive it away. 

Why you can trust SGT Auto Transport to ship your car to Hawaii

Here at SGT Auto Transport, we’ve been helping people ship their vehicles to Hawaii for many years and have lots of experience to share. We know how important it is for you to feel confident everything is being done right. We also know how much your vehicle means to you and will do everything we can to ensure it receives the right kind of attention.

There are several reasons why our Hawaii car shipping services are better than anyone else. 

  • With Hawaii shipment, the ocean part of the journey is paid for upfront. However, for the mainland service, payment is only taken upon dispatch, so you pay nothing upfront for this part of the service.
  • We are uShip's most trusted provider.
  • Your vehicle is fully insured and secure.
  • Delivery is to a Hawaiian port of your choosing.
  • Our auto transport service is fully customizable.
  • We provide 24/7 customer support. 


Frequently asked questions about Hawaii auto transport

There are a few common questions people ask when they want to ship a vehicle to Hawaii. Let’s save you some time by giving you the answers. 

How long will it take?

The stretch of water between Hawaii and the mainland is vast. You also need to include the time it takes to transport your car across the country.

The ocean leg of the car shipping journey can take between one and three weeks. You’ve then got to include the time it takes to transport your car from your home to a port on the east coast for a complete timeframe. 

Let’s not forget several things can affect the transit time as well, such as traffic conditions, the weather, time of year, road construction, and detours. 

Is it better to ship your vehicle or buy a new one when you arrive in Hawaii?

There are several factors to consider when answering this question.

  • How long do you plan to stay in Hawaii?

If you’re only planning to move to Hawaii for a couple of months, leasing or renting a car might be worth considering. In some cases, it is possible to lease a vehicle for a period of fewer than six months.

Before coming to a decision, compare prices between leasing, renting, and shipping your car before deciding the best thing to do. 

If you’re going to be staying longer than a few months, shipping your current vehicle will be a handy solution, but it still depends on the answer to a couple more questions.  

  • The condition of your vehicle

When you’ve always given your car lots of love and attention, saying goodbye to it when you relocate probably won’t be an option you want to consider. If you’ve not been very meticulous with the maintenance, repair costs may work out to be too costly and in the long run, it’ll be better to rent, lease, or buy another one. 

  • How valuable your car is

A vehicle will be a significant investment for many people and play a massive part in their lives. If you’ve got a strong emotional attachment to your car, you won’t be very happy about leaving it behind. In such cases, shipping your car to Hawaii is something you’ll want to do, whatever the cost. 

Having something you know you can rely on is also going to help you settle in much quicker. 

What documents do I need if I ship my car to Hawaii?

When you ship your car to Hawaii, there are some documents you’ll need to provide:

  • Current vehicle registration
  • Picture ID that matches the name on the title and registration
  • Vehicle title or lien holder authorization letter. If the title lists multiple owners, all parties must be present to authorize the shipment of the car. If anyone can’t be present, they have to provide a notarized letter permitting the move. If you’re still paying off the car, the lender or lien holder must give you a letter of authorization to move the vehicle to Hawaii. 

Can I ship personal items in my car?

While it might be very convenient to ship some of your personal items in your car, it’s simply not allowed to happen.

How do I get my car ready?

If you want your car shipping experience to be a seamless one, there are a few things you need to do to get your car ready for shipping.

  • Carefully clean the inside and outside of your car, and it’ll be ready to drive away as soon as it’s delivered. A clean vehicle will also be easier to inspect when the carrier collects and delivers it.
  • Photograph any damage because you’ll be able to make a better comparison upon delivery.
  • Check the tires are correctly inflated and all the fluids are topped up.
  • For a standard car, the battery must be fully charged. If you're shipping an EV, the cells or battery packs should be at a 30% charge for safety reasons. 
  • Removable parts must be removed or secured.
  • Alarms must be deactivated, parking passes and toll tags removed.
  • Run your gas tank down to a maximum of a quarter full. This will make it much safer to transport.  

What do I need to do when my car arrives in Hawaii?

When your car arrives in Hawaii, you have 30 days in which to register it through the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Before you fully register your vehicle, you must obtain a safety inspection certificate. You’ll also need to provide the following documentation:

  • Completed application for the registration of the motor vehicle
  • Recent out-of-state certificate of vehicle registration
  • Out-of-state title
  • Bill of lading or shipping receipt
  • Vehicle’s weight, as provided by the manufacturer
  • A motor vehicle use tax certification form

There will also be registration fees to pay. If you’re not staying in Hawaii long enough to worry about registering it, you’ll have to apply for an out-of-state permit. This must also be done within 30 days of arriving on the islands.

What if I want to ship a custom, vintage, sport, or specialty car?   

If you want to ship a custom, sport, vintage, or specialty car, you have a couple of options, when it comes to transporting your car on the mainland. Open car transport is more budget-friendly and is the obvious choice if you own a standard car. It’s a very safe and affordable option, but your vehicle will be exposed to the elements, road, and traffic grime.

If you’re the proud owner of a more unusual car, for example, a vintage, custom, luxury, sports, or high-end car, enclosed auto transport might be the better option. Your vehicle is transported in a trailer that’s fully enclosed. Therefore, it benefits from maximum protection. However, it will cost between 30% and 40% extra.

When your vehicle is on the vessel, your vehicle will be loaded in the vessel’s covered decks.   

Now you know all there is to know about shipping a car to Hawaii, you might be wondering what to do next. Give us a call, use our instant quote calculator, or use our Live Chat option and Get a Quote Today.

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