Car shipping from Hawaii to the East Coast

Car shipping from Hawaii to the East Coast and vice versa


Every year, thousands of people move to and from Hawaii. They choose to move to and from a wide variety of locations across the United States. If the location is somewhere close, such as Las Vegas, NV, or Tucson, AR, it’s not too much of a problem. However, when the final or original location is on the East Coast, that’s a vast expanse of land to be covered before you get to the ocean.

Moving your family and all your belongings thousands of miles requires a certain amount of planning and preparation. As well as taking all your possessions with you, you’ve also got your car to consider. When you arrive at your new home on the East Coast or in Hawaii, getting yourself organized and finding your way around will be easier if you have a car of your own. 

What if I sell my car and buy a new one? Is my budget going to stretch to the expense of a new vehicle? What if you can’t sell your old one? These are just a few questions you might be asking yourself. There’s a lot of hassle involved with the sale and purchase of a vehicle, and do you really want to trade in a car that’s done you proud for so many years? 

There is an affordable, simple, and more convenient solution. In this article, we’ll look at your options and provide the information you need to make the best decision.

What is the best way to ship a car from Hawaii to the East Coast or vice versa?

If you’re planning to move from Hawaii to the East Coast or move in the other direction, it’s more convenient if you take your car with you. You won’t have to stress about buying a new one or face the bother of selling your old one. Take your car with you, and you’ll save money and time, and you won’t have to rely on other people to get around. 

You have two options if you want to take your car with you. The most obvious one is to drive your car yourself. A road trip across the United States sounds like a great experience until you look closely at the details. We’ll consider this option a little later, but first, we want to examine a much better option.

Shipping a car to and from Hawaii with an auto transport company

Shipping my car to Hawaii

A faster, cheaper, and easier way to ship a car to or from Hawaii is with an auto transport management company like SGT Auto Transport. The company arranges to pick up your vehicle from your home on the East Coast and deliver it to a port in Hawaii. 

If you’re moving in the other direction, you first must get your car to a Hawaii port. Then you make sure you’re available on the East Coast when the auto transport management company delivers your vehicle. 

Let’s answer some of your questions about shipping my car to Hawaii and car shipping from Hawaii to the East Coast. 

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

The cost of Hawaii car transport depends on several different factors. They include:

  • The distance between the pick-up and delivery locations
  • Whether you are shipping your vehicle from or to a rural or metropolitan location
  • The make, model, and year of the car
  • Whether the vehicle is operational
  • The type of auto transport service
  • The time of the year
  • Supply and demand for your chosen route 

How long does Hawaii car shipping take?

There’s a vast expanse of water between Hawaii and the mainland, and then there are a few thousand miles from the West to the East Coast to consider. The ocean leg of the journey can take between one and three weeks. You’ve then got to add the time it takes to get to the East Coast. To give you a rough idea, here are a few examples of various shipping timeframes.

From city/stateTo city/stateShipping time in days
Miami, FLCity in Hawaii13-20
Houston, TXHillo9-16
New York, NYHonolulu13-20
Atlanta, GAKahului12-19
Cincinnati, OHKawaihae13-20


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

Details of shipping a car from Hawaii to the East Coast

Choose Hawaii vehicle shipping, and you first must get your vehicle to a port in Hawaii. Which port you choose depends on your current location. It might be Honolulu, Nawiliwili, Kahului, or Hilo. When you drive to the port, make sure you have the following items and documentation with you:

  • Confirmation of the order with your shipping service provider
  • If your car has an alarm, take the remote or the keys.
  • A set of keys for the car
  • If you’re the owner of the car, take the title and current registration documentation.
  • If you’ve leased or financed the car, take a letter of authorization or power of attorney from the lien holder.
  • A government-issued ID

Don’t stress if you can’t drive the car to the port yourself. It’s possible to appoint a third party to drop your vehicle at the port. Just make sure they can provide proof of power of attorney permitting the car’s shipment and that they are over 18 years of age. 

When your vehicle arrives at a port on the mainland, you can pick it up yourself. However, you must provide specific documentation. 

  • Proof of ownership
  • If the car has joint ownership with your partner or spouse, you must both be present to collect the vehicle. If this isn’t possible, notarized consent from the absent owner is essential
  • Government-issued ID
  • If you’re the owner, you must provide a copy of the current registration and title deed
  • If you have financed or leased the car, you must provide a letter from the lien holder

Once you’ve taken delivery of your car, you’ve then got the issue of getting it to the East Coast. A road trip is one option, but do you want to drive thousands of miles across several US states? A much better and easier option is to take advantage of Hawaii car transport. Your only responsibility will be to get your vehicle to the port and be there at the East Coast’s final delivery location.    

Process of shipping a car from the East Coast to Hawaii

You can ship a car to Hawaii from several different ports. Here are a few examples:

Here at SGT Auto Transport, we offer a door-to-port service for anyone who wants car shipping from the East Coast to Hawaii. We pick your car up from your chosen location and deliver it to a port on a Hawaii island of your choice, ready for collection. 

Ports on the islands of Hawaii include:

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

The process works as follows. 

1. Get a quote and book your order

First, you must get a quote and book your order. There are several ways you can do this. The quickest and easiest is to use an instant online quote calculator. You input a few necessary details such as the pick-up and delivery location, type of vehicle, whether you want open or enclosed auto transport, whether the car is running or not, and when it will be available for pick-up. Other options include speaking directly with a shipping advisor by telephone or using Live Chat. 

When you’ve found a price you’re happy with, you make the booking and get your car ready for shipping. For example:

  • Clean the inside and outside of the vehicle
  • Make a note of the condition of your car
  • Take photographs of any dings, dents, or scratches
  • Remove all personal items
  • Run the gas tank down to a maximum of one-quarter full
  • Check your vehicle is operable, there are no leaking fluids, the emergency brake is operational, the wheels move, and the windows are intact
  • Disconnect all alarms

2. The auto transport company picks up your vehicle

You provide details of the pick-up location when you make your booking. The most obvious would be outside your home. However, it’s not always possible. There might be parking restrictions, low-hanging power lines, or trees. If this is the case, you must choose another location nearby. The auto transport company will contact you before the scheduled pick-up time to confirm the location’s details. 

When the driver arrives, you both check over your vehicle and record any dents, scratches, or dings on the Bill of Lading. You get a copy to keep safe. Remember to take it with you when you collect your vehicle from a port of your choosing in Hawaii.  

3. The auto transport company delivers your vehicle

The auto transport company will deliver your vehicle to a port of your choosing. Upon arrival, you examine its condition and make sure everything is in order. If everything is satisfactory, you accept your vehicle and pay any money due.  

Car shipping options: Open car transport or enclosed auto transport

When you make a booking for Hawaii car transport, you have two types of service to choose from. They are open car transport and enclosed auto transport. Which one is right for you? Let’s explain.

Open car transport is the most budget-friendly option. It is the auto transport service of choice for most people and a firm favorite for car dealerships. Book this type of service, and the company will transport your car using a truck and open trailer. The trailer is open on all sides, and it doesn’t have a roof. Your vehicle is exposed to traffic grime and the elements. It is no different than driving your car on the highway, and it's still a very secure and safe way to transport a vehicle to or from Hawaii.

Enclosed auto transport is slightly different. The company uses a truck and an enclosed trailer to transport your vehicle. The trailer has four sides and a roof, which means your vehicle enjoys complete protection from the elements, traffic grime, and unwanted attention. This type of auto transport service is typically recommended for owners of expensive, unusual, custom, classic, antique, and modified vehicles. The cost of this service is usually between 30% and 40% more than open car transport.      

Tips for choosing the best Hawaii car transport provider

When you’ve decided to use a Hawaii car shipping company, there are steps you can take to ensure you find the best one. Here are some factors to bear in mind.

Make sure the company is registered

Any company that provides auto transport services must register with the Department of Transport (DOT). When you contact a company, always ask for their DOT number. If the company provides a service that crosses state lines, it should also have a Motor Carrier Number. Once you’ve got a number, check it using the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  

Use a Hawaii auto transport company that’s bonded and insured

A reliable auto transport company will also be bonded and insured. Should some unforeseen happen to your car, and it’s the company’s fault, you will be protected. 

Do some online research

The first thing you can do is check out their website. Does it look professional? Does it share lots of useful information for potential customers? Are they open and transparent about their procedures, delays, and damage process? The website should also contain a section expressly set aside for customer feedback and reviews. Spend some time reading this section, as it can be a good indication of the company’s reputation. You can also look for reviews in lots of other places. Review sites include:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • BBB
  • Facebook
  • TransportReviews
  • uShip 
  • Trustpilot
Check out the prices

Prices can vary considerably between different auto transport companies. It’s always best to compare prices from three other companies. Don’t automatically pick the one with the lowest price. Check what’s included in the price, because you don’t want to get caught out by extra or hidden charges.  

Ask about the car shipping process

A trustworthy auto transport company will be more than happy to run through the car shipping process with you. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to. 

Making your own arrangements

Driving car from Hawaii

Now you know all there is to know about Hawaii car transport, let’s look at the other option if you ever need to ship a car to or from Hawaii. 

You can drive your car from the East Coast to a port on the West Coast and then ship it across the ocean to Hawaii directly by way of a ferry. If your move is taking you in the other direction, you’ve got to drive it to a Hawaii port and then drive it across the country when your car arrives on the mainland. 

It doesn’t matter which direction you’re traveling in. Both journeys require a lot of planning and preparation. There are thousands of miles to cover, lots of stress to deal with, and plenty of extra costs. You’ll have to cover the cost of accommodation, food and drinks, gas, additional insurance, and let’s not forget the wear and tear on your car. 

Pros and Cons of making your own arrangements

If you decide you want to make all the arrangements and drive yourself, you should consider some benefits. You can stop along the way, visit local attractions, and experience the countryside you go through. If you’ve got the time to spare, you can also make the journey at your own pace. Another plus is that a road trip can be an excellent opportunity to spend time with the family. 

That all sounds very encouraging, but there are some downsides to driving a long distance in your car. 

  • Costs can be very high, especially when your journey could be several thousand miles long. 
  • Driving long distances and for long periods is dangerous. It’s also tiring and stressful.
  • The progress of your journey will be dependent on traffic conditions and the weather.
  • Making your own arrangements can be very stressful.

If you ever need to ship a car from Hawaii to the East Coast or from the mainland to Hawaii, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our shipping advisors. You can reach them by phone at (864) 546-5038, or use our Live Chat option. They will be able to guide you through the process and be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

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