Hawaii car transport: The ultimate checklist

Hawaii car transport: The ultimate checklist


Hawaii is a popular destination for thousands of people looking for a better place to live. Believe it or not, there are also plenty of people who relocate in the other direction, back to the mainland. There are many more challenges to consider when you’re moving such a distance across the ocean, and it requires a lot of planning and preparation.

Moving all your possessions is a major consideration, but what are you going to do about your car? Settling into a new location, whether it’s on the mainland or one of the Hawaii islands, is going to be much easier if you’ve got your own transport. There’s too much hassle and expense involved in selling the one you’ve got and buying a new one. And do you really want to trade in your faithful sedan? A much smarter option is to take advantage of Hawaii car transport.

If you’re wondering what it’s all about, this article is going to answer your questions and make sure you’re ready to ship your car to or from Hawaii.

How to ship a car from the mainland to Hawaii

You can ship a car to Hawaii from a number of different ports. In California, for example, there is Long Beach, San Diego, and Oakland. In Washington you can ship a car from Tacoma and Seattle. The four most popular ports on Hawaii are:

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

Here at SGT Auto Transport we offer a door to port service if you want to ship a car to Hawaii. What this means is that we pick your car up from a location of your choosing and it’s delivered to a port on a Hawaii island of your choosing, ready for you to collect. 

This is how the process works.

1. Get a quote and book your order

You can find out how much it costs to ship a car to Hawaii using an instant quote calculator. Alternatively, speak with a representative of the company by phone or Live Chat. If you’re happy with the price, you can book your Hawaii car shipping service.

2. 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. You will need to present this when you go to collect your car from the port in Hawaii. Aside from this, there are a few things you can do to get your vehicle ready for shipping. You should:

  • Clean the interior and exterior: This allows you to check the condition of your car. Make a record of any dents, dings, or scratches, and take some clear photos.  
  • Check the vehicle: Your vehicle has to be in an operable condition when it’s being shipped to Hawaii. Make sure the car has no leaking fluids, the windows are intact, the brakes and the emergency brake are in working order, and the wheels move.
  • Disconnect alarms: You must disconnect all alarms in the vehicle.
  • Remove personal items: You’re not allowed any personal items inside your car so make sure you remove them all. The only things allowed in the vehicle are a spare tire, a jack, jumper cables, floor mats, and infant car seats.
  • If the vehicle being shipped is leased, you have to get permission from the leasing company to ship the car.  

3. The auto transport company picks up your vehicle

When you make your booking you provide details of the pick-up location. It could be right outside your home, if it is safe and legal to do so. However, if there are restrictions, low-hanging trees or power lines, you will have to choose another nearby location. It could be an adjacent street, a parking lot nearby, or even outside your workplace.

When the auto transport driver arrives you both have to check over your vehicle. You must record any dents, dings, or scratches on the Bill of Lading, of which you get a copy. Keep the copy safe because you’ll need it when you collect your vehicle from a port of your choosing in Hawaii.

4. The auto transport company delivers your vehicle    

They deliver your vehicle to a port of your choosing. When it arrives, you have to examine its condition to make sure everything is in order. This is also when you need the copy of the Bill of Lading, so you can compare your vehicle's condition when it was first loaded.

If everything is in order, you’ll sign the Bill of Lading to accept your vehicle and pay any money that is due.  

How much will it cost to ship my car to Hawaii?

How much you have to pay to ship your car to Hawaii depends on several different factors. These factors include:

  • The distance between the pick-up and delivery locations
  • Whether you’re shipping a vehicle from a metropolitan or rural location
  • The make, model, and year of the car being transported
  • Whether your car is running
  • Type of auto transport service
  • The time of the year
  • Supply and demand for your particular route

How long will it take to ship a car to Hawaii

There’s a lot of water between the mainland and Hawaii. You can expect the ocean leg of your car’s journey to take between one and three weeks. Here’s a table with some 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

How to ship a car from Hawaii to the mainland

When you ship a car from Hawaii to the mainland, your auto transport service starts when you arrive at the port. Before you leave for the port you must gather together certain documentation to take with you. Remember to take:

  • The confirmation number of your auto transport service
  • A government-issued photo ID
  • The keys for the vehicle and the keys or remote for the alarm system
  • Registration documents for your car
  • A letter of authorization or power of attorney if the car is financed or leased
  • The car’s title, if you’re the owner

If you aren’t able to drive the car to the port, it’s not an issue. You can appoint a representative to act on your behalf. Make sure they are over the age of 18 and give them a power of attorney that confirms they can ship the vehicle. They will also need to present the documentation listed above.

When you car arrives at a port on the mainland, you have two choices

If you live close to the port on the mainland, you could go and collect your car yourself. Before your vehicle is released, you need to provide certain documentation. When you go to collect your car from the port, take the following with you:

  • A copy of the title document and current registration, if you are the outright owner. Any names on these documents much match the shipping order.
  • A letter from the lien holder, if the vehicle is financed or leased. It must be issued within the last 30 days, notarized and on official letter-headed notepaper.
  • If the car has two owners, both must be present to collect the car. If this isn’t possible, the absent owner must provide notarized consent that the vehicle can be shipped and collected.
  • Proof of ownership of the vehicle
  • Valid government-issued photo ID

This all sounds very complicated, however, there is a much simpler option. An auto transport management company, like SGT Auto Transport, can collect your car from the port. They will load it onto an auto transport trailer and they can deliver it to your door. The only thing you need to concern yourself with is making sure you’re available when they deliver the car.

How much will it cost to ship a car to/from Hawaii?

Cost to ship a car to Hawaii

A range of different factors come into play when a car shipping company calculates the price to ship a car to/from Hawaii. These factors include:

  • The type of car and how old it is
  • The distance between the pick-up and delivery locations
  • Whether the transport is to and from a rural or metropolitan location
  • What type of transport service you’ve chosen
  • Whether or not the vehicle is running
  • The time of year
  • The popularity of your chosen route

How long will it take to ship a car to/from Hawaii?

The time it takes for a vehicle to be shipped across the ocean varies from between one and two weeks. Then you have to add on the time it takes for the auto transport company to deliver your car to your door.

Car shipping options: Open car transport or enclosed auto transport

There are basically two types of auto transport to choose from. Open car transport is a very budget-friendly option, and is the auto transport choice for most people, including car dealerships. The carrier transports the vehicles on a trailer that is open on all sides. This does mean they expose the vehicles to the elements and traffic grime, but it’s still a very safe and secure way to transport a car.

Enclosed auto transport, on the other hand, is a little more expensive. This is because they provide a higher level of protection for the vehicles they are transporting. We typically recommend it for owners of classic, custom, antique, new, luxury, or modified cars. The trailers used, protect the vehicles on all four sides. The cost is around 30% to 40% higher than open car transport.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a few common questions asked by people wanting to ship a car from Hawaii or vice versa.

How is payment made for Hawaii car shipping?

The only method of payment available is credit card payment, for which you pay the regular price. Payments made using a company check have to clear funding before we can arrange the shipment.

Can I ship my modified vehicle to or from Hawaii?

Restrictions are in place when it comes to shipping a modified vehicle. If your vehicle exceeds 21’6”in length x 8’ width x 7’ height, special arrangements will be necessary.

Is it possible to track my vehicle electronically when shipping to or from Hawaii?

Yes it is possible, 24 hours per day. As long as you have a booking number, you can track your shipment when it is on an ocean freight vessel.

If you ever need to ship your car to Hawaii or from Hawaii back to the mainland we’d be more than happy to make all the necessary arrangements. Speak with our shipping advisors on (864) 546-5038 and they will guide your through the process and answer any questions you might have. Alternatively, speak with them directly using Live Chat.

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