How to Ship a Classic Car to Hawaii (With Peace of Mind)

How to Ship a Classic Car to Hawaii (With Peace of Mind)


If you’re moving to Hawaii and are the proud owner of a classic car, of course, you’ll want to take it with you when you leave the mainland. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to move your car is with an auto transport company specializing in classic car transport

Classic cars have a tremendous sentimental value but will also have a high monetary value, especially after all the care, effort, and money invested in them over the years.

It’s therefore only natural to want the best possible auto transport service. You’re about to find out all there is to know about shipping a car to Hawaii regarding cost, timeframe, and how the process works. 

Open vs. enclosed car transport: Which is the best option when you want to ship a classic car to Hawaii?

You have two options when you want to ship a classic car to Hawaii. Open car transport is a very budget-friendly option. It’s the auto transport choice for most people, including car dealerships, but might not be the best option if you’re shipping a classic, custom, vintage, luxury, or modified car to Hawaii.

Why is open car transport not the auto transport service we’d recommend? The carrier transports the vehicles on a trailer that is open on all sides. Unfortunately, this means the cars are exposed to the elements and traffic grime. It’s a safe and secure way to transport a car, but there is a better way. 

Enclosed auto transport, on the other hand, provides a higher level of protection for the vehicles being transported. The carrier, in this instance, uses trailers that protect the car on all four sides. This aspect, however, only applies to the mainland transportation. 

The cost of this type of Hawaii car transport service is around 30% to 40% higher than open car transport.  

Car transport to Hawaii: What is the process

The first step in the Hawaii classic car shipping process is getting a quote and booking your order. You can get an online quote instantly using our quote calculator. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to speak to one of our shipping advisers, you can call (864) 546-5038 or use Live Chat

If you’re happy with the price, simply make your booking and get your car ready for shipping. We’ll look at what you need to do a little later. 

Your classic car will be picked up by the carrier on the pre-arranged date. You’ll get a phone call a couple of hours before this happens to confirm the details and make sure you’re available. 

Your car will be ready for you to collect at a convenient port on one of the islands of Hawaii. Shipping can be arranged to: 

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

We offer a door to port service if you want to ship your classic car to Hawaii. In other words, we pick up your car from a location of your choosing. It’s then transported and delivered to a port on a Hawaii island of your choosing, ready for you to collect.  

How long does it take to ship a car to Hawaii?

From the mainland to Hawaii is more than 2,400 miles across the ocean, which is a long way to travel. A reasonable time frame for such a massive ocean journey is between one and two weeks. Of course, you’ve then got to add the time it takes for your classic car to be transported from your home to a port on the east coast of America.

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

What is the cost of shipping a car to Hawaii?

When it comes to calculating the cost of shipping a car to Hawaii, a range of different factors have to be considered. These factors include:

  • The type of car and how old it is
  • The distance between the pick-up and delivery location on the coast
  • Whether the classic car shipping is from a rural or metropolitan location
  • What type of transport service you’ve chosen
  • The time of year
  • The popularity of your chosen route

What documents do you need for classic car transport to Hawaii?

When you ship a classic 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 multiple owners are listed on the title, all parties must be present to authorize the shipment of the car. If you, or another names owner, can’t be present, you have to provide a notarized letter permitting the move. If you’re still paying off the car, the lien holder or lender must give you a letter of authorization to move the vehicle to Hawaii. 

Getting your pride and joy ready for classic car shipping

If you’re planning to transport your pride and joy to Hawaii sometime in the future, make sure you get it checked out before transporting it. Whenever you want to ship a classic car overseas, it’s always a good idea to make sure it’s in peak condition.

Remember to keep all your maintenance receipts as they’ll be used should you ever decide to sell your classic motor. 

There are several other things to do before the carrier arrives to collect your car.

  • Clean the inside and outside of your car thoroughly. A clean car is much easier to inspect when the carrier collects and delivers it. It’s also strongly recommended that you add a coat of wax to prevent your car from rusting during the ocean leg of its journey. Your car won’t be on the deck of the ocean freightliner. It will be loaded in the vessel’s covered decks. However, there is still a slight possibility it will be exposed to salt particles in the air.
  • Photograph any damage so that you’ll be able to make a better comparison upon delivery.
  • Check the tires are correctly inflated, the battery is fully charged, and all the fluids are topped up.
  • All personal possessions and removable parts must be removed.
  • Deactivate all alarms, remove all toll tags and parking passes.
  • To make your classic car much safer to transport, run the gas tank down to a maximum of a quarter full.   

When you ship a classic car to Hawaii, there is no option to include personal possessions in the trunk of your car. This is strictly forbidden. 

What to do when your car arrives in Hawaii

When your classic car arrives in Hawaii, you have 30 days in which to register it through the Hawaii Department of Transportation. 

You have two options. You can either get Hawaii plates and an in-state registration or an out-of-state permit. This allows you to operate your vehicle using your current plates and registration. To complete the process, you must show your car shipping receipt and buy Hawaii auto insurance. Your car must also pass an inspection

You will also have to provide the following documentation:

Completed application for the registration of the classic motor vehicle

Recent out-of-state certification of vehicle registration

  • Out-of-state title
  • Bill of lading
  • Vehicle’s weight
  • A motor vehicle use tax certification form

If you plan to drive your classic car around Hawaii, you’ll also need to think about getting your Hawaii license. It’s a straightforward process, as long as your current license is up to date. Simply exchange it for a Hawaii license.

You’ll need to bring your social security card and required fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles in your area.

In Hawaii, they require an eye exam and written test, so bring your glasses. You should also make yourself familiar with the vehicle operating laws in the specific islands. Finally, don’t forget that people drive slowly on the islands, so always make sure to allow plenty of time to get from place to place.

Frequently Asked Questions About Classic Car Transport to Hawaii

How do I pay when I ship a classic car to Hawaii?

The only payment method available for classic car shipping to Hawaii is credit card payment, for which you pay the regular price. If you want to pay using a company check, funding has to be cleared before arranging shipment.

Can I ship a modified classic vehicle to Hawaii?

When it comes to shipping a modified vehicle to Hawaii, you have to comply with restrictions. Special arrangements will be necessary if the classic vehicle exceeds 21’ 6” in length x 8’ width x 7’ height. 

Can I track my vehicle electronically?

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, we’d be more than happy to make all the necessary arrangements. Speak with our shipping advisors on (864) 546-5038 to get an instant quote for shipping your classic car to Hawaii.

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