How to Ship a Car to Hawaii: Cost of Shipping to Hawaii 2023

Planning a move to Hawaii and wondering whether it’s worth shipping your car to the beautiful Aloha state? 

Should you consider shipping your current vehicle or simply purchasing a new one upon arrival?The answer depends on various factors that you need to take into account. 

In this updated guide, we’ll explore the cost of shipping a car to Hawaii, key factors that influence shipping costs, popular shipping origins, recommended car shipping carriers, important considerations before shipping, and whether shipping your car to Hawaii is worth it.

Let’s jump right in. 

ship a car to hawaii image on ship of cars

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car To Hawaii?

Wondering how much it is to ship a car to Hawaii? In short, generally between $1300 and $2600. When shipping a car to the Hawaiian islands there are a few key factors such as vehicle size, shipping distance, delivery method, transport type, seasonal demand, and additional services. Careful consideration of these factors is essential to determine the overall expenses and make informed decisions for a cost-effective car shipping experience.

West Coast (U.S Mainland) to Hawaii: It will likely cost you around $1,500 to ship an average-sized car from Washington, Oregon, or California to Hawaii.

East Coast (U.S Mainland) to Hawaii: The cost increases as you move further east. You should expect to pay up to $2500 to ship a car from the east coast to Hawaii. You’ll need to factor in the additional costs of driving your vehicle to a West Coast port or paying the shipping company to transport the car to the port for you. 

Outside U.S to Hawaii: In many cases, the cost to ship a car from outside the US to Hawaii will exceed $3000. You must follow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s rules for importing cars to the U.S. International vehicle shipments can be prohibitively expensive. In many cases you’d be better off buying a car when you arrive in Hawaii. 

Estimated Cost To Ship a Car To Hawaii: Different Places

Shipping OriginEstimated Cost to Ship to Hawaii
Los Angeles$1,000 – $1,500
Long Beach$1,000 – $1,500
San Francisco$1,500 – $2,000
Seattle$1,500 – $2,000
Houston$2,000 – $2,500
New York City$2,000 – $2,500
Miami$2,000 – $2,500
San Diego$1,500 – $2,000
Guam$2,500 – $3,000

The cities listed above are popular shipping origins when transporting a car to Hawaii. However, please note that the estimated costs provided are general ranges and can vary depending on various factors. It is always recommended to consult with car shipping companies to obtain accurate quotes based on your specific circumstances and shipping requirements.

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Key Factors Influencing Car Shipping Costs

When it comes to shipping your vehicle, understanding the factors that impact the cost of transportation is crucial. Here are the key elements to consider:

Vehicle Size and Weight

The size and weight of your vehicle significantly influence the shipping cost. Larger and heavier vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs, require more resources and space, leading to higher transportation expenses compared to standard cars. This is an important factor to consider when budgeting for your car shipment.

Shipping Distance

The distance between your departure and destination ports is a major determinant of the overall shipping cost. Naturally, the longer the shipping distance, the higher the transportation expenses. Whether you’re shipping your vehicle domestically or internationally, the distance plays a crucial role in estimating the total cost.

Delivery Method: Door-to-Door or Terminal-to-Terminal

Car shipping companies offer different delivery options, including door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal service. Door-to-door delivery is convenient as it transports your vehicle directly to your specified location. However, this option may be more expensive and less widely available compared to terminal-to-terminal service, where you drop off and pick up your vehicle at designated terminals.

Type of Transport: Open or Enclosed

Another factor to consider is the choice between open and enclosed transport. Open transport involves shipping your vehicle in an open carrier, while enclosed transport provides added protection by placing your car in an enclosed container. Enclosed transport, although more expensive, offers enhanced security and protection against the elements during transit.

Seasonal Demand

Car shipping experiences seasonal fluctuations in demand, which can impact pricing. High-demand periods, such as during the summer or major holidays, may result in increased prices. Planning your vehicle shipment during off-peak seasons can potentially lead to more favorable rates and availability.

Additional Services and Customizations

Certain additional services and customizations can impact the overall shipping cost. For instance, expedited shipping or specific time frame requirements may incur additional charges. Similarly, if you have any special requests or modifications, such as oversized vehicles or added security measures, these factors may contribute to the final cost.

By considering these key factors and understanding their influence on car shipping costs, you can make well-informed decisions and effectively plan your budget for a smooth and successful vehicle transportation experience.

Car Shipping Options: Ports Hawaii

  1. Honolulu Harbor – Located in Honolulu, Oahu, it is the largest port in Hawaii and a major car shipping port hub.
  2. Nawiliwili Harbor – Situated in Lihue, Kauai, this port handles car shipments to and from the island of Kauai.
  3. Kahului Harbor – Located in Kahului, Maui, it serves as a significant destination port for car shipping to and from the island of Maui.
  4. Hilo Harbor – Situated in Hilo, Big Island (Hawaii Island), it is a prominent port for car shipments to and from the island.
  5. Kawaihae Harbor – Located in Kawaihae, Big Island (Hawaii Island), it serves as another important car shipping port in the region.

How Long Does It Take To Ship A Car To Hawaii?

The transit time for car shipping to Hawaii varies depending on several factors. The distance between the departure port on the U.S. mainland and the arrival port in Hawaii, as well as the chosen shipping method, can affect the overall transit duration. On average, it takes around 7 to 14 days for a car to reach Hawaii from the West Coast of the United States. However, shipments from the East Coast or other parts of the country may require longer transit times. It’s important to consult with the car shipping company to get an accurate estimate of the expected transit time for your specific shipment.

Things To Consider Before Shipping Your Car to Hawaii

How Big Is Your Vehicle?

The size of your vehicle plays a significant role in determining the shipping costs. If your vehicle exceeds certain dimensions, such as being over 21 feet 8 inches long, 8 feet wide, or 7 feet high, which includes large trucks, SUVs, RVs, or boats, you can anticipate paying more than the standard shipping rate. 

Additionally, some shipping companies may have specific requirements, such as 4-5 inches of ground clearance underneath the vehicle. It’s essential to consider these factors when estimating the overall shipping costs for larger-sized vehicles.

Should You Ship Your Car To Hawaii?

When considering whether to ship your car to Hawaii, it’s essential to evaluate the cost-effectiveness. 

Take into account transportation fees, port charges, and the value of your vehicle. If your car holds significant value or if you plan to stay in Hawaii for an extended period, shipping it may be worth the cost. However, if the expenses outweigh the benefits or if affordable transportation options are available locally, alternative arrangements might be more cost-effective. 

Evaluate your specific circumstances to make an informed decision.

Replacement Car Cost in Hawaii

When deciding whether to ship your car to Hawaii, it’s crucial to consider the cost and potential expenses of obtaining a replacement vehicle on the islands. Purchasing a new car in Hawaii can be pricier compared to the U.S. mainland. While used cars can offer more affordable options, it’s essential to exercise caution due to the potential damage caused by exposure to saltwater, intense sunlight, and humidity. By weighing the cost of shipping against the potential expenses of acquiring a replacement vehicle in Hawaii, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your financial situation and vehicle preferences.

What is a bill of lading when shipping a car to Hawaii?

When it comes to shipping a car to Hawaii, understanding the importance of a bill of lading is crucial. A bill of lading is a legal document that serves as a contract between the shipper, the carrier, and the recipient of the vehicle. It outlines the details of the shipment, such as the type and condition of the car, the origin and destination ports, and any special instructions or requirements. 

This document acts as proof of ownership and provides a record of the transaction, ensuring accountability and facilitating a smooth and secure transportation process. Additionally, the bill of lading serves as a receipt for the shipper and a means of resolving any disputes that may arise during transit. 

Whether you’re a car owner or a shipping company, understanding the significance of a bill of lading is essential for a successful and hassle-free car shipment to Hawaii.

When it comes to shipping your car to Hawaii, choosing a reliable and reputable car shipping carrier is crucial. Here are some recommended car shipping carriers that provide reliable services to transport your vehicle to the beautiful islands of Hawaii:

Montway Auto Transport: Best Overall 
Montway Auto Transport is known for its extensive network of carriers and competitive pricing. They offer both open and enclosed transport options to suit your needs.

Matson: Best Value

Matson is one of the leading transportation companies serving Hawaii. They have a long-standing reputation for their expertise in shipping vehicles and provide frequent departures from various ports on the U.S. West Coast.

SGT Auto Transport: Best Service

SGT Auto Transport is another reputable car shipping carrier known for its reliable service and customer satisfaction. They offer both open and enclosed transport options and have experience shipping vehicles to Hawaii.

Before making a final decision, it’s important to research and compare the services, pricing, and customer reviews of different car shipping carriers. Consider using the Better Business Bureau to help your search. 

Additionally, consider factors such as their level of insurance coverage, delivery options, and any additional services they provide. By selecting a recommended car shipping carrier, you can have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle will be handled with care and delivered safely to the enchanting islands of Hawaii.

Steps for shipping a car to Hawaii

When it comes to transporting your car to Hawaii, adequate preparation is essential. While vehicle transport companies typically provide this information upfront, let’s reiterate some of the key points here to ensure a smooth process:

  1. Manage the gas level: It’s crucial to have no more than a ¼ tank of gas in your car. This requirement is in place due to ship regulations governing vehicles transported over the ocean.
  2. Remove personal items: Before shipping, remember to take out all personal belongings from your car. Disable or remove any car alarms, but you can leave permanent installations or accessories done by the manufacturer.
  3. Clean your vehicle: Hawaii has stringent restrictions on bringing certain items into the state, especially food and agricultural products. To comply with these regulations, your car’s interior and exterior will undergo meticulous inspections by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) both before departure and upon arrival. In case the inspection fails, you’ll be responsible for covering any necessary cleaning and re-inspection fees.
  4. Ensure operational readiness: It’s vital to ensure that your car is in good working condition. Address any issues such as cracked windshields, faulty braking systems, or underinflated tires that might hinder your car’s shipment. Additionally, consider taking photographs of your car’s condition before handing it over to the transport company. This will serve as a reference point for comparison upon receiving your vehicle.
  5. Prepare required documents: To ship a car to Hawaii, both shipping companies and the state of Hawaii may require specific paperwork. Make sure you have all the necessary documents completed and readily available to streamline the entire process.
  6. Exercise patience: Depending on factors like the chosen transportation method and your delivery location, the overall shipping process may take anywhere from one to four weeks. Unforeseen circumstances such as ship delays, truck rescheduling, or port closures can potentially extend this timeline. If you arrive in Hawaii before your car, make sure to have alternative transportation arrangements in place until your car arrives.

By following these steps and adhering to the necessary regulations and requirements, you can ensure a smooth and successful shipping process for your vehicle to Hawaii.

Comparing Shipping Carriers

CarrierDeparture PortsDrop-off TerminalsDirect-Arrival PortsTime to ShipShipping MethodPremium Services OfferedPost-Arrival Storage FeesIncluded LiabilityNon-Operational Vehicles Okay?Carrier also Ships Household Items?
Montway Auto TransportVarious locationsN/AHonolulu, Hilo, KahuluiVariesOpen CarrierEnclosed transport, expedited shippingVariesYesYesNo
Pasha HawaiiVarious locationsPasha HonoluluHonolulu, Hilo, KahuluiVariesRoll-on/Roll-offVehicle tracking, extra insuranceYesYesYesYes
Young BrothersHonolulu, KahuluiVarious terminalsN/AVariesRoll-on/Roll-offN/AYesYesYesNo
MatsonVarious locationsMatson HonoluluHonolulu, KahuluiVariesRoll-on/Roll-offExpress, Priority LoadingYesYesYesYes
SGT Auto TransportVarious locationsN/AHonolulu, Hilo, KahuluiVariesOpen CarrierExpedited shipping, enclosed transportVariesYesYesNo
A1 Auto TransportVarious locationsN/AHonolulu, Hilo, KahuluiVariesOpen CarrierExpedited shipping, enclosed transportVariesYesYesNo
AmerifreightVarious locationsN/AHonolulu, Hilo, KahuluiVariesOpen CarrierEnclosed transport, expedited shippingVariesYesYesYes

Please note that the information provided is subject to change, and it’s always recommended to contact the respective carriers for the most up-to-date details regarding their services.

Is Shipping A Car To Hawaii Worth It? Bottom Line

Shipping a car to Hawaii may present its challenges, but for many individuals, it can prove to be a more convenient option than purchasing a car upon arrival. 

However, it’s important to consider your specific circumstances, such as the location you’ll be residing in, to determine the necessity of owning a car. In some cases, you may find that living without a car is feasible, and renting one as needed can be a suitable alternative. 

Assess your transportation needs and weigh the costs and benefits of shipping a car to Hawaii to make the best decision for your situation.