Car Shipping to and From Hawaii: Tips and Costs (2023)

Car Shipping to and From Hawaii: Tips and Costs (2023)

If you’re eyeing a move to Hawaii from the continental United States, you obviously can’t just drive the car to your new address. You’ll likely need to rely on a car shipping company to safely transport your vehicle from the U.S. mainland to a port on one of the Hawaiian Islands.

In this article, we at the Guides Auto Team will examine the typical costs and transit times that are associated with Hawaii car shipping. We’ve also researched and ranked the best overall car shipping companies that can move your vehicle to or from the Aloha State.

How To Ship a Car to Hawaii

The first step when looking at car shipping to Hawaii is to consider which is the best auto transport company. While plenty of providers serve the Aloha State, availability is often more limited than for shipments on the U.S. mainland. The easiest way to find your best option is by getting free quotes online from various companies.

Once you’ve compared car shipping quotes online and found the right provider, it’s time to begin the vehicle transport process. Here are the basic steps you’ll need to follow once you’ve booked your auto shipping appointment:

  • Prepare your car: Remove as many personal items as possible to reduce your vehicle’s weight during the shipment. You’ll also need to disconnect the car’s alarm system and leave no more than a quarter tank of gas.
  • Gather key documents: You’ll need a photo ID, car title and vehicle registration papers for your car to be shipped from a port. If your car is financed or leased, you also must show a notarized letter from your lienholder approving your Hawaii car transport.
  • Drop off your car: Take your vehicle to the designated pickup location, whether it’s a port, shipping terminal or the street outside your house. Inspect the car for preexisting damages with a representative from your Hawaii auto shipping provider.
  • Pick up the vehicle: The last step of car shipping for Hawaii is picking up your vehicle from its destination port on either the islands or the mainland. Inspect your vehicle for damages once again, sign a bill of lading and pay the shipment’s remaining balance.

The main auto shipping ports on the Hawaiian Islands are Honolulu on Oahu, Kahului on Maui, Nawiliwili on Kauai, and Hilo and Kawaihae on the Big Island—the island of Hawaii. Shipping a car to Oahu could cost less than to other Hawaiian ports since there’s more traffic on the state’s most populous island.

How Long Does Hawaii Car Shipping Take?

Vehicle shipping from mainland ports to any of the Hawaiian Islands takes longer than shipments within the Lower 48. That’s because cars shipped to Hawaii must get loaded onto a ship to cross the Pacific Ocean. The entire process can take anywhere from one to three weeks, with times being longer if you’re shipping to or from the East Coast or an inland location.

Hawaii Car Shipping From the East Coast

Those on the East Coast often drive their cars across the country to ports such as Long Beach, Oakland and Seattle/Tacoma to make car shipping to Hawaii both easier and cheaper. Roll on/roll-off (RORO) shipping, when cars are loaded onto a cargo ship with a ramp and then unloaded with other cargo at the destination port, is a relatively simple and affordable transport service.

The convenience of door-to-door service isn’t available with RORO shipping, as you’ll have to drive to a port to drop off and pick up your vehicle. However, it’s a straightforward car transport option that usually leads to the lowest prices for car shipping to Hawaii.

Car Shipping From Hawaii to the Mainland

Transport routes go in both directions when it comes to car shipping for Hawaii. Aloha State drivers heading to the mainland can easily have their cars shipped to West Coast ports located in California, Alaska and Washington state. Shipping to the East Coast or the Midwest is a far costlier and more time-consuming process, but can still be done.

Average Cost of Car Shipping for Hawaii

Our research shows that shipping a car to or from Hawaii typically costs somewhere between $1,500 and $3,500. We got quotes from Montway Auto Transport, our top-rated provider for cheap car shipping, to offer a clearer picture of how much you’ll pay. These car shipping cost estimates are for moving a 2020 Honda Accord in operable condition using open transport.

Cost Factors for Hawaii Car Shipping

Prices for car shipping to Hawaii fluctuate based on the following factors:

  • Time of year: The summer months and January see the highest car shipping rates.
  • Shipping distance:  All car shipments for Hawaii vehicles are long-distance transports, which often come with lower per-mile rates but higher overall costs than short distances.
  • Delivery method: When it comes to Hawaii car shipping, port-to-port transport is cheaper than delivering to a home address on either end.
  • Transport type: Shipping your car in an enclosed hauler offers greater protection than open transport but is also more expensive.
  • Vehicle size: Sedans, other small cars and motorcycles are cheaper to ship to Hawaii than trucks and large SUVs.
  • Vehicle operability: Shipping an inoperable vehicle involves more loading and unloading efforts and is therefore more expensive than transporting a running car.
  • Price of fuel: Higher gas prices lead to steeper overall costs for car shipping to Hawaii.

Icons showing what factors affect car shipping costs

Car Shipping for Hawaii: Conclusion

Shipping a vehicle to or from the Hawaiian Islands doesn’t need to be an overly expensive or exhausting process. Remember, though, that patience is necessary since there may be long transit times depending on your origin and destination.

Recommended Hawaii Car Shipping Companies

Not all auto shippers offer car transport to Hawaii, but most top-rated companies do. Montway Auto Transport and SGT Auto Transport are two providers we recommend checking out as you explore car shipping services for the Aloha State.

Montway Auto Transport: Editor’s Choice

We give Montway Auto Transport 9.3 out of 10.0 stars because of its competitive rates, easy booking process and A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The company uses a network of over 15,000 vetted carriers to connect car owners with their lowest possible rates. Montway Auto Transport also offers active military discounts as well as savings for return customers and those who pay in cash.

In our October 2021 survey of 1,000 car shipping customers, 236 respondents had their vehicles shipped by Montway Auto Transport. When asked about their experiences, 75{e3fa8c93bbc40c5a69d9feca38dfe7b99f2900dad9038a568cd0f4101441c3f9} of these customers reported being very satisfied while no other provider even reached 50{e3fa8c93bbc40c5a69d9feca38dfe7b99f2900dad9038a568cd0f4101441c3f9}.

Read more: Montway Auto Transport review

SGT Auto Transport: Price-Matching Guarantee

SGT Auto Transport’s price-match guarantee factors heavily into its score of 9.2 out of 10.0 stars. If you provide a written quote from a competitor that’s lower than SGT Auto Transport’s quote, the company will match it. SGT also offers guaranteed pickup dates and an easy-to-use online instant quote form, making it a straightforward and efficient provider.

Our Methodology

Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings of the best car shipping companies. We collected data on dozens of auto transport providers to grade the companies on a wide range of ranking factors. The end result was an overall rating for each provider, with the companies that scored the most points topping the list.

Here are the factors our ratings take into account:

  • Cost: Auto shipping companies with affordable rates, locked-in pricing and discount opportunities scored highest in this category.
  • Services: Companies that offer a variety of choices for car transport, strong insurance coverage and added benefits are more likely to meet consumer needs.
  • Customer experience: This score is based on customer satisfaction ratings and availability of extras like GPS tracking. We also considered the responsiveness, friendliness and helpfulness of each transporter’s customer service team based on our own shopper analysis.
  • Reputation: Our research team considered availability, ratings from industry experts and years in business when giving this score.

Our credentials:

  • 150+ hours researched
  • 20 companies reviewed
  • 2,000+ consumers surveyed

*Data accurate at time of publication.