Drivers on the United States mainland are accustomed to seeing license plates from all over the country. I’m sure that many of us even played the license plate game during road trips growing up. However, one particular state always tends to stand out among the rest. When you see Hawaii plates driving on a mainland American street, you’ve likely wondered, “How did that car get over here?”
You may be presented with similar questions if you’re preparing for a move from one of the breathtaking Hawaiian Islands to the east coast of the United States. Or, even if you’re just planning an extended stay and want to have your vehicle with you, you probably have a number of questions. Regardless of the situation, you need to know exactly how to transport your vehicle across the Pacific Ocean and then across the country to your final destination on the east coast.
If you’ve discovered that it’s time for you to leave Hawaii and you need to understand how to ship your car to the mainland, you’ve come to the right place. There are many good options out there that will provide you with fair pricing for minimal effort.
At Ship Vehicles, we can manage the process and do all of the heavy lifting required for shipping your vehicle from Hawaii to the East Coast. We’ve outlined everything you should be aware of when shipping your vehicle from Hawaii to the east coast.
How do you ship a car from Hawaii to the East Coast?
You may assume that it’s a complicated process to ship a vehicle across the Pacific Ocean, but it’s relatively straightforward. The first step in shipping a car out of Hawaii to the east coast is to choose and hire a vehicle shipping company.
Once you’ve secured your auto shipping company, you’ll be required to present a number of documents and fill out all the necessary paperwork. These documents include:
- A copy of your driver’s license
- The vehicle registration
- Proof of insurance
- The vehicle’s original title, or a signed letter from the lienholder authorizing the shipment of your vehicle.
Unlike transporting a vehicle from the mainland, cars that are leaving Hawaii will almost always be port to port or port to door shipments. You will coordinate with your shipping company when to drop off your vehicle at the dedicated port in Hawaii. The port location options include Honolulu on O’ahu, Hilo and Kawaihae on Hawai’i, Kahului on Maui, and Nawiliwili on Kaua’i.
Having port locations on all the major islands makes shipping your vehicle to the mainland very convenient. However, keep in mind that any vehicle that isn’t coming directly from Honolulu will take an additional 4 to 5 days. This is because your vehicle will need to be transported on a smaller ship to Honolulu before it can depart from the larger transport ship to the mainland.
Shipping a vehicle from Hawaii to the east coast requires an additional leg to its journey. Once your vehicle arrives on the mainland, it will be inspected and loaded for transport by a certified transporter. Your vehicle will be shipped via a transport carrier from the port to your specified destination on the east coast.
How much does it cost to ship a car from Hawaii to the East Coast?
The overall cost for shipping a vehicle from Hawaii will depend on whether you’ve chosen port to port or port to door transport. Port to port is the most cost-effective option and you can expect to pay as little as $975. However, it’s important to understand that this means that your vehicle will be transported to a port destination on the west coast. The available port options are Wilmington, CA, Long Beach, CA, Oakland, CA, and Seattle, WA. If you choose this option, you will be responsible for retrieving your vehicle from the port and transporting it yourself to the final destination on the east coast.
If you do not want to handle the transport of your vehicle from the west coast to the east coast, you should choose port to door shipping. This is most often the preferred method as it can be difficult and inconvenient to meet your vehicle and then drive it to your home state. For port to door shipping, you can expect to pay less for compact vehicles than large SUV’s or pickup trucks. The following are some sample rates for cars leaving Hawaii and heading to popular destinations on the east coast of the United States.
- Hawaii to Fort Lauderdale, FL – $1,975 USD
- Hawaii to Newark, NJ – $2,200 USD
These costs are estimates for shipments that involve sedans and include the cost of each route originating from the Hawaiian port. Please note that land transport to the port in Hawaii is not an available service.
Tips for Shipping a Vehicle from Hawaii to the East Coast
One of the major considerations you’ll need to make during the shipping process is whether or not you want to put your vehicle in a shipping container. You will pay more for this service but your vehicle will be protected from any potential hazards during its journey across the ocean. If you do not choose container shipping, your vehicle will be driven onto the transport ship and secured to the deck. In general, the more expensive the car, the more you should consider having it shipped to the mainland in a container.
Before you drop off your vehicle at the port in Hawaii, make sure that it complies with all the shipping requirements of your transport company. These generally include:
- Empty your vehicle of personal items. If you’re looking to save on shipping costs, you cannot do this by transporting possessions inside the car. Exceptions to this rule include child car seats, a spare tire, jumper cables or other vehicle maintenance tools.
- Make sure that the car has no more than a quarter tank of gas. Some companies may charge you a fee for having to empty the vehicle of any excess fuel.
- Ensure that the vehicle has no leaking fluids.
- Perform regular maintenance prior to transport. This includes having fluids topped off, filling the tires, having the oil checked and examining for any possible issues with the vehicle.
- Drop off the vehicle in safe, operating condition. This goes along with the above but make sure that the parking break works and there are no cracks in the windows. Also, it’s most often required that the vehicle is operable to be loaded and unloaded from the ship. Check with your auto shipping company for specifics.
- Clean the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Wash the outside of the car and vacuum the interior so that it is as clean as possible.
When you bring the car for drop-off make sure that you provide an extra set of keys to the transport team. They will need these to drive the car on and off the shipping vessel. Additionally, do a thorough inspection of the car and take plenty of photos of the vehicle’s current condition prior to transport. This will come in handy should you need to file a claim for damage incurred to the vehicle during shipment.
Ready for transport?
If you need to have your car shipped from Hawaii to the east coast of the United States, Ship Vehicles can help. We make the booking process simple and always ensure that your vehicle is safe in our hands. Give us a call today or fill out our online request form to obtain your free shipping quote. Our shipping experts are standing by 24/7 to answer any questions you may have and walk you through the process of shipping a vehicle from Hawaii to the east coast.
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