5 Essential Tips to Ship a Car to Hawaii

CHIBA, JAPAN - JANUARY 17: About 3,000 Honda cars wait to be exported to North America at a port January 17, 2003 in Chiba, Japan. The strength of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar has adversely affected the export-dependent stock of Honda. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

Moving can be both exciting and challenging. You will have many items on a to-do list to prepare for a move that can make it quite stressful, yet moving to a new place also holds so many promises and new beginnings. Challenges can include changing your address, filing for a new driver’s license, and thinking about how you will complete all your daily routines like shopping and socializing with friends. Having all these new agendas will be achieved much more manageable with your car.

These are five tips to use when you are considering shipping your car to Hawaii.

1. Finding the Least Expensive Method to Ship a Car

There are a couple of options for you when considering how much you can spend to ship car to Hawaii. The cheapest option is to drive your car to the port from which it will be shipped. This port is called a ‘roro’ (roll on roll off). You drive your car to the port, it gets rolled onto a ship, strapped down and secured, and then shipped over to its destination. Your vehicle will be rolled off the ship once it arrives in Hawaii, and parked until you come to pick it up. This choice is much easier if you live on the West Coast, but can still be completed from further away.

Another option is to hire someone to get your car to the shipping port. This option could be cheaper than driving yourself when you take into account your time, gas, hotels stays, and possible airfare if you return to your home to finish packing for the move. There are companies you can hire to transport your vehicle to the West Coast so you can ship the car to Hawaii.

2. Make a Detailed List to Find Reliable Transport

Make a list about your vehicle, and include photos. Transporters will appreciate this information and be able to offer you more accurate rates. You may also receive bids from the more reliable transport companies when they know exactly what your needs will be. Include on the list the measurements of your car, its make, model and year. State whether or not it is a working vehicle and any special requirements you are looking for during transport. The list should also include the dates you need transport as well as whether or not you will be there when it reaches port in Hawaii to help in the unloading process.

3. Using a Container or Not?

Some people moving over to Hawaii decide to ship their belongings including their car in a container. For some, this option works incredibly well; for others, it may not be the right decision. There are some factors to consider to determine if it will work for your needs.

Using a container can change the overall price of your moving costs. The containers are generally about four feet off the ground, so your car will require special care getting into the space. It will then need blocking and bracing, so it does not shift during the transportation across to Hawaii. This care will require extra funds.

Shipping your car will probably add costs to your container as many shipping companies consider them hazardous due to the battery, gas, and oil in them. Due to these materials, your car will have to be placed in a specific area of the ship. Having the car in the container will also reduce the amount of space you have for shipping other household items. You will have to weigh these factors when deciding whether or not a container for your car will work best for you.

4. Documentations

When planning to ship your car to Hawaii, there are documents you will need to gather. You will need the title to your car, and if you are still making payments on it, you’ll have to get a letter of authorization from the lien holder saying it is acceptable to ship the car to Hawaii. Current vehicle registration will be needed and well as a picture ID that matches your title and name on the registration.

5. Preparing Your Vehicle

There are some requirements set by shipping companies to make sure your car arrives in a safe condition. One of them is your gas tank cannot be more than a quarter full when shipped, and your alarm system will have to be disconnected. Disconnecting your battery will help ensure the alarm doesn’t sound during shipment.

These tips should help you decide how to go about shipping your car to Hawaii. Moving is an adventure, but when you are prepared, it can be an exciting one. We hope these tips help you to make a smooth transition to your new home.


Will Hopstetter
Will is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United Kingdom. He holds a diverse background in automotive and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.