How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car to Europe?


There are a variety of ways to ship your car to Europe from the United States, all expensive, though some more reasonable then others. There are a variety of reasons people do this--to save money on long-term rentals in Europe and also, primarily, for sentimental reasons, not wanting to leave the car they've driven for so long in the States behind. Regardless of why, you should quantify the time and effort it takes to ship the car before taking on the task.

Ship by Sea

  • If you want the most cost-effective way of shipping your car, do it by ship, though there is a bit of preparation that will go into it for the trip overseas. The type and size of your car will affect what you need to do and how much it costs. As of 2009, shipping a compact runs around $750, with the price going as high as $2,000 for a full-sized SUV. The car will be given its own freight container. The time it will take for the ship to make it across the Atlantic to port is usually two to three weeks.

Possible Delays

  • If you're going to send the car by ship, there are some unknowns that can occur. Will the ship hit inclement weather and slow down the transport? How long will it sit in port before it has to leave? The two- to three-week number given in Section 1 is merely an estimate. Sometimes the transport of automobiles via these types of freighters can take more than a month, so if you will need to rely on your car wherever you are going, you might want to guarantee when it will arrive.

Ship by Air

  • If you need your car in Europe immediately (and don't mind spending a huge amount of money), you can have it flown there in two to three days for two to three times what it would cost to have it shipped by sea. This is most proficient for someone who needs his car quickly and is willing to pay a steep premium for the privilege.

Preparation of the Vehicle for Transport

  • However you decide to ship your vehicle to Europe, there are standard types of preparation for each vehicle. Leave as little gas in the tank as possible, to reduce weight and fire risk. Make sure there is plenty of anitfreeze, for cold weather conditions. Disconnect any auto alarms of any kind. Also, remove any valuables that might be transported with the car--you're not allowed to pack anything else in the car when you transport.

Documentation and Hidden Fees

  • On top of what you will be paying for your transport fees, there may be an import tax and duty and off-loading fees, depending on to which country's port you are shipping. Also, most shipping companies are only liable for up to $500 in insurance, so it is highly recommended you purchase your own shipping insurance for your car. You must have the original title to ship the car internationally. You also often need a photocopy of your driver's license and bill of sale.


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