Hawaii Car Shipping: Ship a Car to Hawaii or Buy Brand New?

Hawaii Car Shipping: Ship a Car to Hawaii or Buy Brand New?

Posted 6.19.2012 in Articles by Neil-Denny

Shipping your car overseas takes more than just packing it up into a U-Haul. One of the most important decisions to make before moving to Hawaii is whether to sell your car or have it shipped across the Pacific. While most locals take advantage of the public transportation system, there are a number of benefits to having your car with you. Here is a list of 5 questions to consider to help you decide whether to ship your car or sell it.

1. How much does this car mean to you?

Although it's a simple question, it can greatly affect your decision to sell or to ship. You of all people will know how reliable your current car is. If you find it difficult to part with your trusty steed, it will be worth the cost of shipping. If you were even considering a new car, now is the time to sell and get a new car when you arrive in Hawaii.

2. How does the value of your current vehicle plus shipping compare to buying brand new? 

Use sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com to see how much your car is currently worth on the market. Shipping costs can vary but is generally a little over $1,000 for an average-sized car to be shipped from a port off the West Coast of the U.S. Mainland. If you're coming from the East Coast, you will need to take into account the cost of transporting the vehicle cross-country to one of the ports in Washington, Oregon, or California, which can come out to an additional thousand dollars. The size of your vehicle can also increase shipping costs, with extra charges usually placed upon vehicles that are over 21 feet, or 8 feet wide, or 7 feet high.

3. Which island are you relocating to? 

Heavily populated islands like Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii are heavily congested. Considering the traffic and high gas prices, you would want to opt for a more fuel-efficient model. Bigger vehicles like full-sized trucks and SUVs are also not recommended for heavily populated areas, as parking can be very difficult. However, these models are preferable if you intend to do plenty of exploring and sightseeing on rugged terrain.

4. What precautions must you take if I decide to ship my vehicle? 

You will need to prepare your automobile before it can be accepted for shipping. Make sure everything is in working condition, including brakes and tires, and provide copies of your keys for total access to your vehicle, including ignition, trunk, gas cap, and glove compartment. Everything that wasn't factory installed must be removed from your car prior to shipping, including personal belongings and aftermarket accessories and stereo systems. Your car alarm must also be disconnected to prevent battery drainage during shipment. Shipping companies also have a ground clearance requirement, usually between 4-6 inches underneath. When you're ready to drop off your vehicle be prepared to bring all the necessary documentation, including proof of your reservation, a valid drivers license, current vehicle registration and title, notarized statement from lien holder if you're leasing the vehicle, and contact information for the person picking up.

5. What are the advantages and disadvantages to buying brand new?

A fresh car will give you a fresh start. Buying brand-new will help you get acquainted with local dealers, who will have the most experience in choosing the right car for your new lifestyle. It also helps you establish relationships early on, so you can have a reliable source for service and repairs in the future. If you do decide to buy brand new, keep in mind that prices are higher in Hawaii. It will also extend the moving process since you have to go through the whole procedure of selling your car before you leave the Mainland. You also may not find a new car right away, and will have to rely on public transportation or car rental during the first few weeks of your relocation.

In the end, it all goes back to question number one. If you absolutely love your car, you will regret not having it shipped to Hawaii. If it's one you are not particularly fond of, a new car can be a great way to adjust to your new lifestyle. Consider these five questions and you'll have the right ride to take you around Hawaii safely and confidently, as you embark on your new and exciting island adventure.


Image (CC) Marry Wallace & Co


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