Puerto Rico Auto Shipping: A Comprehensive Guide

4 min readMay 28, 2021
Auto Shipping

Transporting vehicles to Puerto Rico presents unique challenges due to its island geography. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about auto shipping to Puerto Rico, from shipping methods and legal regulations to choosing a reliable auto transport company and navigating the import process.

Cost to Ship a Car to Puerto Rico?

Transporting a vehicle to Puerto Rico involves several expenses. The cost of shipping typically ranges from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on various factors. It’s essential to allocate a significant portion of your moving budget to cover car-related fees, as both overseas transport and import taxes in Puerto Rico contribute to the overall expense.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Shipping a Car to Puerto Rico

Total Shipping Distance

Auto transport companies determine rates based on the distance your car needs to travel. Shipping a car from locations farther from Puerto Rico, such as Seattle, will incur higher costs compared to shipping from closer points like Miami.

Vehicle Drop-Off and Pick-Up Options

Different service options, such as door-to-port and port-to-port, affect pricing. Door-to-port services, where the company picks up your car and you collect it at the Puerto Rican port, tend to be more expensive due to the extended distance involved.

Vehicle Size

The size and weight of your vehicle influence shipping costs. Larger and heavier cars incur higher expenses compared to smaller ones.

Enclosed vs. Open Ground Transport

Choosing between open or enclosed transport impacts pricing. Open transport, while more affordable, exposes your vehicle to the elements. Enclosed trailers, albeit pricier, offer protection from weather and road debris.

Roll-On Roll-Off vs. Container Shipping

For ocean transport, options include “roll-on, roll-off” (RoRo) and container shipping. RoRo involves driving your car onto the ship, while container shipping entails storing it inside a container. RoRo is typically the most cost-effective option.

The Shipping Process

Preparation is essential before shipping a car to Puerto Rico. While car transport companies typically provide this information upfront, it’s important to keep these key points in mind:

Key Points:

  • Ensure the fuel level is at 1/4 or less.
  • Remove all personal belongings and deactivate car alarms.
  • Clean your vehicle thoroughly before entry.
  • Check for any issues like cracked windshields or broken brakes.
  • Prepare all required documents, including title, driver’s license, vehicle appraisal, bill of lading, purchase invoice, EPA Form 3520–1, and registration.

Depending on the transportation method and location, the process may take one to four weeks. Be prepared for potential delays or issues and have a transportation plan in place if you arrive before your car.

When to Ship Your Car to Puerto Rico

Consider various factors when deciding whether to ship your car to Puerto Rico:

Age of Your Car

Assess the resale value of your vehicle compared to shipping costs. If the shipping expense exceeds the car’s value, it may be more practical to purchase a new or used vehicle in Puerto Rico.

Local Public Transportation

Evaluate the availability and cost of public transportation in Puerto Rico’s major cities. While public transit exists, many residents rely on cars due to limited options.

Frequency of Return to the Continental U.S.

Consider how often you’ll need access to a vehicle on the mainland. Storing or leaving your car with family or friends are viable options if you plan to return periodically.

Legal Regulations and Guidelines

It’s essential to understand the legal regulations and guidelines governing auto imports and exports to and from Puerto Rico. Ensure you have all the necessary documentation, including the bill of sale, vehicle registration, and proof of ownership, to comply with customs procedures and avoid any delays or complications.

Major Ports for Auto Shipping

Several major ports serve as crucial hubs for auto shipping. Whether you’re shipping to Ponce, San Juan, or another destination, it’s essential to select the port that best suits your needs in terms of location, accessibility, and available services.

Popular Shipping Destinations:

  • Ponce
  • San Juan
  • Port of San Juan
  • Port of Ponce, Puerto Rico
  • Bayamon
  • Caguas
  • Carolina
  • Guaynabo

Tips for a Smooth Auto Shipping Experience

To ensure a smooth auto shipping experience, take proactive steps to prepare your vehicle for shipment like:

  • Remove personal belongings from the vehicle.
  • Secure any loose items inside the car.
  • Ensure the vehicle is in good condition for transport.
  • Be aware of common pitfalls and challenges.
  • Take proactive steps to mitigate potential issues.

Choosing a Reliable Auto Transport Company

Selecting a reputable auto transport company is crucial for a smooth shipping experience. Some top recommended auto transport companies for Puerto Rico include:

AutoStar Transport Express is a well-established US company from 18 years specializing in Puerto Rico auto transport. Accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), AutoStar door-to-door and enclosed transport options competitive prices and nationwide operations, providing customers with various shipping options to suit their needs.

Eship Transport Company earns praise for its stellar reputation, holding an impressive A+ rating with the BBB. Despite slightly higher prices, Eship is known for its punctuality and quality service. With licenses for heavy vehicle transport and international shipping, Eship offers door-to-door and enclosed transport options, ensuring customer satisfaction.

Coastal Auto Shipping stands out for its affordable transportation services between Puerto Rico and the US. With a strong track record of reliability and high customer satisfaction, Coastal Auto Shipping has been licensed for 14 years. Offering door-to-door and enclosed transport services, it provides a convenient and secure option for shipping vehicles.


Successfully shipping a car to Puerto Rico requires careful consideration and preparation. From evaluating costs and selecting suitable transport options to adhering to legal requirements and choosing reliable auto transport companies, there are various aspects to manage. By following this, individuals can adeptly navigate the intricacies of auto shipping to Puerto Rico, ensuring a seamless and efficient process.




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