How to prepare my car for shipping?

If you’re moving to another state and have decided to fly to your new destination instead of drive your own car, then your only viable option is to have your vehicle transported to your new home by a professional auto transportation company. Having already chosen a reputable car transportation company to take care of the long distance transportation of your prized vehicle, now you need to know how to prepare your car for shipping. You can’t just hand over the car keys to your auto shipper without taking all the required steps to prepare your car for transportation.

How to prepare your car for transport: step-by-step guide

Stop asking yourself, “How should I prepare my car for shipping to another state?” and follow the numbered steps below to get your vehicle completely ready for safe transportation.

  1. The very first step of the car preparation process is to wash the exterior of your car and then clean its interior space as well.
  2. Once your car is as clean as a whistle, inspect it thoroughly for any scratches, dents, paint chips, etc., and take clear and close-up photos of these minor defects with your standalone or smartphone camera. Make sure the date stamp is visible in the shots so that any transportation damage cannot be later disputed by your car transportation company. When car shipper you have hired comes to pick up your car, get these photos ready and mark any existing imperfections in the inspection report you will be given and asked to sign.
  3. Check the entire vehicle for any visible fluid leaks and if you do happen to find any, fix them or have them fixed.
  4. Check the condition of your car battery – it should be fully charged and well secured in its supporting bracket.
  5. Your gas tank should only be 1/4 full of fuel or else it will only add up unnecessary weight to your own car and the auto shipper as well. You definitely don’t need any additional fuel because your car will not be driven other than to be loaded and unloaded from the transportation truck.
  6. Make sure the tires are inflated properly.
  7. Take down any removable or loose parts from the exterior of your car so that they don’t get damaged on the road. Any antennas should be fully retracted or removed altogether and your car’s side-view mirrors should be folded (if applicable).
  8. Any non-permanent racks (baggage, bike, ski, etc.) should be dismounted.
  9. Remember that the auto shipper’s insurance does not cover any personal items left in the car. Therefore, remove all personal belongings from your car to minimize any risks of theft and reduce the overall shipping price (less weight = lower price).
  10. Take out any items that are not built in, such as car stereos, car phones, GPS systems, etc.
  11. If your vehicle is equipped with a custom alarm system, you should disable it. Also, don’t forget to take away or deactivate any parking passes or toll tags from your car – after all, you don’t want to be charged continuously on your way to your new home.
  12. Needless to say, hazardous items or materials of any kind should never be left in the car.
  13. Only leave the standard vehicle equipment that came with your car (jack, spare tire, emergency kits, tools and so on).
  14. If you have a child safety seat, you can leave it intact. Also, don’t touch the license plates either.
  15. If your vehicle is a convertible, its top should be well secured against the whims of Mother Nature.
  16. Before your car transportation company arrives, make sure the primary insurance of your car is active and will stay active until the relocation is complete.
  17. Check your car’s odometer and record its readings.
  18. Prepare an extra set of car keys to give to the truck driver while keeping the original set with you. Don’t make the rookie mistake of parting with the only set of car keys available.
  19. Inform the driver of any mechanical problems your car might have prior to its loading. Provide written instructions of special car handling peculiarities, if any.

When shipping your car to another state, follow the above steps to prepare your vehicle for safe and damage-free transport to your new home.

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3 thoughts on “How to prepare my car for shipping?

  1. I never realized that it would be beneficial to transport materials with a gas tank that is 1/4 full. My brother needs to have a few materials that need to be shipped the following month. I think that he would be better off by hiring a transport service for help.

  2. My wife and I are planning a cross country move next year. We are excited by the new chapter in our life, but the process of moving that far is daunting. One thing we have been worried about is transporting our cars. We want to ship them, but we have been worried about them being damaged. I like that you mentioned to clean it well and inspect it before you ship it, so you know if any damage has occurred once it arrives. I will have to make sure to do that.

  3. Thank you for helping me learn more about preparing my car for shipping. One thing that you mentioned was that you should check the condition of your car battery before you ship because it should be fully charged before it leaves on the exciting adventure. My dad recently passed away and left me with his classic Mustang. Since we live across the country, I want to ship it since it would not make the cross-country trip. Thanks again for helping me understand how to better prepare it for the carrier.

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