Blog December 1, 2020

How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping Step by Step

Posted in Auto Transport
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

Many people stress about finding the right method or the right company for car transport, but they often forget to prepare a car for shipping, which is an essential step in this process. At first glance, you may think that there is no need to go the extra mile in prepping your vehicle for a long-distance trip, but when you think about it, it is the same as with people. You would not want to go on a few days long journey without preparing yourself, right? So if you are wondering how to prepare your car for shipping, stay tuned, we’ve got you covered.

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How to Prepare a Car for Shipping – Baby Steps

There are only a few things that a moving company won’t transport, but luckily, cars are not one of them. However, auto transport is an industry that has its rules, logistics, and terms we need to understand and obey. The process itself takes some time, and you need to plan everything in advance if you need your vehicle at a specific time.

When relocating a household, professional packing and storage services can make the job way easier for you. Transport companies will gladly move your car, but it’s up to you to do some things by yourself. So here are a few basic steps that everyone should follow.

  • Research– you cannot let just anyone ship your vehicle and risk damage, so as your first step of shipping and moving, make sure you read all the reliable auto transport reviews and find a reputable auto transport company that will remove all your doubts and insecurities.
  • Washing– before your car goes on a journey across the country, make sure you have washed it thoroughly, inside and outside. First, if you plan to use it the minute it arrives at its destination, it is more convenient that the vehicle arrives clean and ready for driving. Also, on a sparkling clean vehicle, it would be easier to check and notice any scratches that occurred during transport.
  • Tires– do not ship your car with almost flat tires, it is not safe, and the tires can easily deteriorate or get a puncture during the loading process. If they are not ideally inflated, they could arrive flat and cause you a problem.
  • Gas– although many would assume that their tank should be full, it is actually the opposite. Well, not literally, your tank should be around ¼ full. It is easier for the car carrier, and you do not really need a full tank because the vehicle is not going to be driven.
  • Keys– you should have another set of keys because one goes to the truck driver, and if you do not have spare ones, then what? You no longer have the keys to your car. Although they will return it to you, it is better to make another copy, just in case they lose it.
Man worker washing car's alloy wheels on a car wash
Hand me the keys, please

Remove All Custom-Made Products

If you have custom rim covers that are very expensive, or rare to find and pretty, you should remove them, because they could get stolen. Custom spoilers or other parts that could be easily removed like antennas are also an easy target for thieves. The same goes for various accessories like steering wheel covers, air fresheners, pendants, masks for stereo radios, and even baby seats.

Worst Case Scenario

In case something bad does happen, do not fall into despair. That is if you have car insurance. Most insurance policies for car shipping cover theft, but make sure you have all the information about it and proof of insurance. Feel free to ask your transport company everything about the terms before you move.

Closeup the silver ballpoint modern pen on insurance contract with planning in background.
Custom-made rims are not so rare anymore

Do a Maintenance Check Before Your Auto Hits the Road

Although your car is not going to be working a lot, it is always better to check everything at your local car service and make sure it is in proper condition. Repairs and check-ups can cost you more in some other town or state, so it is better to check if there are any mechanical problems, leaks, or if the battery charge is full.

Do Not Cancel Your Relocation if Your Vehicle Can’t Travel

It is hard to reduce stress when moving if something is wrong with your car. Unfortunately, these things happen, and it is better to find out sooner than later. If it is a newer vehicle, then it is worth fixing and transporting despite everything. It will delay things a bit, but at least you will have a safe four-wheeler once it arrives.

Auto car repair service center. Two mechanics - man and woman examining car engine

How to Deal With Damage During Transport?

You cannot entirely remove the risk of damage – these things just happen when you have ten cars slightly bouncing on a car trailer for hours. Damage like scratches and indentations can happen even during the loading part because it is not easy to get a car on a trailer.

Leave It Like It Is and Take Photos

Not only should you take photos of the damage after the delivery, but you should also remember to take a picture of every surface before you ship it and document the car’s general condition. That is why it is essential to thoroughly clean it and wash the vehicle; it is easier to prove that the damage occurred during transport.

Focused female professional taking picture on cellphone
Do you see any scratches

And Do Not Forget to Disable the Alarm

Someone could probably write an entire book about the common mistakes people make on their moving day. But when it comes to cars, it happens that people either forget things like turning off the alarm, locking the car, or leaving a pair of spare keys to the truck driver. We hope our car shipping safety tips and necessary steps will help you organize this part of moving a bit better. Because preparing an auto should for sure be on your moving to-do checklist. Prepare your car for shipping properly and sleep tight, knowing that you have done everything that was up to you.

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