25 Tips to Properly Prepare Your Car for Shipping

25 Tips to Properly Prepare Your Car for Shipping

If you intend to ship your car either across the country or even internationally, it’s crucial to ensure the vehicle is appropriately prepared for the trip. After you’ve received your auto shipping estimates and selected an auto-moving company, it’s crucial to consider checklists and guidelines the auto shippers give you.

Benefits of Preparing Your Vehicles for Shipping

  • Lowers the risk of damage to the exterior and interior of your vehicle
  • Avoids delay while in custom or during inspections
  • Saves you the time and cost of replacing or repairing your car parts

Guidelines for Preparing Your Car Shipping

The guidelines the auto shippers provide may include useful requirements that concern your car and its move. Aside from those requirements, whether you intend to ship your car in the U.S. or overseas, consider preparing your car in the following ways before shipping:

  1. Disable anti-thefts devices and alarms: ensure these devices are disabled to stop them from preventing access into the vehicle, startling the driver, or causing any glitch.
  2. Check for personal items: don’t forget to remove all your personal items from the car. Ensure items such as jewelry, electronic devices, and important documents are not left in your car.
  3. Check for leaking fluids: the auto shippers can hold you liable for any coolant, battery, or oil fluids leaks. Ensure your car is not leaking fluids from any of its parts.
  4. Protect, adjust, or remove any loose parts: remove any detachable parts such as the antenna and any other ones. For parts that cannot be detached such as fog lights, side mirrors, and spoilers, make sure you wrap them with protective covering. You may also retract the car antennae and fold back your mirrors.
  5. Keep only ¼ gallon fuel in the gas tank: extra gasoline in the vehicle’s engine can cause leaks while in transit. Also, less fuel implies your vehicle will weigh less.
  6. Check the fluids in the expansion tanks: consider reducing the fluid level in your expansion tank and check with your expansion specialist. This will let the air and antifreeze on the vehicle system to expand with rising pressure and temperature.
  7. Wash and clean your car: washing and properly cleaning the outside and inside of your car will give you the chance to inspect it as you clean. You may observe some things you didn’t see before and fix it before shipping.
  8. Check the battery charge: this is absolutely crucial especially when shipping with overseas shipping services. The shippers may request an extra fee if your car failed to start up when the shippers wants to roll-off the car.
  9. Seal all tears and openings: if you own a convertible top, it’s important to ensure the roads dust, moisture, and debris are prevented from getting in the car.
  10. Take photos of your car if possible to document its present condition before shipping. Ensure you have copies of your car keys. You’ll be disappointed if you arrive at your new location only to find out you’ve lost your original set and you’re unable to drive your vehicle.
  11. Make sure the auto-transport company inspects your car Before your car is carted away, make sure the auto transport company you hire carefully inspects your car. Also, make sure they take record of any anomaly and you should do the same too.
  12. Inspect the car upon delivery Once your car is delivered, it is your responsibility to inspect it thoroughly to ensure its condition is the same before shipment. If you’ve taken any photograph, compare the before and after.
  13. There are frauds out there Similar to several other industries, there are rogues in the car shipping industry. The easiest ways to avoid rogues is to get free car shipping quotes from registered and insured car shipping companies.
  14. Pay via the safest mode Some auto transport companies will request for payments before car shipping. Most of these companies will ask for an E-check, check or a wire transfer. These payment methods and paying before shipping are red flags of frauds leaving you with no chance of getting your money back.
  15. Never make the full payment before your car is shipped. It is safer, smarter, and better to pay the car shipping company after your car has been loaded on the car shipping truck. Never pay for the shipment until your car is on the hauler. Beware of rogue car shipping companies.
  16. Make a realistic car shipping schedule Planning is key in auto shipping. So, make sure you schedule your car shipment ahead of time. This means you’ll have to be realistic about timing. Never wait until the last minute to ship your car.
  17. Do you have insurance? Almost every car shipping company offers some sort of insurance coverage. Find out the type of insurance policy the auto transport company you hire is offering and what it covers. If it’s suitable for you, then go with it.
  18. Don’t forget to pre-book. Pre-booking your car shipping gives your car a better chance of being transported faster. Depending on how far you’re shipping and the time of the year, auto transport can take from a few days to a few weeks. Pre Booking can save you from unnecessary wait time.
  19. Use GPS if possible If the car shipping company is offering GPS service, don’t hesitate to accept it. The system will enable you to track the location of your car while in transit.
  20. Lock the car Once your car is loaded onto the car shipping truck, it’s important for it to remain locked until it is delivered. So, lock everything in the car up to avoid the risk of theft while the vehicle is in transit.
  21. Take a picture of the Odometer If you’re concerned about the auto transport company driver taking your precious car for a joy ride, (which hardly ever happens), take a picture of the odometer during pick up. You can compare that same picture with the odometer when the car is delivered.
  22. Make sure the car shipping company has a DOT number All car shipping companies in the U.S. are required to be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Registered auto transporters are assigned DOT numbers. So, make sure the car shipping company you hire has a USDOT number.
  23. Get your car’s documents handy. As a rule of thumb, car shipping companies are required to verify vehicle ownership before shipping. So, make sure you have all the required paperwork handy. These documents include:
    • An unexpired I.D.
    • Proof of insurance
    • Original vehicle title
    • Vehicle registration information 
    • Vehicle ownership proof such as bill of sale
  24. What’s the car shipper’s cancellation policy? Just before you sign the car shipping contract,     ask about their cancellation policy. If the policy is too complex and difficult, you should be careful about signing. You’ll have to ask yourself what will happen if you decide to cancel?
  25. What’s your preferred shipping method? Your shipping method should depend on the type of car you’re shipping and the distance you’re shipping to. You can choose from door-to-door shipping, or open auto transport, or enclosed auto transport etc.

However, to ensure you and your car are appropriately prepared for the shipping, speak to the auto movers about your vehicle insurance coverage. Also, make sure you are present during your vehicle’s initial inspections.