How To Prepare Your Car For Auto Transportation

How To Prepare Your Car For Auto Transportation

Tue, Oct 12, 2021 9:32 PM

Auto Transport Services

You're moving around the country but don't want to drive? We've got you covered. Your car will drive across the heartland in style, from purple mountain glory to amber waves of grain, without you having to accompany it.

Use this guide to properly prepare your vehicle for safe, reliable shipment after you've collected a few car shipping quotes and chosen reputable auto transport services.


Things to Prepare before shipment


Preparing your vehicles for shipment entails more than just scheduling the delivery with a car shipping company and calling it a day. To ensure that your car arrives at your new home in good condition, follow these nine measures.


Document Damages


Once your car is clean, go for a walk around it to look for any pre-existing exterior damage. Dents, bruises, discolorations, and paint chips are all examples of this. (You can see how important it is to start with a clean car.)

It's unlikely that your car will be damaged during the shipping period, whether you prefer less expensive open transport or more expensive enclosed car shipping.

However, it's also a good idea to photograph the whole vehicle and log any recent damage for your records. When your car arrives, you'll find it much easier to fill out the condition report. These images may also be used to back up the argument if the car shipping company disputes liability for harm that happened during transport.


Remove Personal Items


You may be tempted to store a few heavy boxes in your car before shipping it if you're running out of room in your moving truck. That, however, is a major no-no. Items packed in your car may not be protected against theft or injury, and transportation companies will be fined if they transport your personal belongings in your car.


  • Charging cables

  • Old chapsticks and junk

  • Water bottles

  • GPS devices

  • Sunglasses

  • Insurance information and personally identifying paperwork


If you plan on leaving personal things in your car, make sure they're put into the trunk to keep them out of sight and out of the sun while the car is being transported. It's also a good idea to get rid of any parking tickets or toll stickers. If you leave a toll tag on your car, you'll be charged fees as your vehicle goes through tolls on the transporter. Remove the tag to prevent an increase in your shipping costs that isn't appropriate.

But don't get rid of it. If something goes wrong, keep your spare tire, emergency kit, jack, and license plate in the car.


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Gather your vehicle’s documents


Auto transporters would need proof of ownership before shipping a car. Prepare this paperwork ahead of time to avoid shipping delays and last-minute file cabinet and glovebox searches:


  • Vehicle registration information

  • Proof of insurance

  • Bill of sale or other proof you own vehicle

  • Original vehicle title

  • Your unexpired identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport)


How To Prepare Your Car For Auto Transportation


Wash your car—inside and out


While washing your car before shipping can seem counterintuitive, beginning with a clean car helps you to see any existing dust, dings, or scratches, which will help you catch any new damage that happens during the car transport service.

Don't forget about the interior of your vehicle: wipe down surfaces and clear out the clutter so you can start your new home with a clean, new car.


Perform Maintenance


If you're shipping an unusable vehicle, keep in mind that you won't be able to drive it on and off the truck, so keep that in mind when booking with the car shipping company.

Check for leaks and mechanical problems on cars in good working order, and top off any fluids. If you find a leak before your car is picked up, get it fixed.


Here are a few more things to check before car shipment:


  • Tire pressure: Tires should be properly inflated (neither over- nor underinflated) on the shipment date to avoid vehicle damage.

  • Battery charge: Check that your car battery is fully charged.

  • Fluids: Top off your car’s fluids (oil, brake, coolant, power steering, and washer). Then check for leaks.

  • Mileage: Note your car’s mileage at pickup and delivery.


Empty the gas tank


Since your vehicle will be shipped on a car carrier rather than being powered, you won't need to top up your tank before shipping. Furthermore, more gas means more weight for your truck and car carrier, which can increase your shipping costs. Instead, fill your gas tank to about a quarter capacity. That's more than enough fuel to get it on and off the transport truck without running out.


Remove  Accessories


Any extras on the outside of your vehicle can be damaged during transport. Before shipping your vehicle, remove or secure any valuable accessories. These are some of the items:


  • Removable ski and bike racks

  • Rooftop boxes and luggage racks

  • Retractable antennas

  • Custom spoilers


How To Prepare Your Car For Auto Transportation


Lock Up 


Your car would need to be pushed into the auto transporter for loading (assuming it is in good working order), but you can lock it before shipping for added theft security.

Your auto transport driver, on the other hand, can require a set of keys to your vehicle in the event that it needs to be moved or pushed off the transporter. Now is a good time to make a spare package if you don't already have one. Don't hand over your only set of keys to the transport driver.


Sign the bill  


It's time to get legal now that your car is clean and ready to ship. If you've chosen for drop-off instead of door-to-door shipping, the auto transport driver can call you prior to arrival to ensure you're home and the vehicle is ready to go.

When the driver arrives for the vehicle inspection and signing the bill of lading, you or another responsible adult must be present. This is a legal agreement between you and the car shipping company that serves as a receipt as well as legal cover for your vehicle.


Here’s what your bill of lading covers:

  • Where your vehicle is being shipped from and to

  • Condition of your vehicle at pickup

  • Any mechanical or special issues with your vehicle


We understand that no one reads the contract, but we strongly encourage you to DO SO BEFORE SIGNING. It saves you time and money while also ensuring your safety and that of your car. You may also inquire about the terms of payment (for example, what payment methods do you accept?). and When do I expect my car to arrive?).


That's all there is to it! Once your car is ready and the bill of lading is signed, you're done! Finish packing your belongings and make your way to your new residence. You'll do a similar inspection and signing process with the driver when your car arrives at your new place.

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