How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping

October 6, 2017 / Posted in Moving Basics
Eva Johnson

Digital nomad born in New York but currently living online, Eva knows everything there is to know about packing and moving.

Are you planning to relocate miles away from your current home? If so, then you might be wondering what to do with your vehicle. How to prepare your car for shipping is one of the crucial questions when it comes to long-distance vehicle transport. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you carry out this task easily.

white mercedes car in garage overlay
If you want to prepare a vehicle for shipping, there are certain steps you should take

Simple Steps on How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping

When packing is at its peak,  you are probably overwhelmed by all the tasks related to your move from Los Angeles to Austin. You will need to find the best long-distance moving services, schedule the date, and figure out a relocation budget, so thinking about transporting cars from state to state might be simply too much.

However, you shouldn’t ignore the process of transporting your car and leave it for the last minute. Although it may look tedious and complicated, it only requires some basic planning and patience. It’s essential to pay attention to all the details because that’s the only way to have your beloved four-wheeler safely delivered to your new address in one of the best places to live in California for young adults.

cars stacked on open trailer overlay
Make sure to hire reliable movers on time

Check Auto Insurance in Case of Damage

If the car shipping company providing you with auto transport services is reliable and legitimate, they should have the proper paperwork and important documents proving their liability and cargo insurance. It would help if you asked for proof in case of an unlikely event of an accident. Another thing to consider when moving to a new state is that you should call your own insurance company and check with them whether you have relocation coverage for transport.

a person signing a contract overlay
Check with your insurance provider if the coverage is sufficient to cover any material damage

Wash Your Vehicle and Have a Final Visual Inspection

Make sure to give your vehicle a good wash before any action occurs. After cleaning the exterior, take a few minutes to inspect the scratches, dents, paint chips, or discoloration on the body of your vehicle. It is necessary to do this before shipping your car cross country because accidents may happen (though rarely) during transport. Ensure that this is a high priority on your moving-to-another-state checklist.

Photograph the Vehicle to Avoid an Unpleasant Scenario

If you’ve noticed scratches or dents, take photos of them before shipping. This is a good way to be sure which ones already existed, and which happened during the trip. Since these records are yours, a smart idea is to mark them on the bill of lading – a document issued by a carrier to confirm receipt of cargo for shipment. By doing it this way, your auto transport company won’t be able to dispute any new damage.

black car parked on the beach road overlay
Wash your automobile before moving and try to spot some scrapes or signs of damage

Remove After-Market Products

If your car has replacement parts and add-ons that were not part of the original design, like a DVD player, GPS system, custom stereo, or spoiler kit, you should move the electronics and everything else out of the vehicle. That will decrease the chance of theft or damage when transporting your car across state borders.


Do a Maintenance Check

If your car is inoperable, that should be noted before the transportation day. An operable vehicle, however, mustn’t have any problems or leaks. Inform your carrier about any possible defects so that they could carry out necessary preparations ahead of time. You can do some minor repairs on your vehicle before shipping it, as well as taking some basic maintenance steps, such as:

  • Checking all fluids and topping them off
  • Adjusting tire pressure
  • Providing full battery charge
  • Monitoring and recording the mileage

Leave the Gas Tank a Quarter Full

Make sure your gas tank is only a quarter full – otherwise, it will add unnecessary weight to your car and the trailer while they are moved to another state. Besides, your car will be driven only when loading it on and off the transport truck. That means additional gas is not necessary, and it will only pose a fire hazard.

Disable All Car Alarms Before the Relocation

If your car has a custom alarm system, you should remove or disable it. Why is this important? When your car is on the carrier, the driver must be focused on the road, and if the alarm goes off, it has to be disabled somehow. That equals an unnecessary distraction for the driver and slows down the whole auto transportation process, so it will take much longer to ship the vehicle. Also, it can expose the relocation truck to needless danger and potential accidents.

black car parked near the park overlay
Take car of any mechanical irregularities before the moving day

Deactivate Toll Tags Prior to Shipping

During the transport, you’re not going to need automatic parking passes and toll tags, so the best solution is to remove them. If you leave them on, the toll tag may pick up fees each time your carrier passes through a toll lane. In the end, it may cost you a lot, especially if you’re moving from California to Florida.

a white car on a open road overlay
For safe shipment, alarms and toll tags should be disabled

Car Transport Should Be Hassle-Free and Custom-Tailored

If you are transporting your vehicle for the first time, then you would surely want to know how to do it right. After you’ve completed the first step and prepared your machine for transport, it’s time to decide who will transport your car. Keep in mind that your prized possession should be entrusted to a skilled and reliable auto shipping company.

If you choose professionals that will meet all your needs, you can expect successful and hassle-free auto transport. Also, the trained carrier knows what type of car transport is the most suitable for your budget and the make and model of the vehicle. They will provide you not only with exceptional services, but also support and help from the beginning until the end of the shipment. In the end, the only thing you should take upon yourself is to transfer your driver’s license through your new state’s DMV portal.

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