How to Get Your Car Ready for Auto Shipping

When shipping your car, most auto transport companies will require that prep your car before moving.  Through surveying auto shipper industry leaders we have come up with the following general guide on what to do to prepare your vehicle for shipping:

Get ready for an inspection. Before your car is loaded, auto transport vendors will perform an inspection. This means that you (or someone you designate) must be present for the inspection and will be required to sign the bill of lading and a vehicle condition report -- both at the original point and the destination city or town. Through this inspection, auto vendors are evaluating that the car is in good condition - with no leaky or gas tanks or strange noises when it is taken out for a test drive.

Make sure it's clean. Your car doesn't have to be spotless; however, it does need to be clean enough so that the physical inspection can be conducted thoroughly and without any distracting dirt or oil.

The vehicle needs to be operable. Some companies will move inoperable vehicles however they will charge extra for this service.

  •     It is a good idea to have the vehicle serviced prior to shipping.
  •     The vehicle should be free from any fluid leaks.
  •     Ensure you have a complete set of keys available to hand over on shipping day.

Remove all personal belongings. Before you ship your car, make sure that all personal items are removed. It is actually against the law for any auto shipper to accept a vehicle with personal belongings in their car. The shipping company may also refuse to accept your vehicle if there are any personal items left inside. If there is any loss or damage to these items or your vehicle as a result of these items being in the vehicle, the shipper is not liable. Removing personal items also ensures that items do not shift around in transit.

Some items to remove:

  • Car covers or spare tire covers you may have in your vehicle however you can keep the spare tire and jack in the car.
  • Hazardous materials.
  • Roof racks or other non-permanent items.
  • Any EZ-passes.
  • The alarm system must be disabled or disconnected.
  • All antennas must be removed or fully retracted.

Think about where you are going. If you are moving to an area with a different climate, you should think about preparing your car in advance. You may want to add coolant or other fluids or even have your cars air conditioning and heating system inspected.

Basic guidelines. As a general rule, prepare to have less than half tank of gas in your car on the day of shipping. You should also leave an emergency kit in your car with a wrench, an ice scraper, replacement fluids, motor oil, a tire gauge and a flashlight.