Preparing Your Car for Transport

When moving to another city or buying a vehicle online, car shipping companies can easily transport your auto to any location you decide. Car shipping services work best for saving your vehicle from added miles and wear and tear. However, you can do a few things to ensure your car shipping service ends with a pleasant experience.

Here is a car shipping checklist to help prepare your car for transport.

The First Steps in Shipping a Car Checklist:

  • Choose the best car shipping method that suits your transporting needs. The open auto transport option offers cheaper rates to move your car. The enclosed auto transport option offers all-around protection from dirt and weather to protect your vehicle.
  • Decide what day and time you (or a trusted representative) want to meet with the car shipping company driver. You want to be at the location at least 15 minutes early.
  • Get a copy of ALL of the vehicle’s keys if you only have one set. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires the car shipping driver to have a key for EVERY lock on the auto. Give the spare keys to the driver and keep your original ones.

Before Shipping Your Car:

  • Consider cleaning your car. A clean car will make it easier to spot chips, dings, dents, scratches, and other cosmetic damages.
  • Make a checklist of ALL cosmetic damages on the vehicle. Write down all the marks and include the date and time the picture was taken.
  • Take pictures of the car. These pictures should cover all angles of the car and close-up shots of cosmetic damages. Be sure to date all the pictures.
  • Remove all personal belongings from the vehicle. Leave all standard car equipment, including the spare tire and jack. However, remove all covers, including spare tire covers, hubcaps, and grill covers.
  • Remove anything that can snap or fall off. This includes radio antennas, bikes, luggage, or ski racks. If you have a convertible vehicle, ensure the top is secure. Specialty items such as fog lights, ground effects, and spoilers should be secured or removed.
  • Check your battery. The battery must have a full charge and be securely mounted in the battery bracket.
  • Check your tires. Make sure they are properly inflated to the car manufacturer’s suggestions.
  • Check for leaks and mechanical issues. Tell the car shipping driver during the first inspection if there are any leaks or mechanical issues. Give the driver any special instructions for loading and unloading your vehicle to the trailer.
  • Check your gas tank. It would be best to have no more than ¼ of gas left to reduce overall car weight.
  • Disable your vehicle alarm. If this isn’t possible, give detailed written instructions to the car shipping driver if he has to turn off the alarm during transport.
  • Fold in your side mirrors.
  • During the car shipping inspection, verify the car transport driver’s official notes about cosmetic damage. The driver will note all damages before transporting the vehicle on the Bill of Lading.