How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipping: The Complete Guide

How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipping: The Complete Guide

Shipping your vehicle across the country or overseas can be a long process from start to finish. First you shop around for a company that meets your needs, then you book the delivery with a trusted dispatcher. Once everything is said and done you’ll get a first available shipping date. Between booking and pickup you’ll need to take the final steps in the process: properly preparing your vehicle.

Why Preparation is Important
The risk of damage to your vehicle during transport is very low. Taking the proper precautions can help you minimize this risk, so you should still prepare. Often, overlooked details can result in damage that could have otherwise been avoided. And depending on the company you may also be charged additional fees for leaving personal belongings behind in an under-prepared vehicle.

Here’s What to Do

1. Wash your car. Washing your car will help you better notice any dents, scratches, or other damage to your vehicle. It also serves to make it more presentable upon delivery, and having a clean car waiting for you upon pickup is definitely a plus.
2. Visually inspect your car for existing damage. Once you have carefully inspected the outside of your vehicle, you will want to make note of every detail. Take plenty of pictures of all existing damage, no matter how minor. Keep these for your records.
4. Read the odometer and make record of it. Your car should only be driven onto and off the shipping carrier. Make note of the difference so you know how much your car was driven.
5. Give your car a general checkup and make repairs if needed. Perform a maintenance check on your car to make sure it’s in good driving condition. Check the car battery, tire pressure, and look for any leaks. Top off all fluids like transmission fluid, oil, gas, coolants. It is also VERY important to leave your gas tank down to 1/4 full or less. An almost empty gas tank will save weight on your vehicle during transport.
6. Secure car exterior. Remove custom accessories, toll tags, and parking passes. Fold back your mirrors, and retract your car antenna if needed. If your vehicle has custom accessories like spoilers or special lights, your best bet is to remove them so you don’t risk damage. If you have a convertible vehicle secure the top well, or cover it with a wind-resistant tarp. You’ll also want to make sure you remove toll tags and passes so your car doesn’t rack up unnecessary tolls during transport.
8. Completely empty out car interior. Clean out your car of personal belongings like stereo systems, DVD players, GPS, radio face plates. And you’re better off removing custom accessories hanging from the rear view mirror or other custom interior decor. Doing so will save you money, additional fees, and penalties for uninsured personal items.
9. Things you should leave behind in the car. Leave a spare tire, emergency kit, and your license plate behind for safety and insurance purposes.
10. Electric vehicles. If you’re shipping an electric vehicle make sure you fully charge your battery before shipping.
11. Disable car alarm system. If disabling your alarm system isn’t possible, leave instructions for the driver to know how to do so.
12. Fix cracks on windshield. If you have any cracks on windshield or windows get them fixed; or your car may be disqualified for shipping altogether 2.
13. Give special instructions or directions to the driver. Leave handwritten instructions for the driver if your car needs any special handling. Let them know of any mechanical problems or unusual behaviors your car may have.
14. Don’t give your driver your only car keys. You don’t want your driver to take off with your only set of car keys. Make an extra set in advance if you don’t already have one, and give those to your driver instead.