Prepare Your Car

7 Moving Tips to Prepare Your Car for Shipping

Over 27 million Americans moved in 2021, and that was actually the lowest historical annual rate recorded since 1948. Of course, the pandemic put a damper on things, so now that things are returning to normal, you can expect the numbers to go back up again.

Perhaps you’re ready to poke your head out and start a new chapter in your life. Relocating can be stressful though, so shipping your car is a better option than driving it cross-country on your own.

But you can’t just hand over your vehicle as is. You need to prepare your car to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.

Keep reading for 7 tips on car preparation.

1. Empty Your Vehicle

Anything you have in your car will add to its weight, and in turn, this will cost the driver more fuel. Plus, if you leave things like loose change, they can get tossed around during transit. This can cause damage to the interior of your vehicle.

So the first thing you should do is clean out the car and remove as many personal items as possible. This will also make it easier to carry out the next tip.

While clearing out your vehicle, make sure to get items like charging cables, air fresheners, and anything else that can fly around and cause damage.

Some moving companies will allow you to transport moving boxes in your car, so you can kill two birds with one stone. If this is something you’d like, then check with them first. Each company will have its own fees and rules surrounding this issue.

2. Wash and Clean Your Car

Once you’ve removed everything from your vehicle, you’ll want to thoroughly wash and clean it. This isn’t just for aesthetic reasons either; if your car is dusty and dirty, it can hide dings and scratches.

So give your car a good wash, and while you’re at it, wipe down and vacuum the interior too. This will save time later when you do a solo inspection and then another with the trucker to get your Bill of Lading.

3. Check Your Car

If you’ve done a good job washing it, then it’ll be a breeze checking your car for preexisting damage. Do a walkthrough and note down every scratch and dent; take pictures and videos on your phone. This will be helpful later on when you repeat this with the trucker.

You’ll also want to check the fluid levels for your oil, brake, battery, engine, etc. Top them off if needed.

On that note, you should also ensure your vehicle’s battery is working. Otherwise, you’ll hit an extra fee if it fails to start and the trucker needs extra equipment to move your car on and off their hauler. Plus, you’ll hit a snag right away in your new destination when you can’t drive anywhere.

While inspecting your vehicle, look underneath too. Make sure the undercarriage is in good shape and that there are no fluids leaking.

Lastly, check the tire pressure; the proper PSI will be listed in your owner’s manual. Inflate them if needed.

For extra peace of mind, you might want to bring your car into an auto shop. That way, you’ll have a professional’s eye, and if there’s anything wrong, they can fix it right away. If nothing’s wrong, then you’ll have less to worry about during your big move.

4. Look Into Insurance

Auto transport companies are required to carry cargo insurance, so your vehicle should be covered under a generous policy. But this may not cover the time before and after the shipping process. It’s best to speak to your chosen company to double-check what their policy is and what is/isn’t covered.

In addition, you should look into your own auto insurance to see if your vehicle is covered before, during, and after transit. 

5. Remove Accessories and Detachable Parts

You might’ve adorned your car in aftermarket parts and accessories, but these need to go when preparing your car for shipping. These can all potentially get damaged or cause damage to other vehicles. Remove the antenna (or retract it) and other detachable parts while you’re at it.

If you’re worried about other auto parts, you can add protective covering to things like your fog lights and spoilers. Fold in the side mirrors if possible.

6. Disable/Remove Passes and Alarms

Remove your parking and toll passes to ensure you’re not charged while your vehicle’s in transit.

You should also disable the alarms before handing your car over. There’s nothing more annoying than a car alarm that’s going off non-stop, so do your driver a favor and check this task off your list!

7. Leave the Gas Tank Near Empty

This might sound strange, but you should not top up your gas tank before sending off your car. After all, your aim is to make the vehicle as light as possible.

Most car shipping companies recommend that you have a quarter of a tank, max. This makes the vehicles lighter, and there’s enough gas to get you to your destination if you’re not getting door-to-door shipping.

Prepare Your Car for Shipping Correctly

Your auto transporter will let you know how to prepare your car so things go smoothly. But by knowing what to do beforehand, it’ll be less stressful, and you’ll know how much time to devote to prepping.

Of course, if you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your car shipper. They’re there to make sure nothing goes wrong, so they’ll be more than happy to help.

Now that you know how to prep your vehicle for shipping, request a quote from us today.

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