How-to Prepare Your Car to Be Shipped


When moving out of state, it is a smart idea to have your car shipped because that will spare you adding miles and wear on the vehicle. Shipping a car requires more than just hitching it to the back of a truck. Here is the best approach for preparing your car to be shipped:

Get the Car Washed 

It might seem counterintuitive to wash a car that is going to be put onto a transport truck and hauled for several hundred miles. However, this is the best way to turn over your car to the shipping company in the condition you would like to get it back. Thoroughly washing your car will provide an opportunity to inspect it from bumper to bumper. You should make note of any scratches or dents by snapping a picture of them. If the trucking company doesn’t provide a car cover, then you should invest in one for the trip.

Take Out the Valuables

To minimize the risk of theft, you should remove all the valuables from your car that might be in the glove box, trunk or can be detached. This includes custom audio equipment, GPS devices or DVD players. If you have any type of “easy pass” for tolls, then they should be removed as well. Even on board a transport truck, your car could still register those tolls and you’ll be stuck with the bill.

Perform a Maintenance Tune Up

Before shipping your car, you will want to perform the same kind of maintenance tune up like you would for an extended road trip. That tune up should include topping off all your fluids, inflating the tires, checking the charge on the battery and recording the mileage. You will also want to make sure that there aren’t any leaks. If there are preexisting issues with the car, then let the shipping company know about them.

Go Down to One Quarter in the Fuel Tank

Even though your fluids should be topped off, you should only have ¼ of your gas tank full. This isn’t so much a safety issue as it is one of weight. You don’t want to make your car heavier than it is for the carrier.

Make an Extra Set of Keys 

You’ll be turning your keys over to the trucking company but before that happens be sure you have a spare set made. What happens if those keys are misplaced in transport? Also, if there is an alarm system, then that should be disabled. It will be hard to turn that off in the middle of a trip.

All of these precautions might seem like preparing for the “worst case scenario.” Actually, they are and that is the best approach to take when shipping a car.