How to Prepare Your Car For Shipping: Guide

preparing car for a shipping

Nicholas Anthony

23 May 2024 3 weeks ago


Preparing your car for shipping across long distances can seem intimidating at first. In reality, though, to do it efficiently, you only need to go through a few steps of prep. We’ve created this digestible guide to make the whole process easier for you, but as you’ll see, most of the advice is common sense. Following these tips will help the shipping company keep track of your property while ensuring it goes through the process smoothly and simultaneously putting your mind at ease. Keep on reading to find out more, it’s time to hit the road!

Preparing a Car for Shipping: First Steps

The first step in comprehensively preparing your car involves giving it a thorough wash and tidying it up on the inside. Doing so will help you discover any lost items or defects with your car that would have been hard to spot otherwise.

While you’re cleaning your car, take out any non-factory elements, such as GPS trackers or custom alarm systems. Also, remember to inspect every little nook: the glove box, underneath seats, sun visors, the whole nine yards, not to mention the trunk, of course.

Needless to say, before you deposit your vehicle, remove any extra accessories from the roof as well, including antennae, bike, luggage, or ski racks, or any other. In other words, to prepare a car for shipping, deliver it in the same state as it was when it had just left the salon.

Next, it’s time to get your car a check-up. Verify that there are no malfunctions before the trip and that it is in good condition. Ensure fluid levels are topped up, including oil, brake fluid, and coolant. Don’t forget to check the tire pressure and make sure your battery is charged as well. It’s generally recommended to do all of these at a car shop, but if you’re a seasoned pro and frequently work on your car by yourself, feel free to take matters into your own hands.

Other Tips to Keep in Mind When Preparing Your Car for Shipping

So far, we’ve discussed the bare necessities to cover ahead of time. These next steps go a little more in-depth when you want to be extra careful and prudent.

If you expect your shipping service to take some time, disconnect the battery to prevent it from draining due to extensive inactivity during long-distance car transport. Additionally, if you’re doing the checks yourself, inspect the undercarriage for any leaks. If you spot any, it’d be advisable to get them fixed, though if you don’t have the time for it, document everything and lay it all out in detail. Keeping the carrier informed is a vital step in preparing your car for shipping, and it’s always best to iron out every kink.

Another advisable step concerns leaving the right amount of gas in your car for on- and off-loading to make sure the company can move it around if needed. Around ¼ of the tank is the recommended amount of fuel. Lastly, remain mindful of any other conditions your car has to meet as required by the specific shipping company.

How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping: Day-Of Items

Once the fateful day comes, upon leaving your car at the drop-off, leave the handbrake off and take pictures of the car, both on the inside and outside, to compare for later when you get it back and check for any damage the vehicle might have incurred in transit. Record the odometer, too, just to be on the safe side and avoid scams in auto transport.

After the company representative is done with the technical inspection of your vehicle, remember to hand them the spare keys – hopefully, you’ve secured a second set, but if not, get a copy of your keys made ahead of time. Then, quickly give it one last sweep to double-check you haven’t forgotten anything, disable any alarm or security systems, and off your car goes.

The Takeaway

We hope this guide on how to prepare your car for shipping has equipped you with the right knowledge to expedite the process and has answered any lingering questions. Next time when you’re preparing a car for shipping, you’ll know exactly what to do.

You may also read: The Process of Shipping a Car in Three Phases.


Nicholas Anthony