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10 Easy Steps to Prepare Car for Shipping

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Whether you are shipping your car domestically or internationally, you need to make sure that you have thoroughly prepared your car for its journey. Once you've received your car shipping estimates and chosen an auto transport company to ship your car, follow the steps below for a secure car shipping.

But before we get started, you should know about the many benefits of preparing your car for shipping, such as:

  • Reducing the risk of damage to the interior and exterior of your car
  • Preventing delays while in customs or other inspections
  • Saving you the time and money to replace or repair parts of your car

Here are some of the things you should do to prepare your car for shipping:

1. Check the levels of your fluids and for any leaks

Check for any leaking fluids (oil, brake, engine coolant, battery fluid, etc.) and top off your gas tank. If you see any fluid leaking out of your vehicle, make sure to fix it up prior to moving day. Because the overflow of the fluids can affect your car's performance and could damage the engine.

TIP: Leave only a quarter gallon of fuel in the gas tank since extra gasoline in the auto's engine can leak out in transit. Less fuel also means that your car will weigh less and so will cost you less to ship.

To avoid any leakage, you need to reduce the fluid levels in the expansion tank. This will allow the air and antifreeze in the system to expand with rising temperatures and pressure. Having this set will relieve any issues when you get the car back at your new destination.

2. Check the charge of the battery

This is very important when shipping a car internationally. You may be charged an extra fee if your car won't start up when the car shipper needs to roll the car off the truck.

It also puts you in a tough spot if you can't drive the car to your new home once it gets off the carrier. You'll also wind up having to pay a tow truck to get the car to your new home.

3. Disable alarms and anti-theft devices

Remember to disable the alarms and anti-theft devices so that they don't cause discomfort to the driver like restricted access to the vehicle or other problems. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the people transporting your vehicle need to have unrestricted access in case there are any issues during transportation.

Steps to Prepare Car for Shipping

4. Remove personal belongings from the car

Remove all your valuable items like expensive ornaments, documents, or electronic devices from your vehicle. Any items that you leave in the car are not the responsibility of the moving company, so be sure to remove all your valuables when you are preparing your car for shipping.

5. Seal the tears in your convertible top (if any)

If you are shipping a convertible top, it's very important to prevent the moisture from getting inside the car. Your car may go through different weather conditions, so keeping everything tightly closed will help guarantee the inside will stay perfectly intact with no mold or road debris.

6. Remove and protect the loose parts of the vehicle

Check for the detachable parts like the antenna and remove them. As far as the undetachable parts like spoilers, fog lights, and side mirrors are concerned, use a protective covering to wrap them.

TIP: On many cars, there is an option to fold back the mirrors while the antenna can be retracted.

7. Wash and clean your car before shipping

Take your car to the car wash for a thorough clean. This will enable you to check the vehicle for damage before its shipping.

8. Inspect your vehicle thoroughly

Inspect your vehicle thoroughly to be aware of its condition before the move. It's very important that the initial inspection takes place in your presence as you can also click photographs of the vehicle to keep a track of its condition as a proof.

9. Enroll in a moving insurance policy before the shipment

In situations that are out of your control, there is always the possibility of something going wrong. If you know your car is going to be on a long trip to your new home, it may be wise to purchase a moving insurance policy. Signing onto a policy will give you peace of mind that if anything happens, you're covered.

Prepare a list of questions to ask when shipping a car, and check with the auto mover whether they offer insurance coverage for your vehicle. If they don't provide insurance, they might work with a third-party insurance company.

See also : Auto transport insurance and security options.

10. Keep an extra set of keys with you

One of the most useful tips for shipping your car is that you must have your keys and a spare set - one for the auto transport and one for you. The moving company will need a key for transport and delivery - whether that's just for taking it off the truck or ship or for driving it directly to you.

You also don't want to arrive at your new home only to discover that you have lost your original set and are unable to drive your car.

Additional things to do before shipping a car

It is always best to know the status of your vehicle before transporting it. Even though you're going to relinquish your vehicle to someone else during the moving process, you still have some responsibilities to ensure the safety of your vehicle.

  • Be clear when informing the company about the specifications of the vehicle, then let them decide whether they can ship it or not. Some auto transport companies are capable of shipping cars that do not run, but not all auto movers will have the equipment needed.
  • After your car is delivered, inspect it carefully for any damage or missing items.
  • And refer to the initial inspection documentation.
  • Be present at all inspections.
  • Dispute any potential discrepancies immediately - do not wait.

Now that you knew how to prepare a car for shipping, and what is needed to ship a vehicle, still if you want to know how your vehicle is maintained during winter, read our guide how to prepare your car for winter.

Patrick Hanan  Posted by Patrick Hanan on December 20, 2018

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