How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping: A Checklist for Success

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Are you planning to move across the country or overseas and wondering how to get your beloved car safely to your new destination? Car shipping can be a convenient and efficient solution, sparing you from the hassle of a long road trip and potential wear and tear on your vehicle. However, preparing your car for shipping is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful process. By following these expert tips, you can rest assured that your prized possession will arrive at its destination in pristine condition.

Choose the Right Shipping Method

There are different methods of car shipping, and selecting the most suitable one for your needs is essential. The two primary options are open transport and enclosed transport. Open transport exposes your car to the elements but is generally more cost-effective and widely used for standard vehicles. Enclosed transport provides better protection against weather conditions and road debris, making it ideal for classic cars, luxury vehicles, or cars of sentimental value. Make sure to use the Road Runner car shipping calculator to assess how much the transport will cost. Consider your budget, the car’s value, and your level of concern for potential damage when deciding on the appropriate shipping method.

Gather Important Documents and Information

Before entrusting your car to a shipping company, it’s essential to have all the necessary paperwork in order. Gather your vehicle’s registration, insurance documents, and any other paperwork required for transportation. Additionally, provide the shipping company with accurate contact information for both the pickup and delivery locations, ensuring smooth communication throughout the process. Double-check that the company you choose is properly licensed and insured to guarantee your car’s protection and safety during transit.

Thoroughly Inspect and Document Your Car’s Condition

Prior to handing over your vehicle, conduct a detailed inspection and document its current condition. Take photographs of the car from various angles, paying close attention to any existing scratches, dents, or other cosmetic issues. This documentation will serve as evidence in case of any disputes regarding damage that might occur during transit. Share the inspection report and photographs with the shipping company and keep a copy for your records. This meticulous process will help ensure that you receive your car in the same condition it was when it was handed over for shipping.

Empty Your Car of Personal Belongings

While it might be tempting to use your car as an additional storage space during the move, it is crucial to empty it entirely before shipping. Personal belongings left in the car could be at risk of damage or theft during transit. Moreover, excess weight can lead to additional shipping costs. Remove all items from the trunk, backseats, glove compartment, and any other storage areas. Leave only the essentials required for the vehicle’s transportation, such as the spare tire and car jack, securely in place.

Perform Necessary Maintenance and Preparations

To ensure your car is in optimal condition for shipping, perform some basic maintenance tasks. Check the tire pressure and ensure they are properly inflated. Top up all fluid levels, including the engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant shipping, as leaks can cause damage to other vehicles being transported. Make sure the battery is fully charged and in good condition, as a dead battery can lead to unnecessary delays. Keep the fuel tank at around a quarter full to reduce weight while still allowing for essential movement during loading and unloading. Consider getting your car professionally serviced to address any underlying mechanical issues and ensure it is in peak running condition before shipping. 

Disable Alarm Systems and Remove Custom Accessories

Before shipping your car, take the necessary steps to prevent potential issues during transportation. Disable any car alarm systems or anti-theft devices to avoid triggering false alarms during loading and unloading. Inform the shipping company about any special procedures required to start or stop your car’s alarm, if necessary. Additionally, remove any custom accessories or modifications that might be at risk of damage or theft during transit. Items like bike racks, spoilers, and custom grilles should be taken off and safely stored to ensure a smooth and damage-free shipping experience.

Confirm Insurance Coverage

Despite taking all the necessary precautions, unforeseen events can still occur during transportation. Ensure that your car is fully insured during shipping to provide financial protection in case of any damages or accidents. Review your existing insurance policy to see if it covers car shipping or consider purchasing additional insurance from the shipping company. Take the time to understand the terms and coverage limits to avoid any surprises in case of a claim. 

shipping costs

Properly preparing your car for shipping is crucial to ensure a successful and stress-free experience. By following this comprehensive checklist, you can safeguard your vehicle and minimize the risk of damage during transit. Gather all the necessary documents, thoroughly inspect your car’s condition, and remove personal belongings to reduce weight. Perform necessary maintenance, disable alarms, and take off custom accessories to prevent any complications. Lastly, choose the right shipping method and confirm insurance coverage for added protection. With this guide, you can confidently entrust your car to a reputable shipping company, knowing that it will arrive safely and in top-notch condition at your new destination.