Prepping Your Car for Shipping


The decision has finally been made. You’re going to move cross-country to take a new employment situation.  It’s an exciting time and one filled with lots of things to do to get ready to go.

One of the decisions you’ll make is what to do about your car. Will you sell it here and get a new one there? Or, will you take it with you? If it’s the latter, one of the most cost-efficient methods is to have an auto transport company do it for you.

This, in turn, entails prepping your car for shipping.

Here’s what you need to do.

Detail The Car

Yes, this might sound like overkill — especially if you’re shipping the car on an open truck. However, cleaning the car thoroughly will let you see any pre-existing damage firsthand. All of the scratches, door dings, and the like can be more readily documented.

And yes, this includes the interior. Hey, somebody might decide to take a smoke break in your car somewhere along the way and burn one of your seats. Yes, this is unlikely with a reputable company, but being careful means you seldom have to be sorry.

BTW, go enclosed whenever possible, it’s better for your car.

Clear All Personal Effects

Remove everything that isn’t essential to the vehicle’s operation. In other words, if it wasn’t in the car when it was new on the lot, take it out. These items will add weight and they aren’t covered by the transport insurance.

Along these same lines, you’ll also want to remove any automated toll-paying devices from the car, lest they inadvertently rack up tolls along the way.

Gather Proof of Ownership

In an envelope, place copies of the vehicle’s registration information, proof of insurance, and a bill of sale or some other documentation of your ownership. If you have a car loan, you’ll also want to notify the lienholder that the car is being moved to a new address.

If you own the vehicle outright, you should supply a copy of the title (NOT THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT). You’ll also need to provide a copy of your driver’s license or identification card to verify your identity matches that of the person listed on the certificates of documentation you’ll provide.

Make a second key if you only have one. Never give your only key to the transport company

Perform Needed Repairs

How’d you like it if your car were transported underneath one that was leaking oil for 3,000 miles? Fix it. You also want to make sure all fluids are clean and their reservoirs are full — except gas.

A quarter of a tank is more than sufficient for the movements the transport company will need the car to accomplish under its own power. This reduces the weight of your car.

Photograph Extensively

Take pictures of the car from every angle, as well as the sides, front, and back. A smartphone is perfectly adequate for this as long as you’re careful. Get close-ups of any damage already there, in a way that shows where it is in relation to the rest of the car.

 Repeat the process for the interior of the car as well. This way, you’ll have proof a nick, cut or scratch wasn’t there when you left the car at the transport depot. Most transport companies are careful to avoid any damage. However, things happen and you’ll need proof it wasn’t that way before you entrusted the car to the car of the company.

While you’re documenting, take note of the odometer reading when you leave the car and again when you retrieve it. One last thing, read the contract carefully to be certain you understand all of the “wherefores” and etc.

Prepping your car for shipping following the advice above will minimize the potential for problems.

Happy Moving Day!




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