So, you took the necessary steps in choosing a good auto transport company, but now you need to know how to prepare your car for shipping. What do you do? You can always send your car off as is, but this is a valuable item here! You want to make sure you do everything you can to ensure a safe and damage-free transport.

1. Wash Your Car

The first thing you should do before you ship a car is give it a good wash. When you know your “First Available Shipping Date,” be sure to have your car washed by that date. Once your car’s exterior is clean, take some time to thoroughly inspect it for any:

  • Existing scratches or dents
  • Paint chips or discoloring

Though rare, scratches and dings can happen during transport, so you want to take stock of the ones that already exist. It is much easier to find these damages on a clean car.

2. Take Photos of Existing Damage

Once you note all existing damages, take photos with date stamps of each scratch, dent, paint chip, etc. These are for your records, so be sure to take clear photos. You can include these photos with your written record so any new possible scratches or dents cannot be disputed by the carrier or transport company. When your car is picked up for shipping, have these ready so you can easily mark them on the Bill of Lading (an inspection report given to you by the carrier that you must sign).

3. Remove Valuable Products

To decrease the chance of theft, and to ensure your valuable items are safe, remove all custom products or vehicle add-ons such as custom stereos, DVD players, GPS systems, etc. You will also want to remove any parking passes or toll tags. If you leave your toll tag in the vehicle, it will likely pick up the fees of each toll your car passes through. Save yourself unnecessary charges and be sure to remove it!

If you have a custom alarm system, be sure to remove or disable it. If it goes off during transport, the trucker has the right to disable it by any means possible, so be sure it is off.

4. Remove or Secure Loose Parts

If you have any parts on the exterior of your vehicle that are removable or loose, be sure to either secure them or remove them. Remove your antenna and place it in your trunk or retract it. Fold your side-view mirrors in. If you added a custom spoiler or other parts, consider removing them so they are not damaged or lost during transport.

Convertibles: Make sure the top is fully secured to avoid any possible damage from weather.

5. Maintenance Check Before Shipment

If your vehicle is inoperable, it should have been noted at the time of booking. For operable vehicles, be sure you are aware of any mechanical issues or leaks. Inform the trucker at pick up so they can make the necessary preparations. Mechanical issues can cause many delays and damages to your car and other cars.

  • Check and top off all fluids
  • Ensure tires are properly inflated
  • Make sure vehicle has a full battery charge
  • Make note of any mechanical issues and inform trucker of any special steps that must be taken to drive car on and off the truck
  • Check mileage and record

6. Empty Gas Tank

Make sure your gas tank is only 1/4 full. A full tank of gas adds weight to your vehicle and the car carrier. Plus, your car will not be driven other than to be taken on and off the transport truck, so additional gas is not needed.

7. Extra Set of Keys

You want to be sure you have an extra set of every key necessary for your vehicle. When your car is picked up by the trucker, they will need keys to drive it on and off the truck. If you do not have an extra set of keys, then be sure you get them made beforehand. You do not want to give the trucker the only set of car keys you have.

These steps may seem tedious, but they are all necessary to ensure your car is transported and delivered as safely as possible. Going through each of these steps and following them will significantly reduce the risk of any damage to your vehicle.

Happy Transporting!