6 Things to Do Before Shipping Your Car Long-Distance

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Ready to ship your car long distance? If you’ve already made the decision to use one of these car shipping companies, you’re on your way to getting the rest of your move underway. You’ll need to do some things to prep your car for the trip, though, not least of which is clean it out. Getting your car prepared for a move is not unlike getting your house ready. You must take everything out, clean it up, and surrender the keys. It can be an emotional experience, but you’ll see your car on the other end at your new home. Make sure to prep your car correctly for the transport driver(s) so that they can do their job as well.

Read on for six things to do before shipping your car and other car tips.

1. Gather Your Documents

Since this one might take some time, you should start as soon as you know you’re shipping your vehicle. You need to gather all your ownership and insurance paperwork for the transport driver to prove the car is yours to move. You’ll also need to prove the car is insured, though the transport company should have insurance policies that cover your vehicle on the road.

Here’s a shortlist of some documents you might need for the transport:

  •  ID
  • Title
  • Registration
  • Insurance
  • Proof of ownership

Make copies so the driver of the transport vehicle can keep them if he or she needs to. You might need to make extra copies for the drivers and other transport companies for your car’s journey. For example, if you’re moving overseas, you might need a copy for drivers on each side as well as for the ship. You can then keep the originals in a safe place with you. You will also more than likely need the copies to retrieve your vehicle on the other end, even if you choose door-to-door shipping.

2. Clean Your Car Inside and Out

This step is a no-brainer, but you may not be aware that most shipping companies will not allow or cover items left inside the car, even the trunk. So, don’t plan on shipping your home items in with your car. Packing your car might be a hazard, not to mention that it will also make it heavier, upping the price of transport. 

A day or two before the transport, you will need to remove all your belongings and give the inside a good vacuuming or pay to have it detailed. Also, wash the outside of the car since the next step is to document any damage, and you will see any dents or scratches better on a clean vehicle. Remove any outside accessories like bike or luggage racks to keep them from getting damaged or damaging your or another vehicle. You will need to pack and move these separately from your vehicle.

3. Take Photos

Document all damage to the exterior of the car. Everything from scratches and dents to faded paint or cracked taillights. You should document everything that could be considered “wrong” with your vehicle’s exterior. Your transport company should have an excellent insurance policy for over-the-road transport, but you will not be able to make a claim if you can’t prove the damage occurred under their care. Take pictures of the entire vehicle from all angles, and then zoom in on any smaller damaged areas.

4. Run Down Your Gas Tank

Make sure you don’t fill up for a few days before your car’s transport date. Transport regulations require only a quarter of a tank of gas for each vehicle you’re transporting. Make sure you run your gas tank down to a quarter tank or less but leave enough gas in it to transport properly, especially if your car is making a journey on more than one transport. Also, more gas in your tank makes your car heavier, which can lead to extra fees.

5. Perform Any Maintenance

If your vehicle is in an operable condition (be prepared for extra carrier fees if it is not), you should perform any necessary or scheduled maintenance before your transport date. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Check tire pressure.
  • Check for leaks.
  • Top off fluids.
  • Check the battery.
  • Fix any mechanical issues.

If your car needs any special “tricks” to get it running right, be sure to inform the transport driver so that he or she can be aware of the issue and inform others down the line if your car is going on a ship, for instance.

6. Lock It Up and Disable the Alarm

Finally, you should lock the car and disable any alarm systems you have for outside interference. Can you imagine being a transport driver and having 20 car alarms going off at once? That would drive anyone crazy! There shouldn’t be a need for anyone to get into the car unless it is being driven on and off multiple transport sites, so it can remain locked until it arrives at your door. Still, giving the driver an extra set of keys may be advisable even if it’s not required.

That’s it! You’re ready to ship your car. Start early so you won’t have any difficulty when it comes time to hand over the keys. You’ll be glad you did.