Automobile Transport Guide: Getting Your Vehicle Ready to Ship

Getting Your Car Ready for Shipment


Auto transport companies have guidelines that you must follow when preparing your vehicle for shipment. Different companies have slightly different rules but we have created a general guide that will help you get ready for your vehicle relocation.
  1. You or a proxy must be present for an inspection prior to shipment and also at the point of destination. The auto transport company will have you sign a condition report and bill of lading. The company may require that the vehicle be clean so a proper and thorough inspection can be conducted.

  2. The vehicle must be operable. If the vehicle is not operable you must let the transport company know beforehand. Some companies will transport inoperable vehicles for an additional fee.

  3. Hand over a complete set of car keys on shipping day and make sure they are only your car keys.

  4. Disable your alarm system before shipping your vehicle. It is easy for the alarm to become active during transit, which may result in a dead battery upon arrival.

  5. Prepare to have your gas tank less than half full.

  6. Remove all personal belongings from the vehicle before transport. It is against the law to transport vehicles with personal items and most shipping companies will refuse to accept a vehicle with personal items. If it is essential for you to leave something in the car, keep it in a secure location that is out of sight. Keep in mind that the shipper will not be liable for any personal items left inside the vehicle. A spare tire and jack is not considered a personal item and may be shipped inside the car.

  7. Remove: Car cover. Spare tire covers. Roof rack. EZ pass. Protruding antennas and any non-permanent items.

  8. If possible, have your vehicle serviced prior to shipment in order to make sure your car is free from any fluid leaks. You may also want to prepare your vehicle for a new climate. Think about adding coolant or other fluids and having the air condition or heating systems serviced.

Following these general guidelines will help ensure a successful vehicle relocation, but remember, these are just guidelines. You should always double-check the rules with the auto mover that you choose.