Preparing Your Vehicle

When preparing to transport your car or truck with an auto shipping company, you will need to take certain steps to get your vehicle ready for hauling. The company you contract with should provide you with specific details. The following are general guidelines to follow when preparing your vehicle for shipment.
  1. Is the Vehicle in Running Condition?- It’s not, it may not be accepted for shipment. Some auto transport companies will ship cars that are inoperable, but to do so will cost extra. Be sure to indicate the car’s operation condition when requesting a quote.

  2. Ground Clearance- Some auto haulers may have a minimum requirement for ground clearance in order to accept your vehicle for shipment, usually six inches. If your vehicle is a sports car that is particularly low to the ground, it may be a good idea to mention this when requesting a quote.

  3. Service Your Vehicle - It is a good idea to have the vehicle serviced prior to shipping. Tired should be inflated, and brakes, transmission, and steering should be checked. Make sure that there are not any fluids leaking from the vehicle.

  4. Clean Your Vehicle- The car must be clean enough to pass the inspection on the pick-up day. Clean the car thoroughly inside and out, including the undercarriage.

  5. Don’t Fill the Tank – Because gas is flammable, as a precaution vehicles must be transported with little gas in the tank. As a general rule, it’s acceptable to leave about a quarter of a tank in the car, just enough to drive to a service station when the vehicle arrives at its destination.

  6. Remove all Personal Belongings- Most auto shippers do not permit you to keep any personal items, luggage, or boxes in the passenger area or even the trunk. However, the rules and requirements may differ from company to company. Check with the individual carrier to see what their policy is regarding infant car seats. Roof racks and other external accessories that are not permanently attached may also need to be removed.

  7. Remove Prohibited Materials- The law prohibits the transport of many items in this manner, including but now limited to firearms, ammunition, or any type of fire extinguishers. Failure to comply may result in your vehicle not being accepted for shipment.

  8. Disable Alarms- Any alarm systems must be disconnected prior to shipping.

  9. Climate Protection- If you are shipping your vehicle to a region with a climate different to your own, you may need to take additional precautions to weather-proof your vehicle. If you are moving to a colder climate or moving the car in winter, radiators and batteries must be adequately protected from freezing. You may want to check the coolant and other fluids or have the air conditioning or heating systems serviced.

  10. Miscellaneous Items- If you have an EZ-Pass or FAST LANE toll badge, please remove it prior to shipping. Make sure that the antenna is either fully retracted or removed. Remove car covers or spare tire covers. Also remember to have a complete set of keys available to hand over on shipping day.

Remember, an inspection will be performed by your carrier prior to shipment. You will be required to sign the bill of lading, as well as a vehicle condition report, at both the point of origin and destination.