What Should You Do to Prepare Your Vehicle for Auto Transport?

In a few months, you’re going to be moving overseas. You’ve pretty much got everything prepared. You bought your new home, you’re on the fast track toward selling your old one, and your stuff is packed. 

The only thing you have left is to hire an auto transport company to move your car to your new place. Once you find a company, you’ll need to prepare your vehicle for transport. 

If your car is leaking fluid or isn’t operatable, they might not take it. Either that or you’ll make an enemy of the truck driver for making their job hard. Considering they’re handling one of your most expensive assets, that’s the last thing that you want to do. 

Check out this guide to learn how to get your car ready to go. 

Find a Reputable Auto Transport Company

The first step of transporting your car is to send it off with the right people. You want it to arrive at your new home in one piece, after all. 

To this end, find a company that’s registered in the auto transport industry. You can check by asking the company for their DOT number and MC number. If they don’t have one, don’t hire them. 

You should also ask for their insurance and licensing information. The company is going to take care of one of your most expensive items. While a newer company might be able to handle it, give yourself some peace of mind by going with someone that has plenty of experience under their belt. 

Don’t forget to look at customer reviews too. You can find these with a quick Google search. If everything checks out so far, you can ask them for a car transport quote

You may have to pay a little extra if you’re trying to move a luxury or classic car. They have a different set of care instructions than a regular vehicle. This means it requires more work to transport them. 

Get Your Information Together 

You’ve found the perfect company and scheduled a car pick-up time. Now you’ve got to begin preparing your vehicle for the trip. Most car shipping truck drivers won’t take your vehicle off your hands unless they know that it’s yours. 

To provide proof of vehicle ownership, you’re going to have to hunt for your paperwork. Hit up your filing cabinet and look for the bill of sale, insurance information, registration, car title, and a copy of your driver’s license. 

If after tearing your house apart, you can’t find all the documents listed, don’t worry. You can get most of this stuff with a quick day trip to the DMV. 

Wash Your Vehicle 

We know that washing your car before you transport it overseas sounds counterproductive, but hear us out. By scrubbing all the dirt and dust off the surface of the vehicle, you’ll be able to see every ding and scratch that’s on it. 

This means you’ll also notice any new battle scars if they show up after your car is delivered to you. During the cleaning process, don’t forget about the inside of your car as well. 

The transport makes for a bumpy ride. Any unsecured items will bounce around and either damage your interior or get damaged themselves. 

Remove your electronics and the charging cables that go with them. Even your car fresheners and change can do some damage, so make sure that you collect those as well. 

Once you’ve removed everything, wipe the interior down with a cloth. It’s not a necessary step of the process, but it is nice to have a fresh start, and it saves you from doing it later. 

Take Before Pictures of Your Car

Now that your car is nice and clean, you can see all the dings and scratches. You can either document them by writing them down or take a few pictures with your smartphone. 

We recommend the latter. It will give you physical proof in the event that the transport company bangs up your car and tries to deny it. 

Most companies have you fill out a report after they drop off the vehicle. Having pictures that you can look at will make doing that paperwork easier on you as well. 

Remove Your Personal Items

It’s move-out day. You’ve already crammed as much as you can in the moving truck. You guess you could cram your leftover belongings in your car. It’s all going to the same place. 

Whatever you do, don’t do that. You need your car to be as light as possible for the transport process. Putting a bunch of heavy moving boxes into it will bog it down. 

It’s also true that none of the items in your car will be insured if they’re damaged or somebody steals them. This being said, there are a few things that you should leave in your car. 

The spare tire in your trunk, license plate, jack, and emergency kit can stay. The driver may find these things useful if something goes south during the transport. 

Turn Off Your Car Alarm

Unless you want the truck driver to hate you, make sure that you disable your car alarm. If you don’t, there’s a good chance that it will go off while the poor driver is trying to load the car. 

The situation is made even worse if the driver can’t figure out how to stop the alarm. It’s not a fun time for anyone involved. 

Remove Your Toll Tags

When you’re going through your car removing things, don’t forget about your toll tag. If you leave it in the car, it will be charged every single time the truck driver goes down a toll road. 

As you can imagine, your bank account may have problems with that. It will certainly drive up the cost of shipping your vehicle to your new place.

Let Your Car Run Out of Gas

It’s not like the truck driver is driving your vehicle to your new place. If that were the case, you could do it. They’re loading it on a carrier with a bunch of other cars. 

That means the gas tank doesn’t need to be full. That will lead to a heavier car, which means more hassle for the person loading the vehicle. 

Don’t empty the tank all the way. The driver will need a little gas to get the car on and off the platform. As long as you leave them with about a quarter of a tank, that should be fine. 

Check Your Vehicle for Leaks

If you notice a big puddle of liquid under your car, take it to the mechanic to check for leaks. There’s a good chance that the transport company won’t take it if it’s leaking liquid. 

Besides that, it’s just courteous. You would be mad if the car above yours dripped antifreeze or oil all over your ride, after all. Don’t be that guy. 

Perform Regular Maintenance 

If you’re checking your car for leaks, you might as well perform the other necessary maintenance steps while you’re at it. The first thing you want to do is check your tire pressure. If they are under or overinflated during transport, it may cause some vehicle damage.  

Your fuel tank should be empty, but you can go ahead and change your oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, coolant, and window washer fluid. This will ensure that your vehicle is working at peak efficiency when the driver moves it on and off the carrier. If you go ahead and get all of this done, it also means that you won’t have to worry about it while you’re trying to unpack your moving boxes. 

Check your car’s battery. It’s going to need a full charge if someone is going to move it. You don’t have to check your car’s mileage, but this gives some people a little peace of mind. 

They don’t like the idea of putting their car in the hands of a stranger. They’re afraid that they may take their baby for a joy ride. By taking a picture of the odometer, you’ll know if any fishy business goes on. 

Lock Your Car and Leave the Keys

Before you hand your vehicle off to the moving company, make a copy of your keys. They’ll need to power the car on to drive it onto the transporter.

They can’t do that without keys, but you don’t want to give them the original copy. You’ll need them if you want to actually use your car when it arrives. 

Lock your vehicle up for a little extra layer of security before you drop off your keys as well. 

Write the Transporter a Letter

The driver won’t be handling your car too much. Even so, if your vehicle has any little quirks it’s good for them to know that. 

You may also have specific care instructions that you want them to adhere to, and that’s okay. Write the driver a letter and tape it to the inside of the vehicle so they can find it. 

Have Car Insurance 

If your car is damaged during transport, that’s one thing. The service will pay for every scrape and ding that they caused. If the car is damaged because a freak hail storm happens, that’s something you’ll have to take up with your insurance company. 

If you don’t have any insurance, you’ll have to pay a mechanic out of your own pocket to fix the dents. That may not be feasible for you, considering you just had to pay for a move and a new house. 

Sign the Bill of Landing 

You have two choices. You can either drop your vehicle off with the company directly or have them come to your house to get it. If you pick the latter, someone will give you a call before they pop over to make sure that you’re home. 

When they arrive, they’ll inspect the vehicle. If everything looks good, they’ll give you a bill of landing to sign. This bill will tell you how much owe for the service, but it’s not only a receipt. 

It also states what condition the vehicle was in before the company picked it up. It confirms where your car is being shipped to and it lists any mechanical issues. 

Basically, it’s a contract. You want to read over it in fine detail before you sign it.

What if the paperwork has the wrong drop-off address listed? You would miss that if you only skimmed over the document, and your car would end up at someone else’s house. 

Once you’ve confirmed that everything is right, sign the document and head off to your new place. When your vehicle is back in your possession, you’ll do a visual inspection and sign a second piece of paper stating that you received it. 

Get Your Car Where It Needs to Go 

If you’re moving overseas, your car can’t come with you. This means that you’re going to have to pay for an auto transport service to get it to your new place. 

They may not take the vehicle off your hands if you don’t follow the steps we’ve provided. If they do take it, they won’t be happy about it if you don’t make the necessary preparations. Don’t make life harder on the poor transport driver. 

If you’re looking for more ways to ensure your vehicle gets to you safely, we’ve got you covered. Visit our blog daily to read additional articles like this one.