Car shipping preparation guidelines

During the moving process, you will probably have many unexpected challenges. But, moving your vehicle shouldn’t be one of them. With a little planning ahead, thorough research, and good advice, you can have all of your car shipping details taken care of ahead of time. In order to do that follow this car shipping preparation guidelines.

Do some research

One of the first steps in any purchasing decision is to do the research. And when it comes to car shipping research is a very important step. That’s why you have to gather a list of international auto transporters and shipping companies that you’re considering. Search them through the internet, but also use sites like,, as well as forums. Don’t forget to ask friends or acquaintances for their experience. Look at each company’s credentials and certifications. See whether or not the company has a license and insurance. Do this before you go out and request a quote. Anyone working from a computer can email you a price that looks great. But it could be from an unlicensed company, for an uninsured transporter or a broker that never actually handles your car.

woman on her laptop
When you do good research, then you have nothing to worry about car shipping.

Request a quote for car shipping and compare them

When you set your eyes on a few auto shippers that look like they will do a good job transporting your car in a fast and safe manner, request a car shipping estimate. This way you’ll find out how much it costs to ship a car. Then carefully compare the offers and decide which car transportation company you’ll choose.

Soon enough, you will realize how important are these two steps above for the smooth car shipping process. Now it’s time to turn attention to your vehicle and make sure it is more than ready for safe transport.

Take your car for a check-up

A week before car shipping, take your vehicle to your mechanic for a check-up. Even if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Your mechanic can find and repair small issues that might lead to big problems. If your car stops working mid-way through the shipping process, it will have a non-operational treat. And this means you will be charged accordingly. Also, any small leaks that are undetectable to the untrained eye may end up causing damage to your car. It may also leak onto other vehicles in case you share the container. Or on the bottom level of an open car carrier.

Find your spare keys

Make sure that you have two full sets of keys. The main keys, and a spare set. You will need to give one set to the driver. They’ll need them for uploading and offloading.

Clean your car

Wash your car properly and clean it inside in the three days before the car shipping carrier collects it. Clean the outside, inside, as well as the engine and trunk. This is an important step to car shipping preparation because it will enable you to see and record any damages.

During this stage of your car shipping preparations, prepare your car for the new climate. This includes checking and adjusting the fluid levels, especially coolant and engine oil.

Car wash - it is very important to take care of your car before shipping.
It is very important to take care of your car before shipping.

Document your car’s condition

After you clean the car, it’s the right time for visual inspection. Register any damage your car may have suffered until this very moment. Look for signs of scratches, paint chips, dents, rust, and any other defects along its surface. And when you discover such signs of damage, photograph them. Make sure that the close-up photos show the imperfections clearly. Don’t forget to turn on the date imprinting function of your photographing device too.

Secure loose accessories

Disconnect or remove any antennas and other removable elements. Secure any loose items that can’t be removed. Pay special attention to:

  • GPS
  • removable stereos
  • spoilers
  • bicycle racks
  • luggage racks

Remove any personal items during car shipping preparation. If you’re transporting your car in a shipping container, you may transport personal items in the car. However, the car will have to be driven into and out of the container. So, you should pack it in such a way that the visibility is not compromised through the windows and mirrors. Braking systems and manual shifters should also be accessible and unobstructed.

Check tire pressure

If your tires aren’t properly inflated, you could be increasing the risk of damage to the tire. Tire damage is most likely to happen during loading and unloading. But if your tires are properly inflated, you won’t have a problem.

Don’t gas up

Your vehicle is going to be transported, not driven. So there’s no need to fill up prior to loading. Also, having a full tank of gasoline makes your car heavier. Additional weight can add risk to the shipment. Leave as little fuel in the tank as possible when preparing your car for shipping.

Cargo shipping
How will you ship your car?

De-activate your car alarms

On shipping day, be present to hand over your vehicle and a full set of keys if you can. If you can’t be present, you need to assign someone to facilitate this process. While this list is quite comprehensive, it really doesn’t take all that much time to prepare your car for shipping. The reward is a safer, damage free car shipping experience.

When the driver collects your car, you will get a Bill of Lading to sign. The driver will perform another inspection with you, and you will have an opportunity to ask questions about your shipment. If there are any special instructions for handling your car or any mechanical issues, inform the driver at this time. Once both parties are over, your car will be load onto the carrier and it will start making its way to your destination.

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I was hoping to avoid the struggles of having to relocate altogether, but with ReloSmart Movers by my side, I’m glad I didn’t. The team did an incredible job – they arrived on time and handled everything perfectly!

David R.