Car Shipping Tips: How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping

If you’re moving across the state, across

the country, or across the world, there’s a good chance you’ve got a lot that needs to be done. That includes moving your car with you.

If you’re working in another area for an extended period of time, going to college, or enjoying an extended vacation, you don’t want to be without your personal vehicle. So, what can you do about it?

You Need Car Shipping When Moving

Whatever your situation, if you need to move your vehicle, it might be necessary to ship your car. Have you ever seen a transfer truck on the road with a load of cars and thought about where those vehicles are going? Most of us think that the cars we see are going to car dealerships, but that’s not the only reason for shipping cars.

The vehicles you see may be in transit for people like you who just need to relocate their vehicles without driving them on an extensive road trip. You can use car shipping to solve your personal vehicle relocation problems.

If you’ve never used car shipping, it can seem like a daunting task, but with the right company, it can be a safe and simple process. Car shipping can save you time, mileage, headaches, and in the end, money when you need to move your car. Trusting people who operate car carriers and transport vehicles every day will also give you peace of mind when it comes to mitigating any risk of damage.

But, if it’s your first time shipping a vehicle, you may not know where to start or how to plan. Here are ten tips for how you can prepare your car for shipping so that you can have the best experience possible.

10 Tips for Preparing Your Car To Ship

Moving is full of checklists and to-do lists, and car shipping is just one part of the moving process. You need to make sure shipping your car goes smoothly with so much to do. The following ten tips will help you prepare.

With these tips, you can make your car shipping checklist, and you can choose the right company to help you load, ship, and unload your vehicle. You’ll be so glad you did a little homework and got your car shipped.

1 - How Can You Know It’s the Right Company?

Shipping your car may sound like a giant task because you can’t put it in a box and send it on its way. But, you’ve probably shipped packages, and when you ship a package, you go with the shipping company you trust.

If you’re car shipping for the first time, you may not know the right company to use, and that can make the task feel more challenging. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is part of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), and they offer consumers the ability to verify a company has a current shipping license, up-to-date insurance, and a consumer complaint history.

When you’re shopping for a carrier to move your car, you can be sure you’re choosing a valid company for your vehicle delivery service, and you can check that off your list.

2 - What About Insurance?

The carrier transporting your vehicle will have insurance, so your vehicle will be covered while it’s in their care. However, you need to review your insurance policy to be sure that you’re covered before, during, and after the car shipping process just to be sure. Your vehicle will be in an entirely different location after all.

You’ll also want to confirm with your car shipping company that they are insured, what insurance company they use, and the claim process if your car takes any damage during the car shipping process. It’s always a good idea to prepare for every possible scenario.

3 - What About Timing?

While car shipping can be a simple process, it’s not necessarily an overnight process. It’s important to consider the timing of your shipment. You’ll want to ask your provider how long you can expect the total delivery process to take.

When you’re moving, especially out of state or out of the country, there is a lot of planning involved. Shipping your vehicle will also require some pre-planning. If you’re planning to ship your vehicle within the United States, you can expect the estimated time to take about four weeks. If you’re having your vehicle freighted out of the country, the estimated timeframe may be closer to eight to twelve weeks.

A lot of factors play into the timing of any delivery. Car shipping can run into unexpected delays like any other transportation-reliant business. Giving yourself a cushion of time will help save you from a lot of stress.

Also, if you won’t be the person picking up your vehicle, you’ll want to plan in advance to find a trusted person that can claim your vehicle when it arrives at its destination.

Remember that being flexible about when your vehicle is picked up can help save you money. If you don’t have to have, your car picked up on a specific day, be open to the idea of a flexible window of time for your pick-up schedule instead.

4 - What About Location?

Remember that car carrier vehicles are large and need room to load. You’ll need to consider the location and the task to be sure there’s enough space to load your vehicle safely. You don’t want your vehicle damaged, but you also don’t want anyone else’s damaged either.

When your car reaches its destination, you need to be sure that you or the reliable person you’ve chosen to pick up your vehicle understand exactly where to go and when to arrive. You’ll also want to ask about the consignment process if you realize that you need to ship your vehicle somewhere else after it’s been picked up.

If you choose the carrier yourself, you might not know when your vehicle will be picked up or fully understand the process of choosing a good location. But, Carvaygo will help you through every part of the process, including telling you everything you need to know about the loading and unloading locations and preparations.

Shipping to and from major cities may help you reduce your total costs for shipping your vehicle.

5 - What About Protection?

When you’re shipping your vehicle, your vehicle will ship securely on a large motor vehicle carrier. There are different types of motor vehicle carriers. Auto transport carriers fall into two categories:

  • Open transport trucks
  • Enclosed transport trucks

Each of these two types can come in three types of the carrier:

  • Single vehicle
  • Single level; multi-vehicle
  • Multi-level; multi-vehicle

On open carrier transport trucks, your vehicle will ride securely in the open air. It will encounter whatever weather the truck drives through, and it will be out in the elements for the duration of the trip. This type of transport is typically cheaper, and as a finished vehicle, your car is prepared for the weather.

In an enclosed vehicle transport truck, your vehicle will be covered. This decreases the chances of any exterior damage to your vehicle, but this peace of mind will generally be reflected in the total cost of shipping your vehicle.

If your vehicle is a vintage, luxury, or classic car, you may want to consider an enclosed trailer instead of the open trailer. Opting for the top level of either type of multi-level transport carrier will help protect your vehicle from any car fluids that may drip from other vehicles and road debris that may be kicked up during transport. Your choice will depend on your priorities and your budget.

You may want to consider adding your own car cover. If you opt for the open transport carrier, this can add a bit of protection to your exterior without adding a lot of extra expenses. Just be sure that the cover can be secured and tied down.

6 - What About Inspection?

To protect yourself and to be sure you and the car shipping company are on the same page, do an inspection of your vehicle in the days before loading. Take pictures from every angle of your vehicle, and make notes of any current damage. If you have concerns later, you’ll have visual evidence and documentation of the vehicle’s condition.

Note any dings, scratches, dents, or other minor damage. Take pictures of these specifically. In your notes, document where these damages are located so you can remember later.

When your vehicle arrives at its destination, repeat the process, or have your trusted recipient take pictures and document the vehicle’s condition in your place. Check for paint chips, new scratches, or dents, so you’ll know If you need to file a claim. You’ll have supporting evidence for any damage claims with your previous photos.

Auto transport companies will perform an inspection on your vehicle to check for any existing damage. The information will be recorded on the vehicle’s inspection report or Bill of Lading (BOL), and you and the company’s representative will sign the BOL to show that both parties are in agreement. This protects you and the company from any erroneous claims of damage.

7 - What About Fuel?

You may not think your car needs any fuel because it will essentially be parked for the entire trip. For the most part, that’s true. However, you’ll need roughly a quarter tank of gasoline to make sure that your vehicle can be picked up and driven when it arrives at the pickup destination.

If you’re not the one picking up the vehicle, be sure you communicate with the recipient how much fuel they will have in the gas tank at the time of pickup. Depending on how far they need to take the vehicle, they’ll know sooner rather than later if they need to stop to refuel.

8 - What About the Battery?

To protect the life of your battery, the car shipping company may ask that you disconnect when your car is loaded on the transport carrier and reconnect when your vehicle is unloaded at the destination. This is for your protection and the sanity of the transport driver. Can you imagine driving a truckload of car alarms going off simultaneously?

You may choose to disconnect the battery even if you’re not asked. This helps ensure your vehicle will be ready to drive at the time of pickup, and you won’t be stuck with a dead battery, but just be sure to communicate with the carrier if you disconnect the battery. That way, they’ll know that it needs to be reconnected upon delivery.

As with fueling, be sure you communicate with the person picking up the vehicle if the battery has been disconnected. They’ll know that it needs to be reconnected before they can drive away.

9 - What About Packing?

When you’re planning to move, it seems that you’re constantly packing. However, when you’re planning to ship your car, this is one instance where you’ll be unpacking. In the days leading up to your car’s departure date, you’ll need to clean out your car.

You’ll want to remove all personal belongings and items of value. The vehicle transport company is not responsible for the items in your vehicle, and you don’t want anything to be damaged from the jarring and shifting during the loading and unloading process. So, remove any loose parts to prevent damage.

Additional weight could cause a problem for the carrier. Fuel, timing, and stability in a large transport truck are all dependent on the weight ratio of the cargo, and if everyone left items in their vehicle, it could compromise the weight of the transport.

10 - What About Cleaning?

You’ll also want to do a bit of cleaning before you ship your car. Remember that your vehicle will be in transit for around four weeks, typically when you ship domestically, and if your vehicle isn’t clean, that could cause some unpleasant odors to form. Cleaning your vehicle will also help you ensure that you didn’t leave anything in the car before its journey. Besides, it’s nice to slide into a clean car in a new location.

The Bottom Line

Changing your location can be fun and exciting, but it can also mean a lot of work and planning. When you need to relocate your vehicle, you want to ship your car in a way that works for you. Carvaygo is happy to give you a car shipping quote and help you every step of the way.

When you trust Carvaygo and follow these car shipping instructions and these ten tips, you can ensure that your car has the safest possible trip to its new destination.

Don’t let the newness of the car shipping process intimidate you. There’s no reason it can’t be an easy, safe, and simple process. Remember to plan, and remember that being flexible can save you money.

You’ll be driving around your new location in your vehicle before you know it, and you’ll be glad you chose to transport your transportation with the safe and easy logistical solution of car shipping.

Visit Carvaygo for more car shipping tips.

Moving | USAGov
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration |
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