How to Prepare Your Car to Be Shipped

In the first part of our series, Auto Shipping Basics, we discussed the various transport methods that you can use to ship your vehicle domestically. In this part of the series, we want to take a closer look at how you should prepare your vehicle before it heads on its cross-country journey.

What Documents Should You Gather?
As is the case whenever you are transporting valuable goods, documentation is key. Before your vehicle can be safely transported within the United States you will need to have copies and the original paperwork for the following documents:

  • Title and Registration -- You must have the original paperwork for the vehicle's title and registration. If there is a lien on the vehicle's title, then the lien holder will need to give you a letter of permission.
  • Proof of Insurance -- The vehicle must have unexpired insurance. Before your vehicle is shipped you should contact your insurance provider to ensure that your car or truck will remain protected during its trip.
  • Government Issued Photo I.D. -- Most auto transportation services will require you to have an unexpired driver's license or passport before you can ship the car.
  • State Inspection -- Some states will require you to have your vehicle inspected before it can be transported. Be sure to check with your auto shipping company to find out the specific state requirements before you transport your vehicle.

In addition to the above documents, you should be sure to make detailed note of your vehicle's: VIN number, dimensions, weight, make, model, and license plate number. You should also take time / date / stamped photos of the exterior and interior of your vehicle. However, before you can take these photos you will need to make sure that your vehicle has been thoroughly cleaned and that all personal items, hazardous materials, weapons, or illegal chemicals have been removed. It is also a good idea to remove any bike or storage racks that are attached to your vehicle.

How Should I Prepare My Vehicle For Transportation?
Preparing your vehicle for transportation will require you to complete a few key steps. You should start by completing any general maintenance that the vehicle needs. At the very least, you should have the oil, fluids, brakes, and tires checked on your vehicle before it is shipped. Keep in mind that if you are shipping your vehicle across the ocean, then it will probably be inspected upon its arrival, which means that you will need the vehicle to be in good working condition.

Take special note of any possible mechanical issues that your vehicle is experiencing in the weeks leading up to its journey. For example, you might notice that your vehicle's air conditioning unit is leaking or that if it has trouble starting in the morning. You should provide a detailed report of your findings to the auto transportation company, so that they are better prepared to safely ship your car. It is also a good idea to disable the vehicle's alarm or to provide the driver with detailed instructions on how to disable the alarm if it is triggered. Finally, if weight is a factor in shipping your vehicle, then you will want to make sure that it has between 1/2 to 1/4 of a tank of gas. By following these simple steps, and obtaining the correct documents, you can successfully prepare your vehicle for transportation.

For all of your cross-country or cross-ocean vehicle shipping needs, contact MoveWise for a reliable journey. To receive a customized quote for your vehicle transportation needs, simply fill out our auto shipping quote form.

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