How to Prepare Your Car for Transport: A Step-by-Step Guide

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    When it comes to how to prepare your car for transport, there are a few key things you need to keep in mind. Whether you’re moving across the country or just need to get your car from point A to point B, proper preparation is essential to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience.

    Many people overlook the importance of getting their car ready for transport, assuming that it’s as simple as handing over the keys and letting the transport company take care of the rest. However, taking the time to properly prepare your vehicle can save you a lot of headaches down the road.

    Before shipping your car, take some time to prepare it for the journey. Start by giving it a good cleaning, then inspect it from top to bottom. Make sure to secure any loose items and document any existing damage – it’s better to be safe than sorry!

    Key Takeaways:

    • Choose a Reputable Transport Company: Research thoroughly to find a well-reviewed, licensed, and insured car shipping company.
    • Prepare Your Car: Clean your car, inspect for damage, remove personal items, check for leaks, disable alarms, and secure or remove custom accessories.
    • Maintain Car Conditions: Ensure the car is in good working order, keep tire pressure correct, leave the gas tank 1/4 full, and remove toll tags.
    • Schedule and Communicate: Schedule your transport with all necessary details and stay flexible with dates. Keep in touch with the transport company throughout the process.
    • Set Realistic Expectations: Understand the pick-up, transit, and delivery process. Be prepared for potential minor damages and stay realistic about transport timelines.

    How to Prepare Your Car for Transport: 14 Tips for a Smooth Move

    You’ve decided to ship your car. Congrats. Whether you’re moving cross country for a new job or sending your college kid off with a reliable set of wheels, auto transport is often the most convenient option.

    But before you hand over the keys, there’s some important prep work to do. As someone who’s shipped my fair share of vehicles over the years (and learned a few lessons the hard way), I’m here to walk you through how to prepare your car for transport. Follow these 14 tips and your car will be ready to roll onto that auto transport trailer.

    Choose the Right Auto Transport Company

    First things first: you need to find a reputable car shipping company. And I’m not talking about just Googling “auto transport near me” and going with the cheapest option. Trust me, I’ve been there and it’s not worth the headache.

    Research to Select a Reputable Car Shipping Company

    Do your homework. Look for an auto transport company like Geyers Towing in Maryland with a solid track record, plenty of positive reviews, and proper licensing and insurance. Check out their rating with the Better Business Bureau and ask for references to call.

    Get Multiple Quotes

    Don’t just settle for the first quote you get. Shop around and compare prices from several car shipping companies. Keep in mind that the lowest price isn’t always the best deal, as suspiciously low quotes may indicate cut corners on insurance or subpar equipment.

    Schedule Your Appointment

    Once you’ve settled on an auto transport company, it’s time to schedule your pickup. Be prepared with all the necessary details about your vehicle – make, model, year, and any modifications. Choose your pickup and drop-off locations and nail down a timeframe that works with your schedule, but remember that interstate car transport can be affected by weather and traffic.

    Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipping

    You’ve booked your auto transport. Your pickup date is on the calendar. Now the real work begins. Here’s how to get your car prepped and ready to ship.

    Remove Personal Items

    I know it’s tempting to use your car as a moving truck but resist the urge to fill it up with personal belongings. Most auto transport companies have strict policies about what can and can’t be left in the vehicle during shipping. Take out those loose items like phone chargers, sunglasses, spare change, and GPS devices to prevent damage to your car’s interior.

    Check for Fluid Leaks

    Give your car a once-over and check for any fluid leaks. A small drip may not seem like a big deal, but it can turn into a major issue during transport. If you spot any leaks, get them fixed before shipping day to avoid your car leaking onto vehicles below it on the trailer.

    Disable Alarms

    If your car has an alarm system, be sure to disable it before transport. You don’t want your alarm going off in the middle of the night while your car is on the truck, annoying the driver and potentially damaging sensitive audio equipment. Check your owner’s manual or ask your auto transport company for guidance if you’re unsure how to disable your alarm.

    Remove Custom Accessories

    It’s best to remove accessories like custom spoilers or fancy wheels before shipping your car, as they can be easily damaged during loading and unloading. If you can’t remove them completely, make sure they’re securely fastened and let your transport company know so they can take extra precautions.

    Take Photos of Existing Damage

    Before your car gets loaded onto the trailer, do a thorough walk-around and note any existing damage. Take clear photos of scratches, dings, and dents to give you a baseline to compare against when your car is delivered, just in case something happens during transport. Share these photos with your auto transport company for their records.

    What to Expect During the Car Shipping Process

    You’ve done the prep work and your car is ready to go. Here’s what you can expect on pickup day and beyond.

    Vehicle Pick-up

    When the car carrier arrives, the driver will do a thorough inspection of your vehicle, noting any existing damage on the bill of lading. You’ll sign off on this report, so make sure it’s accurate. The driver will then load your car onto the auto transport trailer and secure it for transport, giving you a chance to ask any last-minute questions and get an estimated delivery date.

    Transit Time

    How long your car will be in transit depends on the distance it’s traveling and the shipping method you choose. Coast-to-coast transport can take up to two weeks, while shorter trips may only be a few days. Your auto transport company should keep you updated on your car’s progress and let you know of any delays.

    Vehicle Delivery

    When your car reaches its destination, the driver will unload it from the transport trailer and do another inspection. Compare the vehicle’s condition to the bill of lading from pickup and note any new damage. In the unlikely event that something happened during transport, you’ll have the documentation you need to file a claim with the auto transport company’s insurance.

    How to Prepare Your Car For Transport

    We’ve covered the big picture steps for how to prepare your car for transport, but there are a few more details to attend to before shipping day.

    Check Tire Pressure

    Loading and unloading your vehicle can be a delicate process, but there’s one simple way to minimize the risk of damage: maintain properly inflated tires. By keeping your tires at the recommended PSI, you’ll protect your wheels and suspension from unnecessary wear and tear.

    Leave Gas Tank 1/4 Full

    You’re getting ready to ship your car, and one crucial step is to check your gas tank. Aim for about a quarter-full tank – this provides the perfect balance between having enough fuel for handling and avoiding excess weight that can slow down your shipment.

    Remove Toll Tags

    If you have an electronic toll collection device like E-ZPass, remove it from your vehicle before shipping to avoid racking up charges as your car passes through tolls on the transport truck.

    Document Any Existing Damage

    Take plenty of photos of your car before shipment, documenting any existing damage like scratches, dings, or paint chips. You’ll thank yourself later if you need to file an insurance claim.

    Make Sure The Car is in Working Condition

    If your car isn’t running, let your auto transport company know ahead of time as they may need special equipment to load an inoperable vehicle. In general, it’s best to ship a car that’s in good working order to avoid unnecessary complications.

    Tips for a Smooth Car Shipping Experience

    Welcome to the final stretch. Here are a few expert pointers to help you navigate the remainder of your auto transport journey with confidence.

    Choose Enclosed Transport for High-Value Vehicles

    If you’re shipping a classic car, luxury vehicle, or other valuable asset, consider upgrading to enclosed transport. Your car will be protected from the elements and road debris during shipping, which is a good idea for high-end vehicles despite the additional cost.

    Be Flexible with Pickup and Delivery Dates

    Auto transport is subject to variables like traffic, weather, and road construction. While your car shipping company will do its best to stick to the schedule, it’s important to be flexible and not book your flight for the same day your car is supposed to arrive, as delays can happen.

    Communicate with the Transport Company

    Throughout the car shipping process, stay in touch with your transport company. Provide them with accurate contact information and keep them in the loop if your plans change. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns, as a good auto transport company will be happy to keep you informed every step of the way.

    Have Realistic Expectations

    It’s important to have realistic expectations when shipping your car. While damage during transport is rare, minor dings or scratches can happen, especially with open carrier shipping. Prepare yourself mentally for this possibility and remember that auto transport insurance exists for a reason (for more information on towing company liability, click here).

    Shipping a car can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little preparation and the right auto transport company, you can sit back and relax while your vehicle makes its way to its new home.

    How To Prepare Your Car For Transport: Final Thoughts

    Preparing your car for transport may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the simple steps outlined in this post, you can ensure that your vehicle arrives at its destination safely and without any unnecessary complications.

    Vehicles in good working condition get VIP treatment during transport. So, do yourself a favor and document any existing damage, strap down loose items, and give your car a quick once-over before handing over the keys.

    So, whether you’re moving across the country or just need to get your car from one place to another, keep these tips in mind when it comes to how to prepare your car for transport. With a little bit of preparation and attention to detail, you can sit back and relax, knowing that your car is in good hands. For more information or to schedule a car transport, contact Geyers Towing today!

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