4 Tips on How to Prepare Your Car for Auto Transport

Auto transport is also known as vehicle or car shipping. It helps people convey their vehicles from a pickup location to a designated destination in a car transporter’s truck. 

Whether you are moving to or buying your car from someone across the country, the importance of thorough preparation cannot be overemphasized. With the right car shipping preparation, your auto transport experience flows smoothly from quote through to delivery. 

This way you are confident your ride won’t sustain any damage, even for classic or exotic cars and vintage motorcycles. The process of shipping is pretty direct but knowing some useful pointers to help you get the best deal and protect your vehicle won’t hurt. 

Preparing Your Car For Auto Transport 

Research Different Auto Transport Companies 

Check out your local listings to inquire about auto movers near your area. Don’t just go for the cheapest one out there, do your research and consider reviews from previous customers of those services before settling for one. 

Here’s a list of things to look out for when choosing an auto transport company:

 Industry Knowledge – only consider companies with a minimum of 5 years of auto shipping experience

  • Trained Professionals – you’re to expect professionalism from every aspect, right from your first point of contact through to the driver that delivers your vehicle. 
  • Industry Accreditation – check for accreditation and ratings of the auto movers you’re deliberating on with the Better Business Bureau. Also, make sure they are registered with the Department of Transport. 
  • Exceptional Service – although most companies will claim to be the best, the testimonies of their previous clients often reflect the real story. Visiting review sites could better enlighten you about the services of such companies. Only Choose companies with reviews ranging from 3.5-5 stars. 

Take Your Car For a Checkup 

Even if you haven’t noticed any issue with your car It’s important to take it to a trusted mechanic for a service check. Taking care of underlying problems is vital because you could be charged more under the non-operational category if your car stops working during transit. 

You’re mechanic will be checking for: 

  • Fluid leaks: this is important because if left unchecked, your car could end up being placed at the top of an auto transport trailer. That will be quite unfortunate as you wouldn’t want other vehicles dripping all over your vehicle as well. 
  • Radiator, Battery, and Tires: the tires should be inflated appropriately. Underinflation or overinflation could damage the tires or wheels during transit. Also, there should be antifreeze in the radiator and batteries fully charged. 


  • Mechanical and Engine Problems

Get Insurance For Your Vehicle 

It is highly recommended that you get your car insured before auto transport. If your car is already insured, find out if your insurance policy covers long-distance auto shipping and if not make sure it’s updated. It’s true insurance costs extra, but it’s pennywise spending when compared to the likely cost of damages that may ensue. 

While some auto transport companies may make use of the carrier’s cargo insurance, it only covers damages caused by the transporter. But damages incurred by natural causes such as flooding, lightning, hail, tornadoes, etc., will be taken care of by your insurance. 

Document the Condition of Car 

A good way to make the auto transport company accountable is by taking note ( definitely not a mental note) of the state of your car before parting with it to compare it to the condition it’s in when you get it back. Take pictures of the general condition of your car including dents, scratches, and dings. 

A good company will present you with a document called a bill of lading that enumerates potential damages. This is to make sure you can’t blame them for any pre-existing damages. 

But, this also works in your favor because you can refuse to sign the document if you notice any foul play, though you have to support your claim with said pictures. 

Remove Your Belongings and Accessories 

Clear the interior of your car of any accessories like GPS, removable stereos, spoilers, bicycle racks, and luggage racks. Remember to check the boot for tools and equipment as well to prevent damage to the car or the accessory itself during transit. 

Some companies would make this procedure mandatory to minimize the risk of liability. In case your properties get stolen or misplaced during transport. 

Note: this process is beneficial to you because the overall weight of your vehicle is factored into the cost of shipping. 

Other Things to Take Care of Before Auto Transport


  • Wash your car – this becomes necessary when you have to take clear pictures of your car’s condition for documentation. 
  • Disable the alarm system – it can quickly become annoying and frustrating for the transporter.
  • Remove toll tags or parking passes because they can be stolen 
  • Leave the gas ⅛ to ¼ full because it adds to the weight of the car and you only need enough to get on and off the trailer. 
  • Take pictures of the odometer – this way you’ll find out if the driver got excited and took your car out for a spin.  

Factors that Affect Pricing 


The distance between the designated destination and the pickup point contributes to the price of auto transport. Also, the price of transporting between two major cities could be cheaper than that of between two smaller towns. This is because there are more carrier competitors on the major routes.


Since bigger cars take more space in the trailer and heater cars increase the cargo weight, they tend to attract more weight. 


During winter, fewer people tend to make use of auto transport and this makes the rates go down. Though, due to unfavorable weather conditions, your timeline may be extended. 

Shipping Your Car Successfully  

Getting a good auto transport company makes moving your vehicle straightforward. But to get the best experience, there are certain steps you should take. Following some of the tips highlighted above would go a long way to put your mind at rest while your car is in transit. 

And, if you ever find yourself in some unfavorable situations with your auto transport company, you now know what to do to hold them accountable. 


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