The following detailed vehicle shipping checklist will teach you what you should do to prepare your car for shipping.


Research a Shipping Company You Can Trust

The first, and most significant step, is to find a good transporting company that can get your vehicle safely from one location to another. Before you settle on one transporter, check reviews, get detailed quotes, and determine what services come with the quoted cost. You should also make sure that the chosen transporting company services the destination you have in mind. Then you can make a decision on the best choice for shipping your car. At SAC Transport, we ship more than 200 vehicles every day while still giving every customer individual attention so they have total peace of mind before, during, and after shipping.


Get a Car Shipping Quote

The best activity is to get however many statements as could reasonably be expected, at least five or ten – that will assist you with showing signs of improvement comprehension of the value of the administration. In the sea of different companies that offer long-distance transport, you ought to have the option to locate the most appropriate one for you. As with your main shipping company, you should take the time to research carriers to make sure they are insured, bonded, and well-reviewed by others. After you pick the supplier, your following stage will be to book the shipment.

Pro tip: Going for the cheapest company is not necessarily the best idea – the low price usually comes at the expense of quality.


Choose an Auto Transport Company and a Ship Date

Since you probably have a plan of when you’ll need to receive your vehicle, you can work backward to choose a shipping date. Booking your shipping well in advance will make it more likely that there will be carriers available on the dates that work best for you. Some shipping companies are flexible enough to ship on short notice, but a good rule of thumb is to book no later than a week before your desired ship date.


Check-in with your Insurance Company

No, you are not required to have insurance to ship a car. Vehicle transporters are legally responsible for transportation liability insurance per the United States Department of Transportation. Most carriers operate with plenty of coverage so you don’t necessarily need additional insurance to ship your car nationwide. But if you want supplemental insurance, your broker will be able to set that up once you know your transport dates. Another good reason to check in with your insurance company: shipped to another state will eventually mean updating your policy also. So, why not find out what you’ll need to make those updates now?


Check Your Battery Condition

The battery must have a full charge and safely mounted in the battery bracket. A loose battery can harm other parts of your vehicle’s engine if it gets jostled too much during transport.


Check Tire Pressure

Under-inflated or over-inflated tires are just as dangerous in shipping as they are on the road. By not having your tires correctly inflated, you could be increasing the risk of damage to the tire. Tire damage is most likely to occur during loading and unloading, but if your tires are correctly inflated, you won’t have a problem.


Make Sure the Emergency Brake Works

Your emergency brake must be functional before your shipping date, so check with your mechanic if you have any doubt that it’s working correctly.


Wash Your Car

Dirt and dust can easily hide dings, scratches, and dents. Before you have the auto shipping company pick up your vehicle, wash it thoroughly. With a clean car, you’ll be better able to notice any possible damage caused by the transporting process once it arrives at its destination. Plus, it is always nice to have a clean car.


Complete a Visual Inspection

Once your vehicle is clean, walk around the exterior of the vehicle looking for any dents, scratches, discolorations, or paint chips. It was vital to clean your car before inspection, as dirt, dust, and grime can hide these marks. A visual inspection is necessary for noting any existing damage. It is unlikely that your vehicle will become damaged in the shipping process. However, if this were to happen, you would be better prepared to recognize any possible new damage.


Carry Out any Necessary Car Maintenance

If you are transporting your vehicle, there are a few general car maintenance tasks that should be completed. By maintaining your vehicle, you are ensuring that it is ready to be driven once you arrive at your new home. Check the fluids in the car (Oil, Brake, Engine Coolant, Power Steering, Washer).


Check for Leaks

Before your car gets loaded onto the carriers, check the undercarriage for any noticeable leaks. If your vehicle has an aggressive leak, the transporter company may refuse service. If you see a leak, make sure to get it repaired prior to moving day. After all, you wouldn’t want the vehicle above yours to be dripping oil or transmission fluid all over your car, would you?


Ensuring Low Fuel

Make sure that you have no more than a quarter tank of gas in your car or auto for the transport. More fuel than this can provide an unnecessary security hazard. Your vehicle is being transported, not driven, so there’s no need to fill up prior to loading. In addition, having a full tank of gas makes your vehicle heavier. Additional weight can add extra risk to the transport. Leave as little fuel in the tank as possible when preparing your vehicle for transport.


Take What can be Removed off Your Vehicle’s Exterior

This includes antennas, ski racks, cargo boxes, bike racks, and any other exterior components that are not permanently fixed to the car.


Secure the Vehicle’s Exterior

You will want to ensure that all the parts on the exterior of your car are protected during shipping. Therefore, if you have any removable parts, you will want to also secure them or remove them from your car altogether. This includes such items as removable using tape, bubble wrap, special coverings, and other forms of protection. Consider retracting antennas, and folding in side-view mirrors. Consider removing any custom spoilers, as well.


Remove Personal Items

Clean out your vehicle’s interior, including the trunk of all personal items. Do not forget to grab your iPads, jewelry, GPS, and car charger in the process. By removing personal items, you are decreasing the risk of theft, loss, and harm. During transport, your car may move around a bit. Therefore, personal items left in your car could get tossed around, causing unnecessary damage to your car and to the items.


Secure the top of your convertible

If the car is a convertible ensure that the top is secured enough to keep out damage from weather. Seal them if there are any to prevent further wind damage during transport, and make sure to give an extra set of keys to the shipping company.


Disable the Alarm

Your car’s alarm system may give you peace of mind when you park it around town, but to avoid making an enemy of the truck driver, be sure you disable any alarm systems your vehicle may have.


Deactivate Automatic Parking Passes or Toll Tags

Go ahead and remove automatic parking passes and toll tags. You are not going to need these items doing transport. If you leave your toll tag on your vehicle, it may collect the fees of every toll that your car passes through. That is definitely not something that you want.


Find Your Extra key and Fob

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires that the vehicle transport driver have a key for every lock on the vehicle. Give the extra keys and fob to the driver and keep your original ones.


Condition Report

Within a few hours of the pickup of your vehicle, the transport driver will call you to give you a general timeframe of when you can expect them to arrive. Once there, you or your representative and the driver will do a vehicle condition report chronicling any damage prior to loading the car onto the car hauling trailer. The car will now be loaded and officially be in transit.


Check up on Your Vehicle

It’s only natural to wonder where your vehicle is when you are transporting your car across-country, which is why SAC has a system in place to give customers real-time updates upon request. You can call or email any time to find out just how far along your car is in its cross-country journey!


Perform a Second Inspection upon Delivery

Once your vehicle arrives at the destination and unloaded, another vehicle inspection is done to verify the condition of the vehicle to see if any damage occurred during transport. Once the inspection is approved and agreed upon the shipping of your vehicle is officially completed. Or  If you happen to find any, take photos of the damaged areas and contact your shipping company to inform them and inquire about what you have to do next.


Update Your Insurance

While your vehicle insurance covers you in all 50 states, you will eventually need to buy coverage from an insurer operating in your new home state. Do this before you move onto the next step.


Go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

Don’t forget that you still need to register your newly-delivered vehicle in the destination state within a short time. Car registration periods vary from state to state – some states will offer as many as 30 days while others will only give you 10 days to complete that task.

Contact the new-state DMV office for more information on how to register your car in the new state, including all the vehicle registration paperwork you have to bring with you to their office.

Important Note: Your previous vehicle inspection may or may not be valid in your new state.

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