How to Prepare When you Ship your Car to Another State

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Key Takeaways

  • Clean your vehicle thoroughly for a comprehensive pre-transport inspection.
  • Remove personal items; shipping firms may not allow them and avoid liability.
  • Document your car’s condition with photos for potential insurance claims.
  • Choose a licensed, insured shipping company with good customer reviews.
  • Before loading, disable alarms, secure loose parts, and check fluid levels

Moving, in any aspect, can be a daunting logistical task, especially when it involves bigger and heavier things, like your most valued four-wheeled ride. Usually, a car in itself is already a transport vehicle and a convenient way to move from one place to another. However, some circumstances would require it to be loaded onto a cargo vehicle to be shipped farther distances, such as to a different state.

People often move across states either for college, better job opportunities, or simply for a change of scenery. Long-distance driving is usually prone to unexpected incidents, such as flat tires, overheating, and, worse, criminal activities or accidents. The safest, therefore, for that hours-long journey is to employ the services of professional shippers whose shipping vehicles are far more reliable for long-distance trips.

In a business context, vehicles such as cars, vans, and motorcycles are transported for dealership owners seeking to relocate their business. Professional carriers can help maintain the vehicles’ market value and prevent any damage during the move. Likewise, shipping services are also needed for transporting new or secondhand vehicles bought online, where meetups are not feasible.

Whatever the reason, preparation is always necessary to ensure your car survives the journey in the same condition before transport. This article will outline the essential steps required in the preparation process before you ship your car to another state to ensure a smooth car shipping process. It will also provide you with some tips on common concerns that you can ask your shipping concern before the move.

Clean your vehicle thoroughly before the transport.

Ship Car Another State

While this may be a needless step for businesses transporting vehicles, for personal car shipping, it’s essential to have a clean vehicle before the journey. Cleaning allows for a thorough inspection of any existing damage, which is crucial for documenting its condition.

A clean car is also more than just about presentation. It is also proper etiquette for fellow car owners who are sharing the transport. A clean car helps prevent dust accumulation and protects other vehicles from debris and contaminants in an enclosed cargo.

  1. Wash the exterior with soap and water, paying particular attention to the windshield, lights, and wheel wells.
  2. Remove any loose items from the interior to prevent damage if they move during the journey. Vacuum the floors and wipe the seats and surfaces as well.
  3. Check for leaks that could potentially damage other vehicles for transport. Repair any leaks or damages that may lead to dangerous leaks immediately.

Remove any personal items from the personal vehicle.

Personal belongings in the car are typically not allowed. Smaller items like phone chargers, papers, or any items in your console can probably get past them as long as it doesn’t exceed 100 lbs. Anything more prominent or expensive items may be liable for a fee or refusal to ship from your shipping company. Additionally, any losses or damage to these personal items may also not be covered by the carrier’s insurance, so you may not be compensated for any theft or damage.

Document the current condition for possible insurance claims.

To ensure compensation for any damages occurring while in the hands of your carrier, collect proper documentation of its condition before you hand it over to them. This article provides a good reference for liability car insurance and its coverage.

Before the shipping service arrives, create a checklist that outlines your car’s overall condition, including clear photos of any dents or scratches, and have the carrier’s representative sign it as acknowledgement. Make copies of all these documents for your records, which will serve as evidence if the need to file a claim arises.

Choose the right shipping company that aligns with your preferences.

When signing up with a shipping company to handle your beloved vehicle, various factors should be considered. One of the most critical is checking for proper licensing and insurance. This information will provide you with a safety net in case of any unforeseen incidents during your transaction with them.

Conduct thorough research about car shipping companies near you and examine their customer reviews and testimonials. Check if the shipping company follows the standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on their cargo securement rules:

Part of your research should also be about their pricing and available services. Compare quotes from different companies, see which one falls within your budget, and have your needed services available.

Lastly, evaluate the quality of their communication and customer service. Clear and open communication is a good indicator that your queries and concerns will be sufficiently attended to throughout the whole transport process and even with their after-service care.

Preparing the Vehicle for Loading

Before the actual loading of your car to the cargo vehicle, ensure any car alarms are disabled to prevent them from going off during transport and that the crew will have access to your car’s interior. You should also secure any loose parts, such as antennas and removable mirrors, and check if all fluid levels are at the appropriate amount, with your fuel tank kept at around a quarter full.

Following a proper vehicle preparation procedure is essential for a successful and stress-free car shipping experience. It will give you peace of mind and help protect your interests throughout the shipping process, from pick-up to delivery at your new destination.


  • Sehrish Kiran

    With years of experience in research and writing, I have honed my skills to provide valuable insights and captivating content. My journey through different fields and topics has equipped me with a well-rounded perspective that enriches my articles.

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