How to Prep Your Car for a Long Distance Move


Did you know that an estimated 27 million people in the United States of America moved to a new residence or state in 2021? Making a long-distance move is often intimidating and it’s easy to feel yourself getting cold feet about making this change in your life.

One of the most important aspects of any move is figuring out what to do with your car for a long-distance move.

Most people choose to go with an auto transport company to ship and deliver their vehicle to their new residence. If you plan on taking this route then you need to know the steps that you should take to get your car ready for auto shipping.

The good news is that you’ve found the perfect guide to help you take all of the necessary measures before your move. Keep reading to learn some helpful tips today!

Wash Your Car

The first thing that you’ll want to do before arranging for car shipping ahead of your long-distance move is to wash your car. The driver of the transport truck will want to do a vehicle assessment to determine if there is any pre-existing damage before they take it into their inventory.

Washing your car ahead of this will make the job of the driver much easier. It will also afford you more protection since it’s easier to spot any existing damage ahead of time. A good pro tip is to note any damage that you see as you’re washing your car as a means to help the driver and save you both time.

Take Pictures of the Car

You should also take pictures of the car once you’ve finished washing the exterior. The best way to cover yourself from liability for damage during the auto transport process is to document what your car looked like prior to pickup. Make sure that the photos are dated and detailed before allowing the car shipping company to drive away.

Take a Picture of the Odometer

The odometer is what tracks the number of miles that your vehicle has traveled since it left the assembly plant. Taking a picture of your odometer might seem a bit over the top, but it will give you major peace of mind when you get your car delivered to your new home.

It makes it easy for you to compare the mileage at pickup to that of when you get it delivered to ensure that no one took it for a joy ride. Take some time to read more on before you start your long-distance move.

Clean the Interior

Once you’ve taken care of your car’s exterior, it’s important to put some time and effort into cleaning up the inside of the vehicle. The trailers that the truck driver uses to transport vehicles are large, and they will most likely experience some bumps in the road during the transit process.

It’s a good idea to remove any items from the inside of your vehicle that aren’t secured. Phone holders, GPS devices, and tools could bounce around and cause damage to the interior of your car. If this happens, you’re the only person liable for the damage.

Remove Your Accessories

You should also remove any accessories that you normally keep in your vehicle prior to your long-distance move. You’re asking for someone to try to steal these items by not removing them. Odds are that you will want these accessories again when you start your new life at your new residence.

If you have a trailer hitch or a bike rack on your car then you should also consider removing those exterior accessories. Some vehicles also have removable antennas that are often large and cumbersome. The best approach to car shipping is to remove any of these accessories from the car before the driver picks them up.

Check for Fluid Leaks

One of the main reasons why drivers refuse to transport cars is fluid leaks. Get your car inspected for any potential leaks prior to scheduling the auto-shipping pickup. If the leak is bad enough, the auto-shipping driver will refuse to take your vehicle and you’ll need to start over from square one.

If you have a small leak that you won’t have time to get fixed before you move, be transparent and let the driver know. They will know to place your vehicle on the bottom row of the trailer to ensure that it doesn’t leak onto anyone else’s vehicle.

Leave Some Gas in the Tank

A good rule of thumb when it comes to shipping a car for a long-distance move is to leave a small amount of gas in the fuel tank. Generally, people leave between 1/8th and 1/4th of a tank in there in case the driver needs to move the vehicle during the shipping process. It will also save a good amount of weight for the transport driver, making the drive easier for them.

Have Insurance

It’s a bad idea to ship a vehicle across the country without insurance coverage. If your car already has insurance coverage set up then you won’t need to take any further actions. Shipping your car without insurance coverage sets you up for disaster should your car get damaged while going from Point A to Point B.

You’ll get a double-whammy of coverage for your vehicle since the cargo carrier will also provide insurance coverage. The main reason that insurance is a good idea is when natural disasters occur. If your car gets caught in a tornado and you don’t have insurance then you’ll find yourself out of luck.

Schedule Your Long-Distance Move Today

Shipping a car is an often overlooked part of any long-distance move, but knowing the steps to take in order to prepare your car will make for an easy car shipping process. Make sure that you wash the outside and identify any existing damage prior to pickup. You should also check for any fluid leaks from your vehicle and check to make sure that your insurance coverage is up to date.

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