How To Prepare Your Car For Shipping

Have The Keys

This may seem obvious, but for some customers have forgotten to leave keys since the car is being loaded on a carrier. U.S. Department of Transportation requires that one set of all keys for the vehicle be provided to the carrier, including the ignition, trunk, and glove box keys. 

Coordinate Contacts, Addresses, People Involved

First and foremost, confirm all contact information. Make sure you have accurate phone numbers, address, city, state, and zip code. If you are leaving someone else responsible for the handing over of the vehicle or delivery, make sure you are well informed of their schedule, who you hired, and what they need to do. If you live in a newer area your information may not be on the map. In these cases make sure you provide accurate information since some new developments aren’t mapped out and the driver may need to know the cross streets, for example.

If you won’t be at either the pickup location or the drop off, be sure to have someone that is ready and responsible. They need to be over 18 to handle the task of releasing your vehicle to the carrier or accepting at the delivery. Many times delays are caused by someone not answering the phone, leaving for a moment.

Disable Your Alarms

Alarms should be turned off for transport. If there are special instructions required to start a car in order to disarm the alarm, please inform your representative so he can note it on your dispatch sheet, given to the driver. Some are set to self-lock or self-arm after the vehicle sits for a little while and the key has left the vehicle. This can drain the battery and cause the driver to pull off to see which car it is in order to shut it off so to not cause a distraction to the carrier and other drivers traveling near the vehicle. Some alarms also will trigger a theft call. Be sure all this is turned off. Remember, most new vehicles will arm themselves if you do is unlock them and don’t start the vehicle. So be sure to leave it unlocked after turning it off so it doesn’t arm itself. In rare cases, you may need to completely disable the alarm. (Carrier is not responsible for drained batteries resulting from an alarm that has not been turned off.)

Removed Detachable Racks

Remove any luggage, bike, or ski rack that is not permanently attached to the car. 

Check for Leaks

The vehicle must have no obvious fluid leaks.

Secure Your Battery

 The vehicle battery must be secure in the mounting bracket. 

Remove Covers, Spoilers, Fairings, Air Dams, Low Items

All exterior spare tire covers, grill covers, or car covers and hanging items must be removed from the vehicle. You vehicle will be loaded on a truck that will bounce up and down...low riding items could take incur damages if not prepared properly.

Remove EZ-Pass, Sunpass

It’s happened many times that a customer had to call the expressway authority. Our carrier will have your vehicle on the trailer and it will trigger your Sunpass / EZ-Pass tolls because the carrier goes through a toll. Be sure to remove these toll pass boxes and stickers before transport. One of our customers claimed he had over $100 in tolls he had to explain away and get removed. Issues with these toll readers are common.

Remove Most Personal Items Especially Valuables

 Do NOT leave or transport anything valuable in your vehicle. We not responsible for anything loose inside your car, including cell phones, radar detectors, garage door openers, E-Z Pass, removable radios, household goods, sunglasses, etc. Although The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) prohibits the carrying of personal items on a truck licensed only for carrying automobiles, most carriers are willing to accept 100 lbs of personal items however they cannot insure them legally. Stored personal items can also increase the overall weight of your vehicle, and could cause damage during transport. Any items left in the vehicle are subject to removal upon inspection at state lines by the DOT.

Prepare for Inspections

You or your designated representative must be present for the inspection/bill of lading at the time of pick-up and delivery.

Make Sure You’re Ready to For the Bill of Lading

The bill of lading is a one of the most important documents in the whole process of auto transport. It has a diagram of your vehicle where the carrier at pickup will mark any existing damage or marks on the car at the moment they are getting it. It’s a good idea to do this walk-around with the driver as you will see what he is noting. They at this point will give you a copy of the bill of lading showing the condition of the car at the time of pickup. Be ready by making sure you don’t let that vehicle leave until you have it in your possession and signed by the driver.

This is very important because this is the “before” snapshot of the vehicle’s condition and is the only document that can be used to claim any damage if it happened during transport. So you must keep a copy of this for comparison. When the carrier arrives, you will take the same steps of doing a walk-around with the driver. This one is even more important than the first, because you do not want the driver to miss any damage that occurred after the pickup. Any new marks, dings, etc (hopefully none!) must be noted on the Bill of Lading. If damage is not noted in the Bill of Lading it cannot be claimed.

If you are buying a car, or having another party handing over the vehicle, please make sure everyone is fully aware about how important it is to get the copy of that form from the driver at both pickup and delivery.

You or your designated representative must sign the bill of lading and condition report at both origin and destination. You or your designated representatives are responsible for confirming your vehicle’s condition. This must be done before the driver leaves the destination.

Understand Pre-existing Damages

 Carriers will not be responsible for damage caused by any pre-existing condition or for parts which come loose in the moving process. Carrier is not responsible for preventable damage caused by Acts of Nature.Examine your vehicle carefully before signing the Bill of Lading. Any damage not noted could end up costing you money if not reported at time of pick up or delivery.

Other Helpful Steps

The following steps will further assist you in making your auto shipping a smooth process.

Wash Your Vehicle

Your driver will need to inspect your vehicle and take pictures if necessary. This is for your benefit as well as the carrier.

Lower Your Antennas

Antennas should be removed from the vehicle or lowered if possible. Temporary antennas need to be removed entirely.