How to Prepare Automobiles For Shipping

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How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipping

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Moving long distances can add a number of variables to your moving experience. Shipping your vehicle is one aspect of long distance moving that requires a whole new level of attention to detail. Whether you are shipping your car overseas on a cargo ship or trailing it a few hours away on a truck, there are some consistent things that you should do to prepare your vehicle before handing it over to your auto movers.

1. Review your personal car insurance and the shipping company's insurance

Your own car insurance should cover most possible accidents that occur during shipping, but you should review your policy to be sure. Ask for a copy of the shipping company's insurance policy and read through it. You should know what is covered and what is not. A reputable auto shipping company should always give you a copy of their insurance policy without any hesitation, so if they are unwilling to do so, you may want to find another company.

2. Make sure the car is in proper working condition before shipping

Your car will be inspected before it is shipped and it would be a waste of time for it to fail. Make sure the vehicle is up to date with its oil and inspections. Check the battery, check the fluids, and make sure the tires are pressurized. If the car doesn't work after shipment, the fact that it passed inspection right before departure will help you file a claim. If the car fails inspection, it cannot be shipped.

3. Wash your vehicle

This is still all about that pre-shipping inspection. Excessively dirty vehicles can fail inspection. Make sure the car is clean, especially in the tire and tailpipe area. You also would like to have your car be as clean as possible whenever you get a chance to see it again.

4. Empty your car

This isn't about appearances or the inconvenience of losing an item for the length of the shipping process. If there are personal items in the car you mean to ship, the shipping company will not transport it. Not only do shipping companies not want to be held responsible for extra items, but in the case of a bumpy ride, loose objects can damage the interior of your vehicle. Shipping companies will check for this, so the car really does need to be empty- including the trunk. 

5. Leave just a little bit of gas in the tank

Once again, keep in mind that your vehicle may be moving around a great deal during shipping. If the gas in the car's tank is too high it may spill out during turbulent moments of its shipment. It is recommended to keep less than one quarter of the gas tank filled as you hand over your car for shipping. You can always bring extra gas when you drive the car again.

6. Remove or secure any loose parts of your vehicle

If your antennae can come off, remove it and stow it somewhere safe. The same goes for luggage racks or hood ornaments. You want the smallest chance of something coming loose during shipping. Things that cannot be removed, like mirrors or spoilers, should be wrapped up in some form of covering that will both secure and protect these vulnerable area of your vehicle. Bubble wrap and small rope may work well in this case.

7. Wait a minute, can you even ship that car?

Remember, if you are shipping overseas some restrictions apply which may mean that you are not allowed to ship your car at all. Some countries will not let you ship vehicles: 
  • over five years old
  • with big engines
  • with the steering wheel in the "wrong" position
If your car can be shipped and you have followed these six steps, then your vehicle should be fully prepared for shipping. Contact the necessary shipping company and tell your car that you'll meet it at your new home after the move is complete.

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on July 1, 2014 - Moving Expert
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