When moving, shipping your car cross-country doesn't have to be hard

John Roehll Executive Vice President and Co-owner Dependable Auto Shippers

For many people, the car shipping process is an unfamiliar one. Before you book your vehicle to be transported across the country for your household move, here are some simple tips to help the process run as smoothly as possible.


Do your research

If you’re searching for an auto shipper online, you will quickly realize that there are hundreds of auto transport companies out there. With so many options in front of you, you may be inclined to just go with the cheapest rate and call it a day. When comparing prices online, pick up the phone and call the company. If you can’t get someone on the phone now, you may not be able to get them on the phone once they have your car.

Do give your car a makeover

As you make preparations to move across the country, make tweaks to your vehicle just like you would for yourself to ensure it is able to perform in its new climate and conditions. To prepare your vehicle to run efficiently in its new destination, be sure to research climate factors and tips for cars in that region. This may include checking or changing the engine coolant, transmission oil, and other fluids.

Do remove personal items

While it may sound like a convenient idea to pack up your car with household items and clothes, this can increase the weight of your car, as well as be a hazard to the hauler driver or other drivers on the road. To ensure no items are moving within the vehicle, you should remove all personal items from the car. This includes CD players that are not built-in, garage door openers, car phones, toll tags, etc.

Do get squeaky clean

Before your car is picked up, you should be sure it is clean and ready for inspection. When the hauler driver arrives, he or she will inspect the vehicle for scratches, dents and marks. If your car is not clean, there may be discrepancies that can inhibit your ability to make a claim should anything happen during transit.

Do give the hauling company the scoop

If your vehicle has been modified to include a 4x4 lift kit, camper shell, lower vehicle clearance, or similar modification, you will need to disclose that information when you schedule your vehicle to be picked up. Modifications like the ones listed may require additional assistance or special preparation.


Do not accessorize

When preparing to ship your car, it may seem easier to keep your spare tire cover, grill cover and luggage rack intact. However, vehicle shippers will need you to remove these additional pieces before loading your vehicle on to the hauler. To save time and make the pick-up process as easy as possible, you should remove all covers, racks and other accessories from your car before your vehicle shipping partner arrives.

Do not fill up

Your vehicle’s gas tank has an effect on the weight of your car as well as the overall weight of the car hauler. To ensure the hauler transporting your vehicle meets weight requirements for the load, please ensure your vehicle has between one fourth and one half of a tank of gas when it’s picked up.

Do not forget to check for items that cannot be transported by law

Plants, hazardous materials and firearms are forbidden by law to be transported. If you store any of these items in your vehicle, please check your trunk, glove box and other compartments so that you can remove them before your vehicle shipper arrives.

Do not be alarmed

While you may feel the need to keep your alarm system engaged while your car is transported across the country, a sounding alarm can disrupt the truck driver and create added time to the transport. Disarming your vehicle’s alarm system during transit will ensure the driver of the hauler will not run into any issue with disarming faulty alarms.

Do not forget to leave a set of keys

When your vehicle shipper arrives to pick up your car, don’t forget to provide him or her with a set of all keys your car might need, including glove compartment and trunk keys. If your car needs to be moved so another car can be unloaded or inspected during transit, these will come in handy.

Jumping cartoon

The first time you ship a vehicle can be a stressful process, however if you do your research when selecting a vehicle shipping partner and follow the tips provided above, the process should be a simple and worry-free one.

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Photo Credits: Unsold Cars Going Home by Flickr: Hugo90; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

John RoehllExecutive Vice President and Co-owner

John Roehll serves as executive vice president and part owner for Dependable Auto Shippers, one of the largest vehicle relocation companies in the U.S. representing corporate and retail clients since 1954. Roehll manages the company’s corporate ...

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