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How to prepare your car for shipping

When shipping a car, the most important thing that you as an owner have to do is prepare it properly. To do this, you must take care of a few important things before the car is loaded on the trailer. These steps mainly include a good cleaning of your car, both inside and out, and basic maintenance. Once you take care of these tasks, you will fully prepare your car for shipping. Once you take care of everything, contact the reliable auto transportation Chicago services, and get your car on the road. Through this text, we will help you keep your car safe and sound during transport.

Clean out your car and remove all personal items from it

Auto shippers cannot transport any vehicle that contains “household goods”, as mandated by the Department of Transportation Code. This means that vehicle shipping companies cannot transport vehicles that contain personal items by law. To best prepare your car for shipping, you will want to remove all aftermarket parts from your vehicle. Items like GPS navigation, DVD players and external speakers should all go out before shipping your car to prevent theft or damage. Make sure you clear out everything from the trunk as well.

black and gray interior of a vehicle
Take any aftermarket parts out of the car, such as GPS and audio systems

Keep in mind that, if the weight of your vehicle exceeds the standard, you will be charged with an overweight cargo fee, which starts at $250. Many shipping companies do not insure any item found within the vehicle, so the simplest solution is to take everything out. While you are removing all of the aftermarket parts, and personal items, use this opportunity to thoroughly clean the car. This doesn’t have anything to do with shipping, but it doesn’t hurt to give your car a detailed vacuuming every once in a while.

Prepare your car for shipping by giving it a wash

When you decide on the shipping date, you need to make sure that the car is prepared. A full preparation includes a detailed wash and polish. Once the car has been thoroughly washed and is shining, take a walk around it and write down any scratches that you see. You need to look out for spots where the paint has faded or chipped off. Even though damage rarely happens during professional car transport, some small dents and dings are known to occur. Shipping your car is the same as hiring moving services Chicago. You won’t do the work yourself, but you can do as much as possible to help the company. When your car is clean, spotting signs of damage like dents or scratches is much easier.

Note down the current condition of your vehicle

As we mentioned before, once you wash the car from any dirt or grime, note down any imperfections or damages. When the car is clean, you will clearly see the current condition of it. What you want to do, is either write down or photograph any and all existing damages on your vehicle. We highly advise that you do both, as to avoid any confusion after the car has been delivered. Evidence of damage will back up your moving insurance claims. Taking photos is highly recommended since you will have documented photographic evidence of the car’s state before it was shipped. Photos are a good thing to have once the car has been delivered just in case there is a disagreement with the movers regarding the car’s condition.

A mechanic checkup to prepare your car for shipping
A detailed check-up with the mechanic will greatly help you prepare

Running basic maintenance helps prepare your car for shipping

Before you load the car for transport, a mechanic should take a look at it. If the car is not in working condition, you should contact your shipping service early on. In these situations, the shippers have to schedule the right equipment and truck to move your car. In case that it is functional, it needs to be checked for leaks and rust. You also need to be on the lookout for anything that can cause the car to not start, stop, and steer when needed to. These are the important things that need to be done before loading the car:

  • Check the engine and all fluid lines for leaks
  • Check the tire pressure and make sure each has enough air
  • Refill all fluids to a proper level (Not including the fuel)
  • Check the car battery power and recharge if necessary
  • Check the mileage jut before the car is loaded for transport, write it down, and check it after shipping, it’s the best way to prepare your car for shipping

A few other tips to help you prepare

You took care of most of the important steps in getting your car ready. Now, there are just a few minor tasks to wrap up, in order to fully prepare your car for shipping. The first thing to take care of is the gas tank. Your car will not be in use that much during the shipping process. However, it will be driven to load and unload it from the trailer, as well as park it at the designated area. Because of this, you want to have enough gas for these basic operations. Don’t worry, hiring professional movers won’t result in them taking your car for a joyride. Since gas adds to the whole weight of the car, and some movers charge by weight, a full tank of gas won’t be necessary. Taking in mind how much the car will be driven, a quarter tank of gas will be enough.

black car at a gas station at night
A full tank of gas may cost you extra due to weight

If your car has a built-in alarm system, we recommend that you disable it before shipping. Given that your car will be stationary on a trailer, any bumps on the road may shake it around and cause the alarm to go off. If you fail to disable the alarm system and it goes off in transit, the truck driver won’t be able to disarm it. If you have problems with your alarm system, alert the shipping company beforehand, so they can disable it in case it goes off on accident. Lastly, make spare keys to your car. If you want to prepare your car for shipping, this is an important step. The driver will need a key that unlocks the doors and booth and starts the car. Make a spare key just in case you lose the original.

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