How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping (11 Steps)

Whether it’s for a job, retirement, school or a relationship, relocating overseas or across the country is never easy. That’s especially true if you have a vehicle.

Fortunately, you can ship it too. Instead of selling your car, transport it with the help of an auto shipping company. Canada has several reliable and experienced freight forwarding companies that specialize in shipping cars across the country and overseas, no matter its make, model or size.

To make the process easy, it helps to know how to prepare it for shipping. Follow the steps below for a smooth auto shipping experience.

How to Prepare Your Vehicle Before Shipping It Across Canada or Abroad

Whether you’re moving to a new province, country or continent, transporting your car shouldn’t be a burden. To start, hire a trustworthy car shipping service to make sure it reaches its destination safely.

However, there are things you can do to prepare your car to have a more pleasant shipping experience. Here’s a checklist:

Step 1: Wash Your Car

Hiring an auto shipping company doesn’t mean your job is over. You can’t hand over a filthy car as dirt and dust can hide scratches, dings and dents. Wash it well to identify existing damage so you can compare it with any damage sustained during transport.

Step 2: Clean the Interior

It’s also important to clean the interior. Vacuum seats, wipe down surfaces and remove all personal items so you can start with a fresh, clean and clutter-free car at your new home.

Step 3: Visually Inspect It

Inspect your vehicle thoroughly. If there is chipped paint, signs of discolouration, rust or dents, note it down. Take pictures of your car from various angles as proof of its condition .

Step 4: Remove All Accessories

If your car has accessories, custom parts or add-ons that weren’t part of its original design, like a GPS system, antenna or custom stereo, make sure you remove them. This will decrease the chance of damage or theft in transit.

Step 5: Perform Necessary Maintenance

If you’re shipping an inoperable car, make sure you inform  the auto shipping company that it can’t be driven on and off the truck.

If it is functional, there are a few maintenance checks you should perform before handing it over.

  • Make sure your battery is completely charged and secure in its brackets.
  • Check whether your emergency brake is working.
  • Make sure tires are properly inflated.
  • Check for oil, brake, power steering, coolant and washer leaks.
  • Note your car’s mileage upon pickup and delivery.

If there are any noticeable issues, fix them before shipping.

Step 6: Disable the Alarm System

If your car has an alarm system or anti-theft device, either remove or disable it. If it’s being hauled by a truck carrier, the alarm could go off on a bumpy road.

Disabling the car alarm system

Step 7: Leave the Gas Tank One-Quarter Full

Before shipping your vehicle, drive it until the tank is about a quarter full. It needs to be driven on and off a trailer or RO/RO vessel, so there’s no need for it to be full. This adds to your car’s weight which can complicate the shipping process.

Step 8: Secure the Top If You Have a Convertible

If your car has a convertible top, sunroof or moonroof, secure it well so it doesn’t open in transit. This is especially important if you’re shipping your vehicle on a RO/RO vessel or open car carrier. That said, keep the chance of damage to a minimum by folding in the side mirrors and putting protective coverings on fragile fixtures.

Step 9: Get Spare Keys

The drivers picking up your car will need a set of keys to move your car on and off the transport vehicles. But don’t give them your only set. Keep spares to prevent potential problems like the originals getting lost or locked inside the car.

Step 10: Update Your Insurance

While your car insurance covers your car in your province and country, you’ll eventually need to buy coverage from an insurer in your new home. You should also get cargo insurance to protect yourself against physical loss or damage to your car. If you’re new to cargo insurance, here’s a brief guide.

Step 11: Sign the Bill of Lading

Preparing your car for shipping is an important part of the auto transport process. If you’ve opted for door-to-door shipping, your driver will inspect the vehicle and give you the bill of lading to sign. This is a legal contract between you and the shipping company which acts as a receipt. It covers where the vehicle is being shipped to and from, the condition of the vehicle at the time of pickup and any specific issues with it. Read the document carefully before signing.

The process of transporting your car in Canada can feel overwhelming until you know what’s required to make it easy and convenient. We hope this checklist boosts your confidence. Start with choosing a reliable auto shipping company. Then take one step at a time for a smooth shipping process.