Steps to Prepare Your Car for Shipping Across the Country

Steps to prepare your car for shipping across the country

When it comes to shipping your car across the country, proper preparation is key to ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. AutoStar Transport Express, a trusted car shipping company in the USA, is here to help you with expert tips on how to prepare your car for shipping across the country. By following these essential steps, you can safeguard your vehicle and make car shipping across the country more efficient. Let’s dive in!

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If you’ve made the decision to ship your car across the country, it’s important to be well-prepared for the process. Your car is a valuable possession, and it’s natural to feel some concern about its transportation. However, if you have chosen AutoStar as your cross country car shipping company, you’ve already taken a positive step. We are committed to ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience for our customers.

At AutoStar Transport Express, we have an exceptional customer support team in place to assist you throughout the entire process. We handle most of the work for you, ensuring the safe and secure transportation of your car across the country. However, there is one aspect we rely on you for, and that is preparing your car for shipping. We understand that you may be unsure of what steps to take, especially if this is your first time shipping a car. To alleviate your concerns, we have compiled a comprehensive checklist to guide you through the preparation process.

Making the First Move

Whether you’re relocating, going on vacation, or serving in the military, shipping your car to its new destination requires careful consideration. After deciding on the method of transportation, the next crucial step is choosing a reputable car shipping company to entrust with your valuable vehicle. This decision can be challenging, as you want a company that will ensure the safe and secure delivery of your car.

While this post won’t delve into the specific steps of selecting a car shipping company, you can refer to our previous article on “How to Choose an Auto Transport Company” for detailed guidance. The article provides valuable tips on what to look for when evaluating auto transport companies and offers a step-by-step approach to narrow down your search. By following these guidelines, you can find a trustworthy company that aligns with your specific needs and requirements.

Remember, thorough research and careful consideration are essential when selecting a car shipping company. It’s crucial to choose a company with a solid reputation, positive customer reviews, proper licensing and registration, insurance coverage, and transparent pricing. Taking the time to make an informed decision will give you peace of mind and ensure the successful transportation of your cherished vehicle to its destination.

AutoStar Delivers More than Just Cars

While we won’t delve into the specifics of selecting an auto transport company, we’d like to highlight the advantages of choosing AutoStar Transport Express as your car shipping provider. As a prominent player in the auto transport industry, we offer reliable and comprehensive services for shipping vehicles throughout the United States.

Here is what you can expect from AutoStar:

  • Trained Professionals

    Our drivers at AutoStar are highly qualified and equipped to handle a wide range of situations. They undergo regular training and maintain updated permits to ensure they possess the necessary skills and knowledge in the auto transport industry. This preparation allows them to handle any challenges that may arise during the transportation process with confidence and expertise.

  • Exceptional Service

    At AutoStar, our utmost priority is to transport your vehicle in the quickest and safest way possible. We understand the importance of delivering your vehicle promptly and securely to its destination. If you have any questions regarding auto transport or if you would like to receive a personalized quote.

  • Free, instant quote calculator

    In addition to our phone support, we offer the convenience of an online quote calculator. With just a few simple steps, you can receive a free, instant car shipping quote within seconds. The best part is, no personal information is required. Our user-friendly online tool allows you to quickly and effortlessly obtain an accurate estimate for your car shipping needs.

  • Services that meet your needs

    We cater to a wide range of vehicle types with our diverse service offerings. Whether you have a motorcycle, a classic car, or even an inoperable vehicle, we’ve got you covered. Our services are designed to accommodate various needs and situations. Additionally, we provide both open auto transport and enclosed auto transport options, ensuring that we can meet your specific requirements and preferences. Rest assured that we have the right solution to safely transport your vehicle, regardless of its type or condition.

Steps To Prepare Your Car for Shipping Across the Country

1. Clean Your Car Thoroughly

Before shipping your car across the country, give it a thorough wash, both inside and out. Cleaning your car will help you assess its condition accurately and document any existing damage. It will also make it easier to spot any potential issues upon delivery.

2. Inspect Your Car

Perform a detailed inspection of your vehicle and document any pre-existing damage. Take photos or videos from various angles, highlighting any scratches, dents, or other imperfections. This documentation will serve as evidence in case of any damage during transit.

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3. Remove Personal Belongings

Clear out all personal belongings from your car. Remove any loose items, including electronics, valuables, and important documents. AutoStar Transport Express is not responsible for the loss or damage of personal belongings left in the vehicle during car shipping.

4. Secure or Remove Aftermarket Accessories

If your car has aftermarket accessories such as spoilers, bike racks, or antennas, secure them properly or remove them altogether. This will help prevent any potential damage during transportation and ensure a smoother process.

5. Check for Fluid Leaks

Inspect your vehicle for any fluid leaks and address them before car shipping. Fixing leaks will not only protect your car but also prevent any leakage onto other vehicles during transit.

6. Check Tire Pressure and Battery

Ensure that your tires are properly inflated and the battery is in good condition. This will help avoid any issues during loading and unloading, as well as provide a safer and smoother journey for your vehicle.

7. Secure or Disable Alarms

If your car has an alarm system, either secure it properly or disable it temporarily. This will prevent any unnecessary alarms from going off during transportation and causing inconvenience.

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8. Fold in Side Mirrors

Fold in your side mirrors to protect them from potential damage during transit. This simple step can prevent costly repairs and ensure the safe transportation of your vehicle.

9. Disable Toll Tags and Parking Passes

Remove or disable any toll tags, parking passes, or electronic devices that may trigger toll charges or interfere with the transportation process. This will help prevent unnecessary fees and complications.

10. Check the Fuel Level

Maintain a fuel level of around a quarter tank for transportation. This provides enough fuel for loading and unloading purposes while keeping the overall weight of the vehicle lower.

11. Inform AutoStar Transport Express of Special Instructions

If there are any specific instructions or requirements for your vehicle, inform AutoStar Transport Express in advance. This may include delicate handling for classic or luxury cars or any other unique considerations.

12. Keep a Spare Key

Provide AutoStar Transport Express with a spare key to your vehicle. This ensures that they can easily move your car if necessary during the shipping process.

Following these 12 steps will help you prepare your car effectively for shipping across the country with AutoStar Transport Express. Our team of professionals is dedicated to providing you with a seamless and reliable car shipping experience.

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What to Expect Upon Pick-Up and Delivery

Once you have completed the necessary preparations for your vehicle and it is ready for auto transport, it’s natural to have questions about the process. What should you expect when the driver arrives to pick up your vehicle? And what can you anticipate when the driver delivers the automobile to its destination? The car shipping process can feel overwhelming if you are unsure of what to expect during these key moments.

However, hiring an auto transport company is intended to simplify your life, not add to your stress. It’s important to have a clear understanding of what to expect during pick-up and delivery to ensure a smoother shipping experience. In the following sections, we will provide you with an overview of what you can anticipate at each stage, allowing you to be better prepared and more informed throughout the shipping process.

Pick-up of the Car

Before the driver arrives, you can expect a courtesy call to inform you of their impending arrival at your home. It is important that you or someone else is present during this time to facilitate the inspection of the vehicle and to sign the bill of lading. The bill of lading serves as a legal contract between you and the auto transport company, providing details about the vehicle being shipped and its destination. This document acts as a receipt for the shipment of your car.

During the inspection, the driver will assess the condition of your vehicle and document it on the contract. Take the time to carefully read through the contract before signing it, ensuring that you understand the terms and conditions. If you have any questions regarding payment or the terms of the contract, it’s advisable to address them beforehand. Additionally, if there are any mechanical issues or special handling instructions for your car, be sure to inform the driver at this time.

Feel free to ask any last-minute questions you may have about the transportation process to gain further clarity. Once the inspection and necessary documentation are complete, the driver will load your vehicle onto the carrier, and it will begin its journey toward the designated destination.

Delivery of the Car

Having gone through the pick-up process, you are now familiar with what to expect when receiving your automobile. The delivery procedures mirror those of the pick-up, requiring someone to be present at home to conduct the inspection alongside the driver and sign the bill of lading. However, during this inspection, your focus will be on ensuring that no new damages have occurred during the vehicle’s transportation. While it is unlikely for new damage to have arisen, this step is still crucial to verify the vehicle’s condition.

Once you have confirmed that your car is free from any new damages, you can proceed to sign the bill of lading, finalizing the delivery process. It may be a good idea to clean both the interior and exterior of your vehicle at this point. If your car was transported using open auto transport, it might have accumulated some dirt along the way, which can be easily washed off. Taking the time to clean the interior of your car as well will help freshen it up after the journey.

Additionally, if you have moved out of state, it is essential to update your vehicle registration and driver’s license accordingly. The specific timeframe for completing this task varies among states, typically ranging from ten to thirty days. Visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or utilize the necessary online resources to fulfill the required documentation and ensure compliance with the regulations.


Preparing your car properly for shipping across the country is crucial to ensure its safety and a smooth transportation process. By following the expert tips provided by AutoStar Transport Express, you can have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is well-prepared for the journey ahead. Trust AutoStar Transport Express to handle your car shipping needs with the utmost care and professionalism.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I ship my car if it has pre-existing damage?

Yes, you can ship your car even if it has pre-existing damage. However, it is important to document the existing damage and inform AutoStar Transport Express about it to avoid any potential issues during the car shipping process.

Are there any restrictions on personal belongings left in the car during car shipping?

AutoStar Transport Express advises against leaving personal belongings in the car during shipping. However, if you need to transport a few essential items, make sure they are securely packed and inform our team in advance.

How long does it take to prepare a car for shipping?

The time required to prepare your car for shipping depends on factors such as its current condition and your attention to detail. Plan ahead and allocate sufficient time to complete the necessary preparations properly.

Can I track the progress of my car during car shipping?

Yes, AutoStar Transport Express provides a tracking service that allows you to monitor the progress of your car during shipping. You can contact our customer support team or access our online tracking system for real-time updates.

What if I have additional questions about car preparation or the shipping process?

AutoStar Transport Express has a dedicated customer support team available to address any additional questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to reach out to us via phone or through our website, and we will be happy to assist you.

Mark Dugger

Mark Dugger

Born and raised in Southern California, grew up in an athletic environment where he excelled at football, baseball, wrestling, golf, skiing, and water skiing. He chose computers as his professional calling, accepting the position of Systems Officer for a prominent cruise line. For the next ten years, he would circle the globe multiple times, visiting over 100 countries. Mark joined AutoStar Transport Express just 1 year after it was created. He is one of the pillars the company was built on. He started off as a coordinator, he excelled though the years with his hard work and dedication. His job performance not only grew his career but our company and as a whole. Mark now holds the position of operations manager overseeing the engine that makes our company run.
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