How to Prepare Your Car for International Car Shipping?

It’s time to move but you don’t want to drive across the country? Hire an international car shipping company to take care of it for you. Not only will your car get to its destination without you going along, but you can also relax and enjoy a scenic route through purple mountain majesty and the amber waves of grain.

When you choose a trusted car shipping company, use this guide to properly prep your vehicle for safe and secure transportation.

Prepare your car for shipment

Getting your car ready for the trip to your new house is not as simple as you might think. There are steps that will help ensure your vehicle arrives in perfect condition.

Vehicle’s documents

Auto transporters will want to know that the car is yours before they ship it. To prevent delays and frantic searches, prepare this paperwork in advance:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Bill of sale or other proof you own the vehicle
  • Driver’s license or passport
  • Vehicle title
  • Vehicle registration information

Wash your car

Car washes may seem counterintuitive, but they allow you to catch any dirt, scratches, and dings before they happen. As a car transporter, starting with a clean car means you know what needs to be repaired and can start at your new home with a fresh-looking vehicle. 

Don’t forget the interior: wipe down surfaces and clear out clutter so you can start with a fresh, clean car at your new home.

Damage documentation

The car is clean now. Go look for pre-existing damage. Look for dents, scratches, discolorations and paint chips. Maybe you should’ve started with a clean car, too. Even if you’re not using open transport or enclosed car shipping, your car probably won’t be damaged by the shipping process.

It’s wise to take pictures of your entire vehicle and document any damage you might have for your records. That way, when the car arrives, you can quickly fill out the condition report. If the company tries to deny responsibility for damage that occurred in transit, you can provide proof with these visual records.

Remove personal things from your car

You’ve packed up all your belongings, but you’re running low on space in the van. Maybe you think it’s best to put some heavy boxes in your car and just ship them? Don’t do it. Items packed in the car won’t be insured and transportation companies can be fined for carrying personal possessions on their van.

Instead of bringing unnecessary items with you, the following items should be left out of your vehicle:

  • GPS devices
  • Insurance information
  • Old food
  • Water bottles
  • Sunglasses
  • Charging cables

We all want to keep our vehicles clean, but it’s hard when you have to drive your car to the auto transport company. If you are going to load personal items in your vehicle, be sure they are loaded in the trunk so they are out of sight during the car transport. If you have a toll tag left in your vehicle, you will be charged fees as your car travels through tolls. Save the trouble and just remove the toll tag before loading it into your vehicle.

Keep your spare tire, emergency kit, jack, and license plate with the vehicle in the event of an issue.


If your car is inoperable, you need to inform the company so they can take care of it. When booking a car shipping service, you should check for any mechanical or leaking issues before the pick-up. In the event of a leak, have it repaired before pick-up. Alternatively, if your car is working, make sure to top off fluids and check for any leaks.

Check these before you ship your car:

  • Tire pressure: Properly inflate tires to avoid vehicle damage.
  • Battery charge: The battery should be fully charged.
  • Fluids: Top off fluids, check for leaks.
  • Mileage: Note the mileage of your car at pickup.

Empty your tank

Don’t fill up your car at the gas station before shipment. When you ship your car, it’s transported on a car carrier, not driven. Extra weight means extra cost. You don’t need to fill up the tank, because the gas is only for getting on and off the transport truck without running out of fuel and risking damage.