Preparing Your Vehicle for Interstate Transport

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Preparing your vehicle for an interstate auto transport journey requires taking some crucial steps upfront. But don’t worry; and this guide will walk you through everything you need to know before your car hits the open road. We’ll start by discussing how to thoroughly inspect your car and document any existing damage with photos. You’ll learn essential maintenance tips like checking fluid levels, tire pressure, and battery – essential for avoiding road troubles. We’ll cover what paperwork you need handy, like registration, insurance, and contacts for the driver.

You’ll get tips on providing keys, disabling alarms, and selecting the ideal pickup location with room to load your car. We’ll explain what to ask the transport company about proper securement methods during the drive. You’ll see how to use online tracking to monitor your car’s progress across state lines. Upon delivery, we’ll show you how to inspect for damage, test all functions, and notify the company promptly of any concerns.

Following our advice will give you confidence your car will arrive safely so that you can feel pumped for the new adventures ahead. Our guide takes the hassle out of preparing your wheels for a smooth, stress-free auto transport experience. So get ready to hit the highway!

Thoroughly Inspecting Every Inch of Your Vehicle inside and Out

Conducting a comprehensive inspection of your car before releasing it to a transport carrier is one of the most important preparatory steps. This allows you to document the condition of your vehicle beforehand so that you can verify nothing was damaged during the move.

  • Exterior Inspection

Take the time to do a thorough walk-around of the exterior and inspect every side of your car from various angles. Look for any pre-existing scratches, dents, paint chips, or body damage that could later be mistaken for transport-related issues. Inspect the hood, bumpers, side panels, mirrors, wheels, and undercarriage. Check that no parts are hanging loose or appear cracked or broken. Document any flaws you find by taking clear photos from multiple perspectives. Having dated photographic evidence can help with insurance claims or resolving disputes if any damage does occur during shipping.

  • Interior Inspection 

As with the exterior, inspect all interior surfaces within the cabin for any pre-existing damage or wear and tear. Look along the dash, center console, doors, roof, seats, and floor for scratches, scuffs, stains, or tears. Ensure no loose interior trim, panels, knobs, or rearview mirror components. Clear out all personal belongings and non-fixed items inside the car so nothing gets lost or damaged. Only leave what is permanently attached. Any heavy, unsecured objects can shift and collide during transport, potentially harming your interior.

  • Trunk and Storage Areas  

Look through all storage compartments of your car – the trunk, glove box, center console, and any other enclosed areas. Remove any belongings left inside so the car is empty for the moving company to access and secure cargo. Regarding car shipping to another state, be aware that trunks may be sealed during transit per regulations. Thus, confirm with your auto transporter about their specific policies.

Giving Your Car a Bumper-to-Bumper Maintenance Check

Ensuring your car is in good working order will help avoid any breakdowns or issues in transit between states. Performance problems can lead to transport delays and potentially hazardous situations on busy roadways. Give your car a complete maintenance inspection and address any concerns before releasing it to the carrier.

  • Fluids and Leaks

Open the hood and check all fluid levels – engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, power steering, and windshield wipers. Top up any low fluids to the proper fill lines. Scan under the car and around the engine for any dripping, wetness, or spots indicating a leak. Be sure to get any leaks fully repaired before shipping, as fluids dripping on the road can be a safety hazard and lead to further engine damage.

  • Battery 

An old, weak battery that dies during transport can cause issues loading or unloading your vehicle. Check that the battery terminals are corrosion-free and securely tightened. If your battery is over three years old, consider having it tested or replaced to be safe. The battery hold-down clamp should be tightly bolted to avoid bouncing during shipping.

  • Tire Pressure

Using a tire pressure gauge, check the air pressure in each tire and inflate it to the PSI recommended by your car’s manufacturer. This info is in the owner’s manual or a placard inside the driver’s side door jamb. Properly inflated tires protect the wheels and suspension when loading/unloading and on the road.

Getting Your Documents in Order Before Handoff

Having all required paperwork prepared and accessible will help the vehicle transport process smoothly at each stop along the route. The carrier may need to verify your registration and insurance for state permitting offices and weigh stations. Missing or incorrect documents can delay transport.

Here are some essential documents to have in order before handing your vehicle off for interstate auto transport:

  • Vehicle registration: Have the most up-to-date registration card for your car readily available. Confirm the VIN and license plate on the registration match your vehicle.
  • Proof of insurance: Ensure your auto insurance policy provides adequate coverage and is valid in all states your car will travel through. Inform your insurer of the transport plans.
  • Driver’s license: Provide a copy of your valid driver’s license with your current address for identification purposes.
  • Title documentation: While not always required, having the title shows proof of ownership in case any questions arise.
  • Bill of lading: The transport company should provide a bill of lading contract listing pickup/drop-off details, costs, and terms. Review carefully before signing.
  • Power of attorney: This legally authorizes the transporter to act on your behalf during the move if needed.
  • Contact information: Supply phone numbers, email, and emergency contacts so the company can reach you if necessary.
  • Shipping checklist: Use a checklist to gather and organize all transport-related documents in one place for easy access.

Registration and Insurance – Your License to Ride

Your registration and insurance info grant the legal right for your car to cruise across state lines – so double-check its ship shape! Make sure that the registration card has no expired tags or mismatched VINs. Confirm it matches the residence address on your license, too. Call your insurance agent and verify coverage keeps you fully protected door-to-door throughout the route. Nothing kills a road trip buzz faster than realizing you’re not insured in Nebraska! Discuss policy requirements with the transport company so there’s no question your documents legitimize the interstate voyage. You’ll breathe easy knowing your papers are for transport law enforcement stops. So take a few minutes to confirm everything’s valid – then Blaze that trail!

Emergency Contacts – Your Lifeline if Trouble Arises

We all know hiccups can strike even the most road-ready rides. That’s why providing your contact info is necessary before turning over your keys. Supply the driver your cell number, email, and home address – all channels they may need to reach you promptly if questions or concerns pop up mid-transit. List an emergency contact, too – give your spouse the heads up that they may field a critical call from the carrier if you become unreachable. Having your phone number handy allows for a fast connection so the company can immediately get your authorization to address any urgent issues. You’ll rest easy knowing you can quickly be reached to get your sweet ride back safely on the road.

Making Sure Your Vehicle is Pickup-Ready

Proper preparation when the auto transport carrier arrives to collect your vehicle will protect against issues. Follow these tips for an efficient, damage-free pickup.

·        Keys – Grant Access to Your Vehicle

You hold the keys to igniting this journey! Please provide an accurate spare or fob to the transporter so they can move your vehicle on and off the trailer with no trouble. Disable any anti-theft kill switches or immobilizers so your ride starts when needed during loading. Discuss ahead to coordinate ideal key exchange and security overrides.

·        Pickup Location – Choose a Safe, Accessible Spot

Please select a location with ample room for the carrier to maneuver their trailer during loading safely. Avoid cramped driveways or parking garages with low clearance where mishaps can happen. Pick a flat, paved area with no speed bumps or steep inclines that could jolt the car during access. Make sure the spot is legal – no rush hour commuter lane drop-offs! Clear surrounding vehicles or objects out of the way in advance. You want handoff in a secure, convenient space so transport gets off to a smooth start.

Staying on Top of Your Car’s Status While In Transit

Once those wheels pull away, the waiting begins. Will your beloved ride navigate hundreds of miles safely to its destination? How can you feel confident during the transport?

Track Your Vehicle’s Progress

Fortunately, most auto transporters provide real-time GPS tracking tools. Insist on access to monitor location so you always know precisely where your car is. Watch the mapped route as your vehicle inches across highways—mile by Mile. Tracking progress frequently reassures – if you see consistent movement, all is going to plan. But also be alert – sudden deviations or long holdups may signify potential issues worth investigating.

Stay Connected

While tracking provides visibility, it connects with the transport company through the drive. Exchange direct contact info so you can call or text for status updates anytime questions arise. Reach out periodically for peace of mind – ask if the driver encountered any challenges like weather or traffic delays. Proactive communication keeps you apprised of estimated arrival times or other changes. You’ll breathe easier knowing you can quickly get info straight from the source.

Contingency Plans

Understand what contingency protocols the auto transport company has in place in case of road troubles, breakdowns, or unforeseen delays. Reputable providers will have established emergency plans for transport completion, damage assessment, mechanical issues, etc. Inquire about their backup protocols upfront for risk mitigation.

Necessary Final Steps Once Your Car Arrives at Destination

The long-awaited day finally arrives – your car has reached its destination! While excited to reunite with your wheels, don’t forget these essential final tasks:

Inspect for Damage 

Look around the exterior – are there any new scrapes or scratches from the trip? Check the interior, too – did anything come loose or get damaged along the bumpy road? Make some notes and snap photos of any imperfections you spot. This creates a record that could help with an insurance claim. You’ll sigh a sigh of relief when you see your baby made it safe and sound!

Review Documents and Keep Records

The transport company should hand you paperwork like a condition report and bill of lading. Read through these docs carefully before signing to get your wheels back officially. Request copies of all the transport papers for future reference if any issues arise, and you must file a claim. Reporting concerns now gives you essential protection later.



Prepping your ride the right way before an extensive interstate transport makes all the difference for a smooth, pain-free shipping experience. Thoroughly inspecting things at the start and end allows you to catch any damage that happened during transit. Doing necessary maintenance beforehand lets you fix problems before they leave you stranded on the highway. Tracking your car’s journey and staying in contact with updates gives you peace of mind along the route.

Following the tips in this guide for inspection, maintenance, paperwork, coordination, and monitoring sets you up for success in releasing your car to an auto transporter. Taking it step-by-step reduces stress so that you can look forward to new adventures in your destination city. Reach out if you need a hand finding a reliable company to ship your wheels – we’ve helped many customers transport their rides safely out of state. Happy motoring!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should I do to prepare my vehicle for interstate transport?

Carefully inspect and take photos of any existing dents or scratches. Check fluids, tires, and batteries. Get registration, insurance cards, and your contact info ready. Choose a good spot for easy pickup. Ask how they’ll secure your car during shipping.

How do I choose a reputable vehicle transporter?

You need to research options online and compare reviews. Make sure you are licensed, bonded, and insured. Get quotes from several. Ask about safety protocols and backup plans. Select one that communicates well and transparently.

What are the risks associated with interstate vehicle transport?

The risks involved are exposure to road hazards like weather or accidents. Vehicles shift if improperly secured. Dishonest carriers mishandling cars. Damage claims are not being resolved fairly by shady operators.

How can I track my vehicle during transport?

Most companies have real-time GPS tracking websites or apps. Actively monitor the location and call for updates.

What steps should I take upon the vehicle’s arrival?

Immediately check for any new damage before signing off. Document concerns and notify the transporter ASAP in writing. Thoroughly review all paperwork and keep copies. Test drive vehicle.