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5 ways to set yourself and your vehicles up for auto transport

Subscribe February 18, 2019
Auto Transport | Car shipping process

Are you moving across the country? And shipping your vehicles separately?
Moves are one of the most stressful things we can do in life. Uprooting from our home, family, friends, and community. Packing up everything we own and sending it away to a strange land. Sending our cars along ahead of us. And then, leaving on a jet plane ourselves. It's a busy time with many to-do lists and responsibilities. Here's some advice to help you prepare some of your most precious possessions for the big transition.

1. Give your vehicles a thorough cleaning -- inside & out.

There are two good reasons you should give your autos a good going over.

First, a clean car is easiest to assess before and after the trip. You, or your representative, are required to be present during the vehicle inspection at both ends. After each inspection, you will be required to sign the bill of lading and condition report.

We encourage you to conduct your own inspection as well. Take well-lit, dated photos with your smartphone or digital camera from all angles immediately prior to shipping. In the unlikely event that anything should happen during transport, you may submit these photographs as evidence supporting any insurance claims.

Secondly, isn't it nice to have a clean car?

2. Remove all non-standard & non-built-in items from your vehicle.

To make your vehicle as easy to ship and secure as possible, remove all the extras that you've grown so accustomed to that you've forgotten they're even there. Here's a list to help you find them all. They may not all apply to you.

  • all personal belongings;
  • garage door openers;
  • radios, cassette decks, and CD players that are not built in;
  • car phones;
  • E-Z toll tag passes;
  • exterior spare tire covers;
  • grill covers;
  • car covers;
  • hazardous materials;
  • firearms;
  • non-permanent luggage racks;
  • bike racks;
  • ski racks;
  • car seats;
  • fuzzy dice;
  • any Toll Tag or EZ Pass devices;
  • CD(s) from the CD player
  • bobbleheads;
  • Tiki dash dancers; and/or
  • backseat baby mobiles.

Also, retract or remove all antennas.

In short, if it's not from the factory or permanently installed, you will need to remove it. This limits exposure to damage from shifting, or jostling, during transport. Only standard items, like the jack and spare tire, may remain.

3. While you're at it, empty all the auto storage areas.

Remove all the unnecessary and expired paperwork from the glove compartment. Remove the kids' toys and videos from the back seat. Buy yourself a healthy snack, or treat yourself to something fun, with the change from the ashtray. Make sure you've got all of your device chargers – you'll need those! Take the road atlases and spare napkins out from the seat backs. Drop off the Goodwill bag in the trunk.

Almost as if you were preparing to sell it, only the new buyer is you!

4. Make sure your vehicle is tuned-up before shipping.

Most vehicles ship on a trailer rack behind a big truck. It may be an 18-wheeler with a double rack or a one-ton pickup with a flatbed. Either way, your car will need to be driven onto and off of the racks, possibly more than once during shipping when other cars are on- and off-loaded.

For this reason, car, truck, and SUV shippers ask that you leave at least a quarter tank of gas, but no more than a half tank. After all, who wants to pay to ship fuel?

In addition, the brakes must work, the battery must be secure in the mounting bracket, and the driver's side door and window must function. While these are the most common requirements, please review DAS' full pre-ship checklist.

5. Prep the paperwork for your new location.

For instance, if you're moving to another state, you'll need a new driver's license, new tags, new plates, new inspection stickers, and so on. You'll also need to update your insurance policy, which may result in increase or decrease of your premium.

You can do an internet search to find the nearest Department of Public Safety office as well as the nearest Department of Transportation office. Their websites should have checklists, contact info, and maps to help you get everything together as quickly as possible.

If you'd like an instant quote for how much it will cost to ship your vehicles to your new home, please fill out the form on this page. DAS would be happy to deliver for you.


No issues to report, service was dependable and reliable. Our car was available before the scheduled date! Very much appreciated!
T. Rosenthal


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