Ultimate Guide: Preparing Your Vehicle for Long-Distance Transport

Preparing your vehicle for long-distance transport is critical to ensure a smooth and safe journey. Whether you’re relocating, purchasing a car from another state, or heading on a cross-country road trip, proper preparation can minimize the risk of damage and ensure your vehicle arrives in top condition. This article will guide you through essential steps to get your vehicle ready for long-distance transport.

Clean Your Vehicle Inside and Out

Before handing your vehicle over to the auto transport company, thoroughly clean the interior and exterior. Cleaning the car allows you to inspect its condition more accurately. It makes it easier to detect any pre-existing damage. Moreover, a clean vehicle ensures the auto transport company can inspect it thoroughly upon pickup.

Remove Personal Belongings

Take out all personal belongings and valuables from your vehicle. The auto transport company’s insurance typically doesn’t cover personal items inside the car, and leaving them could lead to damage or loss during transit. Make sure to check the trunk as well, as objects in the trunk can also shift during transport and cause damage to your vehicle or other items.

Check for Leaks and Mechanical Issues

Inspect your vehicle for fluid leaks, such as oil, coolant, or brake fluid. Addressing leaks before transport can prevent potential damage to your car and other vehicles on the carrier. Additionally, make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition. If you notice any issues, have them repaired by a qualified mechanic before the transport.

Disable or Deactivate Toll Tags and Alarms

Disable any electronic toll tags or transponders in your vehicle to avoid unnecessary charges during transport. Additionally, deactivate any car alarms or anti-theft devices to prevent them from triggering during the journey. Alarms going off during transport could cause distractions for the driver and delay the delivery of your vehicle.

Document the Vehicle’s Condition

Take clear and detailed photographs of your vehicle from multiple angles before handing it over to the auto transport company. These photos will document your car’s condition in case any issues arise during transit. Note any existing scratches, dents, or other damages to ensure you have evidence for insurance purposes if needed.

Check Tire Pressure and Battery

Ensure your vehicle’s tires are correctly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Proper tire pressure helps prevent damage to the tires during transport and ensures better fuel efficiency for the carrier. Additionally, check your car’s battery and ensure it is fully charged, as the vehicle may need to be moved multiple times during loading and unloading.

Secure Any Loose Parts and Accessories

If your vehicle has any removable parts or accessories, such as spoilers, roof racks, or bike carriers, remove and secure them properly. If removing them is impossible, make sure they are securely fastened to the vehicle to avoid damage during transport.

Keep the Gas Tank Partially Full

Maintain a partially full gas tank during transport. A quarter tank of fuel is usually sufficient, as it reduces the vehicle’s overall weight while still allowing for any necessary movement during loading and unloading. An empty tank is not recommended, as it may hinder the process and create safety hazards.

Communicate with the Auto Transport Company

Stay in touch with the auto transport company throughout the process. Confirm pickup and delivery details, discuss any special requirements for your vehicle, and ensure they have all the necessary documentation and information about your car. Clear communication will help facilitate a smooth and successful long-distance transport.


Preparing your vehicle for long-distance transport is vital to ensure its safe and secure arrival at the destination. Cleaning your vehicle, removing personal items, and checking for leaks and mechanical issues are essential. Documenting the vehicle’s condition, disabling toll tags and alarms, and securing loose parts and accessories are also crucial. By following these steps and communicating effectively with the auto transport company, you can have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is well-prepared for its journey across the states.

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