How to Prep Your Car for Interstate Transport

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Whether you’re relocating or just purchased a car in another state, you probably don’t want to exhaust yourself driving in-between states. In this case, an auto transport company can help in safely and securely shipping your car to its new destination.  

That said, you should carefully prepare your car for shipment to ensure safe arrival. Proper preparation can minimize the risk of damage and theft, save money on preventable repairs, and allow the auto transport company to stay on a reasonable schedule.  

Here are specific steps on how to prepare and transport car interstate.

Spring Clean Your Car

Of course, the first thing you want to do to prepare your car is to clean it inside out. Cleaning your car is divided into two steps:

car interstate travel

Remove Junk, Valuable Items, And Loose Parts

A thorough cleaning starts by removing all junk, valuable products and securing or loose parts of your car.  

Check every nook and cranny of your car and throw away garbage or junk— from your collection of parking tickets in your dashboard to hidden candy wrappers left by your kids.  

You also want to remove the valuable products in your car to reduce the chance of theft during shipping. Remove all custom products or the add-ons you installed, including DVD players, custom stereos, GPS systems, etc.  

Remove any parking passes or toll tags on your car. These tool tags are highly likely to pick up fees for every toll your car passes through during the move. So, save yourself the unnecessary expenses and remove them! 

Now, if your vehicle has any loose or removable parts, make sure to remove or secure them before handling them to the moving agency. Fold those side-view mirrors, remove antennas or retract them, remove any custom spoiler so they are not lost or damaged during transport. If you have a convertible, make sure that the top is fully secured to avoid damage during transport.  

Vacuum, Wash, Wipe

After decluttering your car, it’s time to clean.  

Take your vacuum cleaner and microfiber rags out and start cleaning the interior of your car. Vacuum your car seats and flooring, clean up the mats and wipe the windows. Wipe away dirt and dust on your dashboard and other interior surfaces. Don’t forget about the cup holders, door jambs, and the usually forgotten spaces.  

Once the inside of your car is clean, it’s time to move on the exterior. Using a microfiber rag and a specialized soap for cars, give it a shower and scrub. Remember to clean around the tires and often-neglected places. You can buff the exterior to reveal any nicks and dings, which can help you in the next step.  

Check For Existing Damage

All cars have at least a few nicks and dings due to regular driving and weathering. These are easily overlooked since they’re not as noticeable as the more severe damages. However, not paying attention to these minor damages can be a costly mistake if something happens to your car while on transport.  

So, make sure to thoroughly inspect your car from the inside out. You can write down all dings, scratches, scuffs, and other types of damage in as much detail as possible. Keep your phone handy and take pictures to back up these notes with visual proofs.  

If you want to save yourself the trouble, you can also opt for a professional inspection. They check your car for any damages and mechanical issues to resolve before transport.  

Also, they can help in inspecting your car once it is delivered and unloaded to your new location, allowing you to find any possible damages that occurred during transport.  

Carry Out Necessary Car Maintenance

After taking note of existing damages and mechanical issues, you want to carry out the necessary car maintenance. This ensures that your car is ready to be driven once it arrives at your new home. 

Check Car Fluids

You need to check your car fluids and ensure that there are no leaks. A transport company can refuse shipment if your car has leaked, since it not only affects your car, but also other cars underneath it if it’s loaded on a multi-car carrier. 

Check The Tires

Tires should be inflated to the factory recommendations. Over-, under- or uneven-inflated tires can be risky during transport, both to the tires or the car itself. It can also be hazardous when loading your car on and off the truck. 

Empty The Gas Tank

A full gas tank makes your car heavier, resulting in extra charges and increasing risk during transport. Consider leaving as little fuel as possible at about ¼ to 1/8 tank. 

Now You Know How to Ready Your Car for Interstate Transport!

And that’s how you prep your car for interstate transport. Leaving your car in the hands of a 3rd party may be a concern for some. However, by choosing a trustworthy company and with proper preparation, you can expect a stress-free relocation, ensuring that your car makes it from point A to point B smoothly and safely. 

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John Miller

John Miller is a cars enthusiast who loves writing anything related to automobiles. He is a passionate blogger writing for and other auto blogs