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User Question

What do I need to do to prepare my vehicle for shipment?

How do I get my vehicle ready to move?



Carrier is being scheduled to pick up so here are the "Do's"

Preparing your vehicle in advance is important so that on arrival of the transport Carrier you have a smooth transaction.  

Here are 6 key points to know prior to pick up:

  1. Please have your vehicle accessible, so our driver can get it onto the truck as quickly as possible.
  2. Consider having the car cleaned, so that the Inspection Report our driver will complete can help you document there are no scratches or dings present.
  3. Kindly empty your vehicle of any personal items.
  4. remove any toll tags or parking passes that could incur charges as your vehicle crosses under a toll signal.
  5. If possible, fix any known leaks – or at least alert your Transport Coordinator so you can be kind to your fellow car shippers whose vehicle might otherwise be stacked below yours.
  6. If there are any modifications to your vehicle (raised, lowered, roof rack, camper, lowered etc.) please alert your Transport Coordinator when booking your order.
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Preparing for Shipping your Vehicle

Like anything else, it is always best to go into a situation well prepared. We have listed some things you might want to do before shipping your vehicle.

1) Additional Coverage: White not a necessity, you might want to call your insurance company and upgrade your policy. Most insurance companies know what exactly you will need to add to your policy for your time in transit. Your vehicle is insured through the company shipping your vehicle, but it is always best to have something from your own as well.

2) Clean Your Vehicle: We're not saying give your car a bubblebath. What we mean by clean your vehicle is to take out any personal belongings or items of value while preparing your vehicle for shipment. Personal belongings are not covered while your vehicle is in transit and you would not want items to get lost, stolen or damaged. 

3) Get a Few Different Quotes: It is always helpful to call and speak with a few different companies so you are able to determine the average price of what it is going to cost to ship your vehicle. It is always good to have multiple options and to keep an open mind.

4) Research: After reaching out to a couple of companies, do yourself a favor and do a little research on these companies. Do not let a low ball offer or a flashy website be your determining factor when it comes to shipping such an asset. Don't be hesitant to read some reviews of other peoples experience and check out their social media presence. Not always, but typically this can say a lot about a company.

5) Shipment Date: Though you can call the night before, it is always a good idea to leave some room for your shipping company to work around. We recommend calling and booking an order 1-2 weeks in advance to give you the best possible chance of a successful auto transport. Take in mind that the sooner you call to the date you want shipped, the higher the price will most likely be and a chance of delay is possible. 

6) Time: Be sure you arrange your pickup and delivery times to a day where you are free and have no prior commitments. A person must be at both origin and destination location to go through an inspection and sign off on a report. 


How To Prepare Your Vehicle For Shipment

Below you will find the steps to follow when preparing your vehicle for transport:

1.         Keys

You must provide the selected carrier with keys to the ignition, trunk, gas cap and any locked compartment. Please have copies of your keys made and leave only the copies (keep your original set of keys) after you have checked to ensure that the copies fit all devices/compartments.

2.         Don’t Fill Your Tank

Due to DOT weight regulations, we recommend that your gas tank be less than a quarter of a tank

3.         Packing Your Vehicle

Don’t over pack your Vehicle.  Only luggage or small boxes may be shipped inside the trunk only with a maximum weight of 100lbs.

An infant car seat and spare tire with jack are considered to be integral parts of the vehicle, so they may be included. You will/may be asked for additional compensation if your vehicle is over-packed or requires removal of anything that is not permanently mounted or bolted to the vehicle.

4.         Do Not Obstruct the Views from the Windows

This is mandatory and is for the safety of our crew. Our crew often has to load these vehicles on to our trailer with the mirrors folded in, using only the windows. If their view is obstructed the potential for damage and injury is greatly increased.

5.         Do Not Pack Firearms or Fire Extinguishers

No firearms, ammunition of any type or fire extinguishers may be shipped in a vehicle.

6.         Alarm Systems

If there is an alarm system, it must be disconnected prior to drop off or the alarm remote must be provided.

7.         Disabled / Inoperable Vehicles

If your vehicle is inoperable it must be in a safe location with easy access with inflated tires, fully operational brakes and steering.

8.         Over-sized / Modified Vehicles

Unless otherwise previously noted to our dispatch department, Vehicles that are Factory Stock cannot exceed certain height or clearance. All vehicles must have at least 6” of ground clearance OR maximum 7' high, otherwise we may be unable to accept your vehicle for a regular auto trailer which may increase your estimated rate.

9.         Vehicle should be clean

To ensure an accurate vehicle inspection report can be completed, please clean your vehicle. This will assist you and the driver to speed up the walk around the vehicle at pick up and destination.

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Preparing your vehicle to ship out with expedited shipping services


Ensure it is in running condition have the keys ready to hand to the driver and thats it! Wait for the drivers call within the 4-5 hr specified time frame we issue you or call the driver for a better eta

We dont require for the vehicle to be ran through a car wash or for plates to be removed or for a quarter tank of gas only to be in it. We do not even require for the vehicle to be yours! As long as you sign the proper contracts stipulating you have permission to transprot the car this is all we require so what are you waiting for? Call us today at 917-382-3441 and see why America ships with Expedited


Prepare car for transportation

 Remove antennas, loose parts like fog lights

Make sure the car is operable and clean

If you have some stuff, better put it in the trunk and it has to be not more than 100 lbs.

Remove all tags and plates.

Better leave around ¼ tank of fuel.


With our door to door service you dont have to worry about driving far to pickup or drop off your vehicle. Will coordinate all the logistics for you! Just be ready with your vehicle and keys. No documentation needed.

We’ll save you time by providing you a pickup and delivery time. No sitting around all day wondering when your vehicle will be picked up or delivered.

Every customer is assigned their own Transport Specialist throughout the Auto Shipping process, a personal point of contact, providing updates and answers to any questions or concerns that may arise via phone, text and email — your preferred method of communication.



How to Prepare Your Car for Transport

Though your car will be driven minimally during the transport process, it should be in good driving condition. Inoperable vehicles can be shipped, but the transporter must know in advance so that they can make the proper preparations. For operable vehicles, mechanical issues can cause unforeseen delays and damages. Therefore, you should perform a maintenance check before shipping your car. Check out uShip’s list of preparations below:

  • Make sure the battery has a full charge and that the tires are properly inflated.
  • Top off all fluids in the car
  • Run down your gas tank to a quarter or eighth full. An almost-empty tank will save weight and help keep your shipment moving along quickly.
  • Keep an eye on the vehicle for a few weeks prior to shipment. If there are any leaks or mechanical problems make sure the driver knows. Vehicles with leaks should never be placed on the top rack of a multi-car carrier.
  • Document mechanical problems and write down any special steps needed to drive your car on and off the trailer (including problems starting or stopping your car). Give these instructions to your driver.


Preparing to Ship Your Car

It is best to make some simple preparations before your car is placed on to the trailer.  Below are some tips to help make your transport go smoothly.

  • Wash Your Vehicle: Your carrier-driver will need to inspect your vehicle and take pictures if necessary. This is for your benefit as well as the carrier.
  • Lower Your Antennas: Antennas should be removed from the vehicle or lowered if possible. Temporary antennas need to be removed entirely.
  • Provide Keys: U.S. Department of Transportation requires that one set of all keys for the vehicle be provided to the carrier, including the ignition, trunk, and glove box keys.
  • Disable Your Alarms: Alarms should be turned off for transport. If there are special instructions required to start a car in order to disarm the alarm, please inform your Nations representative so they can note it on your dispatch sheet, which will be given to the carrier-driver.  The carrier is not responsible for drained batteries resulting from an alarm that has not been turned off.
  • Removed Detachable Racks: Remove any luggage, bike, or ski rack that is not permanently attached to the car.
  • Check for Leaks: The vehicle cannot have any obvious fluid leaks.
  • Secure Your Battery: The vehicle battery must be secure in the mounting bracket.
  • Remove Covers, Spoilers, Fairings, Air Dams or other low handing items: All exterior spare tire covers, grill covers, or car covers and hanging items must be removed from the vehicle. Your vehicle will be loaded on a truck that will bounce up and down…low riding items could incur damages if not prepared properly.
  • Pre-existing Damages:  Carriers will not be responsible for damage caused by any pre-existing condition or for parts that may come loose in the moving process. Carrier is not responsible for preventable damage caused by Acts of Nature. Examine your vehicle carefully before signing the Bill of Lading. Any damage not noted could end up costing you money if not reported at the time of pick up or delivery.
  • Remove Personal Items: Do NOT leave or transport anything valuable in your vehicle. We are not responsible for anything loose inside your car, including cell phones, radar detectors, garage door openers, E-Z Pass, removable radios, household goods, sunglasses, etc. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) prohibits the carrying of personal items on a truck licensed only for carrying automobiles. Stored personal items can also increase the overall weight of your vehicle, and could cause damage during transport. Any items left in the vehicle are subject to removal upon inspection at state line check points by the DOT.
  • Gas: The gas tank must have a minimum of 1/8 tank of fuel, but no more than 1/2 tank of fuel. The carrier may have to move your vehicle more than once to accommodate other cars that are being transported.



1) Remove antennas, loose parts like fog lights.

2) Make sure the car is operable and clean

3) If you have some stuff, better put it in the trunk and it has to be not more than 100 lbs.

4) Remove all tags and plates.

5) Better leave around ¼ tank of fuel. Not more as it is putting extra weight on the car.


Preparing the vehicle

Make sure it doesn't have any loose parts hanging from it.

Keep the gas level below 1/2 tank

Winterize it if you are shipping from warm climate to cold climate.


Preparing Your Vehicle for Shipping

Shipping your vehicle for the first time could be quite frustrating.

In order to make the process smoother, we have included a few things you should keep in mind while preparing your shipment.

  • Make sure that your vehicle's condition is just as it was described to the shipping agent.
  • If you are loading items in your vehicle, it must be under 100 lbs, stored in the trunk area only.
  • It is always best to inspect your vehicle on your own, detailing all the dents or scratches the vehicle might have
  • Inspect your neighborhood, making sure that a large semi-truck could fit in.
  • Keep good communication with the shipping company prior pick up.
  • Meet the driver at the pick up location once you have confirmed with him

More Answers


Great question! Read more on how to prepare your car for transport.

Read through our How to Prepare Your Car for Transport Guide for detailed insight into making sure your vehicle shipment goes smoothly. 

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Preparing your vehicle - Checklist

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Please read our todo's for preparing your vehicle for transport on our website.   www.patriottransportusa.  We have taken a considerable amount of time to make sure you are prepared for our carrier to load your vehicle.


shipment preparation

Any loose items inside your vehicle are not insured during transport. We tell people if they are moving that they can put up to 50lbs of non-sentimental/high in value hidden in vehicle/trunk. The weight is a concern due to the GVW that eash carrier calculates while loading their trailers to go through the USDOT stations legally.


Guidelines for preparing your vehicle for shipment, having it picked up, keeping in contact and what to do when it is delivered

  1. Your Shipping Agent is your first point of contact for any status, enquiries or changes you need to make on your order. Make sure you have his/her direct phone number and email address available when you contact them.

  2. Your order number is your only reference to your order. It should be available in all email communications.

  3. Phone numbers are critical for your agent to reach you. Make sure you provide as many phone numbers as possible to your agent so that there is no time delay when a carrier is assigned to pick up your vehicle.

  4. Whenever a carrier is identified for your shipment, your order will be dispatched according to your order agreement. If there were any changes to the details of the shipment, let your agent know ASAP before the truck is assigned. Failing to do so may lead to order cancellation, additional fees, and/or unplanned delays in shipping your vehicle.

  5. If your vehicle has been modified in any way, you need to tell your agent. It may cost you a great deal more, or your order may be cancelled and your deposit not refunded, if you neglect to inform your agent in time, before the vehicle is dispatched.

  6. Prepare your vehicle for pickup. It should be clean with a quarter tank of gas. This will be necessary for a good inspection and enough gas in case the driver has to drive your vehicle for any reason over short distances and for off and on loading your car.

  7. Provide only one key to the driver with the required remote. Make sure all other keys or attachments are removed. Duplicate keys should be sent to the destination address via another route. Indicate on the bill of lading that you have given the carrier only one key. They will normally not indicate it themselves.

  8. Remove or deactivate any electronic toll collection devices. It may be difficult to convince toll agencies that you were not responsible for collecting toll fees because your vehicle was on the trailer of an auto carrier. 

  9. IMPORTANT: You need to get a bill of lading (BOL) from the truck driver when picking up your vehicle. That is the document to check any damages to your vehicle before pickup. It needs to be dated and signed by both you or your representative and the carrier. A copy will stay at the pickup address and the driver will take a copy with him/her. At the destination, another inspection needs to be made and compared to the pickup bill of lading. Any additional damage identified needs to be indicated on the delivery bill of lading and needs to be signed again by both you or your representative and the carrier at the time of delivery. THIS IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENT TO VERIFY THAT YOUR VEHICLE HAS BEEN SHIPPED AND DELIVERED AS REQUESTED. Make sure that it is clear and all the details are identifiable. If this document is not clearly readable or not complete, any damage to your vehicle cannot be claimed for insurance or gap protection purposes.

  10. To add to the BOL, you need to take pictures of every panel of the vehicle as well as the hood, trunk, and roof at the time of pickup. Also take images of the inside of the vehicle. A second set of images should be taken at the time of delivery.

  11. It may be wise to purchase additional gap protection for damage detected only after the carrier has left. Make sure to register ANY damage within 48 hours after delivery. Failure to do so will negate any claims you may have afterwards. Gap protection also requires you to provide images of the vehicle condition upon pickup and delivery.

  12. Take the speedometer reading of the vehicle upon pickup as well as the level of your gas gauge.

  13. Remove all loose items in the vehicle. No personal items are covered by insurance. If you receive approval from a carrier to load some items in your vehicle, leave it in the trunk. If you overload the vehicle, you will be asked to remove it or pay a hefty penalty.

  14. DO NOT hand the driver the title of the vehicle or any other personal documents upon pickup. Those should be forwarded to the recipients through other means.

  15. When the vehicle is delivered, you need to make sure it is in a well lit area, should delivery occur at night, so that a good inspection is possible. If a carrier cannot deliver a clean vehicle in the same condition s/he picked it up, and it is too dark to inspect it, do not accept it. The carrier needs to make sure that you can do a valid inspection of the vehicle.

  16. Contact your agent immediately should there be any irregularities with your pickup and/or delivery experiences.