How to Ship a Car to Another State in 9 Steps

How to Ship a Car to Another State in 9 Steps

Hiring a car shipping company to handle the process of transporting your car is necessary when relocating. The company will handle the task of transporting the vehicle to its destination within days.

However, before entrusting the motor vehicle to the preferred car shipping company, there are several things you need to do.

In this article, we will explore a detailed guide on how to prepare a car for shipping to another state.

Visit for a dedicated guide on what auto shipping is about.

1. Remove All the Items in the Vehicle

One of the first things to do when preparing a vehicle for shipment, whether you want to sell it or use it by yourself, is to ensure that there are no personal items from the last owner in it.

Even seemingly harmless objects can pose a risk during transit, potentially causing damage to your vehicle or others in transport. Besides, most car shipping companies don’t take responsibility for personal items left inside the vehicle.

Therefore, thoroughly inspect all compartments of the car, including the trunk and glove to ensure nothing is left behind. Aside from protecting your belongings, this step helps ensure the accurate assessment of the car’s weight and condition during the inspection.

2. Clean the Car Thoroughly

Clean the Car Thoroughly

Before shipment, ensure to invest time into thoroughly cleaning the vehicle to be transported.

Ensuring to properly clean before you ship your car to another state will help in revealing any existing damages such as scratches or dents that might otherwise go unnoticed. This step sets the stage for proper documentation and facilitates a more accurate inspection.

3. Inspect the Vehicle for Pre-Existing Damages

Another important step to take when preparing a car for shipping is an inspection for pre-existing damages. This process helps differentiate between existing scratches or dents and any potential new damage that may occur during transport.

Take the time to examine every inch of the vehicle, documenting any damages. Inspecting the car will give you a clear understanding of the car’s condition before it’s transported or shipped.

4. Take Photographs for Documentation Purposes

Take Photographs for Documentation Purposes

Take clear photographs during the inspection. Ensure to capture the car from different angles, taking note of all existing scratches and dents identified during the inspection.

Taking photographs of the car will give you visual evidence in case any discrepancies arise upon the car’s arrival at its destination.

5. Perform Car Maintenance if Necessary

Ensuring the vehicle is in optimal condition is paramount before entrusting it to a shipping company for a long-distance shipment. Address all necessary maintenance tasks including checking the tire pressure, fluids levels, and brake condition.

Check the tire pressure to ensure it’s properly inflated. Having good tire pressure is essential for the shipping process.

Confirm the fluid levels, including oil, coolant, and transmission fluid, are at the recommended levels. This is to ensure the vehicle’s engine and other vital components operate smoothly during the transit.

Verify that the brake system is in good working order. This is crucial for ensuring the safety of the car during loading and unloading while shipping. Performing maintenance checks and addressing the issues will help minimize the risk of mechanical issues when shipping.

Click here to learn more about how to perform car maintenance

7. Maintain a Quarter Tank of Fuel

Maintain a Quarter Tank of Fuel

Having a quarter tank of fuel is essential when shipping a vehicle to another location. This is because the car will have to be driven into and off the shipment carrier.

A quarter tank provides enough fuel for essential operations without adding excess weight that could affect the shipping costs.

6. Secure Loose Parts

When shipping the vehicle over long distances, it may encounter various road conditions. To prevent potential damage, secure any loose parts that could be susceptible to vibrations or external forces.

This includes items like antennas, side mirrors, or any accessories that could easily dislodged. Take time to secure these components to ensure the vehicle arrives at its destination intact.

8. Turn Off the Car’s Alarm System

Turn Off the Car's Alarm System

Before handling the vehicle for shipment, ensure to turn off or disable the alarm system. A blaring alarm during transit can be not only a nuisance but also a potential drain on the car’s battery. Therefore, confirm that the alarm is deactivated to avoid any unnecessary complications.

9. Perform a Final Inspection with the Representative of the Car Shipping Company

Before you ship a vehicle to another state, ensure to conduct a final inspection with the representative of the auto shipping company.

This joint assessment provides an opportunity to review the documented condition of the vehicle, address any concerns, and ensure both parties are on the same page.


Preparing a car for shipment to another state requires a lot of necessary operations. This includes properly cleaning the car, taking out personal belongings, and performing joint inspections.

Doing all this will ensure the car is safeguarded and transported safely to another state. It also ensures the car arrives at its destination in the best condition.