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9 Ways To Prepare For Transporting Your Car Cross Country

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Preparing Your Car for Cross Country Transport

When you’re planning a move across the country, you need to do everything you can to minimize stress and make the relocation as simple as possible. If you have a car to transport, you first need to decide if you’re going to drive it yourself or have it shipped, a common option for classic cars or non-daily drivers. Below, we have nine tips for moving your car across the country, including pointers for preparing it for driving and shipping.

If You’re Driving Your Car

If you’re driving your car, the last thing you want is an issue on the road. Below are some tips for avoiding unexpected stops and setbacks during your move.

1. Replace All Fluids

One of the easiest things to forget before setting out on a long trek in your vehicle is replacing the fluids. To avoid unexpected and potentially dangerous issues, top up your windshield wiper fluid, check your power steering fluid, and change your oil. Also, don’t forget to start out with a full tank of gas to avoid lengthy stops once you get out of your hometown.

2. Have It Inspected

It’s a good idea to have your car inspected before you take it on a long road trip. This will help identify any major issues that you might miss during your own inspection. State inspections also help ensure things like directionals, headlights, and exhaust systems are functioning properly.

3. Make Sure the Brakes Are in Good Condition

If you’re about to travel hundreds of miles, the last thing you want is to do it in a car with faulty brakes. It will cost you a few hundred dollars to get your brakes inspected or the pads replaced, but the price is well worth the peace of mind, especially if your car doesn’t have a brake wear indicator.

4. Rotate Your Tires

Finally, consider having your tires rotated before you set out. Tire rotation helps maintain good traction and avoid uneven tire wear. Again, this process is mostly for the peace of mind, but it can also help avoid potentially dangerous or even deadly issues with your car while you drive it across the country.

If You’re Shipping Your Car

If you instead plan to ship your car, you can use the below tips to help you get your vehicle to your new home safely.

5. Decide Who Will Drive

First, figure out if it’s more cost-effective and worthwhile to drive your car on a trailer yourself or to have a moving company drive the towing truck for you. If you’re driving the truck yourself, make sure you understand truck checkpoints and when you have to stop at weigh stations. If you don’t, you could be looking at hefty fines. 

6. Disable the Alarm

Regardless of who is towing your car, make sure you disable the alarm if you have one. There are few things more frustrating than having a blaring alarm system following you for hundreds of miles, not to mention you could waste your car’s battery.

7. Empty the Gas Tank (Almost)

The lighter your car, the more affordable it will be to ship. One of the easiest ways to drop weight is to siphon gas out until you’re at about ⅛ of a tank. Make sure to leave enough to get your car onto and off of the trailer and for emergencies in case the car needs to be driven at some point in the journey.

8. Take Out Any Toll Payment Devices

If you have an EZ Pass or some other electronic toll device, make sure you take it out of your car before it gets towed across the country. If you forget, you could be charged twice for every toll — once for the flatbed or tow truck and again for the car you’re transporting.

9. Check for Damage

Finally, make sure you check your car for damage before you begin your cross-country trip if you’re having it transported. It’s a good idea to wash your car to make it easier to identify damage and then take pictures. Take them from all angles and make sure to get close-ups of the body, including fenders, bumpers, doors, and side panels.

If you’re paying a company to transport your car for you, you’ll want clear reference photos in case anything happens to the car during its trip. This will help ensure your insurance covers the damage or that the moving company is held rightfully responsible for any issues.