Getting Your Car Ready for Transport

Getting Your Car Ready for Transport

We know, it’s crazy! We thought cars were supposed to bring you places, but sometimes cars need to bring your cars places! Turns out automobiles love car rides just as much as your dog! Here at Motherload, we do everything in our power to make your car’s ride as enjoyable and safe as possible, but we need a little help in preparation. Here are some tips to make your car’s experience the best that it can be!

Decide which type of transport you’d like

Auto transport comes in two forms: open-air and enclosed. There are advantages and disadvantages to both so make sure you research which one is best for you. Here are some thoughts to consider when you’re making this decision.


  • Less expensive:
  • An average $900 cost to ship a 2015 Honda Civic from Sacramento, CA to New York, NY
  • Less safe:
  • Your car is open to all the elements. This means wind, dirt, dust, and any objects that may be flying from other cars can easily hit your car.
  • Your auto driver can easily inspect your vehicle throughout their route because it’s open
  • During gas stops and food breaks, your driver is able to walk around the carrier to inspect your car and take note of any potential problems.
  • Better for the environment
  • Because open-air carriers are lighter and can hold more cars, less fuel is being used. These carriers get two green thumbs-up!


  • More expensive: An average $1,130 cost to ship a 2015 Honda Civic from Sacramento, CA to New York, NY
  • Safer: Because your car is enclosed on all sides, weather won’t be an issue. All the wind, dirt, dust, and objects might damage our carrier, but your car is sure to be kept safe!
  • deal for high-value automobiles: With increased safety and protection, it’s no wonder these carriers are ideal for the cars you’ve invested so much time, money, and effort into!
  • The auto driver cannot inspect your car as often or as efficiently
  • Although your vehicle can still be inspected, space is limited and open the carrier is much more complicated. You can still take solace in the fact that your car is still much safer in an enclosed carrier.
  • Worse for the environment: These carriers can’t hold quite as many vehicles and are often heavier. Because of this, they use more fuel and unfortunately, get a green thumbs-down.

Pick a date

Next, pick and schedule the date you want to drop your car off. You’ll want to ensure that you can be there once the car has made it to its destination so here are some rough estimates of timeframe so you can coordinate wisely. There are, however, many circumstances that can affect arrival time, these are merely estimates.

  • 0-200 miles: 1-2 days
  • 200-600 miles: 2-4 days
  • 600-1000 miles: 3-5 days
  • 1500-2000: 5-7 days
  • 2000-2400: 6-8 days
  • 2400 and up: 7-9 days

Remove all personal items

The Department of Transportation prohibits auto shippers from carrying “household goods” so don’t leave any in your car. This may seem like an inconvenience but it’s to protect you. In fact, if the DOT were to inspect the transporter, your belongings could be seized. Not to mention that your items could also be stolen. In this case, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You may also wish to remove any aftermarket items, such as DVD players, to ensure they’re protected.

Wash your car

Before taking your car, both you and your transporter will inspect the car for any scratches, damages, and problems with the car. The two of you will complete a paper called a Bill of Lading describing the location and type of each damage. This is to ensure that if any harm comes to the car, the company can cover it. If it was a prior damage, but it is not written down, there is no proof that it is the company should take responsibility. Washing your car is essential in making sure you don’t miss any damage before moving your vehicle.

Do a maintenance check

You should check virtually everything you can think to check before handing over your vehicle. Make sure that you don’t have any leaks, check for any warning lights on your dash, check tire pressure, etc. Tire damage is a common problem but can be easily avoided by having your tires properly inflated. Your chances of an issue occurring are much smaller if you take the steps necessary to make sure your car is in its best shape. We recommend leaving about a fourth of a tank of gas in your car. No, we aren’t taking your car for a joy ride (as much as we might want to sometimes!). But, your car will need to be loaded and unloaded. However, your tank should not be filled or else it’ll add weight that can possibly complicate the shipping process.

Alarm and keys

Make sure you have a spare key in case of emergency. It’s highly unlikely you’ll need it but there would be far too many regrets if your only vehicle key is lost. Also, make sure that your alarm is turned off. After all, can you imagine driving a car with an alarm going off all the way across the country?

Get all your documents together

Any paperwork given to you by the company should be signed and assembled for your car’s departure day. We love transporting cars, but we prefer them not to be stolen, so make sure to have your proof of insurance and driver’s license ready. A Bill of Lading is one of the documents you will need, but won’t be filled out until the day you leave your car. This is where that car wash comes in handy! You’ll search with an employee to record all damages before leaving your car.

You’re good to go! Get started now