Gift Icon Get a 20% discount from our partners! Discount code will get added automatically when you submit the form.
4.7 Star Rating4.7 (67,926 reviews)
How much does shipping your Vehicle cost?
Free Instant Online Calculator based on quotes from Trusted Auto Shipping Companies
Customer Images
7790 people shipped using A-1 Auto Transport last week

Joe brought me peace of mind. I can’t thank you enough for being so reliable and trustworthy

No risk, no contracts. Just calculate your quote first and choose your contractor later.

Dave loved the fast deliveryDave C.
Dave loved the fast delivery
My relocation to Chicago was fast, smooth and without any delay thanks to A1 Auto.
Courtney enjoyed the honest guidanceCourtney J.
Courtney enjoyed the honest guidance
Just what you need when trusting someone with your wheels! Kudos to this company!
Jeff enjoyed the fair priceJeff D.
Jeff enjoyed the fair price
Moved my ride hassle-free with these folks.Fair pricing, no surprises. Definitely recommend them!
Maria enjoyed the special care and safetyMaria L.
Maria enjoyed the special care and safety
Huge thanks to the movers – they were meticulous with my car. Love these guys.
Recently featured on USA Today

“A1 Auto Transport became synonymous with top-notch service delivery, unfailing punctuality and constantly preoccupied with customer satisfaction.

See Article— USA Today

How to prepare a truck for shipping?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Detailed Preparation Steps
  2. Cleaning the Truck
  3. Documenting the Truck's Condition
  4. Securing or Removing Loose Parts
  5. Checking Fluids and Battery
  6. Locking the Truck
  7. Special Considerations for Different Truck Types
  8. Choosing the Right Shipping Company
  9. Understanding Insurance and Liability
  10. Preparing for Pickup and Delivery
  11. Conclusion
How to prepare a truck for shipping?

Shipping a truck can be a complex task, but with the right preparation, it can go smoothly. Whether you're relocating, selling, or sending a truck for business purposes, understanding how to prepare a truck for shipping is crucial. This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the steps you need to take to ensure your truck is ready for transport. By choosing a reputable auto transport company and following the detailed preparation steps, you can rest assured that your truck will arrive at its destination safely. Let's dive into the specifics of preparing your truck for the shipping process, ensuring a hassle-free experience from start to finish.

Preparing a truck for shipping involves several key steps to ensure it's safe and ready for transport. Firstly, clean the truck thoroughly, both inside and out. A clean car allows for more accurate inspection and prevents any personal belongings from being lost or damaged. Next, document the truck's condition by taking clear photos from different angles. This will be crucial if you need to file an insurance claim. Secure or remove any loose parts or accessories to prevent them from getting lost or causing damage during transport. Check all fluid levels and ensure the battery is fully charged and secured. It's also important to lock the truck, but provide keys to the truck driver for loading and unloading purposes. Lastly, communicate any specific instructions or concerns to the car shipping company to ensure they handle your truck according to your expectations. By following these steps, you can prepare your truck effectively for shipping, ensuring a smooth and stress-free transport.


Detailed Preparation Steps

Cleaning the Truck

A clean car is not just about aesthetics; it's about ensuring a smooth auto transport process. Start by removing all personal belongings from the truck's interior. Personal items are not covered by the auto transport company's insurance, and they can shift during transport, causing damage. Wash the exterior thoroughly, paying special attention to removing dirt and debris. A clean exterior allows for a more accurate inspection, ensuring that any dings or scratches are properly documented before shipping. Remember, a clean truck ensures a clear inspection, reducing the risk of disputes upon delivery.

Documenting the Truck's Condition

Before handing your truck over to the car shipping company, it's crucial to document its current condition. Take clear, high-resolution photos of your truck from various angles, ensuring that any existing damage is well-documented. Include close-ups of any scratches, dents, or other issues. Keep these photos and any related notes safe; they will serve as your baseline to compare the truck's condition upon delivery. This step is not just about protection; it's about peace of mind, knowing that you have a clear record of your truck's condition before it enters the shipping process.

Securing or Removing Loose Parts

Loose parts or accessories can become hazards during transport. Items such as antennas, custom spoilers, fog lights, or mirrors should be secured or removed if possible. If your truck has any special modifications or non-standard accessories, consider removing them to prevent damage. Ensure that all doors, windows, and compartments are securely closed, and if your truck has an alarm system, deactivate it to prevent it from going off during transport. This step is about minimizing risk and ensuring that your truck and its parts remain secure throughout the journey with the auto transport company.

Checking Fluids and Battery

Ensure your truck is mechanically sound before shipping. Check and top off all fluids, including oil, coolant, and brake fluid, ensuring they are at the recommended levels. However, keep the fuel level low, around 1/4 tank, to reduce weight and ensure safety during transport. Check the battery; it should be fully charged and securely mounted. If your truck has any known mechanical issues, inform the auto transport company beforehand. This not only prepares your truck for a safe journey but also helps the truck driver manage your vehicle more effectively during loading and unloading.

Locking the Truck

Once your truck is ready for shipping, you might wonder whether to lock it. Generally, it's advisable to lock your truck to prevent theft or unauthorized access during transit. However, provide a set of keys to the truck driver or the auto transport company. They'll need the keys for loading, unloading, and handling emergencies. Ensure that the set of keys you provide includes keys for the ignition, doors, and any locked compartments. Remember, while securing your truck is crucial, accessibility for the shipping company is equally important for a smooth transport process.

Special Considerations for Different Truck Types

Different types of trucks may require specific preparation steps. For instance, if you're shipping a pickup truck, ensure that the truck bed is empty and any bed liners are securely fastened. For larger trucks, like semi-trucks, additional steps like disconnecting the battery or securing loose interior items might be necessary. Always communicate with your auto transport company about the specific type of truck you're shipping. They can provide tailored advice and ensure that your truck is prepared in accordance with industry standards, guaranteeing a safe and secure transport process tailored to your truck's unique needs.

Choosing the Right Shipping Company

Selecting the right car shipping company is pivotal for a stress-free transport experience. Start by researching the reputation of various auto transport companies. Look for reviews, testimonials, and any industry awards or recognitions. Ensure the company has extensive experience in shipping trucks, as they will be familiar with the specific challenges and requirements. Discuss insurance coverage options with them; a reputable company should offer comprehensive insurance that covers any potential damage during transport.

Communication is key. A reliable car transportation company will be transparent about their process, from the type of auto transport truck used to the qualifications of their crew members. They should be willing to answer any questions you have about preparing your truck for shipping, the shipping process itself, and how they handle situations like existing damage or delays. Lastly, consider the cost, but remember that the cheapest option might not always provide the best value. The right company will balance cost, service quality, and reliability, ensuring your truck is in safe hands.


Understanding Insurance and Liability

Navigating insurance coverage is a crucial aspect of preparing your truck for shipping. Before you hand over your truck to the car shipping company, understand the extent of their insurance coverage. Ask for a copy of their insurance policy and clarify what is covered and what isn't. Typically, the insurance should cover any damage that occurs during transport, but it's essential to know the specifics, including any deductibles or limits.

Be proactive and discuss how the company handles claims for existing damage. Ensure you have all necessary documentation, including photos and a detailed inspection report, before and after transport. This will be invaluable if you need to file a claim. Remember, personal items left in the truck are usually not covered by the transport truck's insurance, so remove them beforehand. Understanding these details will help you prepare your car for shipping and give you peace of mind throughout the transport process.

Preparing for Pickup and Delivery

As the shipping date approaches, ensure your truck is ready and you're prepared for the pickup. Confirm the pickup date and time with the auto transport company, and ensure you or a designated representative is available. If your community has specific regulations, like parking passes for large vehicles, arrange these in advance to avoid delays.

During pickup, the driver will inspect your truck for any existing damage and note it on the Bill of Lading. Be present during this inspection and ensure all details are accurately recorded. Similarly, at delivery, inspect your truck thoroughly, compare it with the pre-shipping condition, and address any discrepancies immediately with the crew members. Proper preparation and attention during these steps ensure a smooth and transparent shipping process for your truck.



Preparing your truck for shipping is a meticulous process that demands attention to detail. From cleaning your truck and securing loose parts to understanding insurance coverage and being present for inspections, each step plays a crucial role in ensuring a smooth transport. Remember, the effort you put into preparing your truck reflects your commitment to its safety and condition. By following this comprehensive guide, you equip yourself with the knowledge to navigate the shipping process confidently. Trust in your chosen auto transport company and rest assured that your truck is on its way to its destination, prepared and protected.

Ready to ship your truck with confidence? Don't let the complexities of auto transport overwhelm you. A1 Auto Transport is here to guide you through every step, ensuring a seamless and secure shipping experience for your truck. Our expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction set us apart. Contact us today to discuss your truck shipping needs, and let us provide you with a service that meets your expectations. Visit our website or give us a call; our team is ready to assist you. Take the first step towards a worry-free shipping process with A1 Auto Transport, where your truck's journey is in safe hands.

Share this content on social media for a chance to get up to 20% off your next shipment.
Copy link

Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

Email Me

Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

Visit our social, and see what our clients are saying about us:

Ship Your Vehicle With A-1 Auto Today
Get an instant free Quote Now

Or Call Us Today and Speak Directly to Our Sales Team:

Call Us 1-888-230-9116

Our Partners:

Better Business Bureau Accredited
FMCSA Member
INC. 500 Member
VeriSign Secured
AMSA Member

A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
Copyright © 1988-2024, A-1 Auto Transport - All Rights Reserved.