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How to prepare a vehicle for military auto transport?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Understanding Military Auto Transport
  2. Detailed Preparation Steps
  3. Documentation and Legal Requirements
  4. Choosing the Right Transport Service
  5. Preparing for Pickup and Delivery
  6. Conclusion
How to prepare a vehicle for military auto transport?

When it comes to transporting a vehicle for military purposes, the process demands meticulous attention to detail and careful preparation. Whether you're facing a Permanent Change of Station (PCS), deploying, or moving a military vehicle, understanding how to properly prepare your vehicle for transport is crucial. This not only ensures the safety and security of your vehicle but also facilitates a smooth and stress-free transport experience.

So, how do you prepare a vehicle for military auto transport? The key steps involve:

  1. Cleaning the Vehicle: A thorough cleaning, both inside and out, helps in identifying any pre-existing damage and makes the inspection process easier.
  2. Documenting Pre-Existing Conditions: Take detailed photos and notes of any current damage to your vehicle before transport.
  3. Securing or Removing Loose Items: Ensure that all personal belongings are removed and any loose parts of the vehicle are secured.
  4. Checking Fluids and Battery: Ensure all fluids are at the proper level and the battery is fully charged.
  5. Disabling the Alarm System: To prevent any potential issues during transport, disable any alarm systems.
  6. Ensuring Adequate Fuel Level: Keep the fuel level low, ideally around a quarter tank, to reduce weight and ensure safety.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into each of these steps, providing you with a comprehensive guide to prepare your vehicle effectively for military auto transport. Our aim is to equip you with all the necessary information, ensuring that your vehicle reaches its destination in the same condition it left, with no surprises along the way. Let's get started on ensuring your vehicle is perfectly prepped and ready for its journey.


Understanding Military Auto Transport

Military auto transport is a specialized service designed to meet the unique needs of service members and their families. It involves the transportation of vehicles, often over long distances, in a manner that is both secure and efficient. This service is particularly crucial for military personnel who are relocating due to a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) or being deployed to a new location.

The process of military car shipping differs from standard vehicle transport in several ways. Firstly, it often requires adherence to specific military guidelines and schedules. Additionally, military car transport services are adept at handling the bureaucratic aspects of military moves, such as dealing with necessary paperwork and clearance.

Military car shipping services are not just about moving a vehicle from point A to point B. They encompass a range of services and considerations, including door-to-door delivery, storage options, and even international shipping for overseas deployments. These services are tailored to alleviate the stress and logistical challenges that military personnel face during relocations.

Understanding the nuances of the military car shipping process is the first step in ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. It's about more than just transportation; it's about providing peace of mind to those who serve.

Detailed Preparation Steps

Preparing your vehicle for transport, especially in the context of military car shipping, requires attention to detail. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the steps to ensure your privately owned vehicle (POV) is ready for the journey:

  • Deep Cleaning: Begin by giving your vehicle a thorough clean, both inside and out. This step is not just about aesthetics; it's crucial for accurately assessing the vehicle's condition. A clean vehicle makes it easier to spot any dings, scratches, or dents that need to be documented.
  • Documenting the Vehicle’s Condition: Once your vehicle is clean, document its current state. Take clear, date-stamped photos from various angles, and write down any existing damage. This documentation will be vital if you need to file a claim for any transport-related damage.
  • Removing Personal Items: Military car shipping companies typically stipulate that personal items must be removed from the vehicle. This is both for security reasons and to prevent damage to your belongings. Check all compartments, including the trunk, and remove items like chargers, sunglasses, or CDs.
  • Checking Fluids and Battery: Ensure that all vehicle fluids (oil, coolant, windshield wiper fluid) are at the recommended levels. A fully charged battery is essential, as the vehicle may need to be driven for loading and unloading purposes.
  • Securing Loose Parts: If your vehicle has any loose parts or specialty items like spoilers, bike racks, or antennas, secure or remove them. This prevents any potential damage during transport.
  • Disabling the Alarm System: To avoid any disruptions during transit, make sure your vehicle's alarm system is disabled. This is a common request from car shipping companies to prevent unnecessary complications.
  • Fuel Level: Keep your fuel tank around a quarter full. This is enough to drive the vehicle for loading and unloading but not so much that it adds significant weight or poses a safety hazard.
  • Tire Pressure and Leaks: Check that your tires are properly inflated. Also, inspect for any leaks. A vehicle with under-inflated tires or active leaks can pose challenges during transport.
  • Locking the Vehicle: Once loaded onto the carrier, your vehicle should be locked. This secures your vehicle during transport.

By meticulously following these steps, military personnel can ensure their vehicle is optimally prepared for the rigors of transport, reducing the risk of damage and complications.


When it comes to military car shipping, handling the documentation and understanding the legal requirements is as important as the physical preparation of your vehicle. Here’s what military personnel need to know:

  • Proof of Ownership: You must provide proof of ownership when shipping a vehicle. This typically includes the vehicle title and registration. Ensure these documents are current and accessible.
  • Military Orders: Military car shipping often requires a copy of your military orders. These documents validate the need for transport and may be necessary for certain privileges or discounts offered by the car shipping company.
  • Insurance Documentation: While vehicle transport companies offer insurance, it’s crucial to understand what is covered. Check your personal auto insurance policy and the transporter’s coverage. Ensure you have documentation of both in case of any disputes or claims.
  • Power of Attorney (If Applicable): If someone else is handling the vehicle transport on your behalf, a power of attorney may be required. This legal document authorizes another person to make decisions regarding the transport of your vehicle.
  • Check for Liens: If your vehicle is financed or leased, check if there are any restrictions or requirements from the lienholder regarding transport.
  • Understand Transporter’s Policies: Each car shipping company has its own set of rules and policies. Familiarize yourself with these, especially regarding cancellations, delays, and insurance claims.

By ensuring all documentation is in order and understanding the legal aspects, military personnel can navigate the military car shipping process more smoothly, avoiding last-minute hurdles and ensuring compliance with all necessary regulations.

Choosing the Right Transport Service

Selecting the right auto transport company is a critical step in the military car shipping process. The company you choose should not only be reliable but also experienced in handling the unique requirements of military shipping. Here are some key considerations:

  • Experience and Reputation: Look for a military car shipping company with a solid track record. Check online reviews and testimonials to gauge their reliability and customer service quality. A company experienced in military auto transport will understand the specific needs and challenges involved.
  • Licensing and Insurance: Ensure the company is licensed and insured. This is crucial for protecting your vehicle during transport. A reputable auto transport company will have no issue providing proof of their licensing and insurance coverage.
  • Services Offered: Consider the range of services offered. If you're shipping a car overseas, does the company have experience with international military shipping? Do they offer door-to-door service? Understanding the scope of their services will help you choose a company that best fits your needs.
  • Customer Service: Good communication is essential. The auto transport company should be responsive and willing to answer your questions. They should keep you informed throughout the transport process, providing updates about your vehicle's status.

By carefully evaluating military car shipping companies based on these criteria, you can ensure a smoother, more secure transport experience for your vehicle.


Preparing for Pickup and Delivery

The final phase of the car shipping process involves preparing for the pickup and delivery of your vehicle. This stage is crucial for ensuring a smooth handover to the auto transport company and a hassle-free reception at your destination.

  • Before Pickup: Confirm the pickup date and time with the military auto transport company. Ensure your vehicle is ready, based on the preparation steps previously outlined. Remove all personal belongings from the car to prevent loss or damage. Keep your documentation, like the inspection report and transport agreement, handy.
  • During Pickup: Be present or designate someone you trust to handle the pickup. The driver will conduct a final inspection of your vehicle. Make sure this inspection is thorough and that any pre-existing damage is accurately noted.
  • At Delivery: Upon delivery, inspect your vehicle carefully for any damage that might have occurred during transit. Compare its condition to the pre-transport inspection report. If everything is in order, sign off on the delivery paperwork.

By being well-prepared and attentive at both ends of the transport process, you can ensure a successful and stress-free experience with your chosen military car shipping company.


In conclusion, understanding and navigating the car shipping process is vital for service members and military families. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can prepare your vehicle effectively for transport, ensuring its safety and security. Remember, the key to a smooth experience lies in choosing the right car shipping company, understanding car shipping costs, and being thorough in the preparation and documentation of your vehicle. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can achieve a stress-free transport, allowing you to focus on the other important aspects of your military relocation or deployment.

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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.

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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
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