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How to prepare my car for transport in Los Angeles?

Published by Joe Webster.

How to prepare my car for transport in Los Angeles?

When wondering "how do I prepare my vehicle for transportation in Los Angeles," the first step is to choose a reputable auto transport company. Selecting the right car shipping company is crucial, as they will guide you through the process and ensure that your vehicle arrives safely at its destination. Start by researching local car shipping companies in Los Angeles, checking their reviews and verifying their credentials. Once you've chosen a reliable car shipping service, consult with them about the specific regulations and challenges of navigating Los Angeles' bustling roads. They can offer valuable insights into the best times for pickup and delivery to avoid heavy traffic, which is vital for a smooth transport experience.

Cleaning and Inspection: Ensuring Your Vehicle is Ready

  • Clean Your Vehicle: Wash both the interior and exterior thoroughly to facilitate a detailed inspection.
  • Document Existing Conditions: Take detailed photos and make notes of any existing damage to ensure you have documented proof prior to transportation.
  • Check for Personal Items: Ensure all personal belongings are removed from the car to avoid loss or damage during transport.
  • Secure Loose Items: Fasten or remove any loose parts or accessories to prevent them during transit.
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Personal and Loose Items: What to Remove from Your Vehicle

  • Remove All Personal Belongings: Take out all personal items such as gadgets, clothes, documents, and other valuables not tied to the vehicle's operation.
  • Secure Interior Accessories: Ensure that items like seat covers, removable floor mats, and GPS devices are secured or removed.
  • Check the Trunk: Remove all items from the trunk except for the necessary tools like the jack and spare tire.
  • Exterior Accessories: Take down any removable exterior accessories such as antennas, spoilers, or bike racks to avoid damage.

These lists provide clear, actionable steps for preparing a vehicle for transportation, ensuring a smooth and secure shipping process in Los Angeles.

Checking Fluids and Battery: Mechanical Prep Tips

Ensuring that your vehicle is mechanically ready for transportation is a crucial step in the preparation process. Before you ship a car, check all fluid levels and make sure they are topped up to the recommended levels. This includes oil, coolant, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid. It's also wise to check the battery charge and secure it firmly in place. Here are some practical tips:

  • Oil and Coolant: Ensure they are filled to safe levels to prevent any mechanical issues during transit.
  • Battery: Must be fully charged and securely mounted to avoid disconnections or spills.
  • Brake Fluid: Check for adequate levels to ensure brakes function properly when loading and unloading.

A reliable auto transport company will often verify these aspects during the pickup process, but taking personal initiative ensures no delays or issues.


Tire Pressure and Leaks: Pre-Transport Checks

Proper tire pressure is essential for safely loading and unloading your vehicle, as well as preventing damage during transport. Before your vehicle is picked up by the car shipping company, ensure that all tires are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended levels. Also, inspect your vehicle for any leaks that could pose a risk during transport. Here's how to handle these checks:

  • Tire Pressure: Correct tire pressure ensures the vehicle can be safely driven on and off the transporter.
  • Fluid Leaks: Check under the car for any signs of oil, coolant, or other fluid leaks.

Addressing these issues prior to transport with a shipping company reduces the risk of delays and additional car shipping costs related to emergency maintenance.

Documentation and Keys: What You Need to Hand Over

When preparing for car transport, gather all necessary documentation that the shipping company will require. This typically includes registration, proof of insurance, and a photo ID. Ensure you have all documents ready to hand over to the best car shipping company you have chosen to work with. Here are key points to consider:

  • Keys: Provide the driver with a set of keys or fobs needed for all vehicle operations.
  • Documentation: Registration and insurance documents must be accessible for inspection at pickup and delivery locations.

Organizing these items will facilitate a smooth handover process and help avoid any issues at the delivery locations. Remember, removing all personal belongings from your vehicle prior to shipment is essential as they are not covered by the transporter's insurance and could pose a risk during transit.


Locking Up: Security Measures Pre-Transport

When preparing your vehicle for auto transport, deciding whether to lock your car during the shipment is crucial. Most California auto transport services recommend locking your vehicle to prevent theft during transit, especially in busy logistic hubs. Here's how to ensure your vehicle is secure:

  • Lock Doors: Always lock the doors before handing over your vehicle to the auto transport driver, enhancing security during stops.
  • Alarm Systems: If your car has an alarm system, ensure it's turned off to prevent it from activating during transport, which could drain the battery.
  • Spare Keys: Provide a spare set of keys to the driver, but keep all main sets with you for security.

These steps will help maintain the security of your vehicle from pickup to delivery, offering peace of mind throughout the car shipping process.

Final Walk-Through with the Carrier: What to Expect

The final walk-through with your auto transport carrier is a critical part of the shipping process. It ensures both you and the carrier are on the same page regarding the condition of your vehicle and expectations about the transport. Here’s what to focus on:

  • Condition Report: Review the condition report filled out by your auto transport driver. Confirm all details are correctly noted, including any pre-existing damage.
  • Transport Method and Route: Discuss the transport method and route. Confirm whether you’re opting for open or enclosed transport and understand the planned travel route.
  • Delivery Expectations: Set clear expectations about the delivery times and door-to-door transport specifics if applicable.

Being thorough during this final review helps prevent disputes about the condition of your vehicle upon delivery and ensures a transparent car shipping process.

Emergency Preparedness: Contact and Plan

Having a plan for emergencies or unexpected delays is essential when engaging in California car shipping. Here’s how to prepare:

  • Carrier Contact Information: Always have your auto transport service's contact information handy, including the direct line to your assigned driver.
  • Backup Plans: Discuss and agree on backup plans with the carrier for any unforeseen delays or issues en route.
  • Check for Updates: Regularly check for updates regarding carrier availability and any factors that might affect timing, such as weather or traffic conditions.

By preparing for the unexpected, you can ensure that even if issues arise during the transport of your vehicle, you have the necessary arrangements in place to handle them efficiently. This preparation includes knowing the best auto transport company’s procedures for handling emergencies and keeping an open line of communication throughout the transport process.

Post-Transport Inspection: Ensuring Everything Went According to Plan

Once your car arrives, conducting a thorough post-transport inspection is essential to ensure everything went according to plan. Here are steps to follow:

  • Initial Inspection: As soon as your car is delivered, check for any visible discrepancies or damages that might have occurred during shipment. Ensure the tires are still properly inflated and that the vehicle has enough gas left, as it was picked up.
  • Document Discrepancies: If any damages are found, document them with photos and note the condition compared to pre-shipment inspections.
  • Report to Transport Service: Immediately report any discrepancies to the auto transport service. Provide them with the documented evidence and discuss the next steps according to their policies, which may include filing a claim for damages.

Taking these steps ensures that you are adequately prepared for any issues that may arise post-transport and that you can address them promptly with the shipping company to resolve any concerns.


Preparation Guide for Different Types of Cars for Auto Transport

Type of Car

Preparation Points for Transport

Electric Cars1. Charge the battery to at least 50% to ensure it can be driven off the transport on arrival. 2. Disable any alarm systems to prevent accidental activation during transport.
Hybrid Cars1. Check battery health and ensure fuel levels are minimal but adequate for loading and unloading. 2. Secure or remove any loose parts or external accessories to prevent loss or damage.
Sports Cars1. Ensure low clearance is communicated to the transporter to accommodate special loading needs. 2. Protect the exterior with a custom-fit cover to prevent scratches or dents during transit.
SUVs1. Check fluid levels and tire pressure to ensure the car is stable during transport. 2. Fold down or remove external mirrors and antenna to reduce the risk of damage.
Classic Cars1. Use enclosed transport options to protect the vehicle from the elements and road debris. 2. Document and photograph the car's condition pre-transport to ensure any claims for damage can be accurately assessed.


Preparing your vehicle thoroughly for transport safeguards against potential issues and ensures a smooth process. Attending to often overlooked details can make a significant difference in protecting your investment throughout its journey.

Ready to ship your Vehicle with confidence? Contact us today to schedule your vehicle's transport with a trusted leader in the industry. Let us handle the details so you can enjoy a worry-free experience from start to finish.

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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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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!

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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.

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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
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