Car Shipping 101: Preparing Your Car For Transit

Dec 4, 2019

Audi coupe in car wash
Audi coupe in car wash bay

Before shipping your car, there are a few important things that need to be done to your vehicle to ensure a swift drop-off and safe delivery.

Vehicle Condition

Before shipping your vehicle, please make sure that the inside and outside of your vehicle is clean; this will help to expedite the survey of the vehicle when it is picked up or dropped off and ensure any pre-existing damage is marked on the condition report.

We also ask that you check your tires to ensure that they have enough air pressure and are in good condition, as well as verify that your e-brake (parking brake) and foot brake are in working condition. When shipping during the winter months, winter tires should be installed prior to shipping as ice and snow can make it difficult to load and unload the vehicles from the trucks and/or trains with all-season or summer tires. 

Please make sure the battery is fully charged and in good condition. Vehicles can sit for long periods of time while awaiting the next mode of transit and the terminals where they are held are not equipped to boost dead batteries.


Vehicles should have sufficient engine coolant, transmission oil, and other necessary fluids. This is to ensure that your vehicle is prepared to operate regardless of the climate and at any time during transport when needed.

Fuel Level

Your vehicle will not be driven any great distance when it is being loaded or unloaded by the carrier. However, please make sure that you have a minimum of 1/4 tank of fuel in the vehicle.

If you have requested a door pickup or delivery service where your vehicle will be driven by a professional driver, please have enough fuel in the tank to allow for this added drive.

Your vehicle will not be driven any great distance when it is being loaded or unloaded by the carrier


We require one set of keys in order to drive the vehicle on and off the transport. If your vehicle comes with a fob to start the vehicle we will need that also.


Any factory-installed or aftermarket-installed alarms should be turned off. Please let us know of any special instructions required to start the vehicle or disarm an alarm or immobilizer. We are not responsible for any batteries that get drained due to an alarm that has not been disabled.

Luggage Carriers / Roof Racks

Any non-permanent or aftermarket roof racks, bike or ski racks, or luggage carriers must be removed for transport. Ask your shipping representative if they would be allowed to be kept inside the vehicle during transport. Roof rack rails affixed to the top of the vehicle by the manufacturer are allowed, as long as the vehicle’s overall height does not exceed 7 feet.

Personal Items

Unless otherwise specified by your shipping representative, all personal items must be removed from your vehicle before shipment can commence.

If you have been approved to have personal items inside your vehicle during transport, please note that personal items are not covered by insurance and therefore are shipped at your own risk. They must not obstruct any windows or be on or around the driver’s seat or on the front passenger seat.

Exceptions to the personal items policy above include booster cables, wheel wrench, car jack, vehicle emergency kits, and first aid safety kits; these items are allowed to be inside your vehicle during transport. The items listed above must be secured and must not obstruct the driver’s functions while loading and unloading your vehicle. Like any personal items allowed, these items are not insured during transport.

Flares or any flammable or explosive fluids or materials are not permitted to be inside or affixed to the outside of the vehicle.

Please remove any valuables from the vehicle such as sunglasses, car chargers, spare change, etc.

License Plate

As noted in section 17.11 of the Terms & Conditions, “damage or loss of license plates and accessories” are not covered under the Carrier’s insurance.

To keep your license plate from being damaged or lost during transport, please remove your license plate and put it inside the vehicle out of sight before handing your vehicle over to the carrier or leaving it at the terminal.

Request a quote in a minute or less

Just a few of the leading companies who have trusted MVS Canada with their vehicles