Ah, the thrill of adventure!
Whether it’s relocating to a new city or embarking on an epic road trip, shipping your car is an exciting way to transport your beloved vehicle to its next destination.
But before your car sets sail (or, rather, rolls onto the carrier), one crucial step can’t be overlooked—cleaning your car before shipping to a gleaming perfection!
Let’s dive into why a clean car is an essential prerequisite for smooth and hiccup-free auto shipping.
We’ll even sprinkle some expert tips on how to make your ride spotless inside and out.
The importance of cleaning your car before shipping
While it might seem like a quirky pre-shipping ritual, cleaning your car before it’s whisked away on its grand journey holds immense significance.
A clean exterior allows the shipping carrier to conduct a thorough inspection, identifying and recording any pre-existing damage.
This proactive step ensures complete transparency, reducing the risk of any disagreements or complications later on.
However, let’s share an insight story based on our 11+ years of experience shipping cars across the US.
Some cunning folks have tried to outsmart car shipping companies by attempting to conceal pre-existing damage under layers of dirt. Sneaky, right?
Well, the clever auto transport companies are already wise to this trick!
So, if you’re considering adopting a “dirt camouflage” strategy, think again.
It won’t fly, and you’ll only delay your shipment.
Tips for Cleaning the Interior of Your Car
So, you’re aboard the cleaning train and ready to give your car the royal treatment before shipping. Let’s delve into some nifty tips for sprucing up the interior:
- Vacuuming Like a Pro: Dust bunnies and crumbs, beware! Whether your seats are cozy fabric or classy leather, a thorough vacuuming session will do wonders. For those hard-to-reach spots, an old toothbrush comes to the rescue.
- Choosing the Right Cleaning Solution: Before you unleash the cleaning solution, do a spot test on a small area. Avoid solutions containing bleach or ammonia for leather seats, as they could harm the precious leather. A gentle bristle brush is your best friend in eliminating stubborn dirt.
- Show Leather Some Love: Treat your leather seats with a leather conditioner if you yearn for some TLC. It’ll rejuvenate those luscious hides and protect them from fading and cracking.
You would ask: Does it end with the seats? Here are a few more tips for the rest of the interior:
- Tackling the Nooks and Crannies: Don’t neglect the little details! Grab a clean cloth or a foam brush to tackle those sneaky nooks and crannies and give your car’s interior a fresh, organized feel.
- Tidy Up Hidden Spaces: Bid farewell to lurking dirt! Slide those car seats to unveil the concealed debris and give your interior a pristine look.
- Floor Mats Matter: Give your floor mats some love! Shake them off to free them from dirt or crumbs, ensuring a spick and-span interior.
- Carpet Cleaning is a Must: Don’t forget your carpets! Keep them clean and fresh, as they contribute to an immaculate interior ambiance.
- Organize with Style: Keep items in check with organizational magic! Invest in seat organizers, dash caddies, trunk organizers, or visor organizers to keep things tidy and off the floor.
- Prioritize Personal Items: Before transporting your vehicle, remove all personal items for a smooth and secure journey.
- Clear the Trunk: Say goodbye to unnecessary items! Empty the trunk to create extra space and possibly save on gas consumption during transport.
Tips for Cleaning the Exterior of Your Car
Ah, the grand finale—giving your car’s exterior a glossy makeover! Here are some expert tips for nailing this last lap of the cleaning race:
- Washing in the Shade: Park your ride in the shade before starting the car wash fiesta. The drying process will be more forgiving, and pesky water spots won’t crash the party.
- Top-to-Bottom Approach: Embrace the golden rule of car washing—wash from top to bottom! Don’t forget to rinse frequently to minimize water spots and ensure a sparkling shine.
- Wheels and Tires First: Start with your wheels and tires to avoid any messy splashes. Use the right brushes and cleaners, treating them with the love they deserve. Don’t forget to clean each tire one at a time!
- Wheels Deserve the Shine: Time to add that finishing touch! Polish your wheels to perfection, creating a protective barrier against dirt, grime, dust, and all those pesky elements. With a touch of wax, your wheels will stay cleaner for longer, making future cleaning a breeze with just a quick rinse.
- Start with a Refreshing Rinse: Begin with a thorough rinse! This sweeps away any loose dirt lingering on your car’s surface, setting the stage for a sparkling clean result.
- Two Buckets, No Detergents: Master the art of car cleaning! Grab two trusty buckets—one with a cleaning solution, and the other with clean water. Remember, no dish detergents or hand soap are allowed!
- Consider a Clay Bar: Try a clay bar to remove stubborn contaminants from your car’s surface for an extra touch of magic, leaving it silky smooth.
- Headlight and Grill Care: Don’t let your car’s face feel neglected! Wipe off bugs with dryer sheets or bug remover spray and bring back your headlights’ sparkle with whitening toothpaste or headlight restoration kits. Is that all? Check these out:
- Sanding: Ideal for hazy headlights.
- Headlight Restoration Kit: Affordable and effective at around $10.
- Dryer Sheets: Soak in warm water and wipe the bugs away.
- WD-40: Spray, sit, and wipe (avoid the paint!).
- Use commercial sprays for bug removal.
- Rinse and Dry with Finesse: Rinse regularly for spotless results! Frequent rinsing reduces the chances of water spots tarnishing your shine. Embrace the power of a microfiber cloth to dry your car, ensuring no nook or cranny, including door jambs, trunk, and hood jambs, is left untouched.
- Waxing Wonders: Seal the deal with a touch of waxing magic! Besides adding a captivating shine, wax protects your precious paint, keeping it pristine for the long road ahead. Your car will thank you for this luxurious treat!
Other Pre-Shipping Preparations for Your Car
Kudos to you! Your car is now a sparkling gem, ready to take on the shipping adventure.
But before you hand over the keys, here are a few more preparatory steps:
- Basic Maintenance: Ensure your car is shipshape by completing basic maintenance tasks like:
- Checking tire pressures and fluid levels
- Making sure battery is charged to 100%
- Emptying the gas tank to ¼ full
- Secure Removable Parts: If any removable parts are on your car’s exterior, secure or remove them to prevent any mishaps during shipping.
- Empty the Interior: Bid adieu to personal items and clear out the interior, trunk, and all nooks and crannies. A clutter-free car ensures a hassle-free shipping experience. Also, it reduces the risk of loss, damage, or theft.
- Deactivate Toll Tags and Parking Passes: Save yourself from unnecessary charges by deactivating toll tags and parking passes—no need for them during the car’s grand voyage!
For extra in-depth guidance on preparing your car for transport, check out our article “How to Prepare Your Car for Transport“.
Set Sail with a Ship-Shape Car!
So, there you have it—a comprehensive guide on how to prepare your car before shipping for a smooth and delightful journey.
Your precious vehicle deserves nothing less than the royal treatment, and now you’re well-equipped to make it shine inside and out.
Enjoy the ride and may your car’s next chapter be filled with excitement, discovery, and wonder.
Remember, the journey begins with a clean car—happy shipping!