How to Prep Your Vehicle for Car Transport

Do you need to move a car from Vancouver, British Columbia (or another city) to a different location in Canada or to the United States? Many families who are moving long distance decide to fly to the destination rather than make the drive. This means you must arrange for car transport. However, if you are moving with a professional mover like Premiere Van Lines we can coordinate this service for you.

When it comes to car transport there are several service options available for all types of personal vehicles including:

  • On the moving van with your furniture
  • By rail
  • By open car carrier
  • By enclosed car carrier

With most carriers you can choose either terminal to terminal or door to door service. There is a small premium charged for door to door service.

Transporting cars from one Canadian province to another does not have any special Government documentation requirements, however if you are moving a vehicle to the United States there are a number of customs and immigration forms that must be completed. U.S. Border Services and Homeland Security have total authority as it relates to the importation of an automobile on a duty-free basis (in conjunction with a household move). Their regulations must be adhered to otherwise the car will not be permitted to enter the United States.

Regardless of the method chosen there are steps you must take to prepare your car for transport. All carriers have the same requirements. This advance preparation is necessary to ensure that your car is transported safely and that there are no disputes regarding vehicle condition when it is delivered to destination.

Before turning your car over to a carrier for transport you should:

  • Have the exterior of the car carefully cleaned including under carriage
  • Take close-up photographs of vehicle from all angles especially any area with pre-existing damage
  • Put a photocopy of vehicle ownership and insurance certificate in glove compartment
  • Make sure you have an extra set of keys for the vehicle
  • Remove any loose items from the vehicle, exceptions are spare tire and tire changing tools properly stowed; jumper cables properly stowed; child’s car seat securely installed
  • Do not attempt to put packed cartons in vehicle – they will be removed by carrier
  • Have your car checked to make sure it is in proper working condition particularly a strong battery if moving during winter months
  • Make sure there are no fuel, oil or other fluid leaks
  • Disable alarm systems
  • Ensure your vehicle has a minimum road clearance of 4 inches- this is needed for loading/unloading
  • Ensure that any caps/canopies on a pickup truck are securely fastened
  • Ensure all electric vehicles are fully charged
  • Ensure that gas tanks are one quarter to one half full – do not top up tank

The carrier who will transport your car will do an pre-move inspection of your vehicle and will note any pre-existing damage on the vehicle inventory. Carefully review this form with the carrier to ensure there is no dispute as to any notations.

As mentioned, transporting a car to the United States is a little more complicated and has some special documentation that must be completed. One thing to keep in mind is that not every vehicle is eligible for importation. In general:

  • Vehicles must meet US safety standards
  • Vehicles must meet US emission standards

For specific requirements and copies of the necessary forms go to and search for “importing a motor vehicle”. 

For more information about car transport call our Premiere Van Lines Vancouver Branch at 604-530-2221 or contact your local Premiere Van Lines’ office.

Connect with us on social media:

Get an Estimate

Or call us toll free



Recent Posts


I am writing to commend the work of Premiere Van Lines on our recent move from Hamilton, New Zealand to Halifax.  I want to make clear that all of our interactions with Premiere staff were very professional and very effective at getting our job done right.  I have been professionally moved 11 times in my career and this move was by far the best!

James from Halifax

Popular Tags