How to Inspect Your Vehicle Before Shipping?

How to Inspect Your Vehicle Before Shipping?
Published on April 21, 2023 at 3:27 pm GMT

Auto transport process involves a series of steps and preparations. From researching reliable auto transport companies and reading reviews to following the company’s instructions on preparing the car for shipping, every part of the process is important on its own.

However, a vehicle inspection is the most important part of auto transport. Conducting a thorough vehicle inspection before handing it over to the auto transporter is for the benefit of both the car’s owner and the transporter. Also, the auto transport can only be completed once the car is inspected at pick-up and delivery.

Being a critical part of the auto shipping process, car owners should know every detail regarding proper car inspection. Thus, this guide answers all the questions about vehicle inspection, covering the following points:

  • What is a car inspection?
  • Why is it important to inspect cars before shipping?
  • How to properly inspect a car?
  • When and where is the car inspection conducted?

What is a car inspection?

The car inspection process is a regular task carried out by car owners with auto transporters upon vehicle pick-up and delivery. During the inspection, both parties thoroughly examine the vehicle from all angles.

At pick-up time, the car inspection helps auto shippers familiarize themselves with the car’s condition, note any existing damage, and use the proper equipment and methods for loading and unloading. For example, if a car needs special handling for unloading, auto shippers can acknowledge it and handle the task accordingly.

On the other hand, vehicle inspection helps car owners learn about their vehicles’ condition before shipment. This way, they can spot new damages that may have been incurred while in transit. Also, they can present the inspection as proof to the car carrier since the car’s original condition has been fully documented.

Why is it important to inspect cars before shipping?

Performing a proper and comprehensive car inspection before shipping is essential for various reasons. Firstly, it helps to establish trust between car owners and shippers. As a car is a significant investment for many people, entrusting it to a stranger can be challenging.

To address this, auto transporters conduct vehicle inspections before shipping and record all details about the car’s condition in the official Bill of Lading document. This documentation provides car owners with proof of the car’s condition before shipping, which can be useful in an accident.

Secondly, the inspection report can be used by customers to file a claim in case the car incurs damage during transport. However, it is essential to note that car shipping companies’ insurance providers will only honor an insurance claim with sufficient and complete documentation proof. By conducting vehicle inspections, auto transporters protect themselves from dishonest and fraudulent insurance claims, as they can deny responsibility for any pre-existing damage.

Conducting a car inspection before shipping is crucial for building trust between car owners and shippers, protecting auto transporters from fraudulent claims, and ensuring customers have documentation to file an insurance claim in case of an accident.

How to properly inspect a car?

To properly inspect a car before shipping, car owners should thoroughly examine every inch of the car from the exterior and the interior.

From the exterior

To thoroughly inspect a car, it’s important to start by giving it a good wash; it enables identifying any damages more accurately and makes the inspection process easier. Once the car is clean, a pen and paper can be used to take note of any damages spotted immediately.

Conducting the inspection at least a day before the pick-up date is best to avoid rushing. During the inspection, any pre-existing dents, scratches, or dings should be checked, and the paintwork for signs of fading or discoloration. Additionally, inspecting the vehicle’s doors, windows, mirrors, glass, windshield wipers, headlights, and taillights is important.

To ensure everything is in proper working order, try to open and close all the doors and roll windows up and down to check if they move smoothly. Moreover, tires and the car’s undercarriage should also be inspected.

Car owners must scrutinize the car’s tires for any puncture or defect and verify that the tires are properly inflated. Confirm that the car doesn’t have any fluid leaking problems. In addition, examine the battery, inspect its terminals for corrosion signs, and confirm that it is decently charged.

From the interior

First, wash the car thoroughly from the inside as well. Then, inspect the seats for stains, check whether seat belts are working, and examine the vehicle’s floor by removing the carpets and looking underneath them for any damage.

Next, look out for the brake system, and check whether the brake pads have any wear signs. Also, inspect the steering wheel, handbrakes, dashboard, and air conditioning and heating devices. Inspect the condition of each of these parts closely, and remember to note any spotted damage or signs of wear.

Finally, ensure that every part is checked, including the car’s roof and walls. We also recommend car owners take out all personal and loose items inside the car while inspecting it. Removing personal belongings keeps them from damage or theft during transport and protects the car’s interior from any damage. Remember to disconnect the alarm system; giving the driver the alarm remote in case of an emergency is a good idea.

Additional tips

It is important to remember the following tips while inspecting the car for shipping. After all, examining the car and its condition is not enough. Car owners need proof, and here is how to document the vehicle’s condition:

  • Take photos and videos of the vehicle: To ensure they have a record of their car’s condition, owners should photograph it from various angles, both inside and out. It’s also important to take photos of the engine and odometer reading, as these can serve as a reference if any damage occurs in the future. When taking these photos, using a high-resolution camera that produces clear, detailed images is crucial, as low-quality photos may not be useful as evidence. Finally, to ensure the photos can be easily identified and located, owners should ensure they are geotagged and time-stamped later.
  • Take your time: Car inspection is a sensitive and important process, so car owners should take enough time to examine and inspect their vehicles carefully. Even though the potential risk of damage during shipping is minor, identifying the car’s condition before shipping prevents disputes or misunderstandings.
  • Ask for a copy of the Bill of Lading: Car owners must have a copy of the Bill of Lading that documents the car’s condition before transport, including all pre-existing damages, scratches, paint chips, or discoloration. Additionally, car owners should carefully read and provide their approval on the document before handing the car over to the auto transporter.
  • Obtain a written inspection report from a mechanic: This step is extremely helpful since it allows car owners to check the overall condition of their cars before shipping. A mechanic can examine some vehicle parts that normal people can’t. Also, having a report from the mechanic that is time-stamped is solid evidence that shows how the car operated before shipping.
  • Inspect paperwork: This step is necessary to avoid delays for the car carrier. Car owners should prepare all the required official paperwork that proves their ownership of the cars beforehand. The required paperwork includes the car’s title, registration, and insurance. Also, car owners should keep a copy of all the mentioned paperwork with them after checking that they have the complete and accurate paperwork. This way, they prevent legal issues from arising.
  • Effectively communicate with the auto shipper: Clear and effective communication significantly simplifies the auto shipping process for owners and transporters. Before the inspection, car owners should contact the auto transport company to learn about their policies and ask for any recommendations. Additionally, they should call the auto transport company after the inspection to inform it about newly found damages that could affect the shipping process.
  • Conduct car inspection during the day: Inspecting the car during the day allows car owners to view the car better, even spot minor damages. So, avoid inspecting the car at night if possible and dedicate some time to inspection in the morning. Car owners may need about an hour to inspect a car properly.

When and where is the car inspection conducted?

Regarding the inspection time, car owners can do the inspection alone a day or two before the scheduled pick-up time. This way, they can examine each part of their vehicles at their own pace. Additionally, the auto transporter regularly inspects the vehicles at pick-up time accompanied by their owners to fill out the Bill of Lading and avoid disputes after shipping the cars.

However, when it comes to the location for car inspection, it depends on the shipping service the car owners have asked for. If car owners use the door-to-door pick-up and delivery service, the car inspection will occur at their driveway or any other proper location. On the other hand, the inspection will be conducted at the auto transport company’s terminal if owners ask for the terminal-to-terminal service.

According to most auto transport companies, this is how the inspection process goes. Also, all reliable auto shippers provide useful recommendations and guide their customers during the inspection.

Tempus Logix provides all types of auto shipping services across the United States. The company has a seasoned team of auto-shipping agents who arrange the full process with clients and carriers to ensure smooth pick-up and drop-off processes. When clients have no idea about inspecting their cars, the Tempus Logix team provides all the important instructions to ensure customer satisfaction.

Wrapping up

Performing proper car inspection for vehicles before shipping is a critical and necessary step during auto transportation. It allows clients to document their car condition and protects auto shippers from swindling claims and disputes. Therefore, car owners must follow the provided tips and steps for inspecting the car to ensure its safety during transit and spot any potential damages after transit.

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