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How do I prepare my car for overseas shipping?

For some, a car is a mere appliance, one that people are happy to sell when they move to a new country. For others, it’s so much more, and the thought of leaving it behind before they relocate in a new country is too much to bear.

If you’re in this second group, you’re no doubt full of questions. Is it worth the effort to bring a car to a new country? How do I get it ready for the journey? Thankfully, there are reassuring answers, so if selling your automotive pride and joy is out of the question there are plenty of solutions to ensure it arrives in your new home country safe and sound. Here’s what you need to know.

Clean everything out of the car

Whether the car you’re shipping is a daily driver or a weekend warrior, it’s bound to be full of stuff you’ve left in it over your time of ownership. Loose change, CDs and auxiliary cables, maybe even some old fast food wrappers – it all needs to go. Treat the exercise like you’re actually preparing the car for sale and remove anything that wasn’t there when it arrived from the factory.

It’s not just an issue of cleanliness, it’s about security. You wouldn’t leave your vehicle in a car park with a smartphone or other gadget clearly on display, so why would send it halfway across the world like that?
Most hopeless car fanatics won’t need much of an excuse to take photos of their car, but you’ll need to tone down the creative lighting and magazine-style cover shoot angles and settle for normal pictures this time. Methodically document the exterior panels and the condition of your interior so you have an accurate record of the state it was in before you ship it.

Document the experience

Document the experience
Ideally, you won’t have to refer back to these pictures in a hurry, but it’s a valuable bit of insurance to have in the event that anything happens, even if it is a minor scratch.

Ensure the car is in good working order if possible

It’s not just the paint and bodywork that’ll need a once over before your car is ready to be shipped. If the car currently runs, it’s best to ensure it’s in good working order and not hanging on for dear life.

Leaking oil and coolant isn’t ideal, but while they may not be at the top of the to-do list once you’ve decided to move country, it makes life easier for yourself and the shipping company if they can be tidied up before the big trip. Depending on how long the trip is, leaks can either limit the storage options (leaky vehicles can’t be raised above other cars) or mean your car is drained of precious fluids when you got to start them up at your destination.


Ensure you can register the car in its new destination

While it’s best to bring a working car with you, not every prized automobile actually runs. Whether it’s a rundown heirloom that needs a bit of TLC or a work-in-progress that can’t be left behind, you can still bring a project car with you overseas. However, you need to give the shipping company comprehensive instructions for how to move your car.

Ensure you car works before handing the keys to the shipping company.
Aside from the physical requirements of preparing a vehicle, there’s a range of paperwork and other considerations to keep in mind to ensure your vehicle will be compliant in its new home. Some of them may seem obvious, such as being aware if you’re taking a left-hand drive car into country where they drive on the left, or vice versa. However, while it’s easy to overlook or forget about these requirements, they can affect how easy it is to get a car registered in a new country.

It’s important you check the vehicle import laws in your destination of choice, as many will have stringent requirements for registration depending on the age of the vehicle and its intended use.

Deciding whether or not to bring your pride and joy with you when moving to a new country

requires significant preparation. It’s tough work, but for some it’s much better than leaving it behind. To find out more about shipping your car, home contents or even your pet to your new home in another country, contact the team at MoveList.


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