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When it’s time to relocate, you’ll have two options as to moving your vehicle–you can drive it to your new home, or you can hire a reliable auto shipper. Auto transport can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on factors such as your destination city, the kind of vehicle you own, and the company you choose. The five tips given here can help you save money while getting your car to your new home safely.

Find Companies That Bundle Shipping

The easiest way to save on car shipping is to find a company that will move your household belongings as well as your vehicle. You may receive a discount for using one carrier to ship it all; you can also save by planning your move during the off-season. During winter and fall, you can save 30% or even more on auto shipping.

Document Your Car’s Condition

Before shipping your vehicle, thoroughly document each rust spot, dent and scratch. Wash the vehicle, carefully inspecting the inside and outside for damage. Take photos and save them on your digital camera, smartphone or computer. By documenting the car’s pre-shipment condition, you’ll have an easier time if you need to make a claim for damage.

Remove Personal Belongings

Before using an enclosed auto transport company, it’s still a good idea to remove all of your belongings from the vehicle. This includes items like GPS units, satellite radio receivers, CDs and music players–you should also consider removing exterior accessories like spoilers, bike and luggage racks. It’s also a good idea to deactivate the vehicle’s antitheft or alarm system, if so equipped.

Check the Shipper’s Requirements

Most shippers have preparation requirements, and you should check them during the pre-screening process. Some shippers ask that you leave the vehicle’s fuel tank 1/4 full or less, to cut down on overall weight. Call the carrier’s customer service line, or check the website to see which precautionary measures you should take.

Get Ready to Hit the Road

Before shipment, you should check the air pressure in your tires and ensure that your car’s battery is fully charged. Get your car ready as if you’ll be driving it to your destination city, and prepare it for any weather conditions that may arise.

Moving to another state is a huge decision, and hiring an auto transporter is just another part of the process. Take some time, do some research and get auto transport quotes from more than one company. By preparing your car (and yourself) ahead of time, you can make the shipping process smooth and hassle-free.