How Much Gas Should I Leave in My Vehicle When Shipping Overseas?

If you’re planning to relocate internationally you want to start the preparation process as early as possible. There is a lot more factors involved in moving or shipping a car overseas than there are with domestic moves. Because of this you need to begin figuring out a way to transport your car overseas that makes the most sense for your particular move and your budget. Shipping a car to another country can be a bit pricey however, it’s certainly less expensive than purchasing an entirely new car when you arrive in your new home.

A reputable, experienced auto transport company will help manage all of the logistics and specifications required for the country you’re moving to. It’s important that your entrusted car movers have all the necessary experience as shipping a vehicle internationally can be a complex process that requires meticulous preparation.

One of the most common questions people have when shipping their car internationally is: How much gas should I leave in the tank of my car? The answer to this question is rather simple as you should avoid having a completely full tank when shipping your car overseas. In fact, most auto transport companies allow no more than ¼ of a tank of gas in the vehicle when it’s picked up for transport.

Regardless, when it comes to properly preparing your vehicle to be shipped internationally, there is much more to know than just how much gas you should leave in the tank. We’ll outline all of the important, necessary details to help simplify the process and get you and your vehicle ready for the shipment.

Retrieving A Quote

The first step in any car shipping process, regardless of destination is to get in touch with an auto transport company. We always recommend gathering quotes from multiple trusted movers so that you know you’re getting the best deal for the services that you need.

Before beginning the rest of the shipping process, you need to retrieve a confirmed quote on export from the auto transport company you’ve selected. A confirmed rate like this is usually valid for 30 days. Each company will offer a range of different services, however most provide the following:

  • Door to door shipping service
  • Loading into a shipping container or airplane
  • Marine insurance (this will cover your vehicle inside the shipping container until it’s delivered and unloaded overseas)
  • Processing export documentation

What documents will I need to ship my car overseas?

As previously mentioned, shipping a car internationally is a complex process and will involve quite a bit of paperwork. Thankfully, the auto transport company that you select with manage all of the export documentation for you. They will gather all the necessary documents and process them through the office of customs.

However, you will have to provide some documentation to your international auto shipper in order for them to process them properly. Make sure to have the following ready:

  • A copy of your United States passport.
  • The Bill of Sale for your vehicle or a notarized Bill of Sale (typically depends on port of origin).
  • The original Certificate of Title for your car;
  • Two copies of the notarized title;
  • If you’ve purchased your vehicle brand new, you need to provide the original Certificate of Origin.
  • A Shipper Export Declaration;
  • A Declaration of Dangerous Goods;

Depending on your destination country or particular maritime port, there may be a number of other additional forms or documentation required for shipping your vehicle. Also, keep in mind that notaries will typically charge $10 per signature.

NOTE: Get in touch with your auto transport company as early as possible and ask them about the exact type of documentation that you are expected to present. Then, send the forms and documents to their office as soon as possible to help speed up the overall shipping process.

How do I prepare my vehicle for overseas shipping?

Having your car properly prepared to be shipped overseas is the most important step in the process. Follow these steps to make sure that your vehicle is ready for international transport:

  • Step 1. Take your car to an authorized service center and have it given all the necessary checkups and servicing. Your vehicle needs to be in good technical condition to be shipped overseas.
  • Step 2. Remove any personal belongings from inside the vehicle. The only things that are permitted to be inside are child seats and standard car equipment and tools.
  • Step 3. Thoroughly inspect the outside of your car and make note of the current condition. Take plenty of photos documenting any pre-existing damage.
  • Step 4. Give your vehicle a good clean on the inside and out.
  • Step 5. Remove any exterior car accessories such as spoilers, antennas and roof racks.
  • Step 6. Check that your car battery is fully charged.
  • Step 7. Make sure that no more than 1/4 tank of gas is left in the vehicle. For safety purposes, full tanks will be emptied. Depending on your auto transport company, you may incur a cost for them having to remove the gas.
  • Step 8. Verify that the tire pressure is at the recommended amount.
  • Step 9. Check that the emergency break is functioning properly.
  • Step 10. Prepare an extra set of keys to give to your international auto transport company.

What types of international car shipping methods are available?

In general, there are three main methods for shipping a car overseas: Air Freight, Shipping Containers, and Roll On, Roll Off (RORO). The last two options both involve having your vehicle loaded onto a freight ship and transported across the ocean. Whereas, the first option obviously means your car will be loaded into a cargo aircraft and flown overseas. Let’s explore these options in further detail.

Air Freight

Sadly, this method of vehicle transport is extremely expensive and is often worth far more than the car itself. Most people who don’t own exotic, rare, antique or classic cars will not even consider having their car transported by air.

However, if this method of transport is in your budget, it is the safest shipping option possible. Air freight transport requires very little handling of your vehicle other than standard loading and unloading. Also, instead of taking a few weeks to reach its destination, it will arrive in only a few days.

Roll On, Roll Off (RORO)

This method is the cheapest way to transport a vehicle internationally. Your car is simply driven onto a ship, just as if it were a parking lot, secured and immobilized with specialized fixing devices. If you choose this method, take extra care to make sure that nothing is left in your car for safety reasons. This will also help you avoid any unnecessary customs charges or inspections.

Despite this method being the cheapest car shipping option, it may not be the safest. Having your car exposed to weather and the elements as it makes its journey across the ocean, may not give the peace of mind you require.

Car Shipping Containers

Shipping a vehicle via a shipping container is the most common method to get a car overseas. It will typically be more expensive than Roll On, Roll Off shipping because it provides more safety for the vehicle. Your care will be 100% protected within a metal container as it makes its way across the ocean.

To help cut down on the transpacific or transatlantic shipping costs, you can choose to have your vehicle in a shared storage container rather than by itself.

Ready for your international car transport?

Now that you understand what is required of you to properly prepare your vehicle for shipment overseas, it’s time to get the entire process started. If international car moving services is what you require, look no further than Ship Vehicles for the job. We have extensive experience with managing vehicle transports overseas and can help take the stress out of your relocation. Partnering with us will allow you to focus on the more important tasks involved with your move.

Allow us to give you the peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is in good hands and that it will arrive safely and securely to your final destination regardless of the type of international shipping method you choose.

Give our team of experience international car shipping experts a call today to answer any questions you have, guide you through the process and provide you with a FREE car shipping estimate.