How to Prepare a Car for Shipping

prepare car for international shipping WillShip NZ

When shipping your car overseas there are plenty of things to keep you busy. You have to set your dates, choose your method of shipping and work out the approximate shipping costs. Once all this is booked and taken care of, the final thing you will have to do is prepare your car for shipping. This can generally be done a few days before you set off.

Here are some of the things you will need to sort out when you start to prepare a car for shipping.

Wash Your Car WillShip NZ Icon Image


First off you should wash your car. As well as making sure your car arrives at its new destination looking in tip top condition, this also has a number of practical uses.

Many countries will not allow cars to enter if they are unclean as they could have plant material or insects that could have a negative effect on the local environment. Not washing your car can cause the vehicle to fail its quarantine inspection upon arrival and can lead to additional cleaning and re-inspection costs and delays.

So, make sure you thoroughly clean any grass, cobwebs and other plant material from your car before it gets shipped.

Unfortunately, there is no way to ‘guarantee’ the vehicle will pass its inspection in NZ, it always comes down to the officers discretion on the day so you just need to do the best you can to get it clean, and then cross your fingers it passes its inspection. If it does fail however, it’s not the end of the world – cleaning and re-inspection fee’s generally only total around NZD 300.00 and this can be completed within 24 hours or so.

Remove items from inside you Icon


This checkpoint only applied when shipping via roll on, roll off…When your car gets shipped using this method there can be no personal goods inside your car. Because of this make sure to remove everything from your car, trunk and glove compartment. Things that belong with the vehicle, like logbooks etc can remain with the car.

Remove or secure any loose parts icon


If your car has any removable parts such as bike racks, antennas etc make sure you remove or fully secure them before your shipping date.

Empty your gas tank Icon


This only applies if you choose to ship the vehicle inside a container. To meet dangerous goods regulations we need to ensure the vehicle has minimal fuel, and the battery is disconnected. If choosing to ship via roll on, roll off then the vehicle can contain any amount of fuel. See the differences between roll-on / roll-off sand container shipping here.

Make sure you have an extra set of keys Icon


While not 100 percent necessary it is good practice to make sure you have a spare set of keys. As you will be leaving one set with your car it is always nice to have an extra set just in case something happens to the ones you left with the car.

If you are considering shipping your car, please feel free to use our INSTANT ONLINE QUOTE CALCULATOR or feel free to give us a call on 07 3267 3694 or email us at to discuss your requirements. For information on shipping vehicles to New Zealand please visit this page.

Shipping to NZ – What Documentation is required?

The documents needed to ship a vehicle to New Zealand are very basic and easy to get together. The best part is once you pass it all on to us, we do the rest! You won’t ever have to deal with customs directly, and we can accept your documents as emails, faxes or even high-resolution picture messages.

The exact paperwork needed will depend on your individual circumstances. If you are eligible for a GST exemption we will need some more specific paperwork than if you aren’t, further information on these options below:

1. An individual with a personal vehicle applying for the GST exemption

If you have owned and used the vehicle for more than 12 months in Australia, NZ customs requires some specific paperwork:

If you have any trouble getting any of these documents together we can use things like insurance certificates or transaction records in support of the abovementioned docs.


2. Shipping a company owned vehicle/individual that doesn’t meet all of the GST exemption criteria:


If you don’t meet all of the GST exemption criteria (see the list here LINK) or your vehicle is owned under a company name, then 15% of the vehicles ‘landed’ value will be payable to the NZ government on arrival. It can get a bit tricky working out the landed value, so feel free to get in touch with us and we can give you an idea of what you’d be up for.

If you aren’t eligible for a GST exemption, we will need the following paperwork to ship your vehicle:



Roll-on/Roll-off vs Container Shipping: Which is Right for You?

WillShip NZ Roll on Roll Off Shipping Vessel Image


When looking to ship your car overseas you will likely come across the shipping terms Roll-on/Roll-off and container shipping. But what exactly are these two methods of shipping? And which is the correct one for you?

In this article, we will look at exactly what you can expect from each type of shipping, as well as analyse their advantages and disadvantages. This will help you make an informed decision about how exactly you should ship your car when sending it to another country.


Roll-on/Roll-off (often written as RoRo) is generally the simplest way to ship cars, motorbikes, trucks or any other kind of wheeled cargo. It is fast, efficient and the most cost-effective method of transporting a car.

As you may have guessed from the name, RoRo ships are designed so that cars and other vehicles can be driven or towed directly onto the ship using their own wheels. Once on board, they are safely secured to the deck of the ship in a wind and watertight vessel – picture it like a huge underground carpark. (click here if you want to see what a RoRo vessel looks like)

RoRo is the ideal mode of transport if you’re just looking to move an empty vehicle on its own, it’s far cheaper than container shipping, although the downside to shipping via this method is that you are not allowed to include any personal effects along with your cargo, it needs to be completely empty except for things like spare tyres / jacks / log books etc – all these are treated as ‘part of the vehicle’ can travel with the car as they normally would in everyday use.

For example, if you are moving abroad you may have extra items, tools, equipment or furniture that you need to send across as well as your car then it can be worth wild getting a 20ft or 40ft shipping container and filling it up with your car and other personal items.

At Willship, we commonly use 20ft shipping containers to move vehicles. Once a vehicle is loaded into a 20ft container there is often still enough room for a chest of draws or a few boxes of personal belongings. You can also fill your vehicle with whatever you like as long as you keep a list of the contents. If you would like to see what you can fit inside a 20ft container please click here to view our article on how much space is inside a 20ft container.

Shipping a car in a container is the safest option and the preferred option for valued vehicles as it is least likely to incur any damage during transit. However container shipping is the more expensive option to move your car.


A consolidated container is when you share a 40ft container with someone else who is going between the same origin and destination as you, at roughly the same time. The benefit of this method of shipping is that you often use the space equivalent to a 20ft container for a much lower cost point. This means you can ship personal effects along with the vehicle without having to bear the cost of a 20ft container all to

The downside of this option is that it’s difficult to be time specific, if you need the vehicle and personal goods within a set timeframe then this method of shipping is not for you. In order to utilize this consolidated option we need to wait until we have someone else going between the same locations, who are looking to ship around the time as you. Because of this, we can only offer consolidated serviced on the most popular routes (eg: Brisbane / Sydney / Melbourne to Auckland) otherwise the wait to find enough cargo would be far too long.

If timing isn’t a huge concern of yours, going for this option can save you around 30% of the cost of getting your own 20ft container, which can equate to well over $1000 depending on your port combination.


All in all the shipping method you choose will eventually come down to your own personal circumstances. If you are sending a car and you want the cheapest option then RoRo will be the method for you.

On the other hand, if you are shipping many items together or have a high value car, then it could turn out that container shipping or a consolidated container service is the way to go.

Shipping your vehicle or personal belongings with Willship is easy and straight-forward. We can help you ship a car, motorhome, motorcycle, caravan, boat or any other vehicle. Moving overseas can be an overwhelming process without the right help, so give us a call today on (61) 7 3267 3694 or enquire online to find out how we can help you!