Getting Your Vehicle Ready for PCS Season

With all the things you need to keep track of when you’re getting ready to move, getting your car(s) ready can seem like “just one more thing." But–just like no one has ever been sorry they washed their hands–if you take the time to adequately prepare your vehicles before a PCS, you’ll be glad you did.

Shipping Your Car

If you’re moving overseas, there are specific things you need to take care of before you move. Here are some tips to get your vehicle ready to go:

  • Clean your car, inside and out. Wash your car before you hand it over to the auto transport company. Then, make a careful record of any dings, scratches, or dents; that way you can accurately identify any additional damage once your car arrives on the other end.

    Aside from the benefit of taking out anything from your car that you’ll need or want during your move, straightening up your car’s interior helps prevent loose items from jostling around inside during shipping.

    Additionally, take off and secure custom accessories that could become damaged.

  • Turn off the alarm. Take care to disable your vehicles’ alarm systems before they go to the transport company. Can you imagine your alarm blaring all the way to your destination?

  • Lock the doors. No one at the transport company has any reason to be inside your car once it’s en route. Reduce the risk of damage and theft by locking the doors before you ship your vehicles.

  • Prevent tire damage. Be sure to check your tire pressure before you ship your car. Over or under-inflated tires are at risk of damage while your car is being loaded and unloaded.

  • Check the gas tank and undercarriage. First of all, don’t fill your gas tank if it’s running low. The heavier the car, the greater the risk to it during shipping. Next, check the car’s undercarriage for any leaks, which can cause the shipping company to refuse to transport your car!

Getting Ready for Your Epic PCS Road Trip

If you’re driving your vehicles yourself to your new duty station, there are three primary areas you should focus on to prep them for the big trip:

  • Fluids
  • Tires
  • General Maintenance


Be sure to check your different fluids before you head out. Those include your oil and the radiator fluid, as well as brake, power steering, transmission, and windshield fluids.

Plus, it’s crucial to avoid overheating while you’re driving. Check coolant level to see if you need to top it off, flushing the system at around the 40,000-50,000 mile mark.


Make sure your tires are properly inflated. There are many reasons to do this, but one of them is to save gas. Underinflated tires are gas-wasters. Meanwhile, overinflation makes tires for a bumpier ride.

Together with getting your tires rotated and checking their alignment, you can prevent uneven wear on your tires.

Get your tires rotated every 3,000-5,000 miles, and check tire pressure every 1,000 miles.

General Maintenance

There are various other odds and ends to check before you embark on your PCS trip. Make sure you check things like brake pads (especially if you’ve noticed any squeaking, a shaking steering wheel, or grinding), lights, air filters, hoses, and belts.

Be sure to inspect your spark plugs and battery, as well.

Make Sure You’re Prepared for All Life’s Twists and Turns This PCS Season

For peace of mind, doing as much as you can to prepare before a move is always a smart move. Protect your cars, recreational vehicles, motor and mobile homes, and travel trailers with AFI.

Auto insurance coverage through AFI adds an additional layer of security and protection during a stressful time.

Hit the open road with confidence this PCS season. Talk to our knowledgeable agents and find out about AFI’s various coverage options for service members and their families.