Yes, there are preferred characters used in transliteration. But in Chinese the case is a little bit complicated than in Japanese.
In Japanese, Katakana is part of the phonetic system of the language (although in written, those characters can be used with Kenji).
In Chinese the phonetic system and the writing system are completely separated except in rare case where there is no character available for certain sound (In mainland China, the character with closest sound will be used, in Taiwan, zhuyin symbols will be used).
Because in most cases the loanword will be translated to characters and characters have meanings, translating European loanword to Chinese is a combination of transliteration and translation. This means besides the phonetic accuracy, there are other rules applicable.
In names, characters with positive meanings are preferred.
When you encounter consonant r, most of the time it would be replaced by consonant l.
When you are translating for a woman's name, characters with 艹 or has meanings associated to female, flower are preferred.
In certain field there are additional rules applicable, for example, Chemistry, Medicine.
There are also translations that have been done in the past but do not follow current rules. E.g. Smith in Adam Smith is translated as 斯密 instead 史密斯 which are commonly used in today's translation.
With those being said, unfortunately I don't have any rulebook or codes. Those are just generally speaking. I believe there are corresponding guidelines designed by authorities, but I didn't find any on the internet.
So a practical way to do that is check the wikipedia page of a word or a word has similar pronunciation and change the language to Chinese.