The Top 9 Tricks of the Trade: Shipping a Classic Car
by Jason Mueller
If you own a classic car and you need to ship it across the country – or even overseas – you may be intimidated by the process. However, as long as you choose a reputable provider for classic car shipping and you follow a few basic tricks of the trade, you can make sure that the process goes smoothly.
Once you’ve found a reputable, trustworthy classic car shipping company, here are 9 tricks of the trade that will ensure your classic vehicle arrives at its destination safely.
1. Clean, Detail & Photograph The Interior & Exterior Before Shipping
This is, by far, the most important thing you can do when shipping a classic car. Whether you’re sending it 100 miles, 1,000 miles, or halfway across the world, you need to make sure you document its condition before you ship it.
Your first step should be to completely clean and detail both the exterior and the interior. This will ensure that dirt, grime and road debris don’t obscure any existing scratches or damage.
Once you’ve completely cleaned and detailed your car, take detailed photos of the entire vehicle, including the interior, exterior, the engine compartment, the wheel wells, and anywhere else that damage might occur during the transportation process.
This is an important step because if there is damage during the shipping process, you will need to be able to prove that it was caused during shipping – and was not a pre-existing issue. With extensive photo and video documentation of your car’s condition, you can easily get compensation in the rare event that there is an issue while transporting your car.
2. Choose Enclosed Auto Transport For Your Vehicle
For a valuable classic car, you shouldn’t use an open-air car carrier. These carriers can hold up to 9-12 cars at once, and they do not provide any protection from the elements or road debris.
While it’s more expensive, it’s definitely worth choosing an enclosed auto transport provider. These providers use specialized trailers that are completely protected from the elements. However, they can carry fewer cars – usually no more than 7 – so the cost of shipping is usually higher.
3. Consider An Additional Insurance Policy (If Shipping Overseas)
Your auto insurance policy likely will not cover damage caused to your car while it’s being transported to another country, and while most international shipping providers will provide some kind of insurance in the case that your shipment is lost or damaged, this may not cover the full cost of your vehicle.
So explore your options for marine insurance when shipping a classic car overseas. These policies are generally quite affordable – and will ensure that you can be fully compensated if your vehicle is damaged, destroyed or lost during overseas shipment.
4. Make Sure Your Driver Uses Nylon Straps & Wheel Nets, Not Chains
Nylon car straps and wheel nets are strong enough to hold your car in place during shipping. There is no need to use metal chains – in fact, these can damage the chassis or body of your car during shipping, and scrape up the paint. Look for a car shipping company that uses nylon straps and wheel nets, and applies them properly to prevent damage to your vehicle.
5. Take A Look At Your Copy Of The Shipping Contract
It’s a good practice to take a look at your shipment contract and review it before you sign it and commit to the service. When reading the contract, make sure you look for things like guaranteed delivery dates, hidden fees and clauses for vehicle storage fees or inoperable vehicles, and other “fine print.”
Reading your contract will ensure that you know the level of service to which you’re entitled – and that you’ll know what compensation you can get if your shipment is late, or the transportation company fails to live up to their guarantees in any other way.
6. Perform A Basic Maintenance Check On Batteries, Tires & Other Components
If your car doesn’t start or fails to operate properly during the shipping process, you may face additional fees and shipping delays. Make sure your car is operational. Check the battery, tires, starter and other basic systems before it’s shipped.
If there are any major mechanical issues, it’s always best to resolve them before you ship your vehicle. Things like leaking fuel or brake lines or loose bodywork and trim may result in damage to your own vehicle or others during the shipping process.
7. Remove All Personal Items From The Vehicle Before Shipping
It’s a good idea to remove all personal items and valuables from your vehicle before shipping it. There’s no reason to leave them in your car – and in some cases, heavy items like tools in the trunk may bang around during transport and cause damage.
Remove all personal items and valuables – such as period owner’s manuals – from the vehicle before it’s shipped. Doing so will reduce your risk of theft and vehicle damage throughout the shipping process.
8. Drain The Gas Tank To 1/4 – 1/2 Full
Many car transportation companies will require you to drain your tank at least partially before it’s transported. This is done for safety purposes. Less fuel means less weight on the truck – each gallon of fuel adds six pounds. In the rare case that the truck gets in an accident, this also means there will be less inflammable fuel that could catch on fire and cause further damage and danger to the truck, driver, and passers-by.
In addition, some older vehicles may be prone to sloshing gasoline as they’re loaded and transported if their gas tanks are completely full, and this should be avoided for obvious reasons.
9. Evaluate The Vehicle When It Arrives At Its Destination To Check For Damages
Using the photos and/or video that you took before you shipped your vehicle, make sure that you check it for any new damage once it arrives at its destination. If you used a reputable, enclosed-carrier transportation service, the risk of damage is low – but you should still do your due diligence.
If you do notice any damage or issues, make sure you take photos right away. Then, send the pre-shipment and post-shipment photos to your transportation carrier right away to show them the damage – and you can begin working out compensation for the issue.
Follow These Tips To Ship Your Classic Car Safely & Successfully!
We know that shipping a classic car can be a nerve-wracking process. But as long as you choose a reputable shipping provider – and remember these top 9 tricks of the trade, your car is sure to arrive at its destination safely. And in the rare event that there are any issues while your car is being shipped, you’ll be fully prepared to handle them.
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