Classic Car Transport: How to Prepare Your Vehicle
Your vintage vehicle is like a fine wine that gets more valuable year after year, which means that the process of booking and preparing for classic car transport can be nerve-wracking. Fortunately, the simplest way to take the stress out of preparing your classic car for transport is to know what you need to do ahead of time to ensure your vehicle gets from point A to point B safely and without damage.
The good news is that only a tiny fraction of all cars moved by auto transport companies are damaged, so chances are that your vintage vehicle will arrive at your destination in pristine condition regardless. But you can further protect your investment by choosing your auto transport company carefully and thoroughly preparing your classic car for its journey.
Here are the 10 steps you need to take to ensure a safe and damage-free classic car transport.
Find a classic car transportation expert
Don’t trust just any company to move your antique car! Vintage vehicles may require special handling, so it makes sense to choose a transport company that either has a lot of experience working with antique cars or specializes in classic car transport. Your first step will be finding a top-quality, professional company to work with. These are the qualities you should be searching for in a transportation service:
Experience: Look for companies that have plenty of experience transporting high-end vintage vehicles, as they will understand the ins and outs of handling classic cars.
Trustworthiness: Look for car transportation companies that use vetted car carriers/truckers who have experience handling classic cars.
Reliability: Look for companies with a history of positive reviews from customers who received their vehicles safely and on time.
Customer service: Look for companies that support owners through every step of the shipping process, from booking and prep to unloading.
Value: Look for a good deal, but don’t just choose the cheapest company blindly; saving a few bucks now could cost you a lot in the long-run if things don’t go as planned.
Verify your insurance and the transporter’s insurance
As noted above, very few vehicles are damaged during transport. But it’s still important to make sure your vintage vehicle is insured. Always request a paper copy of your transportation service’s insurance information and have them walk you through what is and is not covered by the policy. If you need additional reassurance, you can contact the insurer to verify that the policy is active.
Next, get in touch with your own insurance company to make sure your vehicle will be covered during its journey. Hopefully, nothing will happen during transport that will require insurance, but it’s comforting to know whether you’re covered. Be aware that some policies won’t cover classic car transport, but the insurer may be able to add it temporarily if you have documentation from the company you’re using.
Choose your transport options
Most cars, whether new or old, are shipped on open trailers that carry multiple vehicles. While this is the most budget-friendly way to transport a car, weather and road conditions are often unpredictable. Open trailers will expose your valuable classic car to the elements, road debris kicked up by other vehicles’ tires, and people. That said, most vehicles transported on open trucks arrive at their destinations in the same condition in which they left.
The safest car transport method uses an enclosed trailer that protects your vehicle from the possibility of damage en route. It is definitely the more expensive choice, but when you’re shipping a valuable classic car, white glove service can give you a whole lot of peace of mind!
Another thing to consider when looking at your options is whether your vehicle runs. Make sure your transport company knows if there are any electrical or mechanical issues with your car, or if they will need a winch to load it onto the trailer. Most companies that specialize in classic car transport will have a winch available. If a company suggests loading and unloading your vehicle with a forklift, you may want to reconsider, as they can cause significant damage to the underside of delicate vintage vehicles.
Wash and inspect your vehicle thoroughly
Once you know the first available shipping date, plan to give your vehicle a wash before that day arrives. This pre-shipping scrub down is not just about having a clean car! Washing your vehicle’s exterior is the first step in thoroughly inspecting it. Once it’s clean, look for dents, scratches, chipped paint, discoloration, and any other existing imperfections.
Take date-stamped photos of all existing damage. Bring those with you when your car is picked up so you can mark the pre-existing scratches, dents, etc. on the Bill of Lading before you sign it. This way, if you discover new scratches or dents when your vehicle is delivered, you and your transport company can consult your records when determining how to proceed.
Remove all valuables from your vehicle
A great classic car transport company will do everything it can to keep your vintage vehicle (and everything inside of it) protected. Still, you should remove all add-ons including toll devices, parking passes, removable emblems, and alarm systems, as well as any personal items you typically leave in the car.
There’s another benefit to removing all valuable and personal items from your car. Taking everything out of your vehicle before transport reduces its weight and ensures that there is nothing shifting around during transport that could cause damage to the interior.
Secure or remove all loose and movable parts
Loose parts can be lost or potentially cause damage to your classic car’s interior or exterior, so make a point of securing or removing things like your vehicle’s antenna. If your vintage vehicle is a convertible and will be transported on an open trailer, be sure the top is totally secure to protect your car’s interior against weather damage and to ensure that the top itself isn’t damaged during transport.
Have your mechanic perform a maintenance check
If your classic car can’t be driven, skip this step but be sure to note that at the time of booking. Vintage vehicles that are in drivable condition, however, should be given a once-over by a mechanic before shipping. This checkup should include topping off all fluids, inflating the tires, checking the battery, and reporting any electrical or mechanical issues that could impact your vehicle’s ability to be loaded onto and unloaded off of the trailer.
Empty the gas tank
Your car’s gas tank should ideally be only 1/4 full at the time of shipping. This is because not only is a full tank of gas a safety hazard, but that gas will add weight to your vehicle, potentially having an impact on the efficiency of your carrier. As much as you might be tempted to top off the tank before transporting your classic car so you don’t have to worry about gas at your destination, remember that a quarter tank will be more than enough to get you to the nearest filling station.
Have an extra set of keys made
Don’t give your carrier your only set of keys! Your trucker will need the keys to load and unload your classic car for transport, and it’s best to give them copies so if anything happens to their set you have spare keys handy.
Gather what you’ll need for your follow-up inspection
When your vintage vehicle arrives at its destination, you or a trustworthy associate should give your car a thorough once-over before signing the Bill of Lading and accepting it for delivery. This inspection is important because it gives you the opportunity to note any new damage or change in your car’s condition on the Bill of Lading so you have the information you need when you contact your transport company if you need to file a claim.
This may seem like many steps to prepare your classic car for transport, but each item on your pre-ship to-do list is there to help you feel comfortable handing your special vehicle over to someone else. Plus, taking the time to thoroughly vet classic car transport companies and to prep your vehicle can reduce the risk that your car will sustain damage on its journey.
Montway Auto Transport moves more than 200 vehicles a day, including many classic cars. We can ship your vintage beauty safely and hassle-free for the best price on the market, whether you prefer door-to-door enclosed or open transport.
Don’t hesitate to get your free door-to-door transport quote.
Read what our customers say about their experience with Montway at Montway Auto Transport reviews.