How to Get the Most Out Of Classic Car Shipping
Classic car shipping services may not be the biggest segment of the auto transport industry, but it is a part of it. And those people shipping classic cars know how important it is to keep them pristine. While most cars depreciate in value almost immediately, classic cars can actually appreciate value after a point. This makes classic cars more valuable and more important to take care of when shipping.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of classic car shipping.
Choose open or enclosed transport ASAP
Choosing between open or enclosed auto transport is generally fairly straightforward. Open shipping is cheaper and more ubiquitous in the industry. It’s easier to find because there are so many open trucks on the road. Enclosed transportation is more expensive, and generally designed for high-end, expensive vehicles, like luxury cars.
But when it comes to classic car shipping services, the choice is a bit more difficult. Typically, our advice is this: if your classic vehicle has actually appreciated in value, go with an enclosed transport truck.
This is obviously not a hard and fast rule, but it’s a good guideline. Lots of classic cars – like, say, a 1974 Mercury Comet – aren’t worth much. (as an aside, I actually bought one for $600 back in 2013. It’s probably worth even less now) So a car like that will almost always be just fine on an open transport truck.
But if your classic car is one you take to shows and keep pristine at all times and it rarely sees sunlight, enclosed may be worth it. Enclosed transportation is more expensive (usually at least 50% more than open), but it’s worth it if your vehicle is.
Get another set of keys
This is something a lot of people don’t think about, especially in the age of key fobs and computers in every vehicle. But for classic cars, having a second set of keys, and being able to hand the extra set to the truck driver, is a really good idea.
Today’s cars universally come with two sets of keys. It’s incredibly rare to only get one key when you buy a vehicle new. Heck, even most used vehicles still come with both sets of keys.
But classic cars are a different beast entirely. When I bought my Comet, it only had the one key. Now, I didn’t ship it, but I know that if I had, I would have wanted a backup set in case something happened to the set I gave the driver.
It’s not always easy to just “get another set of keys,” but it’s important that you do. Things can happen and if the carrier for whatever reason loses your key – or you lose your spare! – having that second one will make a world of difference.
And this doesn’t just go for classic car shipping either – it goes for any vehicle you need to ship.
Make sure to look at every prospective company’s reviews
This is another tip that really goes for anyone shipping a car, but especially for those shipping classic vehicles. Auto transport reviews are some of the most important pieces of information customers have these days. They tell a powerful story about the companies in question. Shippers with good reviews want to keep their reviews positive, so they work harder to ensure they take care of their customers. Companies that don’t care as much…well, they don’t care as much.
Good companies work with only top-rated carriers, they offer competitive pricing and they work hard to make sure customers get what they’re looking for. Of course, it’s not foolproof. The car transport industry can be notorious for moving vehicles outside of preferred schedules, for instance. But most good companies work to accommodate their customers’ needs.
And reading reviews about those companies is a great first step in finding the right one. This is especially true for companies that specialize in shipping classic vehicles. There aren’t many classic-only shippers out there – there’s just not enough classic cars being shipped to justify that.
But a company that handles their customers’ vehicles with care will show in their reviews. A good example is us! We work only with top-rated shipping companies and we work hard to ensure our customers get the services they require.
Reading reviews may be tedious, but it goes a long way when you’re finding the right company to transport your vehicle.
Inspect, inspect, inspect
Every vehicle that is shipped is required to undergo an inspection at both pickup and delivery. This is part of the shipping process, and is best done by you and the driver together. Some instances, such as being unavailable for pickup or delivery, puts the onus on the driver to mark damage accordingly. Most all of them do, especially reputable companies. Any damage that exists prior to shipping is considered pre-existing. But damage that is not marked on the pickup inspection report is considered to have happened in transit.
We’ve heard horror stories about customers not being there for delivery and having damage go unmarked, which means that any damage claim will be harder to prove. This happens more with terminal shipping (and is part of the reason terminal shipping is slowly disappearing). We’ve heard stories of carriers forging pickup reports at delivery to cover up damages incurred during transit. It’s shady and we do not take that lightly.
However, this can’t happen at all if you or someone you trust is there at both pickup and delivery. With door to door transportation being the standard method of transporting a vehicle today, inspections are par for the course. They’re standard operating procedure and some carriers don’t take loads if the customer won’t be there to inspect the vehicle with them. This limits their liability and ensures that everything is handled fairly.
The inspection report is a part of what is known as the Bill of Lading. If you don’t know what a Bill of Lading is, read about it here. Basically, the Bill of Lading (or BoL) is your inspection report, shipping information and receipt all wrapped into one clean document. Having your signature and the carrier’s on the BoL makes it a lot easier to handle damage claims.
Make sure everything is working
Classic cars are awesome but they can be unreliable. Vehicles that have sat for years probably won’t start and will require some TLC to get them running. Running vehicles are easier to ship because the standard method of loading a vehicle is to simply drive it onto the truck. If a car can’t be driven onto a transport truck, it will need a winch. And not all carriers have a winch on their truck.
As such, you should ensure ahead of time that everything in your classic vehicle works. The radio doesn’t have to, of course – you just need to make sure it is running and driving. You can easily test it by starting it up and seeing if you can drive it.
Properly inflated tires, a working transmission and starter are really all that’s needed. And a lot of times, simple fixes to get a classic car running will save you money over shipping a non-running car. For instance, a new battery will only cost about $50, but shipping an in-op vehicle will cost about $200 more. If you can get it running for less than $200, you’ll save money!
Regardless of your classic vehicle’s condition, however, we can move it. Give us a call at 800-930-7417 or fill out our online form and get started on your shipment today.
Since 2007 Dave has written all the content and blogs for American Auto Shipping and during this time added the duties of customer support and transport logistics.
He currently resides in Washington with his three kids and their mom and cat. A fan of Marvel movies and good stories, when not shipping cars Dave can be found working on his novel, enjoying a good book or playing some tournament HALO.
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