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How to Prepare Your Classic Vehicles for Shipping

What's in this article?
  1. Who Will Move Your Vintage Automobile?
  2. Insurance Coverage For Classic Vehicles During Transport
  3. The Transport Process Of Your Historic Automobile
  4. Open Carriers
  5. Enclosed Carrier
  6. When A Winch Is Useful
  7. When A Forklift Is Useful
  8. The State Of Your Historic Vehicle's Gas Tank
  9. The Essence Of Keeping Records
  10. Conclusion
How to Prepare Your Classic Vehicles for Shipping

The procedure of getting your historic automobile ready for transport, be it in the United States or abroad, is exactly the same. You must meticulously prepare your historic automobile for its trip on a transporter and inside a shipping container before shipping it either domestically or internationally.

This preparation is required for both types of shipment. Follow our instructions for getting a car ready for shipment. You can prevent damage to the vehicle during ground or maritime transport, delays in the shipping process, and the loss of necessary paperwork.

Who Will Move Your Vintage Automobile?

You wouldn't put your faith in just any shipping firm transporting your priceless historic automobile. So conducting background research on the auto transport business is the first step in ensuring a positive and trouble-free shipping experience for your vehicle.

To begin, conduct a search for testimonials concerning the company on Google. After that, check out anything from Yelp and Facebook to online discussion forums.

Most shipping firms deliver automobiles through partner carriers located in your region who have passed screening. These carriers collaborate closely with the shipping firm to collect their customers' vehicles and deliver them to their destinations.

They have prior experience transporting historic automobiles and know the ins and outs of properly handling vintage cars to prevent damage. Other shipping businesses simply outsource the task of finding a carrier to brokers, who then search for the most cost-effective option available in the region.

You may have already figured this out, but the auto transport companies that charge the least amount of money may not be ideal for transporting your priceless antique automobile.

Transporters that routinely carry salvage automobiles from auctions tend to be the ones that brokers use. In contrast, transporters who seldom work with historic vehicles are less likely to be hired by brokers.


Insurance Coverage for Classic Vehicles during Transport

Antique automobiles with values greater than one hundred thousand United States dollars may already exceed the maximum coverage provided by most car carriers. Because of this, employing the services of a carrier specializing in the transportation of historic automobiles will be the safer option.

Transport companies specializing in classic automobiles will almost certainly hold insurance coverage in the range of half a million dollars to more than five million dollars in the United States.

However, remember that their liability limit considers not only your automobile but all other vehicles on their trailer.

Get in touch with your shipper and inquire about the extent of the coverage they can provide. If the value of your vehicle is higher than the coverage they provide, find out whether or not they can obtain specialized insurance to transport your vintage automobile.

The Transport Process of Your Historic Automobile

There are a few ways your classic cars get moved. Explore the below options.

Open carriers

Companies use open carriers to carry most new and secondhand automobiles. These transporters pull an open trailer and can take anywhere from one to six cars, as the name of the vehicle class implies.

This transporting method has the lowest cost overall. But unfortunately, your vehicle will be susceptible to damage from the elements, rock chips, and dirt if you transport it in an open trailer.

While it might not be an issue for brand-new automobiles since the plastic covering them is still on, or for older cars, because they have previously been exposed to the weather, it can cause harm to a historic vehicle.

Enclosed carrier

The use of enclosed transport is recommended as it is safer for shipping historic cars. Your prized possession, a classic car, is tucked away safely within an enclosed trailer, which offers protection from the elements.

Additionally, it prevents the damaging effects of the sun and pebbles from getting onto that freshly painted surface.

Of course, an enclosed carrier will always be more expensive than an open carrier because fewer covered carriers are available, and they typically transport the most precious automobiles.

But collectors, auction houses, and concourses for the transportation of antique automobiles commonly utilize this method.


When a winch is useful

If there are any problems with the car's mechanical components, the transporter will not attempt to start the vehicle. Instead, he will use a winch to hook into the car's chassis and hoist it onto the trailer.

Even though every antique car carrier often carries a winch, you should still get in touch with the shipping company in advance and let them know that your vehicle will require a winch.

When the transporter has delivered your vehicle to its final location, they will again use the winch to gradually slide it off the trailer.

If a transporter insists on utilizing a forklift to collect and unload the vehicle, you can be sure they are not a competent antique car carrier.

In most circumstances, it is almost impossible to transport a historic vehicle with a forklift since these machines have the propensity to cause harm to the delicate undercarriage of antique cars.

When a forklift is useful

There are, however, a few exceptions when a forklift can be helpful.

You will be able to raise the vintage automobile without causing any harm to it if the shipping business places wooden blocks or a pallet below the vehicle to act as a bracing against the metal prongs of the forklift.

To protect them from further deterioration during transport, certain "project cars" and other badly corroded automobiles are handled in this manner.

Using a forklift equipped with a wheel lift attachment is yet another possible method to transport historic automobiles. This attachment enables the shipping firm to move your car by simply raising the front or rear tires and moving the vehicle while it is in neutral.

The State of Your Historic Vehicle's Gas Tank

It is not necessary to empty the gas tank to preserve the condition of your historic vehicle.

Most car shipping companies will ask you to empty your gas tank but not completely. Drain your classic car's gas tank to a quarter or a half full for safety reasons. It will lessen the weight of your classic vehicle and avoid combustion if there's a mishap during transport.

Furthermore, the shipping business handling your car's transport can empty the gasoline tank at their shipping facilities upon request.

The Essence of Keeping Records

Always keep records of your automobile's condition before and after shipment.

Even while the transporter will provide a full condition report when picking up and delivering your automobile, it is still beneficial to have additional documentation if a vehicle has blemishes or damage.

Before the transporter loads the classic automobile onto their trailer, we strongly recommend to the classic car owner that they note the state of their vehicle.

In addition, we strongly recommend snapping pictures of everything. Having photographic evidence of your vintage car's state will strengthen your claims if damage or an accident occurs. This way, you will be more likely to avoid conflict.



The best way to prepare your classic vehicles for shipping is with due diligence. Take time to clean, inspect and protect your vehicle before it ships.

Choose a reliable transportation company and take steps to ensure your car's or truck's safety during transport. With the proper preparation and security measures, you can trust that your valuable classic vehicle will reach its destination in excellent condition!

At A-1 Auto Transport, we make it our business to stay up to date on the latest developments in the freight industry. Contact us anytime to learn about our comprehensive range of shipping services.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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