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Does your car collection need a change of scenery? Transporting classic cars can be stressful, especially if it’s their first relocation in a long time or they need special repairs. These ten tips will guide you through the transportation process and help you keep every car in one piece.
1. Get the Necessary Permits
You might need to acquire special hauling permissions depending on the size of your collection. If the total load exceeds the federal government’s height, width or weight limits, you must acquire a permit from your state to become road legal. Alternatively, you could split the load and transport the collection separately to stay below legal limits and avoid government intervention.
2. Perform a Basic Maintenance Check
Do a basic maintenance check on your vehicles to ensure they’re all operational before loading. If a mechanical issue happens during or after the trip, you might face additional charges for shipping delays. Check the batteries, tires and fluids so you can make any necessary repairs before transporting your classic cars.
3. Inspect the Trailer
The auto transport company you choose should already have thorough trailer-inspection procedures, but it doesn’t hurt to do a quick inspection yourself. Make sure the trailer’s anchor points are secure and check the floors for oil, dirt and weather damage. These things can reduce traction and make loading and unloading more dangerous. Everything should be clean and dry.
The trailer must also be sitting level to distribute the load’s weight evenly. An off-balance trailer is more difficult to drive and increases the chance of an accident, especially on sharp turns. Ensure the slope is flat and the trailer has balanced tires before loading.
4. Drain the Gas Tank to Half-Full
Most car shipping companies will require you to drain the gas tanks to half-full or lower before loading them. Less gas means less weight, making the loading, driving and unloading processes easier. It also means there’s less flammable liquid on board that could cause a blaze in the event of an accident.
5. Detail and Photograph the Cars
This step is the most important for transporting classic cars. You must document the condition of your vehicles to hold the shipping company accountable if they cause any damage. Before traveling, clean and detail the cars and remove all personal effects to eliminate the possibility of theft. When you’re done, take photographs of the interior and exterior that clearly show each car’s condition.
6. Choose Enclosed Transport
The best trailer option for classic vehicles is an enclosed transport carrier because of the extra protection and privacy. It will shield the cars from the elements and draw less attention. Enclosed carriers are more expensive than open carriers for these reasons, but the extra costs are worth it if your collection gets the best protection available.
7. Secure the Cars With Fabric Devices
While some transporters secure trailer cargo with chains for the most secure transport possible, they’re bad for transporting classic cars. Chains might scratch the car’s paint or dent the body. Fabric tools like nylon straps and wheel nets are strong and won’t damage your collection. The transport company should have no issue completing this request.
8. Map the Best Route
The fastest route isn’t always the best route when transporting classic cars. It’s best to avoid steep inclines, sharp turns and congested roads. The flatter and straighter, the better. You won’t be able to dodge every hill and intersection, but try to avoid these obstacles as much as possible when mapping your route — even if it means adding time to the trip.
Organizing fuel and rest stops is a vital part of this step. Look for gas stations and rest areas off the highway that the driver can easily navigate. You should also keep a close eye on the weather forecast in the days leading up to the trip.
9. Create an Unloading Plan Before Leaving
You and the transport company need to establish an unloading plan before leaving to ensure everything goes smoothly at the journey’s end. Give the driver a precise parking spot on a level surface and determine what equipment you’ll need to unload the cars. Unloading should be quicker than loading, but allow the transport team a flexible timeline so they don’t feel rushed.
10. Check For Damage Upon Arrival
Once the transport is complete, check your collection for damage using the photos you took before loading the cars. Take a new set of pictures and compare the before and after photos. There shouldn’t be any damage if you chose a trustworthy company and the right trailer, but you can’t be too careful with your classic cars.
Ship Your Collection Safely
Relocating one classic car is nerve-wracking enough, but an entire collection is a different challenge. Following these tips will make the process easier for you, the cars and the transport company. These vehicles are your prized possessions, so treat them as such and go the extra mile to ship your collection safely.