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Shipping Your Classic

Written by Ben Leffler of, an online marketplace for Vehicle Shipping

Numerous circumstances nowadays call for transporting a vehicle. Whether the reason is relocation, sending the car to friends or relatives or completing an online transaction, there are certain steps that should be taken to ensure the auto arrives at its destination unscathed. Even when using a professional moving service there are inherent risks, so it is in your best interest to do everything possible to ensure that your property is not damaged or, in the event that it is, you are able to collect compensation. This is especially important when dealing with a classic auto due to their higher value and more expensive maintenance costs.

The first step in preparing a vehicle for transport is by washing and carefully inspecting the body and paint. Document any existing imperfections and take pictures to support written notes. Be sure to record the date of examination. Doing this will be very helpful if the auto is damaged and you are forced to file an insurance claim.

Staying with the outside of the vehicle, secure all parts that could be damaged by the wind or are likely to get dinged while on a trailer. Fold the mirrors inward to the sides of the vehicle if possible, lower the antenna and make sure flip-up headlights are down. Remove any customizations that you can, including spoilers, fins, fog lights, ground effects and trailer hitches. Any convertible tops or tool boxes must be tightly latched.

Next up is a brief mechanical evaluation. Even though it probably won’t be driven during shipment, the vehicle may have to drive on and off of a trailer so it important that it is in appropriate shape to do so. Check the fluid levels, tire pressure and battery to make sure that everything is in order. If the vehicle has been having problems or leaking any fluids, be sure to notify your service provider so they can take all necessary precautions. At this point also note the fuel level. Ideally, a vehicle should have less than half a tank during shipment. While there needs to be enough to drive, anything more just adds weight. The last step here is to disable the vehicle’s alarm if it has one. If you are unable to figure this out, contact your local dealership. If neither option is possible, be sure to provide your shipper with any information they may need to shut it off should it be tripped.

The final area you must address is the interior. Begin by removing all personal items from inside, including the trunk. This is important, as a carrier’s insurance will not cover anything left inside a vehicle or any damage that that is caused by stuff bouncing around. Next, take off any removable faceplates or aftermarket speakers that could possibly be damaged in the move. Finish up by locking in any sun shades that can swing around and rolling up all windows.

These are only the basic steps in preparation and are not necessarily all actions that should be taken. Be sure the contact your carrier beforehand and ask about any special preparations their company requires. Also, because your vehicle is a classic, you may look for a company that specializes in moving such vehicles. They will be familiar with the extra measures that should be taken when shipping rarer and older cars. Finally, don’t hesitate to ask any questions.

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