How to Transport a Classic Car in the U.S.

How to Transport a Classic Car in the U.S.
Published on December 15, 2022

The classic car industry is increasingly thriving as the market is witnessing increased activity, and classic car enthusiasts eagerly look for masterpieces to add to their collections.

Whether you view classic cars as a profitable investment or merely collecting them for joy, one day or another, you will need the service of a reliable auto transport company.

The truth is, shipping a classic car isn’t the same as transporting any modern car or vehicle; rather, it needs an advanced, hard-bitten service provider. This guide will provide all the details about transporting a classic car in the United States. We’ll cover the following:

  • What is a Classic Car?
  • Why Take Special Care of Classic Cars When Shipping?
  • How to Transport a Classic Car in the U.S.?
  • How to Choose the Right Auto Transport Company
  • How to Prepare Your Classic Car for Shipping

What is a Classic Car?

A classic car is a distinctive old vehicle that dates back to 1915 or more. What makes a car classic isn’t only its age, exotic nature, quality, value, cultural trendsetters, and design. A classic car must have that wow factor that makes it stand out among crowds of modern vehicles and steal the spotlights.

Why Take Special Care of Classic Cars When Shipping?

Transporting a classic car is nothing like a modern regular one; the classics need more attention and consideration. The reasons behind that are that classic cars are very costly to maintain, meaning that their owners are paying 3 to 5 times more than the money needed for maintaining a modern vehicle. So, owners would be increasingly worried that their money isn’t wasted and their cars are treated with the utmost care and consideration.
In addition, classic car replacement parts are rare, and finding one in case something goes wrong with the vehicle will be a real nightmare for owners. Currently available parts could do the trick but not as efficiently as the old ones, designed specifically for the versions of the old car.

How to Transport a Classic Car in the U.S.?

When it comes to moving classic cars, the need for auto transport companies is urgent. This need is because operating these cars on dangerous U.S. highways, among all types of vehicles and carriers, will expose them to major risks. Read more about Risks of Shipping Classic Cars in the USA.

Not only that, but some classic cars are inoperable or need very special handling. So, the need for a service provider to deliver the precious, classic car to its destination is pressing.
The auto transport process is sophisticated; there’re many things to learn about and more things to consider before securing it on a trailer’s back.

 So, here’s how to transport your classic car in the safest way in the United States.

  1. Choose the right auto transport company

Transporting classic cars require high proficiency and experience, and such a task shouldn’t be assigned to random service providers. Rather, a company that will take the credit for transporting your dear classic car must first undergo a very rigorous test, including the following:

  1. It must be legal

You can do nothing if you receive your classic car scratched or even completely damaged if the service provider you hired isn’t legal and registered. The Department of Transportation and the Federal Carrier Safety Administration are two parties concerned with regulating the auto transport process and ensuring the safety of carriers and shipped cars.

And that’s by enforcing strict rules service providers must obey. Knowing whether or not the company you deal with is legal and obeys the federal rules must be the first thing to do, and that’s by directly asking the company for a license or a DOT number.

The legality of the company you hire is critical because companies that comply with the law are bound to provide clients an auto transport insurance that protects their car while in transit.

In addition, licensed companies must have a clear idea about the rules and regulations of the auto transport process, consequently, know how to operate their tasks efficiently.

  1. It must have long experience in the classic car shipping field

An auto transport company might provide very high-quality services for modern cars and other types of vehicles; however, when it comes to handling classic cars, they have zero experience.

The experience is key for a successful, safe transport process, especially when it comes to classic cars, because handling them the wrong way can have severe, costly consequences.
Tempus Logix has been in the car transport market for a long time, exceeding eight years, transporting all types of regular, classic, and even electric cars.

  1. Reviews and rating page

A company confident of its services’ quality and willing to improve and expand will be happy to hear its clients’ feedback about the service and whether their experience has been good or bad.

A review page is a key for sneaking a peak at a company’s service quality and whether or not it’s worth hiring. When reading reviews, try to have an open eye for the kind of users submitting reviews; do they look authentic and truthful, or are there question marks on them?

Some fraud companies use positive reviews generating tools to deceive possible clients and convince them to hire them, so be careful. Suppose all reviews seem authentic, look for negative reviews and closely read the company’s response.

Has it shrunk of responsibility and blamed the client, or has it admitted its mistake and apologized? You can know a lot just by going over negative reviews and responses. In addition, positive reviews from classic car owners will greatly help you rest assured; we also advise contacting reviewers, if possible, for further clarifications.

  1. Reasonable quotes

Even though transporting classic cars requires extra effort and consideration, that doesn’t mean a company has to charge unreasonable, overpriced quotes. Thanks to auto transport websites and their free cost calculator, there’s no need to go anywhere or pay a penny to acquire auto transport quotes.

Rather, all you will need to do is visit a company’s website, go to the free car shipping cost calculator, enter your car’s info, and receive an instant estimation through your email or phone number.

  1. Go for an enclosed trailer

It’s a once in a 25 years car; it’s a masterpiece; it’s your long-term investment that will soon be worth thousands of dollars, so it’s worth every penny spent for its safety. Your classic car shouldn’t be shipped but in an enclosed trailer, shielding it from the tiniest damage possibility and accommodating it in a steel box that’s water, sun, and hazard resistant.
Options for enclosed trailers are many, and you can choose from them according to the level of privacy and protection you’re after. A single-level enclosed trailer is an option that grants the utmost safety and privacy for your unique car; this type of enclosed carrier fits only one car, and renting will cost you a little more than a regular multi-level enclosed trailer.
A regular multi-level enclosed trailer, on the other hand, fits up to six cars comfortably. However, the chances for bumps with the other shipped vehicles are there, and the possibilities of minor scratches are also present. The price of renting this type of trailer is manageable, and it’s the most popular type among other enclosed trailers. Read more about Auto Transport Trailers.

  1. Prepare your classic car for shipping. Not everything is on the auto transport company; in the end, you’re equally responsible for your classic car’s safety, and that’s by preparing it properly.
  1. Empty the gas tank

The heavier your classic car, the more fee the company will charge you. So, there’s no need to transport your car and 10 gallons of gas; it’s enough to leave an average amount quarter of the tank. This amount will drive you to the terminal and enable the carrier driver to move your vehicle in and out of the carrier.

  1. Run a check

A mechanical check is essential before handing your car’s keys to the carrier if your classic car is operable. If you’re a pro, you can run it yourself; however, if you’re not 100% confident of your mechanical skills, have a mechanic, who is experienced in classic cars, and run a full check.

A pre-shipping check must examine tires, engine, battery, indicators, and fluid levels; a deficiency in one of those might result in the shipment’s hinder, delays, and sometimes, extra fees.

  1. Take precious belongings out

Your classic car is already an eye-catching scene that will attract vandals’ attention, specifically if it’s hauled on an open trailer. So, it will be a magnetize for thieves, curious to explore what this striking vehicle might contain.

Any expensive personal belonging or unique classic car accessory will be at risk of theft if you leave them inside your car. In such instances, the auto transport company will have nothing to do or say about it.

Most auto transport companies don’t accept liability for the loss of any belonging packed in the car during transport; however, terms and conditions differ, and some companies cover this type of loss, so confirm this before handing your car’s keys to the shipper.

  1. Wash, inspect, and document

Your classic car must get onto the transport trailer the cleanest, most neat way possible, and that’s for a very critical reason, being able to attain insurance coverage.

Once your car is clean, it will be easier to detect current dents, scratches, and dings, facilitating the inspection process. When everything is clear, and all issues are revealed, here comes the documentation step.

Documenting a car’s state must take place shortly before the haul; you and the carrier driver must look through the car’s body and note all damages in the Bill of Lading. You can document your car’s state by taking written notes, pictures, or videos.

  1. Receive your classic car

When the auto transport company reaches out to you to receive your car, you should be ready for further inspection to ensure no new damage has occurred during the shipment.

During the delivery, you and the carrier driver must go through the Bill of Lading item by item and ensure no new damage occurs, and the car is just like the initial state it was shipped in.

Don’t sign the Bill of Lading until you’re certain your classic car is unbothered. If you find an additional issue, you must notify the driver immediately, so they can file an insurance claim.
Receiving your classic car with the tiniest damage is rare if you collaborate with a reliable, experienced auto transport company. Tempus Logix is a leading service provider in the auto transport industry; it has around eight years of experience and is specialized in transporting classic and collectible cars.

Read also Make Money Flipping Classic Cars.


Classic cars are a valuable, expensive investment, requiring high-quality service and thorough preparations. Following the tips mentioned above will help ensure your classic car’s safe trip to its destination; however, the ultimate key is the auto transport company you hire. So, ensure you research it well and confirm it matches all the standards and requirements mentioned above.  

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