8 Tips for Shipping Your Dream Car

Every muscle car enthusiast out there can quickly name their top ten best muscle cars of all time. These lists vary on taste, whether big blog or small block, Mustang versus Camaro, 60's over early 70's, but each can agree there is no substitute for monstrous torque and road ripping horsepower.

This article is for every fan out there with a perfect car in mind and an eye for getting that high octane, limit-pushing piece of art from that website to the front door without breaking the bank. For many car enthusiasts the limiting factors are time and money. You save money buying online, but transportation costs limit the savings and some of us can’t take the time off – or don't have such supportive spouses that would allow a week long road trip.

If this sounds like you, there are some things you should know before buying that car online. Fast, Cheap, and Good doesn't have to be one or the others. By following these 8 tips, you will have a better understanding of the online transportation marketplace, as well as able to be a great judge between different services, transporter types, and the details of the bidding process.

  1. Flexibility. By having even a small amount of wiggle room on dates, routes and types of transport, you can get more transporters with different types of equipment interested in your shipment. Cost varies greatly depending on different timeframes. Just as in booking an airline ticket, timing can make a huge difference in the price you pay.
  2. Know the types of Transport. Decide which type of car transport fits your need. Are you looking to buy a 1970 Dodge Challenger with original, showroom quality paint? Then enclosed transportation, away from the elements, is probably the way you want to go. Factor in cost when deciding on trailer types. Buying a project car from someone's driveway? A multi-car transport will be open to the elements, but will be cheaper (try to get your car on the bottom, more protected racks). Single car trailers, whether open or flatbed, will be more expensive, but are more likely than not quicker and a must if you have aftermarket modifications.
  3. Look for Feedback. With the growth of the online muscle car market, more transportation companies have started offering classic car shipping. A large factor in making a decision on which company to go with is their experience in muscle cars. Another factor is if the company is a broker or owner operator. A broker will take your shipment and match it with a subcontractor, not exactly a bad things as long as you can maintain communication and be able to track your car. An owner operator should have better communication and can have more reliability, but will be more expensive as a broker makes money on volume. Overall, you should choose a transporter you feel comfortable with. By checking forums, their own references, and the muscle car community, you can make sure that you have a good idea of what to expect from the Transporter you choose.
  4. Ask Questions. Proper communication between you and the transporter will reduce unforeseen problems during transportation and on arrival. Ask about specific inspection, pick up, and delivery procedures. You should know about any restrictions they have and their requirements for the cars they ship. Ask the transporter about pick up inspection and if they document pre-existing damage or loading. Too many horror stories could have been averted by simple, straight-forward questions.
  5. Licensing and Verification. Any Transporter that you choose, make sure they maintain proper policies and procedures, have proper documentation, current references, and up-to-date insurance. Check to make sure the company is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A quick way is to check if you transporter is listed in good standing on www.safersys.org. The US Department of Transportation just launched the Motor Carrier Safety Measurement System and now you can check to see if Transporters are current month-to-month on their website: http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/
  6. Insurance. Check with your auto insurance company to see what it will cover on the move. Many Transporters offer insurance that comes in all different forms, from Full Value Protection at no charge to Carrier Cargo Insurance at a fee. Make sure that if your auto insurance doesn’t cover your car on the move the Transporter is fully covered.
  7. Get it in Writing. This should be a no brainer. A Transporter might be a great guy, but this is a transaction and you need to make sure you are covered if something goes wrong. A contract should be written and agreed upon before the transaction ever takes place. Read it, even the small print. Down payments, fees, and payment should all be worked out before the shipment occurs and should be documented in the contract or in correspondence.
  8. Track your shipment. It's is the 21st century, Shipping Companies today use mobile tracking to stay up to date with customers and other shipping companies.  It is not too much to ask for daily updates on your car while it is on the road. Most Transporters offer this service free of charge

There are never too many questions to ask. Your car is valuable, whether it is currently or after all the work you are going to put into it, you need to make sure that the company you choose understands that. Doing the due diligence and taking the right steps can be the difference between a great experience or never seeing your car again.

This article was written by the guys at uShip.com: the experts in shipping anything, anywhere, anytime. Visit our Car Transport site for more information on everything covered in this article as well more about the world’s largest and most trusted transportation marketplace.


  1. Date: January 18, 2011 at 15:01
    Author: 2005 Mustang

    And make sure you read all the fine prints in all the proper documentations!

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