Whether you're headed to the next classic car show or simply need to put your car in storage, do you have a plan on how to get it there? Renting a trailer and hauling it yourself is a great option. But you want to do it in such a way that your car and your travels remain safe. Here's what you need to know about transporting your classic car with a trailer so you arrive at your destination safe and sound.
Closed vs. Open Trailers
Open trailers are an option, and they might save you a little cash. But unless you regularly drive your classic car around town, you might prefer to go with a closed trailer that will better protect it from the elements and road debris. Open trailers are a good option if your car needs body work or other types of restoration. You can buy or rent a trailer; it essentially comes down to budget and whether or not you'll be using the trailer regularly.
The Loading Process
Loading a classic car onto your trailer takes a little more care than loading a modern car, since any resulting damage can be much more challenging to repair. This step is also one of the most important because you'll need to keep two things in mind: protecting your classic car from body damage and loading in a way that will allow for safe traveling. In other words, you want to do everything you can to prevent sway (side-to-side motion of the trailer) and whipping (a more violent back and forth motion). Here are the basic steps to follow:
1. Make sure the trailer is attached to the tow vehicle in a straight line and that both are parked on level ground. Always double-check that the breakaway wires are connected so the trailer's brakes will engage should the trailer become disconnected.
2. Do a quick check inside the trailer to be sure there aren't any small items that could damage the body of your car like nails, screws, rocks, tools, etc.
3. Be sure the ramp you use can support the weight of the vehicle. Also pay attention to the angle of the ramp. The steeper the angle, the more likely it is that your car's undercarriage or trailer will get scraped or dinged as you load the car. To reduce the grade, get a longer ramp. Most enclosed trailers should have a drop gate, and if so, finding a ramp won't be an issue.
4. As you load, keep the car straight, and park it in the center of the trailer, as close to the front as possible. This can help prevent sway and whipping.
5. After you load your classic car onto the trailer, be sure to engage the parking brake.
6. Go outside and make sure the trailer is level and the tongue weight isn't too light or too heavy.
7. Use heavy-duty straps to secure your classic car. Be sure to attach the straps to the chassis so you don't risk pulling out the D-rings inside the trailer.
8. Do a final sweep to make sure no loose items are lying around, taking care to check the sides of the trailer for loose paneling.
One final note: Do NOT use the inside of the trailer or your classic car for transporting cargo (like tool boxes or suitcases), as this can cause the weight to become unevenly distributed and lead to swaying.
Once your classic car is loaded up snug and secure, you may be ready to hit the highway. But the best advice is to travel a short distance (like all the way across town) and then get out and do the following:
- Recheck the straps holding the car to ensure they're still tight.
- Inspect the hitch and the tongue weight once again.
- Make sure all the wires are still connected and no chains have come loose.
- Double check the breakaway wires.
- Recheck the tire pressure and tighten lug nuts as needed.
When you're driving on the road, following the speed limit at all times and slowing down in areas of high wind can help prevent the trailer from swaying. But if it does, keep the steering wheel straight and avoid braking. Instead, lift your foot off the accelerator and allow the vehicle to slow on its own until the swaying stops.
If you're looking to rent a trailer to move your classic car in, contact a company like Route 12 Rental Co Inc. for more information.