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Old 10-10-2006, 06:18 PM
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Car Shipping - Open vs. Enclosed

Hi All -

My silly brother has purchased a new Benz from an out-of-state dealer and now needs to ship it home. He can specify open or enclosed shipping. The latter is more expensive but presumably provides more protection against damage.

Any opinions on which makes more sense? Is there a significant chance of damage transporting a car ~1000miles on an open truck? I've no experience in this area.


- JimY

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Old 10-10-2006, 06:27 PM
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Costs are greater for enclosed as is lenght of delivery time as are not as many transports.

I choose open because did not want to wait 2-4 weeks for departure and then requested a top load so as not to get dripped upon.

Traveling in winter one should expect it to arrive very dirty from road spray etc.
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Old 10-10-2006, 06:31 PM
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I knew someone who bought a used 1980 300SD in SF off ebay and who lived in Chicago. I saw the car in SF and a friend and I helped her get it shipped to Chigago, she was on a tight budget and opted to ship it uncovered,I think it cost about $850. This was 3-4 years ago

Since she got the lowest rate she also got the slower shipment, her car was on the top of the car carrier, the last on the trailer to be delivered, and the car went from SF all the way to Baltimore and thence back across the country to Chicago. She got the car OK but it was utterly filthy when it got there, really dirty, a total mess, having been exposed to all kinds of weather and road grime.

For a NEW car I would definately have it shipped covered, inside a trailer, to keep it clean and free of vandalism and searching eyes. For a new or a $50,000 car to ship it uncovered seems to me to be false economy.

The car should be inspected for damage at both endsw of the trip, and some of the shippers like DAS allow the buyers to track the car across the country on a daily basis, it should take less than a week from here to there, in the continental US, from door to door.
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Old 10-10-2006, 06:35 PM
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Is the car being shipped prepped (manufacturer installed plastic shielding and covers removed) or being sent to a local dealer for prep.
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:49 PM
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I've used Intercity Lines several times for very nice cars. If you want reduce your risk of damage and not worry about your car I highly recommend them.
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:54 PM
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Nice to see another Charlestonian. I was raised in Charleston (Summerville and Mount Pleasant).
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:50 PM
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Its a new MB is there a choice? Enclosed only.

Its a $50k+ car don't skimp on the shipping.

For 1,000 miles I would ship any car that was decent enclosed.
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:15 PM
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Open shipping's okay.

I've shipped cars using an open rig, including my 1937 Packard, and never had a problem. Most new cars are shipped this way (although still swathed in their factory protection).

I can understand those who want to employ a closed trailer for shipping a rare antique or exotic or show car, and the higher cost can be worth it for cars rarely driven in the elements.

But if you expect to drive your car in the wind, rain and snow then it's not going to suffer any worse on an open rig than it would if you drove it yourself -- and likely alot less. I'd request to have the car placed on the upper portion of the rig. Those on the bottom portion could be subject to oil/fluid drips from the cars above.
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Old 10-11-2006, 07:31 AM
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I would suggest opting for top position in an enclosed trailer for a new car. Top position is more critical because the odds are very good if you are under an old car which is tilted at an odd angle you will get dripped on from something.

I had my '64 220Sb shipped out from California that way and it arrived fine, but I realized when I got it that it had a leaky clutch slave cylinder so the cheapskate who didn't pay extra $$$ to be on top surely got some brake fluid on his don't want to be there, especially not in a brand spanking new Benz.

So, in conclusion I guess I would say top position is even more important than the enclosed trailer part.

DAS moved mine and I have no complaints about them. Even though it sat on the other side of the country for over a week, it still arrived by their estimated arrival date, and with them you can track the car's progress every step of the way online.

Another tip would be to contact the depot directly if you want door to door service. Most shippers use towing companies as depots or holding yards so that's where the cars are dropped off from and picked up at. If you want the car delivered to your door or picked up from a seller just call the depot directly and arrange it with them rather than pay the shipper a premium to do it for you. In know if the case of DAS they publish the name and address of the depot nearest both ends of the trip on their site when you get a quote, just google them and call them. In my case is saved about $300 over what DAS wanted for door to door service and I was sure I got what I wanted (flatebed service on both ends).
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Last edited by nhdoc; 10-11-2006 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 10-11-2006, 09:36 AM
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Depends on the car. If they body is in okay shape, then open trailer. If the body is beautiful, the closed. If the car is brand new, the closed trailer unless it's being carted only a few hours, in which case a single-car flatbed will do.
- Brian

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Old 10-11-2006, 09:57 AM
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All -

Thanks for the input. The car is a brand new E-class CDI. It's going to be driven through Michigan winters, so it will get very, very dirty in a few months. Enclosed transport seems overkill. But the point about being up top is a good one, I'll pass it on.

- JimY
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Old 10-11-2006, 12:28 PM
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Lots of good points bought up here. One more thing to consider though. Every spring I get a few dozen cars delivered from their winter homes in Florida to the dealership I work at in N.J. On several occasions I've seen cars arrive with rear suspension damage. A few had bent links, a few had broken links. The damage occurred at the points where the vehicle was tied down. They all made the trip at the rear of the hauler. I started calling it the "diving board" effect. When the hauler had a few good bounces, the rear probably went up and down a few feet. The haulers that use chain wrapped around the rear links are the ones most likely to cause damage. Either find a hauler that doesn't use chain, or request that the vehicle ride up front.

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