Can I Ship a Vintage Car That’s Not Working?

Yes, you can! The state of the operation of your car is not a factor in the ability to ship it overseas. Let’s say you’ve located the vintage car you’ve been dreaming about for years. Only problem is, it’s located in another country. And it doesn’t work. How can you get it from here to there if it won’t run?


No worries. First, with a reputable car shipper behind you, the process will go smoothly. But you need to take that first step and do your research. You’ll want to focus on shippers with experience specifically in shipping vintage cars. Peace of mind is worth every penny! 


Shipping a vintage car that doesn’t turn on or that cannot be driven just requires a bit more research and preparations on your part. 

Most car shippers have experience shipping cars that are in good working order. But not all companies deal with non-operational older cars. FYI: we do here at Ship Overseas. But as you do your research and get quotes, ask each company representative if they can ship a vehicle that isn’t in running condition. This will narrow down your list of shippers so you don’t waste time.


Vintage Car Shipping Basics

The safest way to ship a vintage car that’s not working is to put it on an enclosed trailer so it is shielded from weather, road debris, and damage. This option comes with a higher price tag, as opposed to open transport, but it’s a choice many vintage car owners make due to the financial and sentimental value of the vehicle. 

But if your vehicle isn’t in mint condition and your top priority is saving money, open trailer shipping will work just fine. 


What “Non-Working” Means

There are many reasons why a vintage vehicle may be considered non-running or inoperable by a car shipper. 

  • Some vintage cars won’t start up but can be rolled onto the truck or ship in neutral.
  • Others can’t even roll due to structural issues. 

Maybe your vintage car doesn’t have an engine at the moment, or doesn’t include all four wheels. Perhaps you can start and roll your car but can’t operate it safely due to brake or steering mechanism failures. 

In any of those cases, car shippers will consider those vehicles non-working because they can’t risk driving them onto the truck or the ship. 

If your car can’t brake, roll or steer, the shipper may have to commission a forklift. And if your car does not have a working key, this will require the use of a forklift or tow truck because access is limited.


Special Equipment Will Cost You

Vintage car shipping involving an inoperative vehicle is more expensive, but the higher price tag involved in shipping a non-working car is not surprising when you consider the extra effort and equipment it takes to get it on and off the trailer and ship. 

  • Drivers who handle non-working vehicles have to undergo specialized training so they can safely handle the inoperable car.
  • A winch is needed to load an inoperable vehicle onto a trailer, which doesn’t always come standard on most auto transport trucks. Plus, they can pose a challenge to operate. 

Should You Fix it Before Shipping?

Perhaps, but it all depends on why your vintage car doesn’t run. That said, the cost of repairs is actually lower than the cost of shipping an inoperable vehicle. It may cost you less to replace a key, install a new battery, or buy and install a full set of new tires, for example, than to have your vehicle winched on and off a trailer. Plus, you open up your shipping options when the vehicle is working. 


Settling a Reliable Vintage Car Shipper

Don’t trust just any company to ship your vintage car. Search for a company with these qualities:


  • Equipment: The company should have the proper equipment to accommodate your vintage car. 
  • Experience: It should have a track record of successfully transporting both working and non-working vintage cars in a timely and safe manner. 
  • Reliability: Read reviews and get recommendations to guarantee a good reputation. 
  • Customer service: Look for a company that will help and support you throughout the shipping process. 
  • Good value: You don’t have to overpay for vintage car shipping, but you don’t have to automatically go with the cheapest one either. The old adage is true here: you get what you pay for.

Ready to get a free vintage car shipping quote from Ship Overseas? We have extensive experience in shipping both working and non-working classic cars. Get a free quote today. 


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