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Thread: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

  1. #61

    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    I have shipped a ton of cars over the years, more than probably 99% of the population.

    All I can say is, God help you. It is a terrible industry with basically zero accountability for on-time performance and damage to your vehicle.

    The more you pay, the better the service will likely be. Guys with enclosed trailers are generally better/more careful with your car. If the car is not picked up quickly, you're probably not paying enough for the route.

    Brokers will always try to (a) win your job with the low bid, even if it is way too low to actually move the car, and (b) run interference on your job once you leave them for another broker (usually because weeks go by and the car isn't being picked up).

    UShip is a crap shoot, just like using a broker you found online. I have used it 5 times to ship cars. I won't do it again. The only benefit is getting to pay the UShip fee.

    If you are lucky enough to find a small family owned trucking company that will do the actual transport, that is probably your best bet. You will likely pay more, but there will probably be less nonsense.

    Make sure to get tons of photos of the car just before/just as it's picked up. Get a ton more after it's delivered. Insurance claims are no fun, the broker will wash their hands of the issue and leave you to deal with the trucker's insurance company.

    A friend had an issue where his car was supposed to be delivered in 4 days, but ended up being delivered 10 days after pickup. A few of the car's panels had been repainted en-route to the delivery point, because the trucker damaged the car so they quickly found a body shop and did a rush job on it. A very similar thing happened to my parents when moving cross-country, one of their cars was damaged and repainted prior to delivery.

    Shipping a vehicle is the worst part of the buying experience. If it's valuable to you, try to get a plane ticket and drive it home.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by BahnStorm; 6 Days Ago at 09:39 AM.

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  3. #62
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    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by BahnStorm View Post
    If it's valuable to you, try to get a plane ticket and drive it home.
    Amen !!

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  5. #63
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    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by BahnStorm View Post
    I If it's valuable to you, try to get a plane ticket and drive it home.

    Good luck.
    That presents its own set of challenges that often requires a lot of luck. I buy many cars unseen from out of state. I would never consider getting into a car I just bought and know nothing about and driving it back 1000 + miles unless it was brand spanking new. It rarely works out cheaper if things go perfectly and if they don't, it's difficult to be prepared for mechanical issues en route, let alone the stuff you see on Criminal Minds.

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    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    If you pay the money up front at time of purchase to buy the best possible car, and do the research, I've NEVER had a problem with any car I've purchased. I've bought at least a dozen Benzes over the years, most all of them (a 560SEL and 300SEL 6.3 excepted) purchased remotely and driven long distance home. And NEVER had a single problem.

    With Benzes you develop a sixth sense as to whether a car has good bones or not. I recently seriously examined and considered purchasing a white over palomino 1991 560SEL with around 60K miles on it, that was located in Annapolis, Maryland. I looked at the car two times and did a fairly decent walkaround and walkthrough both times. Despite the low miles, Florida provenance until a couple of years ago, and modest maintenance history with the car, I decided against buying it simply because I didn't feel it had good bones.

    Other cars I've bought have had zero maintenance history, but have had good bones, and I've not hesitated to purchase them and drive them hundreds or thousands of miles home.

    Cardinal rule though -- ALWAYS look at a car in person. NEVER buy sight unseen. Experience in Benz ownership provides the sixth sense that makes the go/no-go decision to buy.

    Second cardinal rule -- ALWAYS spend the money up front to get the very best car possible, rather than thinking one is getting "a deal" and will make the investment post-purchase to "bring it up to par." Never a recipe for ownership-experience happiness nor success, 80% of the time.

    Personally, I would never buy a car unless it was mechanically good enough at time of purchase to drive anywhere, but that's just me. Of course mechanical failures can happen with ANY old car at any time after purchase, but I've never had an issue.

    I've always found that the initial "drive home" with a new car provides a great bonding experience and allows one to shake things down and identify issues. One example: when I got my G-wagen back in summer 2014 from the SF Bay Area, I found driving over the Sierra Mountains and through Yosemite that the truck had a weak fan clutch. I replaced it almost immediately upon arriving in Houston. Fan clutch wasn't a catastrophic mechanical failure, but it was something that did need attention so that the vehicle could operate to spec.

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  8. #65
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    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Personally, I would never buy a car unless it was mechanically good enough at time of purchase to drive anywhere, but that's just me. Of course mechanical failures can happen with ANY old car at any time after purchase, but I've never had an issue. ... I've always found that the initial "drive home" with a new car provides a great bonding experience and allows one to shake things down and identify issues.
    You also don't want to be 2000 miles away from home and have a serious breakdown, stranded far from the nearest competent MB dealer or indy. If planning to drive a long distance home in a 'new' car... shell out for a GOOD, really good, PPI and let the shop know the car will be taken on a long trip. Of course that still doesn't guarantee anything - but it should help identify glaring issues before you get behind the wheel the first time.

    This is the flip side of transport risk... sure, there is risk with transport, just different risk.


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    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Personally, I would never buy a car unless it was mechanically good enough at time of purchase to drive anywhere, but that's just me. Of course mechanical failures can happen with ANY old car at any time after purchase, but I've never had an issue.
    That's what I'm talking about. When considering the cost of airfare, time off, fuel (I don't buy the most fuel efficient cars) and hotel. It's already not worth it for me. Even a flat tire can screw you up if you're in the wrong spot. It boils down to experience. I may have shipped 40 cars in the last 10 years, all open and have only ran into two problems.

    1) 1974 Jensen Interceptor which was a project car and had no brakes, purchased in South Florida and shipped to Dallas. The driver used the hydraulics on his double decker trailer in place of a winch and got his sequencing wrong which lead to the car rolling back and not quite falling off. Insurance paid 4x what I paid for the car to repair the damage.
    2) 1998 SL500 that I bought in LA and shipped to Dallas. Driver was rude about not getting a tip (did not know I needed to tip owner operators).

    Both shipments cost about $500 which was the going rate for open transport on those routes. The drivers had DOT / MC #'s posted on the side of their trucks which meant they were licensed and insured. Given the risks that can occur and the relative low cost. It makes little sense for me drive and deal with any aggro that can happen en route when I don't have access to parts or tools. Spending $3000 for a premium shipper makes even less sense to me as the money would be better spent by paying a little extra to find a local car. Again, there's no right answer, it's just a matter of experience and comfort level.

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  12. #67
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    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    I like to break the rules. I've purchased five Mercedes and two chevy muscle cars sight unseen and six out of the seven were and are great cars. The only one that wasn't was definitely the one where I let my defenses down. Never buy an ebay car without seeing and driving it. The riskiest one was my black (repaint) 1992 500E, but it has turned out to be the cream of my crop. A forum member reviewed the car for me. The least risky purchase, in my mind, was the 1995 Wagon because I knew its history and the previous two owners maintained the car impeccably. I followed that car on this forum for years wishing some day I could own it. I purchased the imperial red E500 sight unseen but it was essentially a one owner car and I purchased it solely because of the rare color combo. I expected wear and tear on a 212k mile car from the NE but it too has turned out to be a very decent car and getting better every day. But, don't look at my experiences as the way to make decisions. I'm not your average car collector and I could afford to take the risks. All that being said, there is no replacement for seeing and driving the car before you purchase. As Gerry said you kind of develop a sense for things when you've done this enough times.


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  14. #68
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    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    All make very good sense and agree that there's no one right answer each time. I would definitely PPI, fly, look in person, and drive home if the car were at least on the same coast. FL-WA distance just didn't work. I did fly over once before, met the seller at a dealer, and planned on PPI before driving it home. Instead I used my sixth sense and just flew back without PPI. No regrets at all and the best decision I've ever made in my hunting experience. All part of the fun. I did purchase a Benz sight unseen about 9 years ago and turned out to be a very good one which I am about to sell (not E500E). I used a premium transport co to ship it from midwest to WA back then and probably spent about the same amount or perhaps less than what I was just quoted for FL to WA enclosed using a broker. 2nd day waiting and no bite from a trucker yet for FL pickup to WA.

  15. #69

    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    The PPI is the key. If you get a decent PPI, the chances of having Murphy for a passenger on the road trip home are dramatically reduced.

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    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    Shipping agreement was signed with a broker (no deposit required) and the car has been sitting for a week with no available pickup date yet. Is this common for shipping via brokers? I guess FL to WA is just not a popular route. I will give another week or so but when should I really look into an alternate shipping company/broker? Passport now says 4 weeks for a pickup and even raised their price slightly since my last phone inquiry.

    At delivery do you guys tip and how much do you usually tip the driver? I don't recall how much I tipped almost 10 years ago for my previous enclosed shipping. Thanks.

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    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    Pickup time varies... but I hear that transporting out of Florida in springtime is very popular as snowbirds migrate north for the summer. Might just be lousy timing for that particular route. Increasing the bid will speed things up if you really want it moved quickly. The Passport quote of 4 weeks does not sound normal to me.

    Regarding tipping... I was not aware of this, and had never done it previously. Usually, the driver is in a hurry to pack up his rig and get back on the road. I'm curious how many folks have either tipped drivers, or had a driver hang out fishing for one. Maybe the cars I've had transported (usually in sad shape, some barely running) looked sorry enough they figured I didn't have spare dough to tip with, lol...


  18. #72
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    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    if you're having trouble getting the car picked up, then it's either off the beaten path or the terms are good for the driver/
    I caught some cr@p once from a driver for not tipping. I'm not accustomed to tipping haulers and don't see a need to.

  19. #73
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    Re: Anyone thrilled about any car transport companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by S500E View Post
    Shipping agreement was signed with a broker (no deposit required) and the car has been sitting for a week with no available pickup date yet. Is this common for shipping via brokers? I guess FL to WA is just not a popular route. I will give another week or so but when should I really look into an alternate shipping company/broker? Passport now says 4 weeks for a pickup and even raised their price slightly since my last phone inquiry.

    At delivery do you guys tip and how much do you usually tip the driver? I don't recall how much I tipped almost 10 years ago for my previous enclosed shipping. Thanks.
    I had the same problem getting my 500E shipped from Atlanta to Portland. After no pick up for over two weeks I ended up shipping it to LA and then from LA to Portland. It worked out well for me because it arrived in LA in time for the E500E get together, so I flew down and went to the get together. I had it shipped to Leistung Autohaus and had Matt do a few maintenance items while it was in LA.

    1992 500E
    1994 E500
    1995 E320 Wagon
    2011 E550 4Matic

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