Transporting a Classic BMW Cross-Country: 6 Tips

There’s nothing like the feel of the open road, but for longer trips, sometimes you need alternative methods of transporting your car. Are you packing for a cross-country move or gearing up for a car show? You could be driving, hauling, railroading or shipping your vehicle to your destination.

As a classic BMW owner, you have additional responsibilities to maintain and secure your vehicle in all its vintage glory. With this roadmap, steer your way into a seamless delivery experience.

1. Gear Up For a Solo Drive

One possibility is to drive your classic BMW. A conventional car can last 200,000 miles, so check your mileage beforehand. Because they are older cars, only consider this option for shorter journeys.

Consider purchasing a battery tender to measure and charge battery voltage as well. The older wiring and technology inside your vehicle may not be able to withstand the trek on its own. While many classic car owners would rather preserve and protect their vehicles, it could be a fun road trip experience!

2. Try Train Transportation

If you’re looking to avoid the open road, you can optimize your BMW for train transport. Amtrack trains can transport everything from sedans, vans and motorcycles with their shipping procedures. The crew will load your car as rail cargo and then unload it at your destination.

This is a great eco-friendly option and dismisses tolls, fuel and the risk of traffic accidents. Train rides are also out of the ordinary and can be an exhilarating journey as you watch the countryside flash by the windows. However, travel is limited to stations and rail lines, so keep this in mind when planning your destination.

3. Explore Hitches and Trailers

Want to stick by the highways but keep miles and damage off your BMW? Consider using a trailer hitch. The sturdy metal connects to the frame of your driving vehicle, whether that be a pickup or rental van. With this hitch, attach trailers made for transporting cars and other heavy-duty items.

Not all hitches are created equally, though. It’s important to discern which option is best for your auto hauler and the security of your BMW. For instance, classic car owners would consider a gooseneck hitch for its additional towing stability instead of a pintle hitch commonly used in construction industries.

Once you decide on a hitch, you’ll want to consider a trailer rather than a two-wheeled dolly. Dollies only elevate the front of a car, leaving the back wheels to roll and invite wear and tear.

4. Assess Shipping Options

Moving is already a momentous effort, so hiring a shipping company takes a load off your shoulders. It can be nerve-wracking to leave your classic BMW in the hands of another, but proper research can land you with the safest and most affordable option.

Use a shipping calculator that assesses your BMW’s weight, model, specifications and travel distance of your journey. Gathering multiple quotes gives you a round idea of the price.

The ideal company provides:

  • Insurance in case of damage or wear and tear.
  • Trackable status updates.
  • Excellent customer service that cares about the quality of your car’s journey.

You can also decide between open or closed transport. Open carriers place your BMW next to other vehicles and may be subject to the elements. Enclosed options are sheltered, but they tend to cost more. 

5. Prepare and Monitor Your BMW

Once you choose the best ride for your classic BMW, take some time to prepare and test its integrity. Complete these checks one week before your journey begins, as well as the morning of the transport:

  • Check the fuel gauge to be at most one-quarter full.
  • Remove all valuables, documents and items that may affect the weight limit.
  • Monitor tire pressure.
  • Disable car alarms or alert systems to not startle the movers or interrupt processes.
  • Deactivate electronic toll passes so you won’t rack up unnecessary charges.

Taking pictures of the exterior and interior of your vehicle also ensures you have photographic evidence for insurance purposes.

6. Be Ready For Delivery

As a driver or hauler of your car, take breaks in the journey to monitor the integrity of your BMW and the trailer or hitch you are using. Staying awake, alert and cautious on the road is the best way to protect your and your car’s safety. 

If shipping and delivery are more your style, be aware that it may take up to 10 days for the transport to reach your destination. Weather, traffic and rest for drivers can all extend travel time.

The pickup window is usually 48 hours after arrival. The shipping company will also have a bill of lading that outlays potential damage and travel details that you will need to review and sign.

Cross-Country Transport the Safe Way

Owning a classic car as unique and exciting as a BMW is a privilege and you know all too well the responsibility of safe transportation. With careful planning, you and your classic BMW are ready to ride off into the sunset.

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