Enclosed vs Open Car Shipping: What’s the Difference?

Relocating is a hassle, no matter how close or far you are moving. Some choose to pack everything themselves and make the trek in a rented moving truck, while others will hire as many services as they can and hope for the best. But regardless of how you relocate, most people choose to have their vehicle transported. Car transportation saves you time, money and ensures your car arrives safely. That decision leaves only one question: should you ship your vehicle with an open or enclosed car transport?

There are a few key differences between enclosed auto transport and open transport, and the decision is an important one. Here’s a breakdown of the two options, and how to choose the right one for your specific transport situation.

Main Difference Between Open vs Enclosed Auto Transport

Vehicle transportation services, whether open or enclosed, are accomplished via truck. Attached to this truck is either an open-aired trailer that will carry multiple vehicles, or an enclosed trailer that will carry one or multiple vehicles to their destination.

Open-air trailers offer no protection from the elements but are suitable for the standard sedan, pickup truck, or SUV. Enclosed vehicle transportation involves shipping the vehicle in a fully enclosed trailer. This offer a higher level of protection and security for the vehicle. Also, it offers more peace of mind for owners of new, high-value, rare, and antique vehicles.

Open Car Shipping: Pros and Cons

Pros of Open Auto Transport

Open transport is faster and cheaper than enclosed transportation.

Because there are more open-air carriers in service, this shipping method often offers easier and more convenient shipping and arrival times. The fact that so many open-air carriers are on the road, plus the lesser fuel costs due to the lighter trailer, makes it the more affordable option.

Cons of Open Auto Transport

However, open-air transportation has its drawbacks. Because there is no covering to protect the vehicles during transport, cars are not as protected from road debris and weather hazards. This is something to think about, especially when vehicles are being transported through harsh climates. Although the final destination may have mild weather, sometimes trucks travel through sleet, ice, hail, and snow.

Enclosed Car Shipping: Pros and Cons

Pros of Enclosed Auto Transport

Enclosed transportation means that the vehicle will be sealed in a trailer through the entirety of its journey. Not only does this provide protection and security for the vehicle, but it often comes with a higher degree with service and attention. Enclosed transport means that the vehicle will be sealed from hail, snow, sleet, rocks and other flying road debris.

In addition, enclosed transport truck drivers are often well-versed with high-value vehicles, which means that your vehicle will receive a greater degree of care. Enclosed car transport carriers will also come with higher cargo insurance coverage.

If you are planning on shipping a car that is really low to the ground, most of the enclosed auto transport carriers will also be equipped with a hydraulic lift gate, or extended long ramps to easily load a car that has a low ground clearance.

Con of Enclosed Auto Transport

The only real con to enclosed auto shipping is the higher cost. Because of the higher degree of care and the smaller number of cars that are moved with enclosed transport trailers, this option is often more costly.

How to decide between enclosed or open car shipping?

There are countless auto transport services on the road, each of which carries its own reputation and offers its own level of service.

Because even the standard vehicle can be subject to costly repairs from damage during transport, it is important to ensure that the transport company you use not only maintains a high level of integrity but is also a company that is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Once you’ve found a few reputable transport companies, call to get a quote, ask questions, and see how each company makes you feel. Be sure to choose the company you are most comfortable with.

Remember not to choose a transport company solely on price. Sometimes a few dollars more could mean the difference between a seamless experience and a total disaster.

Get started on your car shipment today

Ready to get started today? Good news: we’re ready to get your car shipped! Get a free online quote from Number 1 Auto Transport today or give us a call at 855-422-4141.