Comparing Open Vs. Enclosed Car Shipping

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When contacting a car shipping company, they’ll ask whether you prefer open or enclosed auto transport. Both options fulfill their respective functions equally well; however, there are some key differences you should be aware of.

Open shipping is the go-to choice for vehicle transportation, offering safety, speed, and affordability – often without incurring physical damage along the way.


When making the choice between open and enclosed car shipping, both your budget and the value of the vehicle should play an integral part.

Open auto transport typically is the more cost-effective choice, as your vehicle can be loaded onto a multi-carrier truck and delivered. Enclosed transport offers more protection and security for high-end or rare cars but is more costly overall.

Enclosed trailers offer extra protection to vehicles being transported on open trucks; their four walls and roof help shield it from elements along the route. This method is ideal for newer and more valuable vehicles as their condition will arrive unchanged from where it left your doorstep; however, enclosed transportation typically costs up to 33% more.

Open auto transport may damage your vehicle if the carrier hits it during loading and unloading.

To prevent this, the carrier will use straps or chains which can be tightened during this process to secure your car during transport. You can learn more about how vehicles are shipped by clicking the link. Furthermore, consider running it through a car wash upon delivery to remove any surface dirt and dust that has accumulated during its journey.

There are three primary open-air transport carriers: two-level multi-carriers; single-level multi-carriers and dual trucks equipped with single-level tow trailers. Of these carriers, dual trucks with single-level tow trailers are often preferred when shipping luxury or sports cars over short distances or local deliveries.


Open transportation involves placing your car on an open trailer. These trucks typically accommodate multiple cars at once, providing cost-effective options.

While damage to cars is rare when using this method of transporting them, it’s still wise to consider what level of protection will best protect it before choosing it as the way forward.

Shipping Area

Research both methods before making your choice; ultimately it depends on your budget and personal preferences.


Car shipping services come at different price points, making selecting the appropriate method a difficult process. When making this decision, factors such as vehicle value and condition, distance traveled and whether door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal service is desired should all be taken into consideration.

Booking open car shipping can also be easier, since most companies provide this option with more carriers available to transport it. You can use to help you plan your trip around weather conditions.

If you need to ship your car at an event-specific date and time, it is smart to book its transportation at least a week in advance to ensure there are drivers available to load and unload your car from the truck at that moment.


When it comes to car shipping services, several aspects must be taken into consideration. These include your desired carrier type, budget considerations and whether door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal service is preferred. Both open and enclosed transportation services take great precautions to protect the cars they ship. These include making sure your vehicle is safely placed safely within their carrier – not touching other cars or being exposed to weather elements or road debris.

Professionals will even use tarps as protection against these threats.

How to Prepare

Car shipping can be a complex undertaking that goes far beyond simply driving it from its current location to a new one and parking it there.

Most people who need to transport their vehicle work with an auto transportation company that will load and unload your vehicle onto one of the several types of multi-car carriers before transporting it directly to you or their regional depot.

To ensure everything runs smoothly, before shipping you should prepare your car by removing personal items, checking its battery, documenting any pre-existing damage, and more.

Make sure to wipe down all surfaces inside and empty out your trunk. Take particular note to remove detachable items like GPS devices, toll tags, or custom stereo systems before leaving your vehicle for collection. Finally, be sure to have an extra key available so the driver has one when arriving for pickup.

Finally, when selecting an auto transport company it’s essential that it has extensive experience and an exceptional reputation for exceptional customer service. Ask them about the services they offer as well as policies regarding insurance coverage during transit – and if possible verify they’re registered with the Department of Transportation and can provide a USDOT number that can be cross-checked through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your vehicle will be ready to complete its journey safely.


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