Choosing Between Open-Air and Enclosed Auto Transport

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If you plan to move to another state or another section of the country, driving to your destination will add substantial miles to your vehicle and considerable wear and tear.  

When all is said and done, you will likely pay for professional auto services, including mechanical repairs, parts replacement, fluids, filters, and an overall tune-up. The logical alternative is to sign on for car shipping services instead. You have the option to use open-air transport or an enclosed trailer.  

In either situation, the vehicle is transported using a carrier attached to a heavy truck. With an open-air carrier, the trailer is typically a double-level long transport option most commonly used and readily available with most auto transport companies with use for most vehicle types. 

The enclosed auto transport offers secure, safe transport with an entirely closed body, including a floor, ceiling, walls, and door for optimum protection.  

This method comes with a much higher cost. Still, the individuals choosing the option will typically do so because they have a valuable asset either a brand-new luxury or collectible, antique auto.  

The best method for you will depend on your car type and specific moving circumstances. Here we’ll compare the differences between open-air and enclosed transport methods.

Advantages And Downsides of Open-Air Transport 

The advantages with open-air transport include quick and affordable shipping. The carriers are readily available with more drivers on the roadways than the enclosed shippers.  

It’s an incredibly competitive market with consumers able to book relatively easily for dates and within a specific budget and obtain discounts on top of these rates.  

With an open-air trailer, the driver can load as many as ten cars in one transport, allowing greater savings. These trailers weigh less than the enclosed counterparts resulting in less fuel usage.  

The downside is exposure to the outside elements since none of the cars are covered. That means owners will need to re-wash their vehicles upon delivery. 

If the car is on the upper level, there’s greater protection from road debris and potential leakage from other vehicles. 

Advantages And Downside of Enclosed Transport 

Autos transported via enclosed transport benefit from the closed space with the door, walls, floor, and ceiling leaving no exposure to the outside elements or possible road debris. Security and safety are elevated in an enclosed space, as no one is aware of what the trailer contains.  

The drivers are specially trained to haul models/make of vehicles of a higher caliber or collectibles and classics of exceptional value to ensure optimum protection. Some auto transport services provide what’s referred to as “white glove transport” with enclosed shipping methods. 

The driver will ensure the highest level of attention with specialized customer service, complete transparency, single-car trailer options, enhanced insurance coverage, and effective communication with consistent updates. 

The downside with enclosed trailer transport is the cost which is considerably more than open-air, and these trailers have a limited capacity for hauling compared to the open transport. 

The trailers weigh more and consume a greater amount of fuel which will be passed on to the car owner. Learn the differences between open vs. enclosed transport at

Other Factors That Affect Auto Transport Costs 

Aside from the method you choose for shipping, open-carrier, or enclosed transport, many variables will contribute to the cost, including distance, car type, and location.  

  • The location 

Car shipping services can be more difficult for the driver if the location is remote or in a rural area. Few carriers can pick up or deliver in out of the way locations. That can mean an extended wait time for picking up the auto and delivery, raising the price considerably. 

  • Vehicle type 

The vehicle type, make, and model will have a bearing on the transport price. The auto will be weighed prior to transport with compact cars being less costly since these are much lighter, easier to transport, and allow room for other vehicles to fit in around them compared to large, heavy vehicles. 

  • The distance 

Whether transporting from one state to a neighboring state or across the country, the distance will affect the shipping price. The further the distance the cost per mile decreases that can mean shipping a short way can cost almost as much as shipping to another area in the country.

The fuel costs will play a significant role in the price point. Open-air carriers tend to be lighter on fuel than the enclosed carrier but that will also depend on the weight of the load. 

  • Final Thought 

Deciding between an enclosed transport and open-air carrier is a personal preference, each having specific advantages and downsides. Visit here for guidance on having a seamless auto transport experience. 

If you have an expensive car or a collectible that you have a significant investment in, an enclosed carrier offers an extra layer of protection, but it does come with a higher price point.


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