A Complete Guide To Open And Enclosed Auto Transport

Harish Makam

05 Jan 2023 1 year ago

There are two main types of auto transport – open and enclosed. Open transport is the most common and popular option, as it’s generally more affordable than enclosed transport. Enclosed transport offers a higher level of protection for your vehicle but comes at a higher price tag. Which type of transport is right for you? To help you make a decision, let’s take a closer look at these two methods to transport your vehicle.

Open vs. Enclosed auto transport

First, let’s look at what makes enclosed auto transportation different from its counterpart – the open car shipping option. The most significant difference between these two types of automotive transports is their ability (or inability) to protect the vehicles they carry during travel. Open carriers offer less protection for cars by exposing them to weather conditions and risks like road debris. Enclosed Auto Transport provides much higher protection, so you don’t have anything to worry about when entrusting an experienced transporter with your beloved ride!

What is open auto transport?

Open auto transport is a type of auto transport in which vehicles are shipped in an open-air trailer. Unlike enclosed auto transport, open auto transport is exposed to the elements such as rain, snow, wind, and dirt. Open auto transport is typically the most cost-effective option for shipping vehicles, making it the most popular option for auto transporters. Open auto transport works by having a truck driver pick up the vehicle from the origin location and drive it to the destination. The driver will typically load the car onto an open-air trailer and then drive it to the destination. Once the vehicle is unloaded at the destination, the driver will return to the origin point to pick up the next car. Examples of open auto transport include flatbed tow trucks, car hauliers, and rollback carriers. These options involve loading a vehicle onto a flatbed or open-air trailer and driving it to the destination.

Why use open auto transport?

Open auto transport is the most common vehicle shipping method in the United States. This method is the least expensive, most efficient, and most convenient way to transport a vehicle. Open auto transport provides several benefits, including:

1. Cost Savings: Open auto transport is generally less expensive than enclosed. This is because open transport trucks can carry more vehicles at once, and the fuel cost to power the trucks is lower than enclosed car shipping.

2. Availability: Open auto transport is the most common vehicle transport. Most car shipping companies offer open transport services, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose when you’re looking for a car shipping company.

3. Speed: Open auto transport is usually faster than enclosed auto transport since more trucks and fewer stops along the route are available. This means that you’ll get your vehicle to its destination faster.

4. Safety: Open auto transport is the most popular form of vehicle shipping and involves cars, SUVs, and other vehicles shipped on an open trailer or flatbed truck. The cars are loaded with a forklift and then secured in place with straps, chains, and bars. Open transport trailers have no roof or side walls to protect your vehicle from the elements.


5. Flexibility: Auto shipping companies can pick up and deliver vehicles on short notice and arrange for flexible delivery times and locations, making them an excellent option for anyone who needs their car shipped quickly and conveniently. Plus, since there’s no need to worry about climate control or extra protection, open auto transport is perfect for transporting vehicles in all weather conditions.

6. Variety:  You can choose between open flatbed trailers and multi-level carriers depending on your needs and budget. This means you have more options when it comes to choosing the right type of vehicle transportation service for you.

7. Safety: Despite popular belief, open auto transport services are just as safe as enclosed ones. Their drivers are highly experienced professionals who know how to properly secure your vehicle to arrive safely at its destination without damage or delays. Plus, all reputable companies use advanced tracking systems so you can keep track of your car throughout its journey.

What to consider before using open auto transport?

When transporting your vehicle, you want to ensure you’re using a reputable company to take care of your car. Open auto transport is one option you may be considering, but before you decide on this route, you should consider a few things.

  • Consider the condition of your car. Open auto transport may be a good option for you if it’s in good condition. However, if your vehicle could be in better shape, it may be better to find another way to transport it.
  • Think about the distance you need to transport your car. Open auto transport is acceptable if it’s a short distance. But if the distance is long, consider another option.
  • Consider how much money you want to spend on transporting your car. Open auto transport can be economical, so if you’re looking for a cheaper option, go for it!
  • Weather conditions: An open auto transport is susceptible to weather conditions like wind, rain, and snow. There may be better times to pick this option if the weather is terrible.
  • Road conditions: Open auto transport trucks must travel on the same roads as other vehicles. That means they’re subject to the same road conditions, like potholes and construction.
  • Time of year: The time of year can also affect open auto transport. For example, winter weather can make shipping conditions more difficult and risky.
  • Your car: Not all vehicles are suitable for open auto transport. If your car is valuable or delicate, consider another shipping option.


Overall, open auto transport services offer excellent value for money, flexibility and safety, which makes them a great choice for anyone looking to move their car from one place to another efficiently and affordably. So if you’re looking to ship your vehicle, consider using an open auto transport service today!

What is enclosed auto transport?

Most people are familiar with the standard open car carrier on the highway. These are the ones that have up to 10 cars loaded onto them, and they’re all exposed to the elements. But there is another type of car carrier that is becoming more popular: the enclosed car carrier. Enclosed car carriers are just what they sound like – they’re a wholly enclosed space where your car is transported. This means that your vehicle is protected from the elements. Enclosed carriers typically have fewer cars, so your vehicle will get more individual attention during transport. If you’re looking for the safest way to transport your car, an enclosed carrier is the way. However, they do come with a few caveats. For one, they’re typically more expensive than open carriers. And secondly, you’ll need to find a carrier to transport your car on your specific date. But if you can swing it, it’s definitely worth the extra cost to ship a car and effort!

Why use enclosed auto transport?

Well, when it comes to transporting your car or truck from one spot to the other safely and securely, there is no better way than enclosed auto transport. Though this method may cost more than an open transport service, it will be worth every penny spent as you can keep your vehicle safe while in transit.

  • Protection from the elements: Enclosed auto transport offers the most secure form of car shipping, protecting cars from the details such as snow, rain, sun, and wind. Cars are covered and surrounded by walls and a roof, so they are not exposed to the elements.
  • Security: The enclosed trailers are also equipped with ramps, straps, and ratchet tie-downs to accommodate all vehicles. The drivers of these trucks are also highly trained professionals who know how to secure your car for transport properly. They will take the necessary precautions to ensure your vehicle is safe on its journey.
  • Higher level of insurance coverage: If something happens to your vehicle during transit, you have greater peace of mind knowing that you’re covered financially should something go wrong. If you’re looking for reliable and secure auto transport services, an enclosed auto transporter might be the best option.
  • Faster transport: Enclosed auto transport often provides shorter transport times than open auto transport. This is because fewer cars are placed in the enclosed trailers, making it easier for transport companies to fill the space without waiting for other vehicles to join the load.
  • Discretion: Enclosed auto transport offers more discretion as the car is completely enclosed and not visible to the public. This is especially important for luxury or exotic cars that may be more prone to theft.

What to consider when opting for enclosed auto transport services?

Here are a few key points to keep in mind when opting for enclosed carrier auto transport services:

Enclosed car shipping

Vehicle insurance

Insuring your vehicle is necessary when opting for enclosed auto transport services. It’s essential to ensure that your provider offers insurance coverage and that it meets the value of your car. This will provide you with peace of mind, knowing that whatever happens during transit, your vehicle is covered. It would help if you also asked about the specific policy details, such as what damage is covered, how much coverage is provided, etc. This will help you ensure that you are fully protected in case something unexpected occurs.


While this service usually comes at a higher price than open transport, there are still ways to save money and get the most bang for your buck. Get quotes from multiple providers to compare prices and find the best deal possible for enclosed auto transport services.

The type of vehicle 

Some vehicles are better suited for enclosed transport than others. For example, if you’re shipping a high-end or luxury car, you’ll likely opt for an enclosed service to protect your investment best.

Delivery time

When transporting a car via an enclosed carrier, delivery time may take longer than open-air transportation due to fewer available carriers and scheduling conflicts. Ask the company if they have any estimated delivery times before committing to their service so that you know when you can expect your car’s arrival.


 Before selecting an enclosed auto transport service, read reviews from previous company customers online or on social media sites such as Yelp and Google Reviews. This will help you better understand what other people’s experiences were like with the company and whether or not they would recommend their services to others.

Your budget

The cost of enclosed auto transport services can be significantly higher than open-air transport. However, the added security may be worth it for those who need to transport their car long distances or in extreme weather conditions. Be sure to get quotes from several companies and compare them before making your decision.


If you are looking for the highest level of protection and security when transporting a vehicle, then enclosed auto transport is the way to go!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you still need clarification on choosing between an open or enclosed carrier? It makes sense. Both methods have pros and cons, so weighing your options carefully before deciding is crucial. Here are some answers to FAQs about open and enclosed carrier auto transport:

What’s the difference between open and enclosed carriers?

Open carriers are the most common type of auto transport service. They’re less expensive than enclosed carriers, but your vehicle will be exposed to the elements during transit. Enclosed carriers provide more protection for your car but are more expensive.

Which type of auto transport service should I choose?

The type of auto transport service you choose depends on your individual needs and budget. Open auto transport is the best choice for most standard cars as it is less expensive and faster. However, if you are transporting a costly or luxury vehicle, consider enclosed auto transport for added protection from the elements. You should also be aware that some car shipping companies do not offer enclosed transport, so you may need to shop to find one.

 How much does open and enclosed auto transport cost? 

The cost of open auto transport generally runs about 10%-15% less than the cost of enclosed auto transport due to the increased safety features in enclosed ones. However, exact rates will depend on many factors, including distance, size/weight of the vehicle, pickup/delivery location, type of vehicle, and time frame for delivery.

Are there additional services available for open or enclosed auto transport? 

Yes! Many carriers offer additional services, including expedited shipping, door-to-door service, and unique handling options. Depending on your chosen company, they may provide other services, such as guaranteed pickup and delivery times or special handling options for sensitive cargo.

How long does shipping my vehicle using open or enclosed auto transport take? 

The time it takes to ship a vehicle varies depending on distance and other variables like the type of vehicle and availability of carriers at each stage of the journey. Generally speaking, most shipments take 7-14 days to complete.

What types of vehicles can be shipped using open or enclosed auto transport? 

All types of vehicles can be shipped using either method. However, some types may require special handling or equipment, such as trailers for oversized vehicles. Fragile cars may require enclosed shipments for adequate protection throughout the journey.  

Are there restrictions on what I can put in my car during shipment? 

Most carriers do not allow items that need electricity during transit (e.g., TVs). Some also restrict hazardous materials (flammables), pets/animals, and perishable goods (food). It’s best to check with your chosen carrier about their specific restrictions before loading your car for shipment.

How can I ensure my car gets delivered safely using either method? 

You should always research your chosen carrier carefully before booking your shipment to avoid any potential issues during transit. Be sure to document any existing damages to your vehicle before shipping to ensure that you are adequately reimbursed for any damages during transit if necessary.  

What insurance coverage do I need for open or enclosed auto transport?  

All reputable carriers should provide some level of insurance coverage included in their quote. However, it’s essential to read through their policies carefully to determine if additional coverage may be beneficial depending on your situation. 

Open car shipping

Do I need to follow any rules when preparing my car for shipment with either method? 

Yes! Cars must usually be empty (no personal items allowed), have no more than a quarter tank of gas, have working brakes and steering systems, and have all fluids checked before they can be shipped via either method. It’s also essential to ensure that any aftermarket accessories are appropriately secured before shipment to prevent damage during transit.

Harish Makam