All you need to know about Auto Transport Service

Harish Makam

03 Mar 2023 1 year ago

You must choose open auto transport if you are looking for an affordable option, a choice that doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. This auto transport can also be a good choice especially when you are available to attend to the delivery of your vehicle, which makes it easy for you to cross-check its condition without any doubts.

Driving is definitely an option but that can often lead to extreme wear and tear.

So the most common option is to look for an auto transport service. These service agencies ease your vehicle movement from source to the destination address. The vehicles/ cars go through the large truck trailers with utmost care to minimize any mishap during the transit. If you travel very often then you would always come across large open trailers carrying different cars; this is a sign that auto shipping is really common in the US.

This also brings up a thought that if it is so common then, why do we need to do a lot of research before choosing an auto transport company? Well, the answer is you need to research because everyone’s experience is as good as their choice of company.

Your experience totally depends on your choice of vehicle transport service. The right service will be convenient, cost-effective, and very reliable as well as helpful from pickup to delivery of your car or vehicle. You must go for well-established companies that have a great track record of happy customers. It is easier to build trust in such auto-shipping service providers.

A wrong choice of auto transport service may turn out to be a major mistake in your car shipping journey. When you pick an auto transport service provider, you are investing your time. You are relying on other people to deliver your precious vehicle to your new address, so make that worth it, by knowing all that is necessary before taking such an important decision.

There are various aspects that can help you choose the best auto transport service that’s suitable to your budget and your needs. Let’s look at various types of available transport services to narrow down your research for the best auto shipping service provider.

Types of Auto Transport Service

As the name implies, an auto transport service specializes in transporting vehicles from one place to another. It is a specialized service that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

The popularity of auto transport services is in part due to the wide range of options they provide. Whether you’re looking to transport a car, truck, trailer, or even a boat, there are multiple type of auto transport services available to suit your needs. From door-to-door service to enclosed auto transport, open auto transport, and even international auto transport, auto transport services allow you to transport your vehicle safely and securely, no matter the distance.

Here are  the different types of auto transport services and the advantages of each. 

Open auto transport service

Open car shipping is where the vehicles or cars are relocated in open trailers/ trucks. Open auto transport is also one of the most preferred systems in the country.


  • Enclosed auto transport protects your vehicle from external conditions like rain, sunlight, and dust.
  • In case of any accident on road, the vehicles get a minimum jerk and are well protected from any extreme consequences.
  • These trailers carry a very limited number of vehicles in one go, ensuring much better protection and safety of the shipped vehicle.


  • Since it is an open truck, your vehicle is directly exposed to sun, dirt, and debris.
  • As these trailers load multiple (up to 10) vehicles at once, you might have a delayed delivery of your car, making it a time-consuming affair.

When to use

Choose open auto transport, if you are looking for an affordable option, a choice that doesn’t burn the hole in your pocket. You can also choose this type when you are going to collect the delivery so that you can cross-check the condition of your vehicle and be rest assured about smooth delivery.

Enclosed auto transport services

As the name suggests, enclosed car shipping is when the trucks/ trailers are closed and offer a wall from all sides to the vehicle.


  • Enclosed auto transport protects your vehicle from external conditions like rain, sunlight, and dust.
  • In case of accidents, the vehicles get a minimum jerk and are really protected from extreme repercussions.
  • These trailers carry a very limited number of vehicles in one go, giving enough protection from nearby vehicles as well.


  • Since these are enclosed carriers, the service providers charge more, almost 30% – 50% more than the open carriers; making it an expensive choice.
  • These are usually very less in demand, so their availability may not be feasible for time-bound deliveries.
  • These carriers require experienced drivers and hence, many service providers do not encourage this type of transport.

When to use

You can choose to relocate your car within an enclosed trailer when you do not have a restricted time for delivery. If you are open to spending more to ensure the safety of your car, then this must be your go-to choice.


Usually, every established auto transport company has terminals in every city they operate in, these are the locations from where they get the vehicle ready for transit. So, in this type, you are required to drop your car at the terminal nearest to your location and even pick it up from the nearest one, at the delivery.


  • Since the auto transport company doesn’t need to get into the city for pickup or delivery, there is scope for cost-cutting on the overall deal.
  • You can give your car all ready to load in front of you.
  • If your locations are very congested or you stay in a gated community, terminal-to-terminal service is a convenient and hassle-free option.


  • You must have a clear plan of how to get back after you drop off your car at the terminal and also, to reach the destination terminal on time. Many service providers charge for your vehicle storage in case there is a delay in the pickup from your end.
  • If you do not have time, then this type might be inconvenient for you.
  • These terminals are mostly on the outskirts of the city, which may be cumbersome to reach and come back from, adding to your overall cost.

When to use

Terminal-to-Terminal auto transport can be a good option esp. when you are reaching another location soon, so you can pick up your car without any delay.


This type of service means that the company will pick up your vehicle from the given source address and deliver it to your given destination address.


  • If you do not have time to drop off and pick up your vehicle from the company’s locations, door-to-door type auto transport is a quick choice.
  • It is a convenient option for a lot of people as it cuts down the complexity of getting the vehicle to and from the company’s terminals.
  • If your car is not in a working state, then door-to-door pickup will eventually save the extra cost of taking the vehicle to the terminal and back from the destination terminal.


  • Since the auto service provider will consume more fuel to reach your address, that will increase the overall transport cost for you.
  • If you stay in a gated community or closed space, it will be tedious for the trailer to enter the premises.
  • If you are not available at the destination address during the time of vehicle delivery, you might have to arrange for someone to pick it up on your behalf.

When to use

If you are transporting your car for the first time, door-to-door delivery will give you a smooth experience without causing any stress.

Cross-country auto shipping

Cross-country auto shipping allows you to relocate or transport your car from city to city, state to state, and coast to coast. It cuts through two different locations altogether separated by jurisdiction or physical boundaries.


  • Cross-country auto shipping saves the cost of shipping from one location to another
  • This type can save you a lot of research that you might need for relocating the vehicle by yourself.
  • An auto shipping company is experienced at their service so they will get it done in much more accurate and reliable ways.


  • Though you might choose an auto shipping service for relocation, it can be pricey with everything that comes along with the service provider’s experience.
  • There might be many unexpected fees or money involved while shipping from one state to another, as every state has its own rules and regulations.
  • Sometimes these service providers can take more time to deliver your vehicle from source to destination. 

When to use

If you are not comfortable driving for long distances, then go for cross-country auto shipping companies to make this better for you.

International Auto shipping

As it is obvious, international auto shipping refers to shipping your car from one country to another country through various mediums – air, water, or roadways(if possible).


  • These shipping companies have a straightforward approach and cost for the customers, so it is easy to go for it.
  • Taking your vehicle across the country on your own can almost seem impossible, the auto shipping companies make it possible through their connections.
  • You get to be away from all the permissions that are required for international auto shipping.


  • International shipping can be very complicated and often requires a lot of paperwork for verification which can get stressful.
  • With two different countries, comes a lot of pressure to get things correctly to avoid any hassle while delivery.
  • Any little mistake while loading or unloading can cost a lot at the end of it all.

When to use

If you are reluctant to take your car along while you are changing countries then international auto shipping is the only way to make it happen.

Choosing the right auto transport service

Picking the right auto transport service is like winning half of your car transportation journey. So here are a few things that you must look for before finalizing one auto transport service.

Factors to consider

  • Budget

The first thing to start with is deciding on a budget range. The amount you are ready to put into transporting your car, as your budget will help you make further choices.

  • Research/ ask your friends and relatives for recommendations

For better trust and reliability, always research the companies that are most prominent in your area or ask people who have used similar services in the past.

  • Shortlist 3-5 companies

Get in touch with the shortlisted auto transport service providers and then, request basic quotations from them.

  • Compare the services and prices

Once you have got all the quotations from different auto shipping companies, compare them and find the top 3 preferences.

  • Check customer reviews

Don’t just go for the pricing, but also check about the company and what past customers have to say about the company’s service. If possible, get in touch with some of them and get a complete review of their experience and what challenges(if any) they faced throughout the process.

  • Insurance coverage

Insurance is an integral part of auto transport, so never ignore it while you do your research. Do check what types of insurance are included in your desired budget and what extent of coverage offered by them.

  • Types of trailers/ trucks

Do check what types of trucks/ trailers are available at the company for transporting vehicles, it will also give you an idea of how large the company is, based on the numbers shared by them on their website.

  • Look for all kinds of possible costs

Usually, the companies give a very nominal quote pricing and then, till delivery, they add many surprise and hidden charges that might affect your initial budget and since you are already in the process, it seems tough to not pay at the time of delivery.

  • Check for the company’s verification

Every company that is into auto shipping service gets an identification number from the government as authorization for them to continue their shipping services in the country. If it is difficult to find the company’s license/ other details then it is wise to avoid the company as it may not be a legitimate service provider.

Questions to ask

Don’t forget to ask a few important questions before finalizing an auto shipping service provider, like…

  • How much time will it take to transport my car?
  • What kind of pick-up and drop-off options does your company offer?
  • Are there any extra costs that may occur during transit that I should be aware of?
  • How many cars do you transport in a single trailer – enclosed and open?
  • What kind of transport carrier should I choose for my car?
  • How can you cut down the cost of overall shipping?

Research tips

Here are some must-follow research tips that can take your car shipping load off your shoulders

  • Always be clear about the cancellation policy of the company.
  • Look into the payment options offered by the auto-shipping service provider.
  • Do check the scale of operation of the company and its year of inception, a newer company may be less reliable as it will be short on testimonials and success rates.
  • Get into the details that are applicable to you. Different shipping companies specialize in different aspects or types of auto shipping. For example – some vehicle transport companies are known for their flexible time options, some are known for convenient modes of payment, and some are famous for their valuable assistance throughout the auto transport process.
  • Always check multiple service providers, it will give you a better idea of competitive pricing as well as available options in the market.
  • Understand various types of insurance that are available to insure your vehicle at all times during transit till the time of delivery.

Commonly Asked Questions about Auto Transport Service

  1. What is the cheapest way to transport a car?

The cheapest way to transport a car is through open carrier trucks.

  1. How long does it take to transport a car?

It depends on the source and destination address, season, and timing of the year.

  1. What is the difference between open and enclosed transport?

Open transport is when a car is transported in an open carrier whereas, when the car is carried inside a closed carrier, it is an enclosed transport.

  1. What should I look for in an auto transport company?

Look for their reviews, registration details, and price quotations.

  1. How do I prepare my car for transport?

Here’s a basic checklist to help you out

  • Remove all the valuable belongings from the car.
  • Check the overall condition of the car – the fuel, the engine condition, etc.
  • Cover all the external parts or additions that are on the car
  • Wash and take pictures of your car before giving it to the company for shipping.
  1. Is it safe to transport my car?

Yes, if you research well and pick the most reliable auto transport service provider.

  1. How to choose the best shipping service for your vehicle?

Take quotes from multiple shipping companies and then, choose the most suited service that meets your requirements.

  1. What is the most preferred type of transport service in the US?

A majority of people prefer open trucks for their car-hauling services.

Harish Makam