Open Car Shipping vs. Enclosed Shipping

Auto Transport Decision Making

Let’s talk about choices people. On average, each and every person will make tens of thousands of decisions every day; some of them conscious, some of them not. It might not even be a stretch to say that most of the decisions that we make everyday are unconscious.
open vs enclosed auto transport

Making choices about your transport isn’t hard, but it is often left up to someone else.

Working in the auto transport business, we happen to have first hand knowledge that nearly all decisions made about auto transport by consumers happen to be unconscious or subconscious. It might even be fair to say that some of the decisions being made about your auto transport aren’t even being made by you. Instead, the people that you hire to do the odd moving job are the ones calling all the plays, and for the most part, the customer simply follows through with these decisions. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, but the point is that you are the one paying for you shipping, and that entitles you to make the choices that benefit you the most.

Deciding on How to Move your Vehicle

To be sure, there are a great many decisions that one can make about their auto transport. Not all of these decisions necessarily matter either. Instead, just focus on the things that have a real impact on the quality of your auto transport experience. One of the things that you’ll want to decide upon is what kind of trailer you’ll be using. This is important for a couple of reasons. One, there may be real effects on the condition of your vehicle depending on what kind of vessel you use to transport with, and two, there are pricing and time considerations that are separate for each. There are two general types of auto transport trailers: open trailers and enclosed trailers. Each has their own use and benefit. Before you choose what kind of trailer you want to use, consider the following:  

 Open Trailer:

open car shipping

An Example of an Open Trailer

  • Suitable for your everyday driver
  • A higher percentage of drivers use open trailers, making pick ups faster in general
  • Less expensive than enclosed trailers in general
  • More vehicles are transported on each trailer, so delays are more likely
  • Exposure to the elements is a (very small) risk
  • Hard tie-downs are used to secure the vehicle, which again introduces a (very small) element of risk

Enclosed Trailer:

enclosed auto transport

An Example of an Enclosed Trailer

  • Can safely transport low-clearance vehicles
  • Soft tie-downs are used to secure your vehicle
  • The relatively small payload of vehicles on enclosed trailers means that delays are less likely
  • Your vehicle will be completely protected from the elements while in transit
  • Can be up to 50% more expensive than open car shipping
  • Less drivers use enclosed trailers, so turnaround times are generally longer
  • Availability may be limited

 How to Make the Choice, and Why that Choice is Important

Think about what kind of vehicle you’re shipping. Is it an expensive sports car or a show car? Does your vehicle’s ground clearance under six inches? Is the interior of your vehicle exposed to the elements? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you’re going to want use enclosed shipping. Open shipping is usually suitable for just about every other method of transportation. But this is my point: it’s your property and you have the right to make your own choice about how it’s shipped. Auto transport companies often don’t give you the choice because it’s a hassle for them to ship vehicles on anything other than open trailers. While many will advise you of the best option for your shipment, some will not! It’s important to know what shippers can do for you, but it’s even more important for you what you need for yourself. Empower yourself with the knowledge that you need to make smart choices. You’ll be happy you did.