Open or Enclosed: Decide the Best Method

Open or Enclosed: Decide the Best Method


Moving across the country—whether temporarily or permanently—can cause unnecessary wear and tear to your vehicle. That’s when professional auto shippers like Professional Auto Shippers come in to safely transport your car, motorcycle, or ATV as timely and efficiently as possible.

But the preferred shipping method will vary depending on the type of vehicle you want to transport as well as your own needs and preferences. If you’re just beginning your research on auto transport companies and which services they provide, here’s a brief explanation about the differences between open and enclosed shipping methods.

Open Transport

Open auto transport is the most popular vehicle transportation method. In open transport, the trucks are typically 75 to 80 feet long and can move between 7 and 10 vehicles at the same time. The trailer on which the cars are loaded does not have any sides or a roof, exposing the vehicles to weather and road elements at all times.

The openness, however, allows greater visibility for the driver to inspect each vehicle while in transit. Enclosed carriers can typically haul only 6 vehicles or less, which is one reason why enclosed transport is more expensive.

Most carriers, about 90%, are open auto shippers, meaning it is more likely you will find an available carrier to transport your car where and when you need it. The numerous supply of open transport carriers helps keep transportation costs affordable for vehicle owners.

Select open transport if:

  • your vehicle requires standard shipping. (Most daily drivers ship open transport.)
  • you would like your vehicle delivered faster. (Because open transport is the preferred delivery method among most customers, there are more auto shippers available to transport your vehicle.)
  • you’re on a tight budget.

Enclosed Transport

Although enclosed auto transport service is not as common as open transport, it is still a popular delivery method among car owners. Enclosed shipping provides maximum security for your vehicle, with the fully enclosed trailer offering protection from weather and road debris.

Even though the driver cannot inspect your vehicle as easily as in open transport, many enclosed carriers have greater insurance protection and offer “white glove service” to handle and care for your car. Enclosed transport carriers make up only 10% of auto shippers, and their trailers cannot load as many vehicles as open transport carriers; therefore, delivery service is expected to be a little slower and requires more advanced notice for enclosed transport. The enclosed delivery method is also more expensive but is well worth the investment, especially if your car has unique delivery needs.

Select enclosed transport if:

  • you need to transport one or more of the following: classic car, exotic car, antique car, collectible car, luxury car, racing car, or a vehicle with an exposed interior.
  • you want to shield your vehicle from weather and road elements. (This is the time of year when enclosed transport is often a preferred option even for standard cars in order to protect against harsh weather conditions and salt or sand on the road.)
  • your vehicle has low-ground clearance. (Enclosed carriers use liftgate doors to load the trailer instead of instead of ramps, thereby providing a secure method of transporting low-clearance vehicles without causing damage.)

The most important factor in choosing your auto shipping method is trust. At Professional Auto Shippers, we understand that your car or motorcycle is one of your greatest investments and deserves to be protected. That’s why the lines of communication are always open so you never have to wonder when your car is being picked up or whether it was delivered safely.

And if you’re still not sure whether to select open or enclosed transport, we are happy to speak with you to better understand your needs and preferences before making our recommendations. Contact PAS today to receive a quote or to talk to a representative.

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