Open transport vs. enclosed transport

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Open transport vs. enclosed transport

Open transport vs. enclosed transport

Shipping of automobiles is a detailed process, with a lot of factors that need to be put into consideration. You have to look for a good long distance mover and also decide on the shipping option that would best suit your needs. The type of vehicle you are transporting will determine the transport method you will use. Many shipping companies, A1 Auto Transport included, offer clients with many auto transport shipping options, including open transport and enclosed transport.

Open transport vs enclosed transport

While making your move, you need to make a lot of decisions. Among the decisions you need to make is whether to ship via open transport or enclosed transport.

Some state-to-state movers may offer you with both shipping options, and you may select either depending on your needs.

Open transport

The open transport method uses open-air trucks. There are no sides and there is no roof. Therefore, vehicles being transported are going to be exposed to the elements at all times. Most open auto transport trucks are between 75 and 80 feet long. They also have two levels with enough space to hold a row of cars on the top and also at the bottom (the bottom row being shorter).

Advantages of open transport
  • It is more pocket friendly .
  • It has a lighter body which makes it more fuel efficient.
  • It offers better visibility, making it easier for the driver to inspect the vehicles while on transit.
Disadvantages of open transport

Less protection: The cars being transported will be exposed to road debris, weather elements and risks such as falling tree branches.


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Enclosed transport

Enclosed auto transport is done in trucks which have a fully enclosed trailer. Protection is provided by the safe and secure enclosure created by the roof and four sides.

Advantages of enclosed transport
  • Security: These trailers offer security that’s required when transporting expensive vehicles.
  • Protection: Enclosed trailers offer protection against theft and the elements of weather as well as harm from debris.
Disadvantages of enclosed transport
  • Expensive: Due to the added security and protection offered by this method of transport, this option is more costly.
  • Less fuel-efficient: This is a heavy body. It will consume more fuel.
  • Less visibility: It will be harder for the driver to make routine inspections while in-transit.

Making the choice

When it comes to choosing between the two – open transport or enclosed transport, the main determinant will be the level of security that is required to ship your vehicle.

Enclosed transport is the best option for the highly valuable cars such as collector or antique cars. However, if you are shipping an old model of a car, an open transport truck will be good enough. You will have to research on the best rates that will apply to your move.

Requesting for quotes from the shipping companies is a good way to get the estimated cost of your move and to determine if the movers will provide you with a reasonably priced service.

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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