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Should I Ship my Vehicle Open or Enclosed?

Should I Ship my Vehicle Open or Enclosed?
Should I Ship my Vehicle Open or Enclosed?

Know If I Should Ship my Vehicle Open or Enclosed

The following article will explain the difference between enclosed and open carriers, when and why should you use each one and what is the difference in price.

Open Auto Shipping

Open auto shipping is the most common way to transport vehicles across country. Open carriers are available for all vehicles, unless they have suffered significant modifications. Regardless if your vehicle is too small or too tall, it can still be transported this way, though the cost may be higher.

You can ship a Porsche, as well as a Honda with an open carrier. The downside of this mode of transportation lies in exposing the vehicle to rain, wind, sun, snow, as well as road debris and dust. This means your vehicle may arrive with some damage to its paint or other small problems. Because of this, open carrier transportation is much cheaper than the alternative.

This service is also more efficient and available. The number of open carriers is far greater than the one for enclosed ones, meaning you will find open transportation for your vehicle much easier. It’s because of this their price is lower, and it is known as the standard way to transport vehicles. 90% of all auto shippers use open carriers. This is also because just one open carrier can transport up to 10 vehicles at a time.

There are 3 types of open carriers which transport vehicles:

  1. Trailers with a single level;
  2. Trailers with 2 levels;
  3. Dully trucks, which carry a single vehicle using a tow trailer.
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Enclosed Auto Shipping

Auto transportation using an enclosed trailer is also known as covered shipping. Such carriers are often picked for sports, high end, classic and luxury vehicles. This is because the vehicles are protected from road and weather elements. Enclosed transportation can be up to twice as expensive as the open alternative.

Carriers typically come in few varieties as far as their structure is concerned. There are hard sided and soft sided trailers, multi-car, single or 2 car trailers. Multi-car trailers are the cheapest among this type of carriers, and can transport up to 7 cars at a time. 2 car and single trailers are usually used for speedy deliveries or special vehicles, making them the most expensive to acquire.

The reasons for enclosed auto transportation’s higher price are as follows:

  1. Trailer prices: Trailers for this kind of auto transportation come at a higher price, meaning truck drivers will often pick the alternative instead. Part of the reason for their higher price is their hydraulic ramps which hold your vehicle horizontal and firmly in place when loading. Thanks to these ramps, you can easily load a clearance low ground vehicle.
  2. Availability: Availability is another major factor causing enclosed auto shipping prices to rise. Only 10% of auto carriers currently on the market are enclosed. Because of this, the demand for them as well as the waiting time for one to become available is higher, causing prices to inflate as well.
  3. Efficiency: The number of cars an enclosed vehicle carrier can fit is limited, and often lower than what open carriers can transport. This makes them less efficient, and therefore more costly. At most, you can have your car shipped with up to 7 other cars inside, while open trailers can carry up to 10.
  4. Value: Unlike the standard service of open shipping, enclosed transportation is much more intimate. The cars are safer, and the drivers tend to be more professional as well. They are usually more experienced in transporting expensive vehicles and go as far as wearing white gloves during shipments, to avoid dirtying the car.

Enclosed carriers are ideal when money is not a problem. This does not mean that open carriers are unsafe. Hundreds of vehicles are successfully transported with open carriers each day. The choice comes down to your preference and budget.

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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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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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