Welcome to the auto transport industry’s jargon! If you are new, the term ‘top load’ might be confusing. But with a reliable transporter, you shouldn’t worry yourself with all these terms. It doesn’t hurt to understand them, though. So, let’s get to it.
First, you will be asked by your shipping firm to choose the various transportation services. For cars, there is the open air, enclosed, terminal to terminal, and door to door services. If you choose the open air car transport, you might come across the term, top load.
What does top load mean?
By merely looking at the name, you may get the feeling that there will be cargo on top of something. Well, it is not far from that. Basically, transport trucks have different levels where vehicles are loaded. The highest level is referred to as the top load.
Is there a reason why my vehicle should be top loaded? Good question. Here are some reasons why you may request for the top load.
Safety from other vehicles
Your shipping company will load several vehicles for delivery when using the open air system. This makes it cheaper for you and profitable for the transporter. The downside of getting several vehicles on board is the risk of leaking fluids. Although your vehicle should be well prepped to avoid leaks, some vehicles are too old to hold together. This should be a concern if you are shipping a luxurious or a new automobile as the leaks could tarnish your vehicle.
As a rule, cars with leaks should never be placed on the upper deck. If you suspect that your car has mechanical problems, notify the driver early enough. Nonetheless, you may not want to take chances with your vessel. Having your vehicle at the top-most deck ensures that you are safe from fluid leaks.
Safety from small rocks
Roads and debris are inseparable. Even in the cleanest highways, chances of dirt, rocks, car glasses, tire parts, and other car parts are high. Once this debris hits your car, it may cause damages by denting it. Some damages may cause breakage to the windshields.
Although you driver should be careful not to expose your auto to flying objects, accidents do happen. These are not incidences that you want when transporting a luxurious or new car. Chances of a vehicle on the upper deck getting hit by the road debris are low.
If safety from leaking cars and road debris is something you are worried about, request for a top load. But are there shortcomings with this special arrangement? Yes, like everything else, there is a downside to the upper deck transportation.
Top loading is expensive
To accommodate your top-load request, your trucker might re-arrange the whole trailer. This is not a small job! To compensate for the hard work, you will pay an extra fee. This could be anything around $100 or more.
Sure, it is a huge amount to part with. But think of it this way, would everybody want the top deck if it were free? To ensure that no vehicle is treated unfairly, you have to pay the extra cost for the special treatment.
The top deck is not safe from the sun, the rain, and the snow!
When using the open transport system, your car is exposed to weather conditions. Both the top and the bottom decks are victims to the sun, the rain, and the snow. However, the cars at the top will be the most exposed. Essentially, the top load acts as a shield to the bottom load! If you think of it this way, you might reconsider your options.
Tree branches may still hit your car
At the upper deck, the cars are close to trees. Therefore, from time to time, branches may hit the vehicles when the auto hauler pulls near trees. Depending on the intensity of the incident, the branches may cause abrasions, dents or even breakages.
So, is there a point of paying for the top deck?
As you can see, the main concern for a person choosing the upper deck is safety. However, this option comes at an extra cost and does not guarantee safety from all hazards. If you are concerned about these issues, it is better to opt for the enclosed transport system. This way, your vehicle will be shielded from most forms damage during transit. If an extra buck guarantees your peace of mind, go for the premium ride.
You can also visit our page to see the most appropriate car transportation service for you.
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.