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What Is Top Load?

What's in this article?
  1. What Does Top Load Mean?
  2. Safety From Other Vehicles
  3. Safety From Small Rocks
  4. Top Loading Is Expensive
  5. The Top Deck Is Not Safe From The Sun, The Rain, And The Snow!
  6. Tree Branches May Still Hit Your Car
  7. So, Is There A Point Of Paying For The Top Deck?
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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