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Open vs Enclosed Car Shipping: Which is Better for You?

Classic Car in Enclosed Trailer | National Transport Services. Which is better? OPEN VS ENCLOSED CAR SHIPPING? Luxury vehicles, classic cars, exotic vehicles and antique cars are recommended to ship via enclosed trailer.


So you need to move your car to a new city or across the country? The first thing you’ll need to decide is whether to drive it yourself or have it shipped. Having your vehicle shipped by a professional is fast and efficient.

Shipping your car can save you a lot of stress and time. When deciding to ship your vehicle, you’ll have to choose between open transport vs enclosed car carriersAn open auto transport trailer is affordable and flexible.

But an enclosed vehicle transport, despite being more pricey, provides added safety and protection, ensuring your car remains undamaged upon arrival. Are you struggling to decide which one to choose? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about enclosed auto transport vs open transport car shipping.


Wooden letters spelling "why not try." Ask about open vs enclosed car transport We offer both enclosed trailer and open trailer services. For collector cars or classic cars, enclosed car shipping is the most popular choice.


Automobiles are transport tools, but sometimes they need to be transported. That’s why auto transportation services are such an important industry. Whether by truck, ship, or railway, millions of cars are transported each year.

Auto transport is also known as car shipping. It is a specialty service that helps people move their cars from one location to another. There are several reasons why somebody would need to have their car transported.

These include moving cross-country, going to college far away from home, or relocating for corporate reasons. If you’re wondering how cars are transported to dealers, car shipping is an important piece of the puzzle. After all, if a car is driven to the dealership, it’s no longer ‘new’.

That’s why new cars are shipped there instead. Car manufacturers invest in auto transport services to provide dealerships with their needed vehicles. This requires much planning. Car manufacturers spend up to billions of dollars each year on car shipping service. This is partly what fuels the industry.



If you need your car shipped, you must first contact a company that offers such a service. The company will then provide a quote on how much it will cost to transport the vehicle depending on whether you choose open transport vs enclosed car carriers. After booking your order, the company will assign a professional transport carrier to collect the vehicle based on the transport type (open car shipping vs enclosed car shipping) that you ordered.

The customer must set a time and location for pick up. Once the carrier arrives, both the customer and the driver must sign a Bill of Lading.

What’s a Bill of Lading?

It’s a legal document that specifies the details of the item you want to ship. It also details the quantity and location of the shipment. When the receiver receives the vehicle, they must also sign the Bill.

What Methods of Transport?

There are several methods of auto transport. These include railways, truck, and personal transport.

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Railroad transport:

Railroad transport is a fast and efficient way of moving large numbers of cars. Certain rail cars, called autoracks or train cars, are specifically designed to carry vehicles. They usually have 2-3 decks.

<div> Icons made by <a href="" title="Freepik"> Freepik </a> from <a href="" title="Flaticon">'</a></div>Truck transport offers the most flexibility. Whether you need open or enclosed car shipping, this option remains the best choice on the market.
Truck transport:

Truck transports are also frequently used to carry vehicles (open car shipping vs enclosed car shipping). Truck drivers face numerous challenges, including deciding in what order to load the cars. If the driver loads the wrong car first, they’ll have to move all the other cars to get it out. Chains and straps are used to secure all vehicles so the chances of one falling off are minimal.

<div> Icons made by <a href="" title="Freepik"> Freepik </a> from <a href="" title="Flaticon">'</a></div>. The single open car shipping trailer can be rented from a storage facility. A single Enclosed car transport trailer is harder to find but too can be rented.
Personal car shipping:

Personal car shipping relies on special carriers that use trailers to load and move vehicles. There are two types of trailers: open trailers and enclosed trailers. Are you wondering what the difference is between open transport vs enclosed car carriers? Keep reading to find out.



Open car transport are open at the sides, exposing your car to the elements during transport. These trailers can hold different car sizes, ranging from small models to large SUVs. An open transport for car shipping is usually a long, two-level trailer capable of carrying several cars at once.

What Trailer Types?

Open car shipping is suitable for all types of cars. Open car shipping is often used to move used vehicles. There are different kinds of open air carriers.

Multi-Car Double Deck Trailer

The most popular is the two-level, multi-car trailer. This is a kind of double-decker trailer, able to hold multiple vehicles.

Multi-Car Single Deck Trailer

Next is the single-level, multi-car trailer. This type of transport is used for moving high-value, luxury cars. It is also used for expedited deliveries where time is a significant factor.

Single Car Trailer

For short distances, sometimes a truck is used with a single-level tow trailer. The kind of open transport you need depends on distance, vehicle type, and budget.



Open trailer with two cars loaded on the top, one is a yellow Volvo P100 2 door coupe and the other is a purple American muscle car. Open car shipping is the most common way to transport cars. Open car shipping or enclosed trailer, National Transport Services provides both auto transport services from coast to coast.


If you’re on a tight budget, then you should consider open transport car shipping as it’s a cost-effective shipping option. Enclosed car transport tend to be a lot pricier because they can’t hold as many vehicles. Open trailers are also lighter, which reduces fuel consumption during transport.

This helps bring down the costs and is also better for the environment. Open air carriers are also easier to come by. That means it will be easier to book one and you’re less likely to have to wait for availability.

Open car carriers are more flexible and you’re more likely to secure delivery services at short notice for a reasonable cost. This flexibility is important when you’re trying to sort out a hectic move. No matter what kind of car you own, an open car trailer will work for you.

They can house any kind of automobile. You can also ship multiple cars at once on the same trailer. This is useful for families with multiple vehicles.



The biggest con to using an open car transport is that your car is exposed to the elements. That means there is no guarantee that your car will be fully protected. Depending on the weather conditions and the amount of road debris, your car may sustain damages.



With enclosed car shipping, your car will be transported in a fully enclosed trailer. Many owners feel more comfortable using enclosed auto transport, as it offers a higher degree of protection for their vehicle. Enclosed car shipping is a reliable and safe transport option.

They are often the preferred choice for luxury cars and antique vehicles that are worth a lot of money. There are different types of enclosed transport. The first is a single-car trailer that is capable of shipping just one vehicle over a short distance.

Single level multi-car trailers can move more than one vehicle at a time. And multi-level, multi-car enclosed trailers can ship several cars at once.



Sun setting just to the right of an air traffic control tower, with a black and white Bugatti loaded onto an enclosed trailer in white. Enclosed car shipping is our expertise. Enclosed car transport is a very common car shipping method for high-end cars.


Closed trailers provide secured transportation for your high end vehicles. In an enclosed car transport, harsh weather and road debris won’t be able to damage your car. In an enclosed auto transport, your car will be secured using soft ropes and tie-downs, further mitigating any chance of damage.

Enclosed carriers often make use of climate control systems to ensure your car stays at the right temperature. For certain expensive vehicles, keeping them at the right temperature is important. It’s well-known that cold weather can damage most types of cars.

Enclosed car shipping offer a high degree of safety and are the number one choice for shipping classic cars, sports cars, and antique vehicles.



The main con to using enclosed car shipping is the cost. Many people cannot afford to ship their vehicles on an enclosed car carrier. Lack of visibility may also be a downside.

For drivers to check on the conditions of your vehicle, they would need to open the trailer. Enclosed trailers are larger and bulkier than open trailers. Because of this, they tend to use more fuel. This raises the cost of transport and causes more harm to the environment.



There are several factors that affect the cost of shipping a vehicle. The main factor is the type of transport (i.e. open car shipping vs enclosed car shipping). Distance also has a profound effect on shipping costs.

A car being shipped a short distance can often cost the same as it would over a long distance. This is because of fuel costs. Pickup and drop-off locations also affect the price.

For example, if you live in a rural area, it can often be a challenging process trying to ship your vehicle. Auto transport companies are often not willing to drive long distances to pick up a car. The type of car you have can also affect the cost of delivery.

If your car is small and light, it’s going to cost less than a bigger, heavier model. Your car’s condition may also affect the cost of car shipping services. For example, if your car is old and inoperable, a forklift may be required to load it into the trailer and secure it in place. This can add to the overall cost.



A blue dually pickup truck with a 3-car wedge trailer hauling three classic cars. Open and enclosed car shipping service. As the leading auto transport company, we offer both open transport and enclosed transport. Open or enclosed car shipping, our carriers can service you nationwide.


Both open car transport and enclosed car carriers can transport many different types of automobiles. Open transport are a cost-effective shipping method but offer little protection from weather or debris. An enclosed auto shipping is safer but comes with a higher price tag.

The overall cost of shipping your vehicle depends on distance, pick up/drop off location, and the type of car you own. Whether you need to transport your car a short or long distance, we can help. We are dedicated to providing quality auto transport to individual clients and dealerships.


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Contact us today for a free, no-obligation open vs enclosed car transport quote.


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