Open Vs. Enclosed Auto Transport: Which Is Better?

Shipping a vehicle is no small feat and it comes with a lot of deliberation. Between finding a company with a good reputation to settling on a price that works for your budget, there are a lot of moving parts while you search for the perfect option. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is between an open or enclosed auto transport. There are reasons to consider both but when they go head to head, which shipping method comes out on top?

Opting for the Open Air

An open-air carrier is the standard method that you’ve probably seen dozens of times on the highway. An open transport is usually set up exactly how you imagine it. It’s typically 75 to 80 feet in length with two levels for maximum towing capacity. However, with no sides or roof to the transport trailer, your vehicle is continuously exposed to the elements. You definitely want to scope out a weather forecast before selecting this method.

Open air transportation is a great method to choose if you just want standard shipping options without too many bells and whistles. If your primary need is simply to go from Point A to Point B, you may want to consider the open transport method. It’s also a more affordable shipping option if your budget is a big factor.

If you’re thinking of opting for an open transport, you should look into purchasing shipping insurance before you confirm anything else. In the unlikely (but all too possible) event that your vehicle suffers damages while in transit, you’ll likely be covered. Make sure to take photographs of the car before shipping, and if you can do this with timestamps, that’s even better. It makes any possible insurance claim that much easier to resolve.

Keeping It Closed Up


While open transports are more easily spotted on the road, you probably drive past enclosed auto transports without even knowing it. Enclosed auto transports often look identical to your average semi truck trailer. They frequently have two levels, much like an open transport, but they have the added security of being covered at all times.

The majority of the time, shipping a vehicle with an enclosed auto transport is reserved for antique, luxury, and sports cars. Since it come with a higher price tag, it makes sense that its primary use is for higher end vehicles. This doesn’t mean it’s off-limits as a shipping method for an everyday car. In fact, many people opt for the enclosed method to keep their vehicles in pristine condition during cross-country moves.

One of the biggest benefits to shipping via enclosed auto transport is in the name itself: it’s enclosed. This means you don’t have to worry about your vehicle taking a beating from inclement weather or debris kicked up on the road. An enclosed auto transport also comes with a higher level of security which means no need to worry about theft. However, an enclosed setup requires a touch more work for the driver to perform routine inspections of your vehicle during transit.

A Tough Decision

While both methods are great ways to ship your car, the enclosed auto transport takes the slight edge. If you have the extra cash to spend on shipping, you’ll feel more confident with the option that provides security and protection from damages. However, it’s ultimately up to you to decide how you want to ship your vehicle. Consider the pros and cons of both options and select the method that works for you. As long as your vehicle arrives safe and sound, that’s what matters.