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User Question

What is the difference between and open and an enclosed carrier?

Should I ship my vehicle on an enclosed truck or an open trailer?



The difference is between protection of your vehicle and cost.

Pros and Cons of Open and Enclosed Car Carriers

Large Open CarrierOpen Auto Carrier

Large Enclosed CarrierEnclosed Auto Carrier


  • The lowest price way to ship a vehicle.
  • More frequently used by carriers which means pick up and delivery times are typically shorter.


  • Vehicles are more protected from road damage like rocks and other road debris.
  • Protected from weather. Protection from rain may be required with some historical vehicles where exposure to water may cause damage.
  • Some times they use lifts to load vehicles, instead of ramps.  - When lifts are used the carrier is better equiped to handle low profile and custom vehicles.


  • Uninsured damages, like damage from weather and road debris, are more likely.  - (More likely but still not common.)


  • More expensive than an open carrier.  - In most cases an enclosed carrier is 10%-30% more expensive than an open carrier.
  • There are fewer enclosed carriers and most enclosed carriers handle fewer vehicles.  - This means pickup and delivery times will typically 30% longer than an open carrier.

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Open vs. Enclosed

What’s the difference between open and enclosed auto transport?

Open Transport is what most people think of when they see the long transport Carriers on interstate highways, sometimes double-deckers with 7-10 cars. But Open Transport may also be done with smaller trucks, capable of carrying just 3-4 vehicles. This means that the vehicle is open to the elements, and a car may arrive at its destination dirtier than when it started out. Think of “open transport” as flying coach-class. It is the most economical way to go, and 75% of customers choose open transport

Enclosed car transport is more akin to flying 1st class or business-class: and in the cases of transporting a Bentley or Lamborghini, it’s a “white-glove-level” service. Not only is your vehicle protected on all sides, it’s typically shipped on a smaller transporter -- usually a 6-car lift-gate trailer, or occasionally a 1 or 2 car carrier. Enclosed auto shipping costs 40-60% more than an open carrier and is recommended for a vehicle >$70,000.

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See our comparison options and benefits.

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Open vs. Enclosed

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The vehicles moved with open auto transport carriers are not protected from weather elements like rain, sun, hail and snow, and from dust, insects and even birds. This is one of the biggest disadvantages of this type of carrier. If you are opting for this type of car carrier transport, you should be aware that your vehicle will be exposed to all those elements.

However, auto transport companies take great care and deliver the cars to their final destination in good condition. They use well trained truckers who understand the value of their cargo. The cars are also neatly strapped and packed in the carrier in order to reduce mobility and vibrations caused by the road while the cars are in transit. An advantage though it is that in most cases the open auto transport is faster than the enclosed. Open car shipping services are in higher demand which leads to more truckers driving open car transporters.

So, although those types of vehicle haulers often carry more cars than one cars and you would think this makes them slower, the scheduling is easier which often makes them faster. Open auto transport is more affordable and still very secure mode of transporting a vehicle from and to any point in the US.Image title

An enclosed auto transport carrier is a great car shipping option you can use especially if you will transport a classic or custom vehicle. It is opposite to the open car carrier shipping service. In an enclosed car carrier, the vehicles are housed in an covered truck. Enclosed carriers often can only carry a few vehicles at the same. In most cases up to five automobiles.

So, it could be faster, but in fact the truth is that there are fewer enclosed transporters on the road which makes them harder to schedule. Besides this in most cases enclosed auto transport is more costly than open car carrier transport. The biggest advantage though is that the cars are protected from weather elements such as rain, hail, sun and the likes. So, enclosed car carrier offer a better protection for your vehicle while it’s been transported.


Open vs Enclosed Auto Transport

Thinking if open auto transport is right for your vehicle?

There are many reasons why Open transport might be the smarter option for you:

Faster Service with open transport.Image title

More Options with open transport.It is very important for the client to be aware that open transport’s availability is a lot higher than enclosed carriers.

Open trailers are made to transport very versatile vehicles. If you have a modified SUV that is lifted or very big in general, it might take longer because enclosed trailers are very limited when it comes down to loading bigger vehicles.

Transporting your vehicle via open transport will help you save money, while shipping your vehicle in a safe and quick manner.Image title


Enclosed transport comes with an extra degree in surety and safety.  If you want your vehicle to hit nothing else but the air inside the trailer, this is the option for you.


Enclosed transport requires a little bit more time as enclosed carriers are more rare then open car carriers.  Shipping with an enclosed trailer is usually double the cost that of of an open transport.  Insurance coverages are higher with enclosed which is why we usually employ our enclosed fleet for high end vehicles such as Super Cars or very Vintage Vehicles which require extra care. 

Auto Transport Insurance

The insurance requirements which we have for our enclosed transporters are unmatched.  Enclosed transport ensures protection against weather, road debris and other road related things that can get on your vehicle when using open transport.  Enclosed transporters use advanced trailers which have either a soft/hard shield that encloses your vehicle completely.  Enclosed car trailers usually carry 3-6 vehicles for normal paced shipping.

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Open vs Enclosed Transport
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value of car

The majorioty of vehicles are transported open, meaning on an open trailer. Vehicles that are transported in enclosed carriers are  typically worth 75k or more. Other factors may be if the vehicle is restored or family owned/sentimental. There are many more open carriers than enclosed and they can only carry up to 3 cars at a time and pay much more for their insurance. So considering all of that, transported cars going enclosed are almost double the price.


carrier difference

Open carrier leaves vehicle exposed to the weather conditions

Enclosed carrier moves vehicle in an enclosed trailer.

Sheilds the vehicle from weather conditions.


Expedited Shipping Services open and enclosed auto transport

Open auto transport is exposed to the elements and transported in a 7-9 car carrier truck called a stinger. Enclosed is NOT exposed to the elements or weather and you usually only get shipped with 3 other vehicles


Open & Enclosed Differences

Open Carrier: This is the most standard method of shipping a vehicle. Thousands of people and corporations move vehciles throughout the country daily using this method of transportation. This type of carrier works for any make and model, unless the vehicle has been significantly modified. 

Shipping a vehicle via open carrier means  your vehicle will be exposed to weather elements such as sun, rain, snow, wind and to the road elements such as dust and road debris. Though not common, this means your vehicle may be exposed to chips on the paint or anything else the weather or road might cause.

About 90% of all auto carriers in the United States are open. This means open carrier transport is faster to schedule and more efficient. Efficiency is when more vehicles are transported on a single haul. Most open carriers can fit anywhere between 7-10 vehicles.

Enclosed Carrier: Enclosed, also known as covered are typically preferred for high-end sports vehicles, luxury vehicles, antique & classic vehicles. Enclosed Carriers protect from the weather and road elements. However this will come at a price. Enclosed Carrier shipping is typically between 60-100% more expensive than a standard open carrier shipment. Reasons being there are less enclosed carriers on the road, enclosed trailers are typically more expensive, they hold less vehicles and they provide more protection.


We offer both open and enclosed transport.   An enclosed transport offers complete protection from the elements while in transport.  An open carrier while cheaper doesnot protect your vehicle from dirt and grime that can be picked up while in transport.


Open and Enclose Carrier

What are the Main Differences Between Open and Enclosed Car Shipping?

Both open and enclosed car shipping is accomplished by moving your vehicle by truck.

With open transport, your car is usually shipped on a long, two-level trailer. (You’ve probably seen these trailers loaded with vehicles on the highway.) Open transport is suitable for any type of vehicle and is the best choice if you want to ship a standard model or a used car.

With enclosed transport, your vehicle is shipped in a fully enclosed trailer. This offers a higher degree of security and protection for your vehicle. Enclosed transport is often the chosen shipping method for owners who wish to move a new car, an antique, a collectible, or an expensive vehicle.


Open Vs Enclosed Auto Transport

As a rule of thumb, I usually tell my clients that enclosed transport will cost about 50% more than open transport.



Collectors, Luxury, and Special EDs, we have a 1st Class spot for them all in our exclusive Hard Enclosure carriers. White glove service, electric lift, and premium insurance for $1,000,000 in case of unforeseen situations.


Open car carrier Shipping represents over 60% of our every day provided services. Sedans, Coupe, Convertible, Classic or Modded, you name it, we ship it. Insurance usually goes on these trucks for up to $500.000. With an inspection done on pick-up and delivery.


What is the difference between open and enclosed car haulers?

Open Carrier

This is vehicle transport that does not protect your vehicle from the elements. Your vehicle is exposed to the weather, but the Auto Transport companies can fit more vehicles on their truck and this lowers the cost of shipping. Damages from the elements are rare but can occur. Most people are willing to take a small risk to save a considerable amount of money.

Enclosed Carrier

This is a Car Transporter that protects your vehicle from the elements. Going enclosed can protect your vehicle from weather, rocks and theft. In most cases, enclosed transport will cost double of what it would cost to ship on an open carrier. These companies have more experience with high-end vehicles. Enclosed companies tend to give more personable service for each car they ship.


Open Vs. Enclosed Car Shipping

 Open car shipping is used much more frequently and is the type of auto transport that you see on the highway where carriers are hauling vehicles on two decks that are exposed. Enclosed car shipping is when your vehicle is shipped in a trailer which has walls and a roof, they look like a larger version of a regular eighteen-wheeler. This method is recommended for luxury, exotic or classic cars.


Open vs Enclosed

An open carrier is something we are all familiar with as we've seen them on the highway. Chances are you've driven next to an enclosed quote carrier but didn't know it because they look very similar to a household goods van. An enclosed carrier has a car carrier rack inside so the vehicles can be loaded on the top and bottom racks and secured for safe transport. Typically the cost can be 1 1/2 times that of an open car carrier.