Enclosed vs Open Auto Transport – Which One is Best?

Auto Transport Services
Enclosed vs Open Auto Transport - Which One is Best

When it comes to transporting your vehicle across the country, you have two main options: enclosed auto transport and open auto transport. Both methods have their unique advantages and considerations, and choosing the right one can be crucial for ensuring your car’s safe delivery. In this article, we’ll explore the key features and benefits of each transport type, address common concerns, and provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

Understanding Enclosed Auto Transport

Enclosed Auto Transport - Featured

Enclosed auto transport, as the name suggests, involves transporting vehicles in a fully enclosed trailer or carrier. These specialized trailers are designed to protect cars from external elements like weather, road debris, and airborne contaminants. Enclosed transport is often considered the premium option for several reasons:

Maximum Protection

With a fully enclosed environment, your vehicle is shielded from rain, snow, hail, and other adverse weather conditions. This level of protection is particularly beneficial for classic cars, luxury vehicles, or high-end sports cars that require extra care during transit.

Enhanced Security

Enclosed trailers offer an additional layer of security by preventing unauthorized access to the vehicles during transportation. This can provide peace of mind, especially if you’re shipping a valuable or rare automobile.

Reduced Exposure

By minimizing exposure to external elements, enclosed transport helps preserve your car’s pristine condition, preventing potential damage from road debris, dust, or other airborne particles.

Understanding Open Auto Transport

Open Auto Transport - Service Page

Open auto transport, on the other hand, involves transporting vehicles on an open-air trailer or carrier. These double-decker trailers are designed to carry multiple cars at once, with each vehicle securely strapped down and exposed to the elements during transit. Open transport offers several advantages:


Open auto transport is generally more affordable and cost-effective than enclosed transport. Since multiple vehicles can be transported simultaneously, the costs are shared among multiple customers, resulting in lower rates.

Faster Delivery Times

Open carriers can pick up and drop off vehicles along major routes, making the transportation process more efficient and reducing overall transit times.


Open transport companies typically have larger fleets and make more frequent trips between cities, offering greater availability and shorter wait times for pick-up and delivery.

Factors Influencing Your Choice

When deciding between enclosed and open auto transport, there are several factors to consider:

Vehicle Type

For classic, luxury, or exotic cars with high monetary or sentimental value, enclosed transport may be the preferred option to ensure maximum protection. However, for standard passenger vehicles like sedans, SUVs, or trucks, open transport is often a suitable and more cost-effective choice.


Enclosed auto transport typically costs more than open transport due to the additional protection and specialized equipment involved. If you have a limited budget, open transport may be the more practical option.


For shorter distances or regional moves, the potential cost savings of open transport may be less significant. However, for long-distance or cross-country shipments, the cost difference between enclosed and open transport can be substantial.

Weather Conditions

If you’re shipping your vehicle during particularly harsh weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall or icy roads, enclosed transport may provide better protection and peace of mind.

Choosing a Reliable Auto Transport Company

Once you’ve decided on the transport method that suits your needs, it’s essential to choose a reputable and reliable auto transport company. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

1. Research and Read Reviews: Thoroughly research potential companies and read customer reviews to gauge their reliability, customer service, and claims history.

2. Check Credentials: Ensure the company is fully licensed, bonded, and insured. Request proof of their credentials and coverage.

3. Experience and Fleet Size: Consider the company’s experience level, fleet size, and coverage area to ensure convenient pick-up and drop-off locations.

4. Get Multiple Quotes: Request binding quotes from multiple providers and compare costs. Be cautious of quotes that seem unusually low, as they may indicate unreliable service or hidden fees.

Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Transport Company

Here are some helpful tips to guide you in selecting the right auto transport option:

For Classic Cars or High-End Vehicles

If you’re transporting a classic, luxury, or exotic car with significant monetary or sentimental value, consider enclosed transport to ensure maximum protection and peace of mind.

For Standard Passenger Vehicles

For most modern sedans, SUVs, trucks, and vans in good condition, open auto transport can be a suitable choice, offering cost savings and faster delivery times.

Consider the Distance

For long-distance or cross-country shipments, the cost savings of open transport may be more significant, making it a more attractive option. However, for shorter regional moves, the cost difference may be less substantial.

Evaluate Your Budget

If your budget is limited, open transport may be the more practical choice. However, if you have some flexibility in your budget and want the added protection for a valuable vehicle, enclosed transport could be worth the investment.

Factor in Weather Conditions

If you’re shipping your vehicle during a time of year with potentially harsh weather conditions, such as heavy snow or ice, consider the added protection of enclosed transport to minimize the risk of weather-related damage.


Choosing between enclosed and open auto transport ultimately comes down to weighing your specific needs, priorities, and budget. Both options have their strengths and considerations, and the right choice will depend on factors like your vehicle type, the shipping distance, and your willingness to invest in additional protection. By thoroughly researching your options, considering the factors outlined in this article, and choosing a reputable auto transport company, you can ensure a smooth and secure relocation for your vehicle.

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