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Open vs. Enclosed Car Shipping

Are you planning to move to a new state? If you are moving long distance, you may want to have your vehicle shipped rather than drive it by yourself. Generally, there are two main shipping methods to choose from – open and enclosed.

What is the difference between Open and Enclosed Auto Shipping?

Both open and enclosed car shipping are performed via a truck.

With open transport, your car is usually transported on a long, two-level trailer. Open transport is suitable for any type of vehicle, especially for standard models or used cars.

With the enclosed transport, your car is shipped via a car carrier with a fully enclosed trailer. This shipping method offers much higher security and protection. Enclosed transport is usually required from owners who wish to move a new car, a vintage car, or a collectible.

Pros and Cons of Open Car Shipping

Pros: Shipping via an open transport method is much faster and economical than enclosed transport. It is easier to book this type of transport, as it is more common. There are more open-air car carriers servicing the American customer. The bottom line is that you have a lot more flexibility when it comes to pick-up and delivery dates.

Shipping your car via an open car carrier is less expensive, as 7 to 10 vehicles can be loaded onto a two-tier trailer and shipped simultaneously. An open-air trailer generally weighs less than an enclosed trailer, so fuel costs are lower.

Cons: The open transport trailer is open-air which means your vehicle is exposed to current weather conditions. Your car receives a minimum level protection from road debris while in transit. Nevertheless, it may arrive dirty, as cars shipped via an open trailer are not individually covered. 

Types of Open-air Carriers

There are three main types of open car shipping carriers:

  • Two-level, multi-car carriers – those are the most widespread.
  • Single-level, multi-car carrier – these carriers are usually used when transporting super cars or luxury vehicles, or when expedited service is requested.
  • A dually truck – single-vehicle car carrier that is used to transport cars over a short distance, or when expedited shipping is required.

Pros and Cons of Enclosed Car Shipping 

Pros: When your vehicle is shipped via an enclosed trailer, it is protected from the weather elements and road debris. Enclosed car carriers offer better security and protection in transit. Drivers who operate enclosed car carriers are generally more experienced in handling high-end vehicles.

Cons: Enclosed car carriers can move fewer cars simultaneously. That makes the enclosed shipping more expensive compared to using an open carrier. Enclosed carriers are heavier and generally are not that fuel-efficient. Fuel costs are higher with this shipping method. Typically, enclosed car shipping is pricier than the open-air method.

Types of Enclosed Carriers

As far as trailer structure is concerned, there are soft-sided and hard-sided trailers. Enclosed car shipping is a method where multi-car trailers, two-car trailers, or one-car trailers are used.

  • Multi-car enclosed trailers can confidently accommodate seven cars. This is usually the least expensive option if you are considering the enclosed auto shipping.
  • Two and one-car trailers cost more. They are often used for high-end, antique, or rare vehicles, or for expedite jobs.

RunBuggy gives you the option to select between open and enclosed transportation when creating an order. And because RunBuggy is not a broker, you can be assured that you will always get the best and lowest price available on the market.