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What Is The Difference Between Open and Enclosed Car Shipping?

Difference Between Open and Enclosed Car Shipping
September 15, 2023
11 min

Have you ever considered moving your cherished vehicle cross-country but dreaded the thought of that long, tiresome drive? Or perhaps you’ve worried about the safety of your car during its journey? That’s where Easy Auto Ship steps in, offering both open and enclosed car shipping options. But which one suits your needs the best? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of ‘What Is The Difference Between Open and Enclosed Car Shipping.’

Now, imagine you’re heading on a vacation to sunny California from chilly Minnesota. You want to take your car with you, but driving all the way isn’t feasible. This is where car shipping services come into play. But wait, there are two options: open car shipping and enclosed car transport.

Think of it as choosing between a cozy winter jacket (enclosed car shipping) and a breezy windbreaker (open car transport) and deciding which one to get. Let’s dive deeper through a side-by-side comparison.

So, What Is The Difference Between Open And Enclosed Car Shipping?

Open Car Shipping

Open car transports cars on an open trailer without walls and a roof. This style of transport leaves cars wholly exposed to weather conditions, road debris, and potential damage. Imagine a family road trip, but instead of driving your vehicle, it’s carried on a large, open-air trailer along with other cars.

Open car shipping is the most common form of car transport, characterized by a single flatbed or two-level trailer without any side or top barriers. This method leaves the cars exposed to the elements during transit. It’s the equivalent of driving your car across the country sans the mileage.

The Best Parts:
  • Open car transport shines in its cost-effectiveness. It’s a win-win for both carriers and customers, as it allows the transportation of multiple cars on a single trailer, reducing costs for everyone involved.
  • Additionally, open carriers are more readily available and make fewer stops, enabling faster shipping.
  • For carriers, the operational costs are lower , as open trailers are less expensive to purchase and maintain.

What Is The Difference Between Open And Enclosed Car Shipping?

The Not So Good Bits:
  • The main one is the cars’ exposure to weather elements such as snow, rain, dust, and sun. It also increases the risk of potential damage from road debris or flying objects.
  • While the chances of significant damage are low, minor scratches or dings from small rocks or other debris are possible. Plus, there’s limited protection against theft or vandalism.

Enclosed Car Transport

Now, let’s switch gears and talk about enclosed car shipping. This is where vehicles are transported within a fully enclosed trailer with walls, ceiling, and floor, providing comprehensive protection from all external elements and potential damage.

Enclosed car transport is the VIP of car transport services. It’s like your car gets its private suite on the road, safe from the outside world. Cars shipped using this method are packed inside a fully enclosed and secured trailer, which offers them superior protection from the elements and road debris.

The Best Parts:
  • The advantages of enclosed car transport are all about protection and security. It offers superior protection against weather elements and road debris.
  • There’s also a significantly reduced risk of damage during transportation , which gives you peace of mind knowing your car is safe.
  • Plus, the trailers used in enclosed car transport often have sophisticated security systems, providing a higher level of security against theft, vandalism, and unauthorized access. This type of shipping is ideal for transporting luxury, classic, high-value, or delicate cars.
The Not So Good Bits:
  • Enclosed car shipping generally costs more than open car shipping due to the added protection and limited capacity of enclosed trailers.
  • Also, fewer carriers offer enclosed services, which can limit availability and cause longer delivery times.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Open and Enclosed Car Transport

Navigating car shipping can be overwhelming, especially when faced with the choice between open and enclosed car shipping. The first challenge you’re faced with is figuring out the difference between open and enclosed car transport. Remembering that the right choice differs for everyone and depends on several factors is vital.

  • Vehicle Type and Value. You’d prefer enclosed car shipping if you’re a proud, high-value, classic, or luxury car owner. Enclosed carriers provide a secure environment for your precious car, shielding it from dust, debris, and any potential damages. On the other hand, open car shipping is the go-to choice for everyday cars. It exposes your vehicle to the elements, similar to regular driving, but it’s perfectly safe for most cars.
  • Weather Conditions During Transportation. Picture this: You’re shipping your car cross-country, and it has to pass through a region notorious for its harsh winter conditions. Would you want your car to brave the snow and ice? Probably not. In such cases, enclosed car transport is your best bet, protecting against harsh weather. However, if the weather forecast predicts clear skies and a mild climate, open car shipping can be a fantastic budget-friendly choice.
  • Distance and Route. Longer distances or routes that pass through remote areas with rough terrains might warrant the extra protection offered by enclosed car shipping. However, open car transport is practical for shorter distances or routes through well-traveled regions.
  • Budget and Cost Considerations. Open car shipping is kinder to your wallet. On average, open car transportcan cost around $0.60 per mile for a 1,000-mile trip, while enclosed car transport might cost approximately $0.85 per mile for the same distance. The added cost for enclosed shipping is due to the additional protection it offers your car.
  • Personal Preferences and Peace of Mind. After all, the decision is ultimately yours. If having your car out in the open causes sleepless nights, the peace of mind offered by enclosed car shipping might be worth the extra cost. Conversely, if you’re okay with the same conditions your car might face on a road trip, open car shipping should suit you just fine.

Remember, no matter the choice, make sure it gives you peace of mind and fits your budget. After all, car shipping is all about making your life easier, not harder. So, whether you choose open or enclosed car transport, rest assured that your car is in safe hands with Easy Auto Ship.

Factors to ConsiderOpen Car ShippingEnclosed Car Shipping
Vehicle Type and ValueEveryday cars and standard vehiclesHigh-value, classic, luxury cars
Weather Conditions During TransportationSuitable for mild weather and clear skiesProtects against harsh weather conditions
Distance and RoutePractical for shorter distances and well-traveled routesRecommended for longer distances and routes with rough terrains
Budget and Cost ConsiderationsMore budget-friendly (approx. $0.60 per mile for a 1,000-mile trip)Higher cost (approx. $0.85 per mile for a 1,000-mile journey) due to added protection
Personal Preferences and Peace of MindSuitable for those comfortable with exposing their vehicle to elementsOffers peace of mind and security for owners who prefer extra protection

Real-life Examples and Scenarios

We’re diving into real-life examples and scenarios to help you make a well-informed choice between these shipping options.

A. Shipping a Vintage Luxury Car

When you have a shiny vintage luxury car, its value isn’t just about the price tag. It’s about the history, the crafted details, the emotional connection, and, of course, preserving its pristine condition. Certain factors must be considered if you decide on open car shipping.

Open Car Shipping’s Potential Risks and Considerations

In open shipping, your car is exposed to the elements. Rain, dust, sun, and road debris pose potential risks to your classic beauty. Remember, based on a report by the Federal Highway Administration, an average of 7.9 billion miles are driven every month on US highways. This means the likelihood of minor damages from road debris is quite significant.

Enclosed Car Transport’s Benefits for Preserving the Car’s Value

Enclosed car shipping is a much-needed shield for your luxury car. It offers complete protection against environmental elements and road hazards.

Recommendation: Enclosed Car Transport for Protection

Given the potential risks of open shipping and the protection offered by enclosed shipping, it’s clear that the latter is the superior choice for high-value cars. It’s all about conserving those classic lines and preserving that immaculate glossy finish.

B. Shipping a Regular Everyday Vehicle

Your considerations may differ if we’re talking about your trusty daily driver, any standard vehicle. Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty.

Affordability of Open Car Transport

Open car shipping is a definite budget saver. It can be up to 40% cheaper than enclosed shipping. This is a massive saving for most car owners looking to ship their regular vehicles.

Acceptable Risks of Potential Damage for Regular Cars

For your everyday ride, a small scratch or ding might be acceptable. Although it is typically much safer for day-to-day transport, risking your luxury vehicle is not worth it. Therefore, shipping a regular car is much preferable with an open carrier.

Recommendation: Open Car Shipping for Cost-effectiveness

So, if you’re on a tight budget and your car isn’t a high-value classic or luxury model, open car shipping might be your best bet. Not only will you save money, but considering the potential risks, it’s an acceptable option for your daily driver.

In the end, it comes down to the vehicle type. For vintage luxury cars, enclosed shipping is the safer option to preserve its value. On the other hand, open shipping is a cost-effective solution for regular everyday vehicles. Rest assured, at Easy Auto Ship, we provide both options, ensuring top-notch service tailored to your specific needs!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How are cars packed for shipping?

Packing a car for shipping is a multi-step process.

  • To begin with, the car is prepped for shipping, which involves removing loose items, disabling alarms, and checking tire pressure and fluid levels.
  • It’s also a good idea to take photos for documentation purposes.
  • The vehicle is then loaded onto the trailer.
  • For safety and stability, the car is typically positioned in the middle of the trailer, and it’s secured using straps or chains around the tires.
  • A cover may be added for additional protection.

Are cars shipped in shipping containers?

While some cars are transported in shipping containers, it’s only sometimes the case. Open and enclosed car carriers are more commonly used.

However, container shipping might be a preferable option if you’re shipping your car overseas or if your car needs extra protection.

Containers offer a sealed environment, which means your car is safe from weather conditions and road debris. Plus, containers allow for the shipping of personal items along with your car.

What does open or enclosed mean in shipping a car?

Open and enclosed refer to the type of carrier used to transport your car. An open carrier is a type of carrier where the cars are exposed to the elements. It’s a cost-effective method and the most common type of car shipping.

Alternatively, enclosed carriers offer more protection for your car. They are covered trailers that shield the cars from weather and road debris. Enclosed shipping is typically used for classic, luxury, or exotic cars.

How do you put a car in a carrier?

Loading a car onto a carrier is a skillful job. The vehicle is driven onto the carrier using ramps or a hydraulic lift gate. It’s then positioned correctly and secured using straps or chains around the tires to prevent movement during transit.

Furthermore, if the vehicle is non-operational, hiring a forklift becomes necessary. This process is done with extreme care to avoid damaging the car.

Is Easy Auto Ship legit?

Absolutely! Easy Auto Ship is a reputable and reliable car shipping company. With over a decade of experience, we offer a wide range of services, including both open and enclosed car transport, to meet the diverse needs of our customers.

We prioritize safety and customer satisfaction, ensuring your car reaches its destination safely and on time.

How do I choose an enclosed car trailer?

Choosing an enclosed car trailer depends on several factors.

  • Consider the size, weight, and value of your car.
  • Enclosed trailers provide superior protection, making them an ideal choice for high-value cars.
  • You should also consider your budget and the distance of the transportation.

Although enclosed auto trailers are more expensive than open carriers, they offer peace of mind, especially for long-distance or cross-country moves.

How many cars fit in an enclosed car hauler?

The capacity of an enclosed car hauler varies based on its size. On average, a standard enclosed car hauler can accommodate about 5-6 cars.

However, double-decked haulers can hold much higher numbers, up to 9 cars. The exact number varies due to the weight and dimensions of the vehicles being transported.

Parting Words

Making an informed decision is the key. With most of the cars shipped through open car shipping, it’s evident that most people find it a reliable and affordable option. Yet, a handful of car owners are willing to pay extra for the peace of mind that comes with the additional protection offered by enclosed car shipping.

Remember that the safety of your car is the ultimate priority. Whether you choose open or enclosed shipping, entrust your vehicle to a reputable company with positive reviews and a track record of safe deliveries. When it comes to car shipping, the cheapest option is only sometimes the best. Consider all factors, weigh your options, and decide what’s right for you. You’ve got this!

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