Customer Reviews

What’s the Difference? Enclosed Auto Transport or Open Auto Transport?

Posted on 10/25/2019

Jump to section:
Enclosed auto transport
Open auto transport
Which one should you choose?
 
difference between enclosed and open auto transport carriers

Enclosed auto transport

Enclosed auto transport is when your car gets shipped on a trailer that is completely covered on the top, bottom and sides. This will offer protection for your vehicle from any road debris as well as from the elements like rain and snow.
 
However, enclosed auto transport (otherwise known as covered auto transport) is always the least frequently used type of auto transport. This is due to the additional cost of this type of auto transport as well as the decreased availability for these types of carriers.
 
Typically, enclosed auto transport will cost an extra $400 – $700 depending on how far you are shipping your car, what type of car you are shipping and whether or not you chose a multi-car enclosed carrier or single car enclosed trailer. Single car enclosed trailers cost even more because your car is the only vehicle being shipped.
 
Generally, people only use enclosed auto transport if they are shipping higher-end luxury or classic cars. Although, if you have any car that’s very important to you and you can afford the extra fee than you could opt to go with enclosed shipping for your vehicle.
 
The only exception might be wider vehicles, these trailers tend to be slightly slimmer than open-air trailers thus some vehicles end up being too wide to qualify for transport on these haulers. Ask your car shipping expert about your cars width before you book your enclosed shipment.
 
Enclosed auto transport will almost always take longer to deliver your car. There are way fewer of these carriers available thus you will have to wait a bit longer for a spot to open up for your car. Although, if you want to be certain that your car is completely protected from the elements and road debris, then the additional wait will be well worth it.
 
Realistically, you should try and book your enclosed car shipment as far in advanced as you possibly can. However, this goes for all forms of auto transport. The sooner you book your shipment, the better the chance that you will get the delivery window that you want.
 
Enclosed auto transport also includes drivers who are more experienced with higher-end vehicles such as classic cars. This helps ensure that your car is treated with the utmost care during transport.
 

There are two primary types of enclosed auto transport:

  • Soft-sided enclosed transport is when a canvas is placed on the side of the trailer like curtains pulled tightly to protect your vehicle. The trailer will have a hard roof in addition to the canvases on the sides.
  •  

  • Hard-sided enclosed transport is when the trailer itself has outside walls to protect your vehicle from all of the elements and road debris such as pebbles or tree branches. It is best for high-end cars.

For our purposes, we are always referring to hard-sided enclosed transport when we say, “enclosed auto transport.” Soft-sided enclosed transport doesn’t provide the absolute maximum level of protection you would want from the elements and road debris.
 
It does, however, still provide better protection than an open-air transport trailer. These are primarily used by car dealerships like Mercedes Benz. This is another question you should ask your auto shipping company if you are considering enclosed auto transport: “Is the enclosed transport soft-sided or hard-sided?”
 


enclosed-car-shipping

 

Open auto transport

Open auto transport (also known as standard car shipping) is the most common type of auto transport by a long shot. 90% of car shipments are made via open auto transport. This is almost always the type of auto carriers you’ll commonly see out on the highways with two decks of cars. This type of truck is typically about seventy-five feet long and it hauls a two-level trailer with a row of vehicles on the top and a shorter row of vehicles on the bottom.
 
This type of car shipping is considerably cheaper than enclosed auto transport and that’s mainly because there’s so many of these carriers available out there. A larger supply being available drives prices down.
 

There are 3 types of open carriers which transport vehicles:

  • Trailers with a one level
  • Trailers with two levels
  • Dolly trucks, which carry one vehicle using a tow trailer

Open auto transport will also be moderately faster than enclosed auto transport because the large number of open carriers available and the general ease involved in the process. These carriers are in high demand too, so it’s easy for them to fill the trailer with a maximum of seven to ten cars thus making them a max amount of money for the haul. That means that open auto transport carriers can routinely hit the road a bit sooner than enclosed transport carriers.
 


open-air-car-shipping

 

Which one should you choose?

In the end, whether you choose open or enclosed auto transport is up to you. So, to sum up the differences:
 

Enclosed shipping:

  • Costs a bit more
  • Takes longer for your car to be delivered
  • Offers complete protection for your car during transport from the elements and road debris as well as any possibility of theft

 

Open auto transport:

  • Is always the cheaper option
  • Will get your car delivered the fastest of any option
  • Offers less protection from the elements and road debris

 
If you have a very expensive car, you might want to consider enclosed auto transport because that would be the highest level of protection that you can get for your high-end car.
 
If you have a car with a low ground clearance, your car may not qualify to ship on any open carriers. In this case you will need to find an enclosed auto transport that has special hydraulic ramps in order to get your car on board and shipped. Any sort of “low-rider” vehicle would likely end up in this predicament in regard to being shipped.
 
Otherwise, open auto transport is the option that the vast majority of people who ship their car end up choosing.
 
You can always call your auto shipping company first to consult with them about which option is the best for you and your vehicle. You can contact RoadRunner Auto Transport at (888)777-2123.


open-vs-enclosed-car-shipping

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1Shipment Details

What’s the Difference? Enclosed Auto Transport or Open Auto Transport?

Posted on 10/25/2019

Jump to section:
Enclosed auto transport
Open auto transport
Which one should you choose?
 
difference between enclosed and open auto transport carriers

Enclosed auto transport

Enclosed auto transport is when your car gets shipped on a trailer that is completely covered on the top, bottom and sides. This will offer protection for your vehicle from any road debris as well as from the elements like rain and snow.
 
However, enclosed auto transport (otherwise known as covered auto transport) is always the least frequently used type of auto transport. This is due to the additional cost of this type of auto transport as well as the decreased availability for these types of carriers.
 
Typically, enclosed auto transport will cost an extra $400 – $700 depending on how far you are shipping your car, what type of car you are shipping and whether or not you chose a multi-car enclosed carrier or single car enclosed trailer. Single car enclosed trailers cost even more because your car is the only vehicle being shipped.
 
Generally, people only use enclosed auto transport if they are shipping higher-end luxury or classic cars. Although, if you have any car that’s very important to you and you can afford the extra fee than you could opt to go with enclosed shipping for your vehicle.
 
The only exception might be wider vehicles, these trailers tend to be slightly slimmer than open-air trailers thus some vehicles end up being too wide to qualify for transport on these haulers. Ask your car shipping expert about your cars width before you book your enclosed shipment.
 
Enclosed auto transport will almost always take longer to deliver your car. There are way fewer of these carriers available thus you will have to wait a bit longer for a spot to open up for your car. Although, if you want to be certain that your car is completely protected from the elements and road debris, then the additional wait will be well worth it.
 
Realistically, you should try and book your enclosed car shipment as far in advanced as you possibly can. However, this goes for all forms of auto transport. The sooner you book your shipment, the better the chance that you will get the delivery window that you want.
 
Enclosed auto transport also includes drivers who are more experienced with higher-end vehicles such as classic cars. This helps ensure that your car is treated with the utmost care during transport.
 

There are two primary types of enclosed auto transport:

  • Soft-sided enclosed transport is when a canvas is placed on the side of the trailer like curtains pulled tightly to protect your vehicle. The trailer will have a hard roof in addition to the canvases on the sides.
  •  

  • Hard-sided enclosed transport is when the trailer itself has outside walls to protect your vehicle from all of the elements and road debris such as pebbles or tree branches. It is best for high-end cars.

For our purposes, we are always referring to hard-sided enclosed transport when we say, “enclosed auto transport.” Soft-sided enclosed transport doesn’t provide the absolute maximum level of protection you would want from the elements and road debris.
 
It does, however, still provide better protection than an open-air transport trailer. These are primarily used by car dealerships like Mercedes Benz. This is another question you should ask your auto shipping company if you are considering enclosed auto transport: “Is the enclosed transport soft-sided or hard-sided?”
 


enclosed-car-shipping

 

Open auto transport

Open auto transport (also known as standard car shipping) is the most common type of auto transport by a long shot. 90% of car shipments are made via open auto transport. This is almost always the type of auto carriers you’ll commonly see out on the highways with two decks of cars. This type of truck is typically about seventy-five feet long and it hauls a two-level trailer with a row of vehicles on the top and a shorter row of vehicles on the bottom.
 
This type of car shipping is considerably cheaper than enclosed auto transport and that’s mainly because there’s so many of these carriers available out there. A larger supply being available drives prices down.
 

There are 3 types of open carriers which transport vehicles:

  • Trailers with a one level
  • Trailers with two levels
  • Dolly trucks, which carry one vehicle using a tow trailer

Open auto transport will also be moderately faster than enclosed auto transport because the large number of open carriers available and the general ease involved in the process. These carriers are in high demand too, so it’s easy for them to fill the trailer with a maximum of seven to ten cars thus making them a max amount of money for the haul. That means that open auto transport carriers can routinely hit the road a bit sooner than enclosed transport carriers.
 


open-air-car-shipping

 

Which one should you choose?

In the end, whether you choose open or enclosed auto transport is up to you. So, to sum up the differences:
 

Enclosed shipping:

  • Costs a bit more
  • Takes longer for your car to be delivered
  • Offers complete protection for your car during transport from the elements and road debris as well as any possibility of theft

 

Open auto transport:

  • Is always the cheaper option
  • Will get your car delivered the fastest of any option
  • Offers less protection from the elements and road debris

 
If you have a very expensive car, you might want to consider enclosed auto transport because that would be the highest level of protection that you can get for your high-end car.
 
If you have a car with a low ground clearance, your car may not qualify to ship on any open carriers. In this case you will need to find an enclosed auto transport that has special hydraulic ramps in order to get your car on board and shipped. Any sort of “low-rider” vehicle would likely end up in this predicament in regard to being shipped.
 
Otherwise, open auto transport is the option that the vast majority of people who ship their car end up choosing.
 
You can always call your auto shipping company first to consult with them about which option is the best for you and your vehicle. You can contact RoadRunner Auto Transport at (888)777-2123.


open-vs-enclosed-car-shipping

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Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the vehicle shipping process.


When determining your car shipping cost, there are a few factors that we take into account in order to provide you with an accurate price quote. The mileage between the origin and destination is the biggest factor that contributes to your total rate. In addition to the distance of your relocation, another factor is the type and condition of the vehicle being shipped. The final factor is the date that your vehicle will be ready for transport. There are also additional options, such as enclosed carrier and top-load service that can be added to your shipment at the time of booking for a higher level of service. Read more about how much it costs to ship a car.

To get a quote for shipping your vehicle, you can either use our instant online car shipping quote calculator or you can call (888) 422-7584 to receive a quote from one of our car transport pricing specialists. In order for us to calculate your quote we will need to know the location you are shipping from and to, the type of vehicle you would like to ship, and the date your vehicle will be ready.

The transit time for your shipment is based mostly on the mileage between the pickup and delivery location. Generally, every five hundred miles will add one day to the transit time - so for a 1,000 mile transport, the transit time would be 2-3 days. Check out our estimated transit times for a detailed view of approximate delivery times.

Yes, online tracking is available to you 24 hours a day and is updated in real time. Upon scheduling your shipment, you will receive a unique booking number that will allow you to track the status of your shipment online. Your tracking portal will also give you the ability to live chat with a shipping agent that can answer any questions you may have regarding the status of your shipment.

All shipments include basic liability coverage during transit. Comprehensive insurance options are available for an elevated level of shipment coverage during transit. You will be able to select a level of coverage during the booking process. If you have further questions regarding insurance options give us a call.

We accept all major credit cards, electronic transfer, postal money order, and bank/certified check for the deposit or full pre-payment of your shipment. If a balance is due upon delivery, it can be paid directly to the driver and can be paid in either cash, bank/certified check, or postal money order.

Yes, there must be someone present to release and accept the vehicle, provide keys to the driver and sign the initial and final inspection reports. This person can be anyone over the age of 18 that you trust with releasing or accepting your vehicle.

You may transport personal belongings in your car, as long as their total weight does not exceed 100 pounds and they are stored in the trunk or back seat (below the window line). Please keep in mind that personal belongings are not covered by insurance if they are reported as damaged or missing.

To get a quote for shipping your vehicle, you can either use our instant online car shipping quote calculator above or you can call (888) 422-7584 to receive a quote from one of our car transport pricing specialists. In order for us to calculate your quote we will need to know the location you are shipping from and to, the type of vehicle you would like to ship, and the date your vehicle will be ready.

The further in advance you schedule your shipment, the more likely we will be able to meet the time requirements you desire. For best results, we suggest scheduling your transport at least 2 to 3 weeks in advance. Expedited shipping options are available in order to accomodate shipments that require . You can always give us a call and ask one of our car shipping experts what your options are in terms of the schedule for your car transport.

The driver will get the car transporter as close to your door as he can legally and safely get. In most cases, the driver will be able to pickup and deliver directly at your door. Some cities may have restrictions on large trucks that prohibit them from driving into residential areas. Auto transport trucks are large and need lots of room to maneuver and turn around, so if access to the pickup or delivery location is restricted by narrow streets, low-hanging trees or tight turns, the driver may ask that you meet at a location nearby with a large parking lot, such as a grocery store.

Open transport is the most common car shipping method. There are two types of open-air transporters. The Majority of shipments are be made with 8-10 car carriers. Smaller carriers which hold 2-3 cars are used for shorter more local moves. There is broader network of carrier availability for open-air carriers since they are used more often. We suggest choosing enclosed shipping methods when shipping classic, luxury or exotic vehicles. Enclosed transporters guarantee maximum protection from exposure to any open-air elements on the road. We suggest booking your enclosed transport in advance since there is limited carrier availability. Read more about the difference between open and enclosed transport

RoadRunner Auto Transport specializes in shipping all types of vehicles such as sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans, oversized vehicles, antiques, classic cars, motorcycles, construction vehicles, inoperable cars and boats. If you are not sure whether or not we can ship your vehicle, you can give us a call to find out what we can do for you.

You should have about a quarter of a tank of gas in your car at the time of shipment. This leaves enough for the car to be loaded and unloaded but doesn't add much additional weight.

The Bill of Lading is a very important document used by car shipping companies that documents any pre-existing damage on the vehicle during the time of pickup. It also serves as a record of your contact info and the official agreement for transport. If you want to file any insurance claim regarding your shipment you will need the Bill of Lading.

Top load service is when your car is placed on the higher deck or level of an open auto transport trailer. This is considered to be preferable to the bottom load because the cars on the lower deck are at risk of possibly having fluid from the cars above leak on them.

Make sure your car has been completely cleaned, both inside and outside. This is particularly important because this will help the driver conduct their inspection in order to assess any pre-existing damage on your vehicle. You will also want to make there are no additional personal items in the vehicle unless you intend to ship those with the vehicle (remember those items must total less than 100 pounds combined and be kept below the window-line of the vehicle). Be sure to inform the driver of any special circumstances concerning the vehicle. Finally, make sure there is a quarter tank of gas in the car at the time it is picked up for shipment. Visit our car shipping checklist to make sure you are prepared for your vehicle shipment.

Yes, we can ship vehicles that are in non-running/inoperable condition. When inoperable cars are shipped, a special auto carrier is required that makes use of a winch which is connected to your car and slowly and safely pulls your vehicle onto the carrier. There is an additional fee for inpoerable vehicles because of the special equipment and extra work involved with securing the vehicle onto the transporter. You can select the inoperable option on the online booking form or inform your shipping agent if you make your reservation by phone so that the proper arrangements can be made to accomodate a non-running vehicle.

We offer open car shipping and enclosed car shipping services. 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.

Door-to-door car transport is the full service delivery of your vehicle directly from the door at the pickup location to the door at the delivery location. Our drivers do their best to get as close as physically and legally possible to the pickup and delivery locations, but in certain instances there may be restrictions preventing them from being able to safely reach your door. Our transporters need ample space to maneuver and load/unload your vehicle. If your street is too narrow, or if there are hazards such as low lining trees or power lines, drivers may ask that you meet them at a location nearby where they can safely load or unload your vehicle, such as a large parking lot or shopping center nearby.