Open vs. Enclosed Car Shipping: Which is Right for You?

When it comes to transporting your vehicle, one of the critical decisions you’ll need to make is whether to choose open or enclosed car shipping. Each method offers its advantages and considerations, and the choice depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the type of vehicle you are transporting. Let’s explore the differences between open and enclosed car shipping to help you make an informed decision.

Open Car Shipping:

Open car shipping is the more common and cost-effective method of transporting vehicles. In this method, your car is loaded onto an open-air carrier alongside other vehicles. Here are some key points to consider:


Cost-Effective: Open car shipping is generally less expensive than enclosed transport, making it an economical choice for most vehicle types.

Efficiency: Open carriers can transport multiple vehicles simultaneously, making them a more efficient option for transport companies, which can translate to faster pickup and delivery times.

Visibility: Open transport allows you to see your vehicle during transport, providing peace of mind for some vehicle owners.


Exposure to the Elements: Vehicles transported via open carriers are exposed to the elements, including weather, road debris, and dust. While most vehicles arrive in good condition, there is a minimal risk of minor cosmetic damage.

Limited Protection: Open carriers do not offer the same level of protection as enclosed carriers, making them less suitable for high-value, classic, or exotic vehicles.

Enclosed Car Shipping:

Enclosed car shipping involves transporting your vehicle in an enclosed trailer, providing it with protection from the elements and potential damage. Here’s what you need to know:


Enhanced Protection: Enclosed carriers offer superior protection against weather, road debris, and potential damage during transit. This makes them an excellent choice for luxury, classic, or high-value vehicles.

Custom Solutions: Enclosed transport companies often provide customized transport solutions, including climate control and specialized equipment for unique vehicles.

Peace of Mind: Many vehicle owners choose enclosed transport for the peace of mind it provides, knowing their valuable possessions are well-protected.


Higher Cost: Enclosed car shipping is more expensive than open transport due to the added level of protection and specialized equipment.

Limited Availability: Enclosed carriers may have limited availability, especially in remote areas, which can result in longer waiting times.

When deciding between open and enclosed Car Shipping, consider factors such as the type and value of your vehicle, your budget, and your level of concern for potential exposure to the elements. For standard vehicles, open car shipping is often the preferred and cost-effective choice. However, for valuable or classic cars, or when peace of mind and additional protection are essential, enclosed car shipping is the way to go. Ultimately, the right choice depends on your specific needs and priorities.