Enclosed vs. Open Auto Shipping: The Pros & Cons

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18 Wheel Truck on the road during the day. Side view.
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Planning to move to a new state or across the country? You often may face asking yourself, “Do I really want to drive those extra miles to get to my destination? How can I transport my vehicle with a stress-free experience?”

Well such companies exist to help customers ship their vehicle safely and securely, and the most popular forms of shipping is Enclosed and Open auto shipping. Both forms of shipping make it easier for your vehicle to be transported to the location of your choice. Below we have compiled a list of Pros and Cons when it comes to these two types of shipping and which method is best for your budget and vehicle.


With Enclosed auto shipping, your vehicle is shipped in an enclosed trailer. This benefits the vehicle because it offers a high degree of security and protection. Owners who wish to have their expensive, new, or antique vehicle tend to go with this method of transport.

With Open auto shipping, your vehicle is shipped on an open two-tier trailer. This type of transport is suitable for those who have a modern vehicle or looking to not burn a hole through their pockets.


Pros: Your vehicle is shipped in an enclosed trailer meaning it will be protected from roadside debris, weather, and dust. Having your vehicle shipped enclosed means it will get the best transport experience as possible.

Operating an enclosed trailer takes a lot of experience so there is no doubt that you would get an experienced driver.

Moreover, many companies tend to offer White Glove Transportation with the enclosed transport. This means owners will receive live update on the status of their vehicle, single-car trailer, and greater insurance protection.

Cons: Now that you have read the good part, here is where it gets trickier when transporting enclosed. Your car is loaded onto a trailer where few cars can be moved at once. Thus, meaning a more expensive transport.

There is also less opportunity for the driver to conduct routine inspections for your vehicle during shipping. In addition to the enclosed service, the carriers tend to be heavier therefore increasing the fuels costs for the driver.


Pros: Shipping in an open carrier means a faster and cheaper transport experience. In addition, there are more open carriers than enclosed on the road. This means that it will be easier to book a fleet and have your vehicle arrive on time. Open shipping is affordable and since two-tier trailers are used for transport this means more vehicles can fit and shipped all at once. Plus, open carrier trailer is lighter than enclosed therefore reducing the fuel costs.

Cons: Open carrier is what it says it is, “open.” This means your vehicle will be exposed to the weather. It also minimizes the protection from road debris during transport. Moreover, your car is going to arrive dirty and in need of a wash because of it being exposed to outside sources.

In conclusion, no matter what type of service you choose for your vehicle, it should be transported with the highest level of care. Make sure you ask auto transport companies what type of services and coverages they offer before making the right choice.

Let us know in the comments below what types of experiences you had while shipping your vehicle open or enclosed!

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