What Does “Open Transport” Mean?

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We’ll break down open transport carrier services so you can make an educated choice
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So, you finally realized that you need to ship your car. You could be buying an out-of-state car or moving for work or school. Either way, you’ve done your research, weighed the pros and cons, and you’re ready to set up your order for a shipping company to move your car. You scroll down the application form and see two separate boxes: open trailer or enclosed transport. You’ve done some research, but you’re not really sure about open trailers. Is it safer? What are the advantages? Are there disadvantages? Here at AMPM auto transport, we’ll break down open transport carrier services so you can make an educated choice that is best for your shipping needs.

The biggest difference between the two is right there in the name. Open transport ships your vehicle in a trailer that is exposed to the elements. Enclosed trailers have some sort of cover on the trailer. It could be either a canvas cover or a hard shell to help provide some protection from the elements. More than likely, you’ve seen an open trailer driving down the highway. They account for 95% of all shipping carriers and come in a variety of sizes. The most common size trailer comfortably holds 10 vehicles.


The most obvious advantage is cost. In your research, you’ve probably noticed that open trailers are considerably less expensive than their enclosed counterparts. Is this because open trailers are that much worse than enclosed ones? Not necessarily. The biggest contributor to the lower costs is that there are just so many more options for open trailers on the road. We said, “Open trailers account for 95% of all shipping trailers.” This means that there are more options to choose from, which makes buying space on an open trailer a buyer’s market.

Spped is the other big advantage. Again, since there are more options to choose from, there is a higher chance your vehicle will arrive earlier. Think of it like you’re getting a package delivered. If you go through the mail carrier, there’s only one mail carrier who comes to your home. But if you deliver through UPS, there are more drivers on the road. You could get your package first thing in the morning since there are more options for drivers.


There is a reason enclosed trailers are more expensive, aside from the fact that they are in short supply. Open trailers leave your vehicle exposed to the elements. This leaves your vehicle susceptible to the random flying rock on the road that may hit a windshield. This is rare, but it’s worth noting. The more common thing is the angry bird that flies by and uses your car as a bathroom. This, along with dust and debris from the road, means one thing. If you ship in an open trailer, you can expect some dirt on your car when it’s delivered. After all, your car just drove through miles of open road, maybe without the wear and tear and mileage, but it did go through all that dust and pollen.

Does this mean Open Transport isn’t safe?

Shipping a car on an open trailer couldn’t be safer. Even dealerships move their brand new cars on an open trailer. They are strapped securely to the trailer, and any driver worth their salt carries enough insurance that it’s never an issue. Here at AMPM Auto Transport, we vet all of our drivers and include insurance coverage right there in the quote.

So take peace of mind knowing that the least expensive option may just be the best option for your vehicle. If it’s good enough for BMW to ship their brand new cars, your car is in more than capable hands on an open trailer.

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