Open vs. Enclose Carriers: Which Is Right for You?

Semi trucks lined up on a parking lot

Now that summer is at its peak, the snowbirds will be moving back to their northern homes. If you are one of these people who need to make this cross-country journey, you should hire the services of an auto transportation company rather than drive the car yourself.

When it comes to car shipping, there are two main types of carrier options available: open carriers and enclosed carriers. Below are some of the benefits and limitations of open and enclosed carriers which can help you decide which one is the best shipping method for you.


Open Carriers

A conventional open carrier consists of simple, long flatbed truck. These flatbeds usually can carry multiple vehicles, though there are some which have the capacity to carry only a single car. Many flatbed trucks have two-level trailers which allow vehicles to be double-stacked.

Enclosed Carriers

The second method involves enclosed carriers which allow your vehicles to be carried inside a closed truck. This mode of transportation keeps your precious car away from prying eyes; however, these carriers are not always available on time and can be very expensive.

Benefits of Open Carriers

There are many benefits of open car shipping; hence, most people prefer this mode of transportation:

  • Since open carriers are a light-weight option, shipping by this mode is quite quick and also quite cost-effective since it results in lower fuel usage.
  • There is a huge amount of open carriers available; hence it is easy to book your preferred pickup and delivery time.
  • One of the biggest benefits of open carriers is that a two-tier trailer can carry as many as 10 cars and ship them at the same time. This cuts operating costs and hence your shipping quote is reduced.

Limitations of Open Carriers

Open carriers also have a few limitations:

  • Since these carriers are open-plan, your vehicles are exposed to the elements. Your car will not receive much protection from road debris or inclement weather, like thunderstorms, hails, and dust storms. Although it is very rare that a car in an open carrier arrives damaged due to these elements, it will be dirty and in need of a car wash.

Still, open carrier remains the mode of choice for people since it is affordable and quick. If you want better protection for your car, request a top-load. This means your car will be placed on the second tier of the carrier and will be protected from much of the flying road debris. It will also be safe from potential fuel leakages from vehicles that would otherwise be above your car.

Benefits of Enclosed Carriers

Enclosed carriers come with their own sets of benefits:

  • The biggest reason why people choose enclosed carriers is because their vehicle remains safe from flying road debris and the effects of bad weather.
  • Enclosed carriers also offer a high level of security by preventing prying and unscrupulous eyes to look at your vehicle.
  • Drivers of enclosed carriers may also be more experienced in taking care of high-class and expensive vehicles. The “white glove” transport option means giving your vehicle the highest level of customer care, constant updates, a bigger insurance coverage, and a single-car trailer.

Limitations of Enclosed Carriers

Because of the higher level of care, enclosed carriers may not be for everyone.

  • Enclosed carriers usually only contain a single car, which means the operation cost is a whole lot more than that of cars transported via open carriers.
  • Enclosed carriers are also heavier which means they expend more fuel during transit. This can further add to the higher shipping quote.
  • Since the vehicles are enclosed, there are fewer opportunities for the driver to inspect the condition of your vehicle during the journey.

Open or Enclosed Carriers: Which is Right for You?

For most common vehicles, an open carrier provides the most benefits. If your car is a standard model you use to drive to the office daily, an open carrier poses minimal risks to it. However, if your vehicle has a higher value, enclosed carrier shipping should be considered.

Some examples of vehicles that should be shipped in an enclosed carrier are:

  • Classic Cars: Classic or vintage cars are a collector’s item and carry a huge value for the owner. In fact, their value increases each year if they are kept in immaculate condition. An open carrier may not be a good idea for such cars as they may become dirty or get a slight dent during the journey. An enclosed will protect these cars from the elements and from thieves.
  • Sports Car: High-end sports cars cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and should be transported in an enclosed carrier that prevents them from damaging and offer them higher security.
  • Specialty Cars: Specialty cars may not necessarily be vintage or high-end but may have an extended value because they may have been owned by a celebrity or used during a high-profile special occasion. These cars may require more safety and security.
  • Race Cars: Race cars are so fast; they are not legal to be driven on regular streets and must be transported by a carrier to any site. An enclosed carrier can provide them with maximum protection.

If you are in need of a great auto transportation company, contact HaulMatch. We guarantee you superior customer care and transparency throughout the entire shipping process.