Using car hauling ramps and hydraulic lift gates are the two common ways companies load vehicles on to their enclosed auto transport trailers, but there are major differences between the two that affect the safety of your vehicle.
Car hauling ramps are cheaper than hydraulic lift gates, which may decrease the cost of shipping your car. However, ramps are a risk to low clearance vehicles due to the possibility of scraping the underside of the car during loading due to the steep incline of the ramps. Some drivers may use blocks of wood in addition to the ramps to help lower the incline, but the wood blocks can shoot up, after the car rolls off of them, possibly hitting the car. In addition, an inexperienced driver could damage the clutch trying to drive the car slowly up the steep ramp; especially on vintage exotics like Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Another risk of loading a vehicle using car hauling ramps is that the car may slip off the ramps causing major damage if they are not perfectly aligned, secured, or if they are slick due to inclement weather.
Hydraulic lift gates, like the ones equipped on Intercity Lines enclosed auto transport trailers, are the safest way to load a vehicle and act as an elevator for the vehicle during loading and unloading. They lower completely flat on to the ground, so low clearance vehicles can easily drive on to the ramp without the risk of scraping the undercarriage. They also give the driver much more control over the vehicle. Instead of the driver being forced to gun it up two thin ramps he can slowly drive it on to the lift gate and then off the lift gate. Their are no inclines that require heightened acceleration and the driver can get out, put wheel chocks behind the wheels, and slowly load the vehicle on to the trailer. Hydraulic lift gates are more expensive than ramps, which may increase the price in exchange for the added safety of the vehicle. This added cost also shows how serious the company is about the auto transport business. Intercity Lines was the first major auto transport company to adopt hydraulic lift gates and continue to set the standard for the auto transport industry to this day.