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 car.
Using ramps to load vehicles – More common, but risky
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.
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 vehicle 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 – the superior way to load vehicles
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 car during loading and unloading. They lower completely flat on to the ground, so low clearance vehicles can easily drive on to the liftgate without the risk of scraping the undercarriage.
Lift gates also give the driver much more control over the car when loading into the car hauler. Instead of the driver being forced to gun it up two thin ramps like an open car carrier he can slowly drive it on to the liftgate and then off the liftgate. There 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 fully in control.
Hydraulic lift gates are more expensive than ramps, which may increase the price in exchange for the added safety of the car. Open transport trailers typically don’t have hydraulic liftgates and are forced to use ramps to load and unload vehicles.
The added cost for Lift Gates also shows how serious the company is about the auto transport business and ensuring they have top of the line equipment for car shipments. Intercity Lines was the first major auto transport company to adopt hydraulic lift gates in the United States and continue to set the standard for the auto transport industry to this day designing and building our own car carriers in house.