guide to enclosed versus open car shipping

Our Complete Guide to Enclosed Versus Open Car Shipping

So, you are planning to ship your vehicle either to a nearby state or across the country. Maybe it is because you are moving to a new city, or perhaps it is because you want to show off your ride at a car show. Regardless, before you do so, you should know that there are two different methods in which auto transport companies ship vehicles. The approach you select depends on your preferences as well as the type of vehicle you own. For your convenience, we created an entire guide dedicated to explaining enclosed versus open car shipping. Our experts consider it a must-read, especially for those out there who are transporting their vehicles for the first time.

Open Trailers

Open car shipping is common, as it is ideal for everyday vehicles. Of course, you may have noticed them on the highway before—typically, companies will use long, two-tier trailers to transport the cars. There is another form of open transport called “driveaway.” This means a broker will have a carefully-screened employee drive your vehicle to its new home. However, one of its drawbacks is the additional mileage it accumulates along its way.

The main reason why people opt for open shipping is that it is inexpensive. This is because more vehicles can fit on a trailer at a time, so in turn, the average cost of each vehicle is lower. Additionally, because the trailers are lighter, drivers will use less fuel. Similarly, people choose companies that use open trailers because they are fast; there is a larger number of open carriers available all over the nation and throughout the year. Open carriers also cover more routes. Often, customers must remain flexible with their desired shipping time, but due to the availability, it is easier to book one on a whim if necessary. Another reason people select open carriers is that they believe truck drivers have a better view of the vehicles. This proves to be beneficial if the drivers need to quickly inspect the cars. Since these trailers are open, drivers can usually spot any potential issues early in the cars’ journey.

The trouble is, open carriers do not offer as much cargo and liability insurance as enclosed carriers. And, while the trailers offer some protection, they do not protect the cars from inclement weather. Plus, they are completely open to birds, bugs, dust, frost, road debris, and more. If you want to prevent your vehicle from incurring damage such as chipped paint, you may not want to consider this shipping method. For this reason, Intercity Lines does not offer open shipping.

complete guide to shipping a car with open and enclosed trailers

Enclosed Trailers

Whether you own an antique, classic, luxury, or sports cars, enclosed auto shipping is ideal for your most prized vehicles. These vehicles require special care, so they deserve maximum protection throughout transit. These types of carriers can house one, two, or multiple vehicles. Plus, most enclosed trailers have hydraulic lift gate systems that make loading cars into position simple. Furthermore, there are two different interiors available in enclosed carriers—in other words, you will find hard-sided and soft-sided trailers. Hard-sided carriers are airtight, and they usually boast a thin but tough aluminum, fiberglass, or tin material. On the other hand, soft-side carriers feature canvas or vinyl, and this material acts as a protective curtain to keep the cars damage-free.

There are fewer enclosed carriers out there, and for good reason. First, there is no denying that this shipping method is fast—this is because the trucks make fewer stops. And one of the best perks that come with enclosed shipping is the fact that you can rest assured your car will experience very little to no damage. Closed carriers do not expose vehicles to the elements because, unlike open trailers, they have four sides and a roof. Even the drivers receive training to secure the cars properly. They will ensure that the vehicles have enough clearance and that the fluids from the cars on the top level won’t drip onto the cars on the lower level.

These closed trailers also offer security, as they won’t give others the opportunity to vandalize your car and decrease its value. To put it simply, vehicles will arrive at their destinations in the best possible condition, which is why we opt for enclosed auto shipping. Some can argue that a possible downside is that enclosed carriers require more fuel; however, the incredible advantages outweigh any negatives. In addition, others can claim that it may be more difficult to perform regular inspections. That is why we prioritize checking vehicles before, during, and after transit.

If you are stuck in between choosing open or enclosed shipping, we hope our guide makes it easier to decide. Intercity Lines is proud to be among the most dependable enclosed car transport companies in the nation. Our experience speaks for itself—with over 30 years in the industry, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing your car will safely make it to the new destination. In fact, our team has shipped thousands of cars—this includes a wide range of types, from exotic to vintage vehicles.

From our initial call together to the moment your car arrives at its next stop, you—our loyal customer—will have our full attention. For one thing, our professionals are attentive, communicative, and courteous. They will confirm when they need to pick up your vehicle and arrive at your door on time. First, our drivers will diligently inspect your vehicle. Then, they will carefully load and unload it into our 53 foot, fully-enclosed trailers with clean, innovative equipment and tools. Our staff always treats vehicles as if they are their own. Plus, every vehicle we service receives the white glove treatment—between our dedicated team and top of the line enclosed trucks, the interior and exterior will remain protected through the entire trip.

If you have any questions, we will be happy to work through them with you, so you can feel confident in the entire shipping process. To schedule your shipping service, contact us at 1-800-221-3936, or request a quote through our website!

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