A Comparison of Open and Enclosed Transport Method of Vehicle Shipping

Relocating from one city, state or country to the other can be nerve wrecking for some folks. Thankfully however, there are companies that can make the move easier and seamless for these folks. Auto transport companies and movers are service providers that come in handy in this circumstance. 

Moving companies would usually help with moving household properties while vehicle shipping companies will take care of the vehicle(s).  When you go to book an auto transport service, there are two options that you are presented with and that is open vehicle transport and enclosed vehicle transport. Both have their pros and cons depending on different factors; that is why one must not make the decision lightly. 

In this article, we will compare both options to help you make the best choice for you so stay with us.

The Difference between Enclosed and Open Vehicle Transport

These two methods of shipping cars are the most commonly used methods and are both beneficial in their own right. But the difference in the value they bring will determine whether it is the option you should use or not. 

Open Carrier 

This is a trailer or truck that has no exterior cover and cars are mostly loaded on multi levels but can sometimes be on a single level. There are different sizes of these trucks or trailers and the number of vehicles that they can load and transport at the same time depends on the following:-

  1. The weight of the cars 
  2. The sizes 
  3. Demand 

This option is by far cheaper for the customer because of the number of cars that can be shipped per time. 

Enclosed Carrier 

This is a trailer that has enclosed sides and a roof and is used for exotic or vintage cars that require protection from the elements and other risk factors on the road. This type of carrier cannot carry many vehicles at once. On the average it can only carry at most 3 cars. 

Due to the fact that the carrier is enclosed and can only carry a couple of cars or 3 at most per time, the cost of using it is usually higher than the open carrier. This therefore makes it a less popular option for consumers; however, luxury car owners know that they have no choice but to work with this option. 

These enclosed carriers come with two types of covers:- 

  1. Soft sided cover – This is usually a vinyl or canvas cover that’s placed like a curtain on the sides of the trailer or truck to protect the car. 
  2. Hard sided cover – This is usually a thin fiberglass cover that’s placed around the sides of the truck. This is the type that’s best for exotic cars. Click here for a list of exotic cars of 2023

So from the above discussion, we can deduce the following differences between the two options (enclosed and open carriers):-

  1. Open carriers have no cover while the enclosed ones do. 
  2. The price of the enclosed options is higher than that of the open option. The cost of the covered trucks is usually higher because (a)  they carry less cars (b) the initial purchase cost of the truck is high (c) scarcity of these options(d) they are driven by more experienced drivers who obviously have to be paid higher. 
  3. Open carriers are more readily available than the enclosed ones
  4. Shipping is faster with the uncovered trailers because they don’t require as many stops as their covered counterparts. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Open and Enclosed Transport Carriers

If you have read from beginning to this point, you would have already noted that the two modes of auto transport that we’ve been discussing have their pros and cons. We will touch upon this briefly before we round up this piece. 

Advantages of Open Transport Carriers

  1. It is more affordable and faster
  2. Consumes less fuel than the other option
  3. It is more readily available therefore consumers can always get their preferred date for shipping and have their cars arrive as desired.


  1. There is no protection for the vehicles against the elements and debris.
  2. Reduced protection and security for high end vehicles. 

Advantages of Enclosed Transport 

  1. Provides protection and adequate security for cars in transit. 
  2. Mitigates the risks of flying debris on the road and also protects against bad weather. 
  3. Provides more access to transporters with more expertise in shipping exotic vehicles. 


  1. It’s twice as expensive as the open option.
  2. Consumes more fuel 
  3. Shipping takes longer than with the open carriers.

You can learn more about these two methods here: https://www.motor1.com/.


We have shared some features of enclosed and open modes of auto transport and given a detailed comparison. We believe that this comparison will aid your search for the best form of auto transport to use for shipping your vehicle.

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