Should you choose open or enclosed auto transport? Here’s a checklist to help you decide.

Open or enclosed auto transport checklist

There are several decisions to make when you choose to use a car shipping service. When do you want to ship your car? Do you have a budget? And who is the best auto transport company to hire. There’s one more crucial question you need to address and that’s whether you want open car transport or enclosed auto transport. Which one you choose is going to affect the answers to all your other questions, and this checklist is going to help you with your decision.

What follows are 10 fundamental questions you need to consider. By the time you get to the end, you’ll have the information you need to make an informed choice.

What is the difference between open and closed auto transport?

Choose open car transport and your vehicle will be transported, along with several other vehicles, using a truck and a trailer. An open car trailer is exposed on all sides to the elements, traffic grime, and road debris. That doesn’t mean your vehicle won’t be safe and secure. On the contrary. Open car transport is one of the safest, most secure, and popular ways to ship a car and is the service of choice for many car dealerships.

The benefits of open car transport include:

  • Fast and efficient
  • Insurance is often included
  • Popular with car dealerships
  • Affordable option
  • Topload placement
  • Suits many types of vehicle
  • Better for the environment

Enclosed, or covered car transport is slightly different in that a carrier transports your vehicle in a trailer that is completely enclosed. They may transport it on its own or with just a couple of other vehicles. This type of service provides complete protection and security for your vehicle. It is the auto transport of choice for owners of high value vehicles.

The benefits of enclosed auto transport include:

  • Peace of mind protection
  • Suitable for vehicles with low ground clearance
  • Multiple vehicle shipping an option
  • Increased insurance coverage

How much does open car transport cost?

The actual cost of open car transport depends on several different things. The factors that can affect the cost include:

  • The make, model, and year of the vehicle being transported
  • Whether the pick-up and delivery locations are in a metropolitan or rural area
  • The distance traveled
  • Whether the car is running
  • Time of year

Auto shipping rates can also vary from company to company, even if they take all the factors into consideration. To make sure you get the best possible price, you have to do your research. A good place to start is with a Google search. When you’ve got the names of a few companies, contact them and request a quote.

How much does covered car transport cost?

Covered car transport is no different than enclosed auto transport, don’t let the name confuse you. Carriers have to take the same factors into account when calculating the cost, such as distance, type of vehicle, rural or metro location, and whether the car is running or not. However, this type of service is slightly more expensive than open auto transport, typically around 30% - 40%.

Why does it cost more? Demand is higher because fewer companies offer this kind of service. Enclosed trailers can transport fewer cars, which also impacts on the overall cost. Enclosed trailers are also much heavier, which means they are less fuel efficient.

That being said, owners of high value vehicles prefer enclosed auto transport because of the extra protection it provides.  

Is your vehicle unique?

Classic car shipping

There are thousands of different vehicles on the market today, from Honda Accords and Civics to Toyota Corollas and Chevy Impalas. However, there are certain vehicles that are a cut above all the rest. Luxury brands include the Alfa Romeo, Cadillac XT6, and the Lincoln Navigator. Then there are custom cars, antique cars, sports cars, and vintage cars, all with a significant price tag.

Vehicles of this caliber require a little extra care and attention if you own one. This applies not just when you’re driving it on the highway or parking it in a garage. It’s also relevant when you want to ship your car.

If your car was manufactured before 1970, has a unique paint job, can do zero to sixty miles per hour in less than four seconds, or was driven by Dom in Fast and Furious 8, you’re going to want the best for your baby and that means choosing enclosed car shipping.    

Have you modified your vehicle in any way

For many years, people have been modifying their vehicles. Not content with the standard look and feel of a car there are lots of things you can do to improve it. There are some modifications, however, that can affect the type of auto transport service you choose and the cost.

For the purposes of this article, it’s the modifications that make loading difficult you need to bear in mind. If you want to ship a luxury sports car or a car with low suspension, clearance problems are an issue.

Carriers cannot load cars with ground clearance of less than 3-4 inches on a regular trailer. You will need to hire a shipper that has trailers with a lift gate. Generally, trailers with lift gates are enclosed ones.    

How much value do you place on your vehicle?

Classic car transport

We’re not talking just monetary value here. Sentimental value is also key when shipping a car across country. Because it’s usually high value vehicles that carriers ship by way of enclosed car shipping, the insurance coverage is much higher.

If your vehicle has sentimental value, shipping it using enclosed auto transport gives you peace of mind because you know it is getting the best possible care and attention and is fully protected throughout the journey.  

How much time have you got to ship your car?

How much time you’ve got can make a difference to the type of auto transport service you choose. There are far more carriers offering open car transport, which means you won’t have to wait so long for the right service. Enclosed auto transport carriers are fewer which means they’re in high demand and you may have to wait a little longer.

Are you shipping a car across country in the winter?

What time of year you plan to ship your car can make a difference to the service you choose. It’s not so much an issue in the summer, but the winter is a different story. The weather is very unpredictable, snow and ice are an issue, and the salt that is used to keep the roads ice-free can damage your car.

If you’re planning to ship your car in the winter months, it’s generally recommended that you choose enclosed auto transport.  

Is the shipping process the same?

It’ll please you to learn that the shipping process is pretty much the same. For both open and enclosed auto transport, the process typically follows three steps.

  • Step 1: Request a quote and book your order
  • Step 2: The carrier picks your vehicle up
  • Step 3: The carrier delivers your vehicle

Which of these services is door-to-door transport?

Both enclosed and open car transport are door-to-door transport services, particularly if you book either one with us. You can make arrangements for your vehicle to be collected and delivered as close as possible to your chosen location. This could be your own front door, or somewhere else more convenient.

Door-to-door delivery does, however, depend on whether the location is safe and legal for large trucks. Some residential areas have restrictions in place with regard to large commercial vehicles. Power lines and low-hanging trees can also hamper a pick up or delivery.

Your carrier will contact you to discuss the logistics of your auto transport service and will need to know whether any of these apply. If they do, you will need to consider an alternative location. There might be a wider street nearby, a parking lot, shopping mall, or perhaps your place of work would be more suitable.

Now you’ve got all the information you need you’re ready to take the next step in arranging auto transport for your car. Get in touch with us here at SGT Auto Transport, and our friendly shipping advisors will be more than happy to help and answer any questions. Call them on (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat service.

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