Auto Shipping Open vs Enclosed Trailers

Open vs Enclosed Trailers

What’s the difference between Open and Enclosed trailers? Depending on the Auto Shipping company you book, you will have the option of choosing between these two trailer categories. To assist you with which of these are most suitable to your requirements, we will discuss some of the basic differences between open-air and enclosed trailers along with their advantages and disadvantages.

Enclosed Trailers

An enclosed trailer bears a floor, roof and four walls. With complete protection from debris and the elements, these trailers provide the safest and most secure environment for your vehicle. These trailers are fewer in number and spots are charged at a premium.

Open Trailers

As the most preferred method of shipping a vehicle, an Open Trailer is the quickest to organize and the easiest option on your pocket. As there are no sides or roof to the trailer, the open-air trailer does expose your vehicle to the external elements at all times during transit.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Enclosed Trailers



  • Maximum Protection: This is the best way to transport expensive, luxury or antique vehicles as it offers the highest level of security.
  • White Glove Service: Companies specializing in enclosed transport have more experience in taking care of valuable vehicles. Customer Service may be superior with better tracking and insurance options.


  • Expensive: Due to the rarity of these trailers (only 10% of the nations Carrier capacity), this form of transport is charged at a premium rate. Be aware that it costs an upward of 60% more than alternative options.
  • Longer Transport Time: As the trailers are scarce and in less demand, it is harder to fill a haul for a single route. This typically will mean that the overall shipping time will take longer.
  • Less Fuel Efficient: Due to its heavier weight and higher wind resistance, enclosed transport is less fuel-efficient and, thus, heavier on your budget.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Open-Air Trailers



  • Trusted Option: Although it doesn’t afford the level of protection afforded by an enclosed trailer, open trailers are still a secure option. Cars are tightly strapped in and drivers are well trained in careful vehicle handling.
  • Quicker to Reserve: Due to the sheer prevalence of trailers available, open-air carriers offer faster shipping services. For short-notice or express orders, the open trailer is by far the easiest to schedule in a tight timeframe.
  • Able to Accommodate Most Vehicles: A typical trailer has a two lever trailer of up to 80 feet in length. These trailers more easily accommodate non-standard vehicles.
  • Higher on Capacity: Should you wish to transport multiple cars, an open-air carrier can fit 8 to 10 vehicles in a single haul.


  • Less Protection: This transport option offers little protection from weather or debris.
  • Probability of Damage is Higher: As a consequence of the lower level of protection, vehicle damage has a higher probability with an open-air trailer.


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