How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car? Genius Auto Trans Guide

Open vs Enclosed Car Shipping? Which One is Best?

Shipping a car across long distances can be a daunting task and we have previously talked about it in our post. You need to consider reliable carriers, proper insurance, and most importantly, the safest way to get your vehicle to its destination. This is where the debate between open vs enclosed car shipping comes in. Both methods will get your car from point A to point B, but they differ significantly in terms of price, protection, and availability.

What is the Difference Between Open and Enclosed Transport?

The primary difference between open and enclosed car shipping lies in the type of carrier used.

Open Transport Car Shipping

This is the most common and cost-effective method for shipping a vehicle. Cars are secured using tie-downs and wheel chocks on multi-level open trailers, often alongside several other vehicles. This exposes them to the elements throughout the journey, including rain, sun, snow, and dust. While open transport carriers are generally very secure, there's always a slight chance of minor nicks or scratches from road debris kicked up by vehicles ahead. However, since open carriers are more readily available, this method is often tercih [Turkish for "preferred"] for situations where scheduling flexibility is desired.

Enclosed Vehicle Shipping

Enclosed car shipping offers the ultimate level of protection for your prized possession. Cars are transported inside a fully enclosed trailer, shielded from the elements, road debris, and potential theft. This method is ideal for luxury vehicles, classic cars, convertibles, or any car with a high value or unique finish. Enclosed trailers provide a secure and private environment for your car, giving you peace of mind during the shipping process. However, due to the lower number of enclosed car carriers available, enclosed car shipping typically requires booking in advance and comes at a premium cost compared to open transport.

Comparison Between Open and Enclosed Car Shipping

FeatureOpen Transport Car ShippingEnclosed Vehicle Shipping
Carrier TypeOpen-air multi-level trailerEnclosed trailer
Vehicle ExposureExposed to weather and road debrisProtected from weather, road debris, and theft
PriceMore affordableMore expensive
AvailabilityMore readily availableLess readily available, may require booking in advance
SuitabilityIdeal for standard vehicles, everyday carsIdeal for luxury cars, classic cars, or vehicles requiring maximum protection

Choosing Between Open and Enclosed Car Shipping

The decision between open vs enclosed car shipping hinges on several factors, including your budget, the type of vehicle you're shipping, and your risk tolerance.

Opt for Open Transport Car Shipping if:

  • You're on a tight budget. Open transport is significantly cheaper than enclosed shipping.
  • You're flexible with scheduling. Open transport carriers are more readily available, leading to potentially faster scheduling.

Enclosed Vehicle Shipping is the better choice if:

  • You own a luxury car, classic car, or a vehicle with a high value. Enclosed transport offers the ultimate protection against potential damage.
  • You're concerned about weather conditions. Enclosed trailers shield your car from rain, snow, hail, and extreme temperatures.
  • You're worried about road debris or theft. Enclosed trailers minimize the risk of damage from flying rocks or vandalism.

Beyond Open vs Enclosed: Understanding Enclosed Transport Terminology

Since enclosed car shipping offers a higher level of protection, it's worth understanding some related terminology:

  • Define Enclosed: In the context of car shipping, "enclosed" refers to a fully enclosed trailer with a roof, walls, and doors that completely shield the vehicles inside.
  • Enclosed Vehicle Transport (Enclosed Auto Transporter): These terms all refer to the service of transporting a vehicle inside an enclosed trailer.

Cost Considerations: Enclosed Auto Transport vs Enclosed Transport Vehicle

Enclosed auto transport, enclosed vehicle transport, and enclosed car transport all refer to the same service – shipping a car in an enclosed trailer. The cost will vary depending on factors like the distance, the size and weight of your vehicle, and the specific carrier you choose. Generally, expect to pay a premium of 40-50% compared to open transport for enclosed car shipping.

Open vs Closed System: A Side Note

The terms "open" and "closed" might also be encountered in the context of 21 CFR Part 11, a regulation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that governs electronic records (e.g., records used in clinical trials) in the pharmaceutical industry. This regulation has no connection to car shipping. In 21 CFR Part 11, an open system allows for easy modification of electronic records, while a closed system has stricter controls to ensure data integrity.


By understanding the pros and cons of open vs enclosed car shipping, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs and budget. Remember, prioritize enclosed transport for high-value vehicles or if you require maximum protection. For standard vehicles and budget-conscious shipping, open transport is a viable option. Don't hesitate to get quotes from car shipping companies like Genius Auto Trans to compare prices and services before making your final choice.