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Open vs. enclosed auto transport – guide

Open vs. enclosed auto transport – guide

Review our short guide to learn about the difference between open and enclosed auto transport. Why and when to use either type of transport? What is the price difference between open and enclosed service? We will help you figure out how to choose and will work with your budget.

What is open auto transport?

This is the standard car shipping solution for most vehicles. Thousands of people and companies move vehicles across the country daily via open carriers. This type of carrier works for any make and model automobile, unless the vehicle has been significantly modified.

If your vehicle is too low or too high, it can still be transported via open carrier. Only in rare cases regular, multi-level, multi-car carrier may not be able to transport a car.

Shipping a car via open carrier means the vehicle is exposed to weather and road elements. Such we consider sun, rain, snow, wind, and to the road debris that may roll and hover above the road (dust and small rocks). However, as a standard choice the service more affordable and available.

About 90 percent of the carriers in the U.S. are open, which means faster shipping.

This means open carrier is faster to schedule, as well as more efficient. Efficiency is considered in terms of volume – more cars transported on a single haul means higher efficiency. Most of the open car carriers can fit anywhere from 7 to 10 vehicles.

What types of open car carriers can I choose from?

Three main types of open auto transport carriers are widely used:

  1. double level multi-car trailer
  2. single level multi-car trailer
  3. single-vehicle dully truck with a tow trailer

Single level multi-car carrier – often booked for expedited deliveries or more special cars, such as sports or luxury automobiles.

auto transport sinlge level multi car carrier

Single dully truck with tow trailer – often used for local deliveries.

Single-vehicle dully truck with tow trailer

What is enclosed auto transport?

Enclosed car transport carrier is also called covered. This type of carriers are a preferred for high-end, sports, luxury and classic vehicles. Enclosed auto transport protects from the weather and road elements. However, this comes at a price.

Reasons why enclosed trailer is a more expensive option.

  • Trailers are specialized and more expensive, and so fewer commercial truck drivers will buy and work with them to offer the service.
  • Only about 10 percent of the carriers in the country are enclosed. This makes them less available to reserve and also more expensive.
  • Fewer cars can be loaded in an enclosed trailer, which makes them less efficient, which additionally rises the price.

Enclosed trailers provide more protection, but the service itself includes more personal care from the driver as well. Drivers of enclosed trailers have experience with high-end automobiles, and they know how to handle them with care. These drivers often offer “white glove auto transport service“, where they truly put on white gloves.

What types of enclosed carriers can I choose from?

Two standard types of enclosed trailers are available. One is soft-sided and the other hard sided. In terms of car spots, there can be multi-car trailers and single or two car trailers.

A multi-car trailer can load up to seven vehicles, and this is usually the cheaper option among the enclosed trailers. Single or two-car trailers are more expensive and often used for express deliveries, or shipping special vehicles to auto shows or auctions.

Multi-car carrier enclosed trailer

Single car enclosed trailer

expedited encloosed car shipping

How do I choose the best type of transport for my vehicle?

Choosing the type of trailer to ship a car is a personal preference. Many high-end cars are transported on an open trailer and many everyday sedans in enclosed.

Most people opt for an open trailer because it is cheaper. Open trailers are also faster to schedule. With enclosed trailers, it may take a couple more days to get a truck assigned. So, transport time is one reason for people to choose open trailer services.

The other aspect that usually matters most to customers is protection. Check out our info-graphic to review the main difference between open and enclosed auto transport. Enclosed trailers offer more protection. They guarantee that weather and road elements will not affect your vehicle.

Think about all of the aspects discussed and the money you are willing to spend on car shipping. Also, the time you are willing to wait and the protection you prefer. This will help you choose between open and enclosed car carrier.

How much does vehicle transport cost?

The final cost to ship a car depend on several factors, including the type of trailer you choose. Other prominent and important factors are, of course, make and model of the vehicle, and distance. We recommend that customers collect several quotes and compare the rates. This is the way to find see what is the spectrum and what is a reasonable price.

Request a car shipping quote online or call our team now. We are here to help you choose your service and ship a car with peace of mind.

Call or chat with us to discuss your service and preferences. Thank you!










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Corsia Logistics team works hard every day to ensure reliable expedited car shipping service. Our customer reviews prove that.

5-Star Rated Car Shipping Company


they trusted us

and here's what they say

Simon Moore
Great company
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Looking for a logistics company, to ship my car, from California to Illinois,my first search, then Corsia showed up, skeptical. Call and a very friendly secretary: Elena. She guided me through, I scheduled and as she explained, all when smooth as scheduled Very happy I did the right choice. I'll recommend this great Company to anyone that is thinking to relocate a vehicle. Thanks Corsia logistics for your honesty and professionalism!
Elizabeth Woodward
High five's all around!
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Corsia was highly recommended by a friend in the automobile industry. We needed to transport a cargo van from Seattle to Florida. We contacted Corsia who quickly arranged transport within just a few days. Communication was outstanding! Just a few email confirmations and we were all set. Mike was great and arrived right on time and delivered to Florida on schedule. Tip-avoid the hornets nest of auto brokers on line and just contact Corsia for a truly great experience!
Carrol Tiffany
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Corsia has been amazing. Their prices are really competitive but more importantly their customer service has been 5-Star. Elena followed up with me every step of the way, making sure there was no miscommunication between me & the driver. We are using them to ship a 2nd vehicle & would not hesitate to use them again!
Tony Boyd
Definitely recommend
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I have recently used Corsia for long time family car with sentimental value that was moved I have recently used Corsia for shipment of my vehicle from Oregon to Arizona by recommendation from other family member who also used Corsia in the past. I am very pleased on the service and the communication throughout shipment. Ken was my direct contact and kept me informed along the move The car was picked up and delivered as communicated. I did use a enclosed mover and the driver was also clean cut professional and treated car as his own. I would definitely recommend Corsia again with the experience I have had. Thank you. T
Top notch
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Top notch Transport - Porsche 997 Top notch! As easy and efficient as one could possibly imagine. Great customer service.. thank you Luke. Great prices. Check. Timely communications. Check. Clean transport trailer. Check. Supremely careful driver. Check. Timely arrival. Check. Don't mess around elsewhere, just call Corsica and feel confident your transports needs are going to be exceeded. My Porsche 911 rode like a Queen in her enclosed chariot. I've never needed a transport company before, and I surely will use them every time. Do yourself a favor, seriously. Call now.
Geet Mp Haryana
Reliable, efficient
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Corsia rep (Elena) was very proactive. Helped ship a car from CA to GA. She checked in with me via email quote and several phone calls to find me the best possible quote for the fastest available service. After several communications, Corsia was able to schedule a vehicle pickup the next day. The driver communicated well, and the vehicle arrived in final destination faster than we expected in perfect condition. I highly recommend using Corsia's reliable, efficient service.
Cay Liptak
Clean, efficient, wonderful
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Thanks, Corsia! Pickup was so clean, efficient, and wonderful -- my only recommendation is to make sure you schedule it during the day so you can fully review the car in the daylight. Drop off was equally wonderful, and the whole trip went down without a hitch (pun intended!). Seriously, Corsia delivered my Jeep from CT to California with no issues or bumps in the road!
Csaba Kovesdy
Truly positive experience
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Corsia Memphis to LA, mid-size SUV. I looked at 4 different companies amd Corsia was the most responsive of them. While being responsive, they were not unduly aggressive: when I indicated that I need to wait a month before making a decision they stopped contacting me and only came back with a reminder when I really needed it. Once I decided to engage Corsia they found me a transport within two days and the car was delivered (from Memphis to LA) in another two days. I had a truly positive experience.
Kelly Torres
Highly recommend
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Working with Corsia Logistics was a great experience. Working with Corsia Logistics was wonderful. They were able to find a driver right away to transport our car. They were in constant communication as to when the car was getting picked up and dropped off. The driver also communicated with me as to when he would arrive. I would highly recommend Corsia Logistics.
Amy Nelson
Excellent Organization
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Corsia was an excellent company to work with while I transferred my car across the US. A friend of mine suggested I use them as they had been very organized and trustworthy with her own car. I researched a few different place but decided to go with Corsia and I'm so glad I did! Any questions I had throughout the process they answered quickly and clearly. I would definitely use them again in the future and recommend them for others to use.