enclosed trailer car shipping cost

Enclosed Trailer Car Shipping Cost

At Unlimited Auto Trans, we are recognized as leading experts in enclosed trailer car shipping. With a robust track record of successfully shipping 50 to 75 cars per month in 2024, we ensure each vehicle receives top-tier protection and care.

Here are top 2 characteristics of enclosed trailer car shipping cost:

  • Increased Costs for Better Protection: Enclosed trailers, which provide greater protection for the vehicles they transport, always incur higher costs per mile in every range. This increased expense reflects the premium for enhanced safeguarding from environmental elements and possible road debris.
  • Smaller Cost Fluctuations with Distance: Although the cost per mile still decreases as the distance increases when using enclosed trailers, this reduction is less significant compared to open trailers. Costs stay comparatively high over longer distances, reaching up to $1.71 per mile for journeys of 1000-1500 miles and remaining above $1.00 per mile for even longer trips.
Mileage Range Average Cost per Mile
1000 - 1500 miles $1.71
1500 - 2000 miles $1.16
2000 - 2500 miles $1.11
over 2500 miles $1.43

What is an enclosed trailer?

These trailers are fully closed on all sides, providing the greatest protection for a car or motorcycle.  Enclosed auto transport is often used when shipping classic/vintage cars, luxury vehicles, or sports cars. It ensures your vehicle stays safe from outside weather or road conditions.

Of the shippers we surveyed, 45% said they were charged an additional fee to have their vehicles loaded onto the truck.


The short answer is because some companies provide extremely low quotes just to earn your business, which leads to difficulty finding a transporter and slows down the shipping process.

To understand how car shipping cost is calculated, we need to start with the basics.

How much does an enclosed trailer car shipping cost?

You will find that enclosed trailer car shipping is about 40% – 50% more expensive than open trailer alternatives. The average cost per mile is between $1.00-$1.50 per mile, with the total cost depending on the distance, size, and value of the car being shipped.

For example, if you are shipping a 2022 Mercedes Benz S – class from Chicago, IL, to Miami, FL, in February, it would cost around $1770 (enclosed).

In this article
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    What is the average cost to ship a car per mile in an enclosed trailer?

    The industry average cost to ship a car with an enclosed trailer is $3.00 per mile for journeys less than 200 miles. The price drops to an average of  $1.00 – $1.50 per mile for long-distance moves exceeding 1,500 miles.

    Owners of sports cars, classic, luxury, and all other high-end vehicles prefer to ship their cars in enclosed trailers.

    We recommend enclosed auto transport for all vehicles worth over $50,000.

    The following charts display the prices and costs of various luxury vehicles and sports cars for different trips. The table includes the cost and mileage for each car, such as the 2022 Mercedes S-Class, the classic 1957 Chevrolet Corvette, the 2022 Rolls Royce Ghost, the 2022 Ford Mustang Salem, and the 2020 McLaren Senna XP.

    The chart shows how much it would cost per mile to take each of these luxury cars on a trip from Chicago to Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or Seattle.

    *CPM – Cost Per Mile

    Looking at the data, we can see that the cost of shipping a car varies based on the route and type of car being shipped. The most expensive route is from Chicago to Seattle, with costs ranging from $2,500 to $3,500 depending on the type of car being shipped. On the other hand, the least expensive route is from Chicago to Miami, with costs ranging from $1,600 to $2,520.

    The cost per mile also varies depending on the type of car and route. For instance, shipping a 2022 Rolls Royce Ghost from Chicago to New York costs $2.66 per mile, while shipping a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette on the same route costs $2.53 per mile. 

    Similarly, shipping a 2020 McLaren Senna XP from Chicago to Los Angeles costs $1.39 per mile, while shipping a 2022 Mercedes S-Class on the same route costs only $0.99 per mile.

    The higher cost of shipping the Senna XP is due to its unique status as a one-of-a-kind supercar. As a result, it requires specialized equipment and solid insurance from a car carrier to ensure its safe transport.

    Let’s look at the New York car shipping market and compare rates on different routes.

    *CPM – Cost Per Mile

    It’s worth mentioning that car shipping rates from the New York area tend to be higher compared to other regions due to a variety of factors.

    One such factor is traffic congestion, which can cause delays and increase transportation costs.

    In addition to weight restrictions on bridges in the region, significant tow charges for semi-trucks on New York City bridges also contribute to the higher car shipping costs.

    If you’re curious about car shipping rates in the Boston area, look at this chart which outlines average rates for common routes and distances. This can give you an idea of what to expect when shipping your vehicle from Boston to other parts of the country.

    *CPM – Cost Per Mile

    As you can see from the chart, enclosed car shipping costs are never cookie-cutter – they can differ based on various factors.  Below are the factors.

    Illinois car shipping company

    What are the main factors considered to calculate the cost of enclosed car shipping?

    • Route and distance traveled
    • Pickup and delivery locations
    • Vehicle details (year, make, model, size, weight, ground clearance)
    • Vehicle condition
    • Type of enclosed trailer
    • Shipping date
    • Time of the year
    • Economic conditions
    • Special requests

    Route and distance traveled:

    When transporting a vehicle, not only are we concerned with the distance between destinations but also which roads will be traveled to get there.

    Longer routes and longer distances often mean higher service costs, as more resources are needed to complete the transport.

    The route chosen will give insight into other factors that could impact how long it takes and what it costs to transport a car. Routes are often affected by weather conditions, restrictions, and traffic.

    There are plenty of trucks in metropolitan areas to carry out car transportation orders from auto shippers, which lowers the transportation price.

    Live outside of a major highway and want faster services for shipping a car. You can meet the carrier at an established pick-up location for better cost estimates.

    The vehicle’s make and model can also affect the price of auto transportation:

    • The curb weight of the vehicle is an essential factor in determining what you’ll pay for car shipping, mostly because truckers have weight limits for every axle on their trailer.


    • The size of the vehicle is also a factor. Some vehicles have modifications that require a particular type of enclosed trailer. Bigger tires, low ground clearance, and roof racks are just a few modifications that will increase the car shipping rate.

    The cost of the vehicle is also a factor. Luxury, exotic, and sports cars are more expensive to transport because, most of the time, they require additional adjustments.

    Vehicle Condition:

    If your vehicle can brake, steer, and roll on its own, it will cost less to ship. Vehicles that are inoperable and must be forklifted or winched onto the truck cost more to ship. On average, the increase is between $250 to $400.

    Types of enclosed trailers - price will differ

    There are two types of enclosed trailers.

    • Hard-sided – enclosed trailer for car hauling that is closed on all sides with hard material. It provides extra protection for the cargo. This type typically costs more than a soft-sided trailer, but it offers enhanced security against the elements and theft.

    • Soft-sided –  The sides of the trailer are usually made from canvas material for durability and security. Inside, the car hauler is equipped with ramps, tie-downs, and other features to secure your load during transportation.

    Shipping Date:

    When you book an enclosed car transport service, the shipping date often plays a massive role in the cost. It’s best to begin searching as early as possible.

    However, keep in mind that the prices fluctuate, and the best time to get a quote is no more than two weeks before your vehicle is first available for shipping.

    Time Of Year:

    1. Car shipping costs vary greatly based on the time of the year. Summer tends to be the busiest time of the year for car transporters. However, you may not get the best rates as it’s the season when most people decide to move.

    Knowing this, you would naturally conclude that Winter represents the cheapest time for car shipping. However, it’s not. During the coldest months, ice and snow make driving a large truck a nightmare. Therefore, the car shipping cost goes up in some areas.

    Economic Conditions:

    The basic cost for shipping a car typically includes the price of gas/diesel to power and operate the truck.

    Prices are subject to vary. 

    The recent COVID-19 Pandemic led to an increase in prices due to mandatory lockdowns and because of the precautions drivers had to take. However, this is starting to turn back, and prices have become more stabilized now.

    Special Requests:

    Top loading a vehicle during transport may cost up to $100 more as it requires extra work to rearrange all vehicles and ensure the entire composition doesn’t exceed the weight limit on each axle. 

    Having personal items is never a good idea. However, 65% of shippers are asking about it. Keep in mind carrier insurance doesn’t cover damage from personal items. Moreover, truckers do not like that and always ask for additional funds.

    Pros and Cons of Enclosed Car Shipping

    There are a few pros and cons to enclosed car shipping, depending on your needs.


    • Protects your car from the elements and debris, providing an extra layer of security and peace of mind
    • Eliminates any worry about theft, vandalism, or damage to the vehicle during transport


    • Higher cost of transport than with open trailers
    • Limited Space in the trailer.  Most vehicles are transported with an open window, allowing drivers to enter and exit.
    how much does it cost to ship a car

    In Conclusion:

    Shipping a car with an enclosed trailer is often more expensive, but it provides enhanced security and safety for your vehicle. 

    If you’re looking for more cost-effective options, open trailers are often the best choice for transporting cars. Open trailers offer less protection than enclosed trailers, but they are typically less expensive.

    Is it worth it to ship a car in an enclosed trailer?

    Some skeptics question the worth of hiring an enclosed car transport service. They assume that driving the vehicle themselves is more cost-effective, but what they don’t take into consideration are the hidden costs behind that option. 

    An unnecessary road trip will put excess mileage and wear and tear on your vehicle. Its value decreases as more miles are added, and it is prone to getting nicks and scratches when driving over various surfaces.

    Your well-being and safety are also to be considered.

    After all, more than 38,000 people get killed each year on American roadways. That’s 12.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. Besides fatalities, another 4.4 million get seriously injured in car accidents.

    Car accidents remain the leading cause of death in the United States for those aged 1 to 54. By heading out on an extended road trip to save money, you put your life and those of your passengers at greater risk.

    That’s why a growing number of consumers continue to turn to professionals for their auto transportation.

    Our take

    Whether you’re shipping a car 500 or 2500 miles, enclosed auto transport services can help make the process easier. Auto transport companies offer different service levels for car shipping. Pricing will depend on many factors, such as size and vehicle condition, vehicle make and model, pick-up date preferences, payment method, and more. 

    Shipping a car on an enclosed trailer is not cheap, but it isn’t that expensive if you know how to get the best deal. Our team at Unlimited Auto Trans has been providing auto transport services since 2010. We have helped thousands of customers ship their cars safely with no damage from one location to another – all while saving money!

    Call us if you need assistance determining which option is right for you or want advice on what type of transportation would best suit your vehicle. You can also use our car shipping calculator to get an honest rate.

    Scroll to Top

    Guarantee Rates

    The price you see is the price you pay!
    No bait and switch!