Open vs. Enclosed Car Shipping: 4 Essential Cost Factors

Open vs. Enclosed Car Shipping: 4 Essential Cost Factors

Choosing between open and enclosed auto shipping can be like driving across the country without directions.

When choosing between open vs. enclosed car shipping, consider your vehicle’s value, protection needs, and budget.

Open auto transport is cost-effective but offers less protection, which is ideal for standard vehicles. Enclosed car transport, though pricier, provides enhanced protection for luxury or classic cars.

Balance cost with safety and transport requirements for the best option.

I am here to steer you through the essential factors to consider when choosing open or enclosed car shipping. Thus, ensuring your car’s journey is as smooth as your decision-making process.

Table of Contents

Understanding the difference: Open vs. Enclosed car shipping

Before diving into the specifics, let’s quickly review our two contenders.

Open car shipping is a more affordable option for transporting different types of vehicles. It involves using a carrier that is not covered, which means the vehicles are exposed to the weather.

Enclosed car shipping, on the other hand, offers a more sheltered journey in an enclosed carrier. It protects your vehicle from weather and road debris.

Learn more about the differences between both shipping methods in my comprehensive article: Open vs. Enclosed Car Shipping Cost: A Detailed Guide

Factor 1: Vehicle Value and Protection Needs

Your car’s value isn’t just in its price tag; it’s in the joy, memories, and perhaps the sweat and tears you’ve invested in it.

High-value, luxury, antique, or custom vehicles often warrant the extra protection enclosed car shipping carriers provide.

Think of it as choosing a cozy garage over a driveway parking spot during a hailstorm.

Luxury SUV shipping i nan enclosed trailer

Factor 2: Weather Conditions and Route

Weather conditions play a crucial role in this decision.

Based on my experience, if your car’s journey involves routes known for harsh weather, enclosed car shipping becomes more than a luxury; it’s a shield.

While generally safe, open car carriers leave vehicles vulnerable to Mother Nature’s whims.

Factor 3: Budget Considerations

Let’s talk numbers. Open car transport typically costs less than enclosed shipping.

If budget is a primary concern and your vehicle isn’t particularly susceptible to weather or security risks, an open carrier can be a wallet-friendly option without compromising on reliability.

Factor 4: Personal Preferences and Peace of Mind

Sometimes, the decision boils down to personal comfort.

If the thought of your car being exposed to the elements during transit causes more anxiety than the extra cost of enclosed shipping, then the choice is clear. Peace of mind is priceless, after all.

Making the Smart Choice: Balancing Factors for Your Needs

Choosing between open or enclosed car shipping isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario.

It’s about balancing the value and needs of your vehicle, weather considerations, budget constraints, and personal preferences.

Throughout my career, I’ve learned that choosing a shipping method with a reliable auto transport company means considering certain pros and cons.

Open Car Shipping: Pros and Cons


  • More cost-effective
  • Greater availability
  • Suitable for most standard vehicles


  • Exposed to weather and road debris
  • Less privacy and security

Enclosed Car Shipping: Pros and Cons


  • Superior protection from weather and debris
  • Enhanced security for high-value vehicles
  • Peace of mind for owners


  • Higher cost
  • Less availability compared to open carriers

Your Vehicle, Your Journey

In the end, I want to leave you with one key consideration when shipping a car. Choose enclosed or open trailers to ensure your vehicle arrives safely and feel confident in your decision.

Choosing between open vs. enclosed car shipping depends on your vehicle’s value, the expected weather conditions, your budget, and personal preference. Enclosed shipping offers more protection at a higher cost, and open shipping is more economical but less secure.

Safe travels travels for your car, and peace of mind for you – that’s the destination we’re all driving towards.

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