How to Ship your car?

Is there a move for you around the corner? or plan to move to a new city, or state or across the country? You can always drive your vehicle, but that may entail driving fatigue, and stress. And yes it is for real according to National Safety Council “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving. These crashes result in more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. The real number may be much higher, however, as it is difficult to determine whether a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that 328,000 drowsy driving crashes occur annually. That’s more than three times the police-reported number. The same study found that 109,000 of those drowsy driving crashes resulted in an injury and about 6,400 were fatal. The researchers suggest the prevalence of drowsy driving fatalities is more than 350% greater than reported.”. So you may want to have your vehicle shipped rather than drive it yourself, especially for long distance moves.

You can choose from two car shipping options – open and enclosed. We can look at both of them, pros and cons of either, and help you decide which car shipping method best suites your budget and your vehicle.


Open Vs Enclosed


Open Car Shipment

Differences Between Open and Enclosed Car Shipping?

What is common to both open and enclosed car shipping is that they both are accomplished by moving your vehicle by a truck.

However with open transport, your car is usually shipped on a long, two-level trailer. (see reference image above). Open transport is ideal for any type of vehicle and is the best choice if you want to ship any standard sedan,SUV, used vehicles, or even new vehicles are shipped using open transportation.

With enclosed transport, your vehicle is loaded and shipped in a fully enclosed trailer (see reference image below). This ensures that your vehicle is fully protected against any accidental damage, and transportation hazards. Enclosed transportation ensures that the vehicle is protected from road debris, rain, snow, mud, and soot during transportation, meaning a higher degree of protection for your vehicle. Its a preferred mode for owners who wish to typically move a new car, an antique, a collectible, or an expensive vehicle.

Pros and Cons of Open Car Shipping

Pros: Shipping by open transport is a preferred mode of transport for majority of shippers, as its quicker and less expensive as compared to enclosed transport. Also the lead as well preferred time to book such service is faster as due to sheer availability of open-air carriers on the road at any given time.

Shipping by open carrier is less expensive as multiple vehicles can be loaded onto a two-tier trailer and shipped all at one time, which brings down the cost for shippers.

Cons: Shipping in the open transport trailer mean exposed environment, which means your vehicle is exposed to the vagaries of weather as well as subjecting your vehicle to possible exposure to road debris. And lastly your car when it arrives will likely need a cars wash as they are not typically covered.

Important Tip: Go for a “top load” when opting for an open carrier, which means get your vehicle an upper deck, meaning your vehicle is saved from flying road debris, and possible leaks from vehicles on top.

Pros and Cons of Enclosed Car Shipping

Pros: This can be compared to keeping your cell phone in a solid cover or case. The vehicle is shipped in an enclosed truck trailer giving it protection from road debris and weather too, meaning you wont likely be needing a car wash when the vehicle gets delivered. Enclosed carriers means experienced driver and higher level of vehicle protection for your high end vehicle.


Enclosed Car Shipping

Some key advantages which one gets with enclosed car shipping are:

  • Higher level of insurance protection
  • Timely updates
  • you can opt for single-car trailer

Cons: Since enclosed carrier are exclusive and mostly meant for high end vehicles, there are fewer number of them on the road at any given time, making the service expensive compared to open carriers, almost double or more to ship the same vehicle in an open trailer.

Types of Open-air Carriers

The three main types of open car shipping carriers are:

  • Two-level, multi-car carrier: By far the most popular and available.
  • Single-level, multi-car carrier: This type of carrier is often used for moving sports or luxury autos, or for expedited deliveries.
  • Dully truck with a single-level tow trailer: This transport type is often used fora local pick up, before the vehicle gets loaded onto two level multi car carrier.

Types of Enclosed Carriers to Choose From

Enclosed trailer options include multi-car trailers, two-car trailers, and one-car trailers.

  • Multi-car enclosed trailers can hold up to six to seven cars. This work out less expensive choice if you are opting for an enclosed trailer.
  • Two- or one-car trailers are for higher end market. They are often used for high-dollar, antique, or rare vehicles, or for express deliveries.

What factors impact the Cost of Shipping a Car?

The most significant aspect which determines the car shipping cost is the what mode of of shipping (open or enclosed) is used. Other factors which affects are distance, model, make, and time of the year. The major ones are noted below:

  • Shipping Miles: The shipping distance affects the cost. Longer distance may cost less dollar amount per mile, but vehicles shipped for shorter distance still entail paying for fuel cost, driver and the truck. This means a car shipped a short distance can cost just as much to move as a car shipped cross-country.
  • Location (pick up and delivery): Remote locations and accessibility determines If shipping your car can be a routine affair, or upon availability of carriers which can service those locations, meaning either long wait time or more cost.
  • Make and model of Vehicle: Smaller, lighter cars are easier and cheaper to ship than larger, heavier ones. Your car will be weighed prior to shipping.
  • Vehicle Condition: Is your vehicle operable? If your vehicle is inoperable, a truck or forklift may be required to load the vehicle to the trailer, meaning added overhead to the shipping cost.
  • Type of transport: As noted earlier, open car shipping is generally less expensive than enclosed transport.

Choose a Professional Car Transport Service

Car shipping carriers and brokers that conduct business across state lines are required to be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Reputable car shipping carriers and brokers should have a six-digit “MC Docket” number. Additionally, they should possess a seven-digit “USDOT” number. Ask your carrier or broker for these numbers and check their validity by performing a carrier search for the MC Docket number on the USDOT government website.


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