Unless of course you are in the business of buying or selling cars or regularly participate in car shows, chances are that you know little about auto transport. But once you do need to have your car transported, it is imperative that you brush up on your knowledge on the auto transport service. And one of the first things you need to know is how to differentiate an enclosed auto transport and an open transport service.

One misconception some people have about auto transport, or auto shipping as it is sometimes called, is that they provide the same service. On the contrary, they are two types of auto transport services that you can avail of, namely enclosed auto transport and open auto transport. And as a car owner wishing to ship his or her vehicle, choosing which auto transport service to use depends on your budget, what type of car you want to transport and the level of protection you want your car to have while on the road.

Open Auto Transport – As its name implies, open auto transport services involve having your vehicle loaded onto an open carrier along with 9 other vehicles. Five vehicles are placed at the bottom deck of the carrier while the remaining five are placed at the top, with the position of the vehicles depending on their destination and whether they leak fluid or not (vehicles with leaks are placed at the bottom so as not to smear and damage the paint of the other cars). This type of auto transport is the most widely used, as even car manufacturers and dealers hire open car transport services to transport their vehicles for sale, and provide more options on delivery and pickup for car owners.

Because the autos are placed on an open carrier, the obvious downside of open auto shipping services is that your car will be exposed to the elements as well as damage from debris while on the road. This makes it highly inadvisable for car owners who want to transport expensive high-end cars or sell it upon delivery, as the wear and tear might lessen the vehicle’s value.

Enclosed Auto Transport – Because of the risks posed by open auto transport, enclosed vehicle shipping companies have appeared, offering transport services to car owners without compromising their car’s paint and finish. In enclosed vehicle shipping, the cars are placed inside an enclosed carrier, protecting them from the elements and damage while being transported. Some vehicle shipping companies also place a fabric cover over the cars their transport for further protection. Your car will also get protection against theft or tampering, as the carriers are usually locked tight to prevent unauthorized persons from getting in. What’s more, as only two to five vehicles are placed for each enclosed carrier, your car will be delivered faster due to fewer stopovers.

Because they pick up and carry fewer cars per carrier, the downside of enclosed auto transport is that it going to cost you more. Expect to spend at least 20% to 100% more on premiums for hiring enclosed vehicle shipping vehicle companies to transport your car compared to open auto shipping. Enclosed car transport services are also less common and tend to be exclusive, though with the increase of enclosed auto shipping services online, enclosed vehicle shipping is more accessible to the average car owner.

Your choice of whether an enclosed auto transport or an open auto transport service depends mainly on how much importance you give to your car’s appearance and security and how much money you are willing to have it transported. If you want to protect your car’s finish and keep it safe from the weather while being transported, it might be best to get an enclosed car transport service. On the other hand, if you have a very tight budget you may opt to get an open auto shipping company to haul and ship your car.

However, regardless of whether you choose open or enclosed auto transport, the safety of your car and the quality of service will largely depend on the type of vehicle shipping company you hire. There are hundreds of auto shipping companies out there, but not all guarantee quality service, safety for your car and adequate insurance coverage in case something goes wrong. This is why it is important that you do some research before settling with any one company.

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