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Knowing Your Options: Open vs Enclosed Auto Transport

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Different Ways to Transport Vehicles

You’ve done your research to narrow down a list of companies that could ship your vehicle. You’ve asked them questions about how they operate, what they guarantee, and the like. You’ve probably even received a few quotes. Now the question is, did they ask YOU questions about your vehicle?

Any well qualified auto transport company should and will ask you questions as well. Why? In order to provide you with good information and help you make the best decision, their representatives need to be gathering facts about your vehicle. One of the biggest reasons is to help you assess what type of car carrier would work best.

There are actually 3 types of car carriers: Open, Soft-Side Enclosed, and Hard-Side Enclosed. Each is specialized for certain types of vehicles and specifications. For instance, drivers will handle a classic car (especially a show car) differently than fully-loaded jeep.

Open Auto Transport

We are all familiar with an open carrier. These are the ones you’d see driving down the interstate. These typically hold 8-10 vehicles, depending on size of the trailer as well as the vehicles. Open carriers are what most people associate with auto shipping. In fact, most cars transport by open carrier, including common luxury cars like Lexus and Jaguar.

Enclosed Auto Transport

Enclosed auto transport is one most people aren’t as familiar or even aware of. Soft-side enclosed shipping is used frequently by manufacturers, such as Mercedes Benz. The trailer has an open structure with a roof and end caps on the front and back. The sides are like curtains, made of canvas and pulled tight for transport.

Soft Enclosed Transporter

A soft side enclosed carrier has an open structure with a roof and end caps on the front and back with curtain-like sides made of canvas and pulled tight for transport.

Hard-side enclosed shipping looks similar to semis hauling other items. The trailer is usually made of tin or fiberglass. Most have a lift gate door for low clearance cars, such as a Lamborghini. This type is best for high-end, exotic, and classic show cars.

Both enclosed trailers have drip pans, which do a great job of keeping any possible fluids dripping from the top rack onto the lower level vehicles. The biggest difference is that hard-side trailers are 100% airtight. Since soft-side trailers use canvas instead of tin or aluminum, there is a potential of small amounts of dirt and grime getting on the vehicles.

Open vs Enclosed Auto Transport – Which to Choose?

Although anyone can choose any type of carrier, you have to keep in mind the additional costs. Enclosed carriers are specialized in handling vehicles that need a little extra care. The carriers who fall into the enclosed trailers category are usually slimmer than open, and it becomes even more limited if you’re looking for hard-side as well. If you would like your daily driver to have the royal treatment, make sure to book well in advance, too. Why? Since the lineup of carriers is smaller, it could make your transport time longer.

Find out all the types of services Executive offers on our Services page.

In short, any of the 3 types of carriers can get the job done. It all comes down to what kind of vehicle you own and how soon you would like it there. Contact the representatives here at EAS to help you make the right choice Р847-557-0200 or get a free quote!