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Open-Air Vs. Enclosed Auto Transports: What’s The Difference?

Open-Air Vs. Enclosed Auto Transports: What’s The Difference?

auto transport montanaOpen-Air Vs. Enclosed Auto Transports: What’s The Difference?

If you’re considering shipping your car you have different options.  Today it’s possible to ship vehicles to just about any city across the United States.  One of the most commonly asked questions is, “What’s the difference between open-air and enclosed transport?”  Each option has its pros and cons so let’s take a look. 

Open-Air Auto Transport

You’ve seen them on the roads and you’ve probably wondered exactly how they load all those cars on the trailer.  Typically, an open-air transport consists of two levels with up to five cars on each level. The whole rig itself is usually about 75 to 80 feet in length.  There is no top cover and no sides, leaving the cars exposed to the elements. Rain, snow, sun, hail, and road debris are common, however these are things your car would be exposed to if you were driving it yourself.  

About 90% of carriers in the United States are open-air.  The high number of open-air transports means scheduling is typically easier and more efficient.  Because the cars are exposed and highly visible, the driver is able to perform frequent inspections to make sure the vehicles remain in the condition they started in.  Open-air transports are also lighter, therefore making them more fuel efficient and better for the environment. And, because there are so many open-air transports on the roads, delivery time tends to be a lot faster.

Enclosed Auto Transport

Enclosed auto transports are exactly as they sound.  Vehicles are securely placed within an enclosed trailer and transported with protection from the outside elements.  Enclosed transports tend to be significantly more expensive than open-air transports. Enclosed transports often carry just a handful of vehicles at a time.  This would seem like it would mean your car would be delivered faster but that’s not always the case. Enclosed transports are much more rare which means there is a higher demand and they’re more difficult to schedule.

If you’re shipping an antique, custom, or luxury vehicle, then an enclosed transport is by far the best option.  The higher cost of the transport itself is a small price to pay for peace of mind, especially with cars that are of significant monetary or sentimental value.  Another downfall of the enclosed transports is that the driver will be unable to do routine inspections while en route. However, the protection from weather and road debris means less chance for incidents.

Shipping your vehicle with an enclosed trailer means you’ll usually have a driver with a higher level of expertise.  While all drivers are trained professionals, enclosed auto transporters are familiar with the high value cars they typically carry.  You should always be able to trust that your vehicle will be treated with care and respect while loading, transporting and unloading no matter how you ship your vehicle.  But, with enclosed transports, you can expect the driver to give your vehicle a sort of “white glove treatment” as they’re very familiar with the typically high-end vehicles they transport.

Things To Consider

When deciding which option is best for you should consider the following:

  • Budget and shipping cost
  • Monetary and/or sentimental value of your car
  • Availability
  • Shipping time needed

At Big Sky Auto Transport, our knowledgeable and certified professionals ensure your car’s safety for your peace of mind.  Check out our range of available services and contact us to schedule your next auto transport.

If you need additional information or want an estimate from one of Big Sky Auto Transport’s service experts you can request an Instant Quote or call (406) 453-4590.

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