Open vs Enclosed Car Shipping: Cost Analysis You Need to See!

Open vs Enclosed car shipping cost analysis you need to see

Car shipping is a convenient solution for transporting vehicles over long distances. The two main options available are open and enclosed car shipping. Each method has its own set of advantages and costs, which can significantly impact your choice. In this article, we will explore these costs in detail and provide insights into which option might be more suitable for you.

Key Highlights

  • Open car shipping is cheaper and faster, ideal for standard vehicles over shorter distances.
  • Enclosed car shipping offers superior security and shields vehicles from harsh weather conditions, best for valuable or classic cars.
  • Open car shipping offers significant savings, ranging from $236 to $1256 depending on distance, while enclosed car shipping provides superior protection at a premium cost of $400 to $2000.

Open Car Shipping:

Open Car Transport

Open car shipping is a widely used method where vehicles are transported on open carriers, exposed to weather conditions and road elements. This method is favored for its affordability, accessibility, and convenience, particularly for standard vehicles over shorter distances.
Here are the key advantages and disadvantages of open-car shipping:

Enclosed Car Shipping:

Enclosed Car Transport

Enclosed car shipping involves transporting your vehicle in a fully enclosed trailer, providing additional protection from external elements.

Making the Right Choice: Open vs Enclosed Car Shipping

Shipping your car across the country? The choice between open and enclosed car shipping can be a head-scratcher. Both methods have their pros and cons, and the best option depends on your specific needs. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

What is Expedited Shipping?

Need your car delivered quickly? Both open and enclosed car shipping offer expedited options that prioritize faster delivery times. This service is ideal for those who require their vehicle within a tight timeframe, but be prepared for a higher cost compared to standard shipping options.

  • Open Car Shipping: Expedited open car shipping leverages a network of carriers with readily available space, potentially reducing wait times for pick-up and delivery.
  • Enclosed Car Shipping: While enclosed carriers are generally less common, expedited options can prioritize your vehicle for transport on the next available enclosed trailer, minimizing scheduling delays.

Door-to-Door Delivery vs. Terminal-to-Terminal Pick-Up

Car shipping companies offer two primary delivery options: terminal pick-up and door-to-door delivery. Understanding the difference can help you choose the most convenient service for your needs.

  • Terminal-to-Terminal Service: This is the more budget-friendly option. You are responsible for driving your vehicle to a designated terminal yard for drop-off and pick-up upon arrival at the destination terminal.
  • Door-to-Door Transport: Enjoy the ultimate convenience with door-to-door delivery. The car shipping company picks up your vehicle directly from your origin location and delivers it to your final destination, eliminating the need for any travel on your part.

Special Considerations for Vehicle Types

Not all vehicles are created equal, and some require specific considerations during transport. Here’s a breakdown of some common scenarios:

  • Inoperable Vehicles: If your vehicle is inoperable and cannot be driven, both open and enclosed car shipping companies can still accommodate transport. However, additional fees or special arrangements might be required, such as flatbed towing or winching onto the carrier.
  • Motorcycles: Motorcycles require extra care during shipping. They might need to be crated or secured with specialized equipment on both open and enclosed carriers. Be sure to inquire about the car shipping company’s experience and capabilities for handling motorcycles.

Cost Comparison of Open vs Enclosed Car Shipping

The cost of car shipping is a major deciding factor for many people. Here’s a breakdown of the estimated costs for open vs. enclosed car shipping based on distance:

Distance (miles)Open Car Shipping CostEnclosed Car Shipping Cost
501-800$912$1500 – $1700

Please note: These are just estimates and the actual cost can vary depending on several factors.

Factors affecting costs of open vs enclosed car shipping

  • Vehicle type and size: Larger or heavier vehicles will generally cost more to ship.
  • Shipping company: Different companies will have different pricing structures.
  • Fuel prices: Fluctuations in fuel prices can affect shipping costs.
  • Additional services: Expedited shipping, door-to-door delivery, and insurance coverage will add to the overall cost.
  • Seasonal fluctuations: Demand for car shipping can vary by season, affecting pricing. Peak seasons might see higher prices due to increased demand.

By considering these factors and getting quotes from multiple car shipping companies, you can get the best possible price for your specific needs.

Beyond Cost: Factors Affecting Shipping Time

While open car shipping is generally faster due to the wider availability of carriers, enclosed car shipping can sometimes lead to longer wait times. Here’s why:

  • Limited availability: Enclosed carriers are less common on the road compared to open carriers, leading to potentially longer pickup windows.
  • Specialized service: Enclosed transport often caters to a niche market, with fewer routes serviced by enclosed carriers compared to open carriers. This can result in longer scheduling times.

Final Tips for Choosing the Right Shipping Option

Selecting the right car shipping method depends on your unique needs and priorities. Here are some final tips to ensure a smooth and successful experience:

  • Get Quotes from Multiple Companies: Don’t settle for the first quote you receive. Compare pricing, services offered, and customer reviews from multiple car shipping companies to find the best fit for your budget and needs.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask questions! Car shipping companies are there to address any concerns you have about the process, costs, insurance coverage, or specific requirements for your vehicle.
  • Read Reviews: Research car shipping companies online and read reviews from past customers. This can provide valuable insights into the company’s reputation, service quality, and how they handle customer inquiries or issues.

By considering these additional sections, you can provide a more well-rounded and informative guide for readers navigating the decision between open and enclosed car shipping.


Choosing between open and enclosed car shipping depends on your needs and budget. Open shipping is cost-effective and readily available, while enclosed shipping offers superior protection for high-value vehicles. Consider your vehicle type and shipping requirements to make the best choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Enclosed car shipping is more expensive due to the additional protection it offers the limited availability of enclosed carriers, and higher insurance coverage.

Enclosed car shipping is better for luxury, classic, or exotic cars as it provides superior protection from the elements, road debris, and potential theft or vandalism.

Longer distances generally incur higher shipping costs. Both open and enclosed car shipping rates increase with the distance traveled.

Yes, open car shipping might offer faster delivery due to the higher availability of open carriers compared to enclosed carriers.

Yes, the cost of car shipping can vary depending on the time of year. Demand for car shipping services tends to peak during the summer and holiday seasons, potentially leading to higher prices during these periods.


  • Mark Dugger

    Raised in the vibrant atmosphere of Southern California, Mark's early years were defined by his prowess in sports such as football, baseball, and wrestling. Despite his athletic talents, Mark's professional path veered towards the world of computers, landing him a role as a Systems Officer for a prestigious cruise line. Over the span of a decade, Mark's career took him across the globe, immersing him in the cultures of over 100 countries.Mark's journey with commenced shortly after its inception, marking him as an essential asset to the company's foundation. Starting humbly as a coordinator, Mark's relentless work ethic and commitment to excellence propelled him steadily upward. Today, as the operations manager, Mark stands at the helm, guiding with expertise, ensuring its continued success and growth.

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