Open Carrier Car Shipping

The most popular and cost-effective way to ship a car to any location safely, open car transport has long been the most common way to ship a car because of the availability of carriers.

The vehicle is open to the elements but it is the shipping method that works with most individuals and companies. It is available via door to door or terminal to terminal shipping as well.

Learn more about open carrier shipping...

What Is Open Transport / Car Shipping?

Open transport car shipping is the industry standard and very popular as the most cost effective way to ship a car from one location to another. Open transport car shipping carriers travel anywhere from a few hundred miles, to thousands of miles coast to coast.

Typically, these transport trucks come in sizes that can accommodate either six or up to ten cars, often featuring two levels. Chances are you've seen these on the highway many times. Your vehicle could be placed on either level unless you request that it be loaded on top.

How Much Does Open Auto Transport Cost?

As of 2024 to ship a car 100-200 miles will be $1.75 per mile. Shipping 200-300 miles will typically be $1.50 per mile. If you take a trip that is over 500 miles, like a state to state transport , you will then look at a rate of about $1.20 per mile. Finally, if shipping a car 1,000 you are looking at $0.90 a mile. After which the price per mile will drop significantly, as 2000 miles can cost $0.50-0.60 cents a mile and considered cross country car transport.

How Long Does Open Auto Carrier Transport Take?

Since open car carriers are everywhere, they are quick. It can take as little as 1-3 days to get a pickup. This is if it is in a major city or populated area. Car shipping from remote locations can take us a week plus to get because it takes longer to find a truck that will be going through those areas.

Advantages Of Open Auto Transport

Since it's the most popular way to ship a car, open transport has many advantages over other kinds of auto transport. Here are some of the advantages that open car shipping has to offer.

Open Transport Car Shipping is Fast

Open auto transport is the fastest way to ship a car., even for long distances, it's quick and easy. Since just about every car transport company uses an open air carriers, they are available to pick up vehicles on short notice all across the country.

Open Auto Transport Carriers Are Safe

Vehicles shipped on open auto transport carriers are safe for a variety of reasons. One of which is because they keep all four wheels off the ground. They are also safe because they are subject to demanding regulations enforced by the D.O.T. It is the the best solution that balances safety, cost, and speed. This makes moving cars in this way the most viable option.

Fully Insured Coverage is Included

Open auto transport has full insurance coverage. Coverages vary from $100-250,000 motor cargo depending the size of the carrier and $750,000+ liability.

Disadvantages of Open Auto Transport

Although highly popular, open car shipping is not with some drawbacks. Since it's the most economical way to ship a car to another state, or across the country, there won't be extra protection that may be necessary for certain vehicles. 

Exposure to Weather

One of the main downsides of open auto transport is that the vehicle is exposed to weather conditions. It might face rain, hail, snow, or intense sun depending on the route and season, which could potentially cause damage to the vehicle's exterior.

Risk of Debris

The vehicle is also susceptible to flying road debris, dust, and dirt while in transit since there is no enclosure protecting it. This could result in minor scratches, dents, or dirtying of the car.

Less Protection

Compared to enclosed auto transport, open auto transport doesn't offer as much protection from potential road accidents or vandalism during stops. If an unfortunate incident were to happen, the vehicle would have less protection in an open carrier than in an enclosed trailer.

What is the Difference Between Open Transport Car Shipping and Enclosed Transport?

We mention both here at National Express. We are experts with both these methods of car transport. But what are the noteworthy differences?

Open Car Transport  / Auto Shipping  -  Economical  - Fast

Transporting vehicles via open trailers, where they remain exposed to natural elements like wind, rain, and dust, is known as open transport car shipping. This method, while cost-effective, is predominantly preferred for several cars traveling a few hundred miles to thousands of miles.

Car dealerships, rental service providers, and individuals ferrying their cars to dealerships frequently utilize this method. Its convenience and affordability allow businesses, especially dealerships, to move their cars to different places without hefty expenses.

Typically, this approach best suits the shipping of common vehicles like sedans, SUVs, and minivans, as these are not only widely used but also relatively affordable. A significant advantage of using open trailers is their capacity to haul several vehicles at once, further reducing the cost per vehicle compared to alternative shipping methods.

Enclosed Transport  / Car Shipping - Extra Protection - Special Vehicle

For those seeking the utmost protection for their vehicles during transport, enclosed transport car shipping is the way to go. Vehicles are housed within a sealed trailer, safeguarding them from environmental threats like wind, rain, and external debris. This method is especially favored by those who own luxury, classic, or exotic cars, to make sure  they remain pristine and unharmed.

Often, car aficionados, dealerships with rare collections, or individuals with premium vehicles like Ferraris, Lamborghinis, or Koenigsegg prefer this method. Such high value and high-end cars not only vastly expensive, but also demand specialized handling and care throughout the vehicle shipping process. Enclosed transport offers this very care, providing owners with full assurance of their prized vehicle's safety during transit.

These are also the most widely recognized trucks on the road when it comes to the auto transport business. You see them coming in and out of dealerships. They run on major highways such as the one pictured here. The average car carrier travels anywhere from 300-500 miles a day. To get the full details , read about how long it takes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Open Car Transport

Is open car transport safe?

Yes, an auto transport carrier is safe. While the vehicles are exposed to the elements and potential road debris, serious damage is relatively rare. Most cars arrive at their destination in the same condition they were in when they were loaded onto the truck.

What is the difference between open and enclosed auto transport?

An open auto transport carrier ships your vehicle on a with other cars exposed to the outside world. It's more common and usually more affordable, but your vehicle is susceptible to weather elements and road debris. Enclosed car transport, on the other hand, moves your vehicle in a fully covered trailer, providing more protection from weather, road conditions, and potential damage. National Express offers both open and enclosed transport.

What kind of vehicles can be transported using open car transport?

Most types of vehicles, including cars, vans, SUV's, and trucks, can be transported on an open car carrier. However, extremely valuable or antique vehicles are often shipped using enclosed transport for extra protection.

How can I prepare my car for open car transport?

You should remove any loose items from the vehicle and disable the alarm system. It's also recommended to note any existing damage and take photos of the car before it is loaded onto the truck for your records.

What if my vehicle is damaged during transport?

In the unlikely event that your vehicle is damaged during transport, the transport company's insurance should cover the cost of repairs. Make sure to inspect your vehicle immediately upon delivery and report any damage to the transport company right away.

Why Choose National Express?

We value your business and of course your time. We know you have choices out there to ship your car and vehicle transport is very competitive. With our spotless reputation, you can count on quality service from our professional team of car shipping advisors. You are never lost in a sea of holds and transfers. Or even worse, endless voicemail! You have a dedicated open car transport expert on the phone there to provide you with excellent customer service. Our car shipping advisors have decades of combined experience.

Years of Experience Putting the Customer First

Choose a car shipping company that is qualified. We move more vehicles than nearly anyone. Car owners and dealers alike, come back over and over again. We have been in the business of auto transport, and likewise open carrier car shipping for many years. We have built our open vehicle shipping service from the ground up to provide auto transport services that offer complete customer satisfaction. This is done by putting the focus on the reward of a job well done and not just charging money for a car shipment. That's the difference between shipping with us and other car shipping companies. Ship your vehicle door with National Express, for excellent service every time.

National Express Uses Vetted Open Car Transport Carriers

Rest assured that we very carefully fully screen carriers that meet our strict requirements before showing up at your door. All information is verified each time we use the same carrier. Specifics like the carrier's central dispatch rating, insurance policy, if they run enclosed or open air carriers, and how long they have been in business as a car transporter.

A Modern Fleet with Experienced Drivers

Not only is open carrier car shipping an economical option, it's also a reliable option because we use the best and newest carriers in the industry. You will see this the moment the carrier arrives at the vehicle's location.

High Quality Cheap Car Shipping Via Open Carrier

Remember how we vet open car carriers? Well, since we carefully choose who will provide auto shipping for our valued customers, open auto transport with National provides both economy and value. As a highly rated auto transport company, we know what it takes to provide quality and cost effective vehicle shipping.

Ready When You Are

Haven’t decided if we’re the right auto transport service for you? No problem, make sure you check our great reviews and get your free quote instantly so you are ready.