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There are two common ways vehicles can be shipped which are deemed the safest.  They are open and enclosed/covered carrier. This is the standard used by 99% of the auto shipping industry.

Both are safer than:

  1. A tow truck dragging the vehicle on its wheels.
  2. Going to a trailer rental location and hitching it on.
  3. Safer than driving.

Method #1 – Open Carrier

This is the standard of auto shipping.  You have seen these trucks on the road carrying several cars. Dealers use them, auctions use them, and people like you have thousands of vehicles come and go on these carriers.

There are basically 3 kinds. One is the usual 9-10 car carrier you see all the time taking up the highway. This will be a large two-level truck that is bhind of a semi and is about 50 feet long.

The second kind is a 3-6 car hauler that will be pulled by a dually truck. It can have one or two levels. Many trailers look like a long pie wedge (known as a wedge trailer.

The third is a flatbed. Mostly used by emergency tow companies, some take the roll of a transporter as they can fit more than one vehicle, or act as a transporter for short distance hauls.

What they all have in common is that the wheels of your vehicle are never rolling on the ground, hence why they are so safe.

Method #2 – Enclosed Transporter

Next up the line is a premium service known as  enclosed (covered) transport. This very secure form of shipping seals your vehicle off from the outside world, as it is completely protected, contained inside of a large semi truck. Although mostly used for rare or very expensive vehicles, any vehicle can go enclosed for extra safety.

Enclosed shippers make up a smaller portion of the industry but it does not in any way mean there is less availability on most common routes. The decision to go with the safest way to ship is usually based on price. This will depend on the value you feel the vehicle has vs the chances the damage of even something like a rock chip would cause on the paint, for example.

Keep in mind that just because you have opted for the safest way possible, doesn’t mean that all enclosed carriers are equal. There are 3 different types commonly used.

There are the one or two car enclosed carriers which are faster but don’t offer the safety of a huge air ride truck.

There are soft side enclosed which have tarps which are not 100% air tight but still offer great protection. These are safe for most average classics and some higher end cars.

Then there’s the safest and best possible enclosed transport, the steel container (hard side) enclosed with lift gate that gently lifts your car from a flat position on the ground. This is the maximum safety option for anything from your old family classic to the extremely rare and valuable vehicle.

All are very  Read our article here for more details on enclosed carriers that are available.

The Cost


As mentioned on our shipping calculator page, On average $1 or so per mile for up to 500 miles. So, for example a 275 mile trip would cost $275. The longer the vehicle will travel, the lower the cost. 


For a route the average up-charge for this very safe form of auto transport is about 30-40% more than with auto transport that is not enclosed. Enclosed can also be instantly quoted on our calculator. Final pricing will be determined by the route and type of secure carrier. Depending on the value of the vehicle, this may not be a huge detriment, but if you are looking to shave cost of the shipping and don’t mind the road dirt, look back at open carrier which still offers good safety.

Other Tips

You can help add extra security to your transport by being prepared. Be sure to remove any loose items in your vehicle. Those can move around quite a bit on a carrier, so be sure to not put anything in the interior area that could bounce around. You can also make it safer by meeting the carrier in a open and flat area.  Although all transport is door to door, it’s good to take the extra precaution especially if you live in a tough area for a truck to maneuver.

Ready to have us ship your car the safest way possible? Call us today! 800-284-7177 or get a free auto transport quote here.