Shipping a vehicle can be a complicated process with many options to consider. One option that is often overlooked is open auto transport. While enclosed transport provides security and peace of mind, open transport has some significant advantages that make it a worthwhile choice in many situations.
Cost is usually the biggest factor for many people shipping a vehicle. Open auto transport is significantly more affordable than enclosed transport. On average, open transport costs about 30-50% less than shipping in an enclosed carrier. This is because open carriers allow for more vehicles to be transported per load since they don’t require the extra space of fully enclosed containers.
Open carrier rates are also typically structured differently than enclosed rates. With open transport, the base fee covers a certain distance like 500 miles. Then additional miles are charged at a lower per-mile rate. Enclosed transport often has higher minimum charges and linear per-mile fees. So for longer distances open transport savings increase dramatically versus enclosed.
Faster Transit Times
With the ability to haul more vehicles per load, open carriers generally make fewer stops along the route. They can also load and unload faster than enclosed transports since no doors or ramps are involved. This allows open carriers to reach destinations sooner. On average, open transport shaves 1-3 days off a cross-country shipment versus enclosed options.
Open carriers are also more flexible with their routes. They aren’t limited to major highways like enclosed trucks. This allows them to take more direct routes rather than sticking to interstates. The direct routing combined with fewer stops means open transport consistently arrives ahead of schedule.
Suitable for Most Vehicles
Most passenger vehicles and light trucks can be safely transported via open carrier. The main limitations are vehicle size, age, and features rather than value. As long as it’s in average condition, fit standard tie-down points, and under typical size/weight limits – it’s a candidate for open transport. This provides more options than strict enclosed transport qualifications.
Special Equipment Not Required
Vehicles don’t need any special preparing like enclosed trucks require. No installing/removing vehicle parts, rental equipment, or extra securing tools are involved. Just basic cleaning and the vehicle is ready to load. This saves time and avoids potential issues versus special enclosed transport prep work.
Flexibility & Convenience
Open transport offers pickup/delivery flexibility beyond enclosed options. Stops can be made virtually anywhere since the vehicle is accessible – no docks or ramps needed. Changes to schedules are also easier to accommodate. And self-loading/unloading allows transport anytime day/night – avoiding business hours limitations.
Open Auto Transport Drop Trailers Available
Many open carriers provide drop trailers as well. This allows the vehicle to be left safely at origin/destination while the carrier continues on – no waiting around for pickups/deliveries. Drop trailers save even more time versus standard terminal-to-terminal transport methods.
When Open Transport Is Not Recommended
While open transport offers clear advantages, there are some situations where enclosed may be a better choice:
- Very high value/collectible vehicles requiring extra security
- New/nearly new vehicles to prevent transport damage/dings
- Vehicles with soft tops, tinted windows or other weather-sensitive features
- Extreme weather/periods where cover would provide protection
- Long distance international shipments subject to import rules
Open Auto Transport Choosing a Reputable Open Carrier
With the cost savings and flexibility, open transport is a great option for most vehicle shipments. But to ensure a safe, on-time delivery, it’s important to choose a reputable carrier.
|What to Look For
|Carriers with 5+ years in business and positive online reviews
|Well-maintained trailers and trucks in good operating condition
|At least $100,000 in cargo insurance coverage
|On-time delivery percentage of 95% or higher reported
|Valid DOT operating authority and state/local permits
Doing research into open carriers can reveal the best combination of low rates, professional service and high safety standards. Following these guidelines will help your vehicle arrive at its destination cost-effectively via the open auto transport method.