The Types of Trailers and Trucks Used for Shipping a Car

Did you know that more than 40 million Americans are moving every year? Of these people, it’s likely true that most of them have a vehicle they are bringing to their new home.

The problem, however, is how that vehicle is actually going to get there. Although you might be able to drive it, wouldn’t it be more convenient to just have it there when you arrive?

With the types of trailers available for shipping cars, you can make that a reality! Learning about what your options are (and how much it costs) gives you more power over your move.

So, if you’re curious to learn more, keep reading as we explore some of the key things you should know about car shipping trailers. 

Different Types of Trailers: Open Carriers vs. Enclosed Carriers 

You have two main options for when it’s time to ship your vehicle. You can choose between open carrier transport or enclosed carrier transport.

Open carrier transport is when your vehicle, along with others that are being shipped, is placed on a trailer that is exposed to the elements. There are no walls around the vehicles, but they are securely latched to the back of the trailer so that they get from point A to point B.

Enclosed carriers are similar to open transport, but the key difference is that they are “enclosed,” meaning there are walls that protect the vehicles during transport. Carriers of this caliber also don’t have the option to carry as many vehicles, so your vehicle won’t be with quite as many cars as it would with open transport. 

Why Would You Prefer an Open Carrier?

The biggest benefit of choosing an open carrier trailer is the price. You’re going to pay less due to the fact that other people are able to use the service as well. It also is less expensive since the vehicles are exposed rather than kept inside a small enclosure.

Open transport is also usually a little bit faster since these types of transport services run more often than the enclosed carrier options. You’ll find that more providers offer this type of service, so you’ll have more flexibility in when you get to receive the vehicle.

Lastly, the fuel costs are lower for an open carrier as well because the weight is less overall. Enclosed carriers are a bit heavier, so the fuel will be more expensive for the whole trip. 

What Are the Benefits of Enclosed Carriers?

When you choose an enclosed carrier, you can rest assured that your vehicle is protected from any bad weather or road debris that might hit the trailer.

Your vehicle is much more secure, which can give you peace of mind.

The drivers that are in charge of operating enclosed carriers are also more likely to have prior experience with high-end vehicles. This means they may understand a little bit more what it takes to care for and deliver these types of cars and trucks safely.

Are There Any Other Carrier Options?

If your vehicle doesn’t meet the size or weight requirements for these types of trailers, you may still be able to ship your vehicle. 

There are freight options available, including train, air, or ship. While these options may end up costing a little bit more, they will work for you in certain situations.

For example, if you’re trying to ship your car along the east coast of the US, Amtrak passenger trains can actually help you ship your vehicle. You’ll have to ride on the train as well as a passenger, but for about $300, this is an easy way to ship your vehicle.

If you’re planning to go a longer distance, you might be interested in air freight. You’ll have the option to fly your vehicle to its destination (for a large cost) so that it arrives safe and sound. 

How Does Shipping a Car Work? 

Now that you understand more about the different types of trailers out there, it’s important to figure out how you can actually book one.

You may already know that there are hundreds of companies around the US that will work with individuals, like yourself, to ship vehicles. So, to narrow that lengthy list down to options that would make the most sense for you, you would need to get some quotes.

Luckily, our website gives you immediate quotes for car transport options so that you can quickly see how much your options cost and what the logistics would look like. We also have professionals ready to speak with you on the phone about any questions or concerns you might have so that you know exactly what to look for.

Once you choose the right company for you, you can go ahead and book the service to get everything ready to go. It’s really that simple. 

Does the Vehicle Size Matter?

Different types of trucks and cars will need specific trailer requirements, so you can’t just lop your car onto any trailer out there.

The people working for these transport companies know whether your car would be eligible or not based on various factors, including size, weight, and dimensions. 

Types of Trailers for Cars

You might be thinking “so, what size trailer do I need to haul a car?” The truth is that you have more options available to you if you have a standard-size car that you’re trying to ship. 

The trailer types for cars that are most appropriate for you are going to depend on what you need specifically since there are pros and cons to each. 

The best size trailer for car hauling is going to depend on what type of car you have. If you have a high-end, luxury vehicle or a vintage sports car, you likely want to keep it safer in an enclosed transport trailer. Otherwise, you could likely ship your car on an open transport trailer without any issues at all.

Types of Trailers for Pickup Trucks

Pickup trucks also have the option to be shipped on enclosed or open transport, but their needs are a little different. As we said before, different types of trucks and cars will have specific needs for safe transport, and pickup trucks have much different body styles than general cars.

Usually, pickup trucks are safest when they are shipped on hotshot trailers, which are open transport trailers that carry just one vehicle. If you imagine how a tow truck looks with the vehicle raised up on the bed, this is similar to what this type of trailer looks like.

Types of Trailers for Specialized XL Vehicles

Similarly, specialized XL vehicles will also likely need to be shipped on hotshot trailers. The dimensions likely are too particular to fit with other cars in a regular open or enclosed transport carrier. However, depending on the type of vehicle, you might also be able to get a single car enclosed carrier transport for an increased price. 

If you have a vehicle that doesn’t have standard measurements, you’re still able to ship it, but it might cost a little bit more.

The main reason for this is that the trailers provided by car transport services have specific dimensions that are designed to keep standard car or truck sizes safe. When they are required to make adjustments to fit your vehicle, that will require extra resources and labor.

In addition to this, if your vehicle is XL, it likely has larger tires and a heavier engine. These things also impact the overall nature of the transport.

Why Does the Price Differ Between These Options?

The price for shipping a car or truck is different because there are specific precautions taken so that your vehicle actually stays safe during transport. Depending on the size or type of vehicle you have, these precautions are going to be different.

Companies have to be able to pay their workers based on the amount of time, labor, and effort that goes into a transport job. If they are dealing with vehicles that require extra work, this means the employees will get extra pay. As a result, the cost to hire these companies is a little higher so that they don’t lose too much money.

If there are complex shipments, like when a company is trying to transport a vehicle that has been extremely modified or is much larger than average, it takes a lot of time and planning. Otherwise, the vehicle may not end up making it to its destination in very good shape. 

The transport companies also have the power to set the prices for themselves. This means that you, as the consumer, get the opportunity to compare different prices and determine which one seems like the fairest option for you. 

Exploring the Different Types of Trailers for Shipping

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that you have to consider when planning for a vehicle shipment. The different types of trailers are just one of many things that goes into the overall decision.

If you’re in need of car transport quotes that you can trust, look no further than Carshipguru. We are here to help you find the perfect company to ship your car, no matter the distance. 

Check out our easy-to-use quote tool today to get started.