Open vs. Enclosed Carrier: What’s Right For You?

When looking to transport your vehicle, it’s important to evaluate all your options to find what’s best for you. After you find an auto transport broker, you’ll have to decide whether you want your vehicle in an open or enclosed carrier.

Open vs. Enclosed Carrier

There’s a lot of confusion around the key differences between these types of carriers. You may be wondering, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Let’s break it down so you can feel confident in your decision.

What is an Open Carry?

Open Carrier is the carrier most people are familiar with. An open carrier can hold anywhere between 5 to 10 vehicles at a time. When you drive down the highway, you’ve probably seen plenty of open carriers transporting vehicles. The key factor in open carry is that your vehicle is exposed to the elements. While it’s secured safely through transport, you can’t control the weather, bugs, or debris that may come into contact with your car. An open truck is an umbrella term encompassing any of these open air carriers. Sometimes your vehicle may be transported on a four car carrier trailer.

Auto transporters take great care of their cargo, and ensure all vehicles arrive at their destination in good condition. The cars are strapped and packed to reduce hazards from road bumps, vibrations and movement during transport. If you aren’t worried about the external variables that may occur with open carry, it’s a great option for easy transportation. Here are the top advantages and disadvantages of open carrier’s.


● The most affordable option on the market.

● There’s a higher demand so pick up and delivery times are shorter.

● Your vehicle’s insurance still protects against extensive damages in transport. If an insured issue were to arise, your transport company will assist you.


● Your vehicle is not protected from the elements, so there’s a higher risk of dirt, scratches or external damage.

● Weather or debris damage is uninsured, so it’s important to keep that in mind when making your decision.


What is Enclosed Carry?

Enclosed Carry is when your vehicle is completely enclosed during transport. Instead of open carry where your vehicle is exposed, enclosed carriers keep your car protected from all sides. Your vehicle will be housed in a covered truck, usually carrying up to five other cars. If you have a luxury or vintage vehicle, enclosed carry might be a beneficial option for you. You remove the variable of possible weathering, chipping or scratching that can occur through transport. For some old vehicles, protection from rain may be a necessity to maintain the condition. It’s important to assess the vehicle you’re transporting, and what factors you might need to prioritize along the way. Some enclosed carriers also use lifts instead of ramps to load cars. Depending on your make or model, this might be more suitable to your custom needs. Here are the top advantages and disadvantages of enclosed carrier’s.


● Vehicles are protected from the elements and external debris, creating a safer travel experience.

● A great option for custom, luxury or historical vehicles.

● Sometimes transports fewer vehicles than open carry.


● More expensive than open carriers, usually between 10-30% more.

● There aren’t as many enclosed carriers, so pick up and delivery times can take longer.

● May require more coordination with your auto transport broker to plan accordingly.

Overall, thousands of vehicles are transported every year using open and enclosed carriers. The safety and security of your car is a priority, despite the broker you choose to move forward with. As you make your decision, be sure to evaluate all your options so you know what’s best for your vehicle. The key differences are affordability, efficiency, and level of exterior protection. If you have any questions, your JMR Logistix Auto transport specialist will guide you every mile of the way.

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