What Is Open Auto Transport?

Open auto transport is a service where we ship your vehicle on an open carrier. It is a fully-insured form of auto transport (according to the law enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) that comes with a really affordable price and provides full protection from any damages that may happen to your vehicle during the transport. 

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open car carrier trailer by American Auto Shipping

How Open Auto Transport Works

Open auto transport is probably the most cost-effective way to ship your vehicle that involves the following three steps:

  1. A car-hauling trailer picks up your vehicle – On pick up, the assigned auto transport driver inspects your car and checks for any damage (i.e., dings, dents, etc). Then, they fill out the Bill of Lading (aka Vehicle Inspection Report) with the right information. 
  2. Your car is loaded onto the carrier trailer – The driver drives your vehicle onto the open car carrier trailer. If it is inoperable, they will find an alternative way to load it, using special equipment. Then, your car is strapped and secured down to the frame of the trailer by either chains fastened around the wheelbase or thick leather straps so that it remains stable and does not bounce around if the road gets bumpy at some point along the selected route. Meanwhile, we will provide you with the driver’s contact details so you can have direct communication with them. In an emergency, the auto transportation logistics coordinator assigned to your transport will be your main point of contact. Rest assured that they will give their full attention to addressing your concerns and/or answering your questions. 
  3. You pick up your vehicle – The driver delivers the vehicle to the prearranged location. Another vehicle inspection is conducted, and you sign the Bill of Lading if everything is alright. In case there are damages to the vehicle that occurred during the transport, you can record and document them, and then file a claim against the insurance policy held by the car hauler, so you are compensated for them. 

How Much Does Open Auto Transport Cost?

The rates of open auto transport vary and are largely dependent on factors, such as:

  • The total mileage between the destination and origin.
  • The national average diesel fuel rates.
  • The vehicle specs (size, make, weight, etc.).
  • The condition of your car.
  • Route variations.
  • The date of transport. 
  • Additional options (i.e., top-load service, etc.)

It should also be noted that booking and reserving your order ahead of time gives us the opportunity to access route accessibility and truck space and find the lowest price for auto shipping. 

You can get your free quote within seconds by using our auto shipping rates calculator. Simply enter the required information and receive your quote automatically. Or you can get in touch with a Customer Service agent via email, Live Chat, or call us at (800) 930-7417. 

Pros and Cons of Open Auto Shipping 

Open auto transport is a much cheaper and faster way to transport vehicles than enclosed transport. This is because a two-tier trailer can carry between 7-10 vehicles at one time. Plus, an open trailer comes with cheaper fuel costs due to the lighter-than-an-enclosed-trailer design. Also, it is a solution that can give you many convenient options regarding the preferred arrival and shipping times. 

Other benefits of open auto transport:

  • More active trucks read to load your vehicle (route availability). 
  • 100% bumper-to-bumper auto transport insurance protection policy. 
  • Door-to-door service.
  • Several types of open carriers: (1) two-level, multi-car carrier, (2) single-level, multi-car carriers (ideal for expedited deliveries or transporting luxury or sports autos), and (3) dually trucks with a single-level low trailer (great for local or short-distance deliveries).  

Being that it’s an open auto transport option means that your vehicle is exposed to the elements. In addition, any road debris finds its way onto your vehicle, which means that you may receive a dirty car at delivery. You can minimize the risk of flying road debris damaging your car, though, by requesting a top load. That way, you will have your car loaded on the upper deck, which will also protect it from other vehicle leakages. 

Open vs Enclosed Auto Transport 

With enclosed auto transport, you ship your vehicle in an enclosed trailer. This means it is protected from flying road debris and the weather. Plus, enclosed auto transport drivers are usually more experienced than open auto transport drivers when it comes to the care of high-end cars. And, if you choose the so-called white glove transport option, you can expect the driver to give all of their attention to your car and offer you the best customer care throughout the transport with things like constant communication and single-car trailers.

What you will probably not like about enclosed carriers is that they cannot move many cars at once, so they are much more expensive than open carriers. Also, enclosed carriers demand more fuel than their lighter-in-weight open siblings. That aside, the driver is far less likely to conduct vehicle inspections during the transit. As for the enclosed trailer options, you are somewhat more limited than with an open carrier. So, you can choose between one-car trailers, two-car trailers, and multi-car trailers (up to seven cars). You may, however, even decide the type of trailer structure you wish to have your car transported with (a hard-sided or soft-sided trailer). 

How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car With Open Auto Transport?

The transit time of an open auto carrier depends on several factors. For starters, they make several stops to pick up cars along the way. The weather conditions also play a role in how fast the transport will be. Generally speaking, though, open auto carriers cover 500 miles per day. This means that they will need about four days to transport your vehicle and make a, say, a 2000-mile trip. 

For faster shipping time, it is advised to schedule your vehicle transport ahead of time (around 2-3 weeks in advance) rather than waiting until the last minute. This gives you and the auto shipping company the time to coordinate things and ensure fast and on-time delivery. 

Why Use Open Auto Transport?

Best Customer Service

Get a personal concierge, as well as the contact information for your truck driver. We will be with you every step of the way, and even get the car washed upon delivery for you.

Cheapest Rates

Save money over using an enclosed carrier, and get the best rates in the industry from our huge network of reliable, fast open auto carriers.

Fastest Method

Using open auto transport is the fastest way to ship your car between two points.

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Dave Armstrong
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