When to go with an Enclosed Transport - 800-930-7417

We have Been in the Auto Transport Business Since 1999 and are accredited with an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau!

Use our auto transport calculator to find out. You will see your auto shipping quote in less then 30 seconds with our price calculator, and find out when your vehicle can be picked up.

We strive to provide the lowest possible price to move your vehicle within a reasonable amount of time. Our pricing experts consider not only supply and demand and diesel fuel rates, but also provide special discounts for popular transport routes and seasonal backhaul routes.


When to go with an Enclosed Transport

So many decisions must be made when it comes to transporting your vehicle. Whether it’s buying a new car, moving cross country, or transporting your college student’s car to a new city. One of the most important questions I get asked is “Which transport should I go with?”, open or enclosed. Open carriers are quick, affordable, and reliable. Most everyday vehicles can go on an open carrier. All the stacked car carriers you see delivering and picking up cars from your local dealership are the same carriers we use nationwide to help get your car from point A to point B.  

Enclosed carriers are a little more costly, although very reliable, safe, and secure. This type of transport will fully protect/enclose your vehicle, shielding it from any outside elements (weather, dirt, debris). In this article, I’ll go over all the reasons you may need to go with an enclosed carrier. From having an expensive luxury vehicle to maybe wanting to ship a family car that has a lot of meaning. Here’s your one-stop guide to help choose your best option.  

Article Overview 

  1. Luxury Car Transport 
  2. Motorcycles or Smaller Automobiles 
  3. Classic Vehicles 
  4. Lowered Vehicles 
  5. Damaged Vehicles 
  6. Items in Vehicles 
  7. Vehicles Unable to go on an Enclosed Transport 
  8. Author’s Insights 

Luxury Car Transport  

From Lamborghini to Bentleys, some vehicles are just worth more. They hold more value and can sometimes be irreplaceable if custom-made. This is the number one reason I see for customers choosing to ship their vehicles enclosed. It is crucial to have your high-quality paint protected from the outdoor elements. Also, some luxury vehicles are too low to go on an open carrier, and therefore a lift gate is needed. Enclosed transports are the only carriers that offer this type of service.  

Some luxury car owners also don’t want their vehicles loaded with multiple other vehicles. Compared to open transport (which can haul as many as 10 cars at once), enclosed auto shipping moves around 1-6 vehicles at a single time (typically on a single tier and not stacked). Make sure when choosing a luxury auto transport service, you go with a company that highly vets their carriers and uses only top-rated carriers that are known for quality (Like American Auto Shipping).  

Remember, your luxury car deserves the best. So, go ahead and pamper your precious car with regal treatment during its auto transport voyage. It’s an investment.

Motorcycles or Smaller Automobiles 

Motorcycles and some smaller automobiles (ATVs, mopeds, Smart Cars, etc.) cannot be securely transported via open carriers. They can either go on an enclosed carrier or flatbed trailer. No exceptions. A lot of transport companies will try to get you to put your motorcycle on an open carrier. Causing your vehicle to be more susceptible to damage during the shipping process.  

Some motorcycle owners prefer their vehicle to be crated, some are okay with it just being strapped down in the enclosed truck. There are special instructions to prepare your bike before transport. Here’s an exact excerpt from our website, americanautoshipping.com, that explains how to prepare your motorcycle for shipment:  

Your bike should be ready to ride at delivery, which is why we won’t ask you to disconnect the battery or empty the gas tank. Unless you’re shipping a short distance, make sure that you drain the gas tank – 1/4 tank is what motorcycle shipping services typically recommend. Do ensure that your tour packs and saddlebags are properly closed and secured, and remove any personal property from the motorcycle (i.e., the helmet) – you may store your personal items inside the tour packs, saddlebags, or trunks. Please do not leave any extra parts outside the motorcycle to prevent potential dents or scratches. Don’t forget to either ship your keys (or your spare keys) or attach them to the handlebars with a tie wrap. After you’ve marked down anything of importance, you’ll want to thoroughly clean your motorcycle, write down any existing mechanical problems, take pictures of your vehicle from multiple angles, and make sure to include any damage in the photos to be sure that it’s documented – and remember to date any pictures or notes you take regarding your bike. Make sure to remove all loose items from your motorcycle, as your shipper’s insurance probably won’t cover them. As your carrier may need to drive your motorcycle on or off the transport truck, telling them ahead of time of any mechanical problems or reasons why they cannot drive it would be a good idea. Motorcycle shipping services are generally cheaper than vehicle shipping services, but sometimes it can be more expensive, especially if you’re shipping across the country, so in order to save some time and money, be sure that you follow all the steps in regard to prepping your bike and make sure that you understand how your motorcycle is insured and what that insurance will do for you. Don’t forget that you can ship any vehicle with American Auto Shipping! Simply take a minute to fill out our free quote form and get a free, no-hassle quote to ship your vehicle right away. You can also contact us any time toll-free to speak to a representative. They can answer questions, give you a free quote, and even book your reservation if you’re ready to actually ship.” 

The wheelbase of smaller cars is sometimes too small to go on an open carrier. If put on an enclosed carrier, it can be strapped down, preventing it from moving and being damaged during transport.  

Classic Vehicles 

Just like luxury cars, a classic car can be expensive and even more so irreplaceable. A lot of classic cars are showroom vehicles and need extra care during transport to ensure there is no damage done. If transported to a car show, typically, owners want their vehicles to arrive clean and ready to showcase.  

In this industry, I see a lot of vintage cars being passed down from generation to generation, making it very important the owner’s vehicle is left in proper care. Also, sometimes people need to ship spare parts, which is not a possibility with open transport. With enclosed, some carriers are willing to do so, at an additional cost.  

Enclosed car shipping offers the elegance and peace of mind that vintage car owners demand, ensuring their prized possessions arrive in impeccable condition. 

Lowered Vehicles 

This is something I see every week; a WRX or a Civic lowered to the ground or a Corvette which comes stock lowered. In order to go on an open carrier, you need ground clearance of at least 4 inches. Anything below 4 inches needs a lift gate and has to go on an enclosed truck. The drivers also specialize in dealing with these types of vehicles. The last thing an owner wants is their undercarriage scratched up, or damaged done to their bumpers. It’s the customer’s duty to ensure the auto transporter knows their vehicle is lowered. A carrier may come out not equipped to do the job, wasting their time and your time. 

If you have a lowered vehicle, you can always get it reversed for the shipment if you’d rather have your vehicle on an open carrier.  

Damaged Vehicles 

Sometimes when purchasing a vehicle from the auction, you pose the risk of it being damaged. Or maybe you were in an accident and need your vehicle shipped to a body shop. If there are loose pieces, bumpers coming off, mirrors hanging, etc., you’ll definitely need an enclosed truck to ship your car. If your car is inoperable as well, make sure to let your transport specialist know. Not all carriers are equipped with a wench and therefore need to be notified beforehand.  

If your damaged vehicle needs to be loaded by means of a forklift (due to not being capable of rolling, braking, or steering), it cannot be shipped enclosed. You can only ship these types of cars on a flatbed carrier. Most auctions will help load with a forklift, but on the delivery end, you’ll need to be sure to provide a forklift as well.  

Items in Vehicles  

Most open carriers only allow up to 100 lbs of household goods or items in your car. The items cannot be seen and have to be in the trunk or cargo area. Nothing is allowed above the window line. By paying more, you can upgrade to an enclosed transport to add more items to your vehicle. Doing so is at your own risk and not guaranteed to be picked up by every carrier. 

This option will be pricier due to having to pay for an enclosed transport and also the added weight of the items in your vehicle. As stated above, it is always a risk to ship household items and goods. These items are not insured, and the carrier is not responsible or licensed to ship anything other than automobiles. Please speak with your transport specialist if you have any questions regarding shipping items in your vehicle.  

Vehicles Unable to go on an Enclosed Transport  

This is short and simple. Any vehicle that is over 7 feet high and 82 inches wide cannot go in an enclosed carrier. Any vehicle that does not roll, brake, or steer cannot be transported open or enclosed. Ford Raptor models or Ram TRX models cannot go in an enclosed carrier due to being too wide. Again, speak with your transport specialist and give them all the information you can on your vehicle. They’ll help you decide if it’s even eligible to go on an enclosed carrier.  

Author’s Insights 

In conclusion, if you would like to ship your vehicle enclosed, do your research. Going with a transport service that has been around for a while is your best bet. You want someone knowledgeable, who has experience shipping cars via enclosed carriers and can ensure that you can ship your car quickly, easily, and efficiently. The price may be higher for an enclosed carrier, but there are also extra costs involved with this type of service. The extra attention to detail and the time it takes to prepare to ship your car are two reasons why the price is higher. If you have an exotic, luxury, or antique vehicle, enclosed auto transport is your best option.

Dave Armstrong
Follow Me
Latest posts by Dave Armstrong (see all)