Preowned Auto Logistics is OPEN and operating in strict compliance with all COVID-19 best practices. Please contact an Account Rep to learn what PAL is doing to keep you safe, and keep you rolling.

Open vs. Closed Trailers in Auto Transport

Open vs. Closed Trailers in Auto Transport

When choosing the right shipping method for your vehicle, you’ll have several options to choose from. One of the significant decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want an open or closed carrier for your car transport. Below, we’ll go over the differences between open and closed trailers, as well as the pros and cons of each method of transportation.

What is an Open Trailer?

An open trailer is the most common method for auto transport. It is often a truck with a trailer that is open to the elements. You’ve probably seen these trailers on the highway; they are often the same size as a semi, pulling a trailer loaded with up to nine cars. However, there are many different types and sizes of trucks, but all open carriers leave your vehicle open to the elements.

What is a Closed Carrier?

A closed carrier looks like a tractor trailer; however, inside the closed truck is a double-decker rack for cars to be placed.  This is beneficial for both the customer and carrier because it provides additional protection while the vehicle is in transit. This option is most commonly used for luxury vehicles, vintage cars, and other rare or expensive options.

Pros and Cons of Open Carrier vs. Closed Carrier

Pros of Open Carriers for Car Shipping

Open carriers for auto transport are an excellent option for most situations. The standard open trailer has a double-decker design that allows the driver to fit up to nine cars of various shapes and sizes on board. Loading the vehicles is easy, but the driver will have to consider the weight and size of each vehicle to be loaded. Because of regulations from the DOT on how much weight each truck is allowed to haul, Preowned Auto Logistics makes sure to plan how each truck will be loaded before departure carefully.

Cars are driven carefully onto the trailer and arranged to distribute the weight. The driver will be sure to arrange the vehicles to meet the height requirements, as well, to avoid any potential problems on the road.


  • Cost-effective
  • Safe
  • More availability
  • Efficient
  • More cars can fit on the trailer

Cons of Open Carriers for Car Shipping

Because of the design of open carriers, the primary concern for having your car shipped on an open trailer is the exposure to the elements.


  • Exposure to the elements
  • Not suitable for some cars with retractable tops

Pros of Closed Carriers for Car Shipping

Unlike the open carriers, closed carriers are not exposed to the elements. These trailers feature fully closed designs that offer better protection for your vehicle from weather, road dust, and any other elements that may be encountered along the way.


  • Premium protection
  • Great for luxury vehicles
  • Safer for vintage cars
  • Perfect for convertibles with soft tops

Cons of Closed Carriers for Car Shipping

Even with the added benefits, sometimes choosing a closed carrier instead of an open carrier may not be a great fit for you! Things like the height and size of your vehicle could come into play, but the increase in cost makes this choice less appealing for standard car shipping.


  • Higher costs
  • Fewer cars can fit on a single trailer

Is an Open or Closed Trailer Right for My Auto Transport Needs?

Deciding on the right type of carrier for your car shipping service comes down to your budget, expectations, and what the shipping company has available. When you work with Preowned Auto Logistics, we’ll happily answer any questions you have about open and closed trailers so you can make the best decision for you!

Often, if you have a standard vehicle with no special requirements, an open carrier will be the best option for you. However, if you’re looking to move a luxury vehicle, a vintage car, or a sports car, you may want to consider upgrading to a closed carrier.

Get The Best Rate on Car Shipping﹘ Request a Quote Today

Give us a call at 877.542.1955 and receive a custom quote for your auto transport needs. We’ll work with you to find the best option for getting your car shipped quickly and efficiently.

Customer Reviews

“It was great working with Josh!! Communication was on point, and car was delivered on the exact date. Would definitely recommend this company over any other shipping company!!!”

– Chinda Tham

“I recently hired preowned auto logistics to ship a brand new car from MA to MN. I worked with Jake, and he was professional, helpful, and communicative throughout the whole process, especially when I had to change the departure date.  The driver called my daughter the day before he got to MN, and they worked out a delivery time and place that worked for both of them.”

– Michele Cohen

Read more customer reviews.