Should You Move Your Car via Open-Air Transport?

For those embarking on a long distance move, the decision over how to move one’s car is an all too common dilemma. While some are able to drive it themselves, many don’t have the time (or patience) to drive thousands of miles across the country. And with all of the other demands that moving to a new place requires, it can quickly turn into a very big hassle. To make things easier on yourself, I highly recommend hiring a professional car shipping company to move your car.
Many, if not most, car shipping companies will place vehicles on open-air carriers to transport cars from one place to another. These open-air carriers are typically 80 or so feet wide with a two-level trailer on the back that hauls all cars. You’ve most likely seen these auto transporters while driving on the highway. However, given the carriers’ lack of siding and roof protection, they do present a few challenges to potential customers.
If you’re struggling over the decision of whether or not to move your car via open-air transport, we can help. Here are a few of the pros and cons to using open-air car carriers, as well as a few car shipping alternatives.

Pros of open-air car carriers

One of the biggest advantages to choosing an open-air shipper is the price tag. Without a doubt, shipping your car in an open-air carrier will save you big bucks compared to other car shipping alternatives – including using an enclosed carrier. While enclosed car carriers do have advantages, they tend to cost much more than open-air options. If you’re planning to ship multiple cars to your new home, choosing an open-air carrier will certainly be the most economical and practical choice.
Another advantage to using an open-air transport is the that the driver will be able to notice immediately if your car is damaged in any way. This easy inspection access gives customers peace of mind.
Finally, because open-air car shipping companies are quite popular and common, customers won’t have any trouble finding a reliable shipper near them. Those looking to book their shipment on a few weeks notice – or even at the last minute – will be more likely to find an open-air car shipper that suits their needs.

Cons of open-air car carriers

The biggest con to open-air car shipping is the fact that there are no sides or roof on the trailers. Unlike enclosed car carriers, these trailers are exposed to the elements. This means if it’s raining, snowing or hailing, your vehicle could be damaged. 
Security (or lack thereof) is another concern when choosing open-air car shipping. Since the cars are exposed, they are more vulnerable to damage and break-ins. For this reason, it’s usually best not to leave anything in your car when placing the vehicle on an open-air transport.
Since open-air carriers hold multiple cars (sometimes 10 or more), it may take longer to get your car back. This is because the driver must drop off all the cars, and depending on where your car falls in his queue or travel schedule, you may have to wait while they drop off the other cars first.
Finally, some open-air auto carriers do not offer door-to-door service. A few require the customer to actually pick up their car at a local hub. Given that you don’t yet have your car back, this can be especially inconvenient. However, many auto transporters do offer door-to-door service, so make sure to ask.

Other auto transport options:

If moving your car via open-air transport isn’t for you, you’re in luck. There are several reliable alternatives to choose from. Here are three other ways to successfully move your car during the upcoming relocation.
  • Hire a professional driver to drive the car – Not keen on putting your car on the back of an open-air trailer? If you’re willing to spend more money, I suggest hiring a professional driver to transport your car from point A to point B. According to uShip.com, some auto transportation companies offer a personal driving service to help transport your vehicle. The website points out that the drivers are screened and covered by the company’s insurance. However, driver availability is not always guaranteed and you need to “be prepared to pay a premium for deadline service,” reports the online shipping marketplace.
  • Ship the car via Amtrak’s Auto Train – Moving somewhere on the East Coast? Try shipping your vehicle by train. If you’re moving somewhere between Washington, DC and Orlando, Florida, you can actually load your belongings in the car and then load your car onto the Auto Train. According to Amtrak, Auto Train can carry cars, SUVs, motorcycles and more. For more information on Amtrak’s Auto Train, check here.
  • Drive the car yourself – Did anyone say “road trip”! One of the most tried-and-true ways to move your car and save money is by driving the vehicle yourself. If you have the time, I recommend choosing this route. Driving your own car is also a great excuse to see family, friends and tourist attractions along the way. Knowing that the car isn’t being driven by a stranger will also give you some peace of mind.  

Ready to find an open-air car shipping company?

Once you’ve decided that hiring an open-air car shipping company is the route for you, make sure to check whether the considered companies are licensed and insured. I recommend checking all reviews online, as well as credentials on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. Customers can also double-check whether the auto transport is licensed or not by looking up the company’s U.S. DOT number on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website.
Get free auto transport quotes on Moving.com. You can rest assured that every auto transport company we partner with is licensed, insured, and readily prepared for all the challenges associated with your car transportation needs. We truly believe that the companies we work with are the best in the business and deliver not just your belongings, but also the peace of mind of a successful move. So don’t let moving your vehicles add unnecessary stress to your move planning. Let us take care of all of your auto shipping needs.

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