Posted on 10/22/21

Types of Trailers and Trucks Used To Ship A Car

Types of Trailers and Trucks Used To Ship A Car

You may not have considered the various types of truck and trailer options available for shipping vehicles, even if you are planning to ship a vehicle. Auto transport is one of those services that you don't realize you need until it actually happens. We are always here to help and will recommend the best car shipping trailer for your needs.

We think that all the different truck and vehicle shipping options are quite interesting. So we decided to make a post explaining the differences between single-level multicar carriers, single-vehicle hotshot trailers, and multi-level multicar carrier trailers as well as the various types of car transporters used in the shipping industry. We'll talk about the best option for you at the end of this article.

First, there are both enclosed and open carriers

Move Car is an auto transport management firm that can help you ship your car. They will usually allow you to choose between auto transport or enclosed auto transport. These options are the types of shipping trucks that will transport your vehicle. When we think of a 'car carrier', most people picture an open trailer. Enclosed auto transport is more like an enclosed shipping container with wheels that house the trucks and cars inside. Both are usually pulled by large rigs.

Let's dive deeper into each option.

Car shipping with Open auto transport

Any trailer that is an open-carrier trailer can be described as a trailer with no sides. There are many types of open car carriers. However, they all share one thing in common: the vehicles they transport are exposed to the surrounding environment. It is safe, efficient, and common in the auto transport industry to ship a car using an open car carrier trailer.

Open car transportation is the most common shipping method in our industry. In fact, many cars and trucks are transported on open carriers that can transport anything from one to ten vehicles. Truckers who transport cars on open carriers are skilled and have the knowledge to properly pack and secure vehicles to ensure their safety while on the road.

Car shipping with enclosed car shipping

Closed car carriers are less popular. These are trailers with sides and tops that protect the cars inside from the elements. This method is most often chosen by car owners because they are very proud of their cars. Enclosed carriers can carry up to five vehicles and are suitable for classic cars, antiques, luxury cars or custom cars. An enclosed carrier will protect your vehicle during transport.

Let's now break it down even further

While enclosed and open trailers might be the only options available to you by your auto transport company, you should also know that there are many types of both.

If you ship a car via open transport trailer, it might end up riding on one of these carriers:

1. Hotshot trailers for single vehicles

This open carrier configuration uses a dually pickup (a pickup that has dual rear wheels on either side) to pull the gooseneck trailer large enough to transport one car or truck. A hotshot trailer for a single vehicle will be used most of the time to transport a vehicle short distances. However, expedited shipping may be required and a hotshot trailer can be used for longer distances.

Do not confuse single-vehicle hotshot trailers and tow trucks. Flatbed tow trucks can also be used as single-vehicle carriers, and are similar to tow trucks for moving cars over short distances. However, tow trucks don't pull a trailer. Flatbed tow trucks typically have an attached hydraulic bed

2. Single-level multi-car trailers

Single-level multi-vehicle trailers can haul up to six vehicles, including small trucks and RVs. Multi-car gooseneck trailers and bumper pull trailers can be pulled by a dually truck. There are also larger single deck trailers which are large enough to need a semi. This car carrier may be larger than a hotshot, but it can still go where bigger car carriers cannot.

3. Multi-level, multi-vehicle Trailers

Most car carriers that you will see on the roads will be multi-level, multi vehicle trailers. This is the most common form of open transport in the car shipping industry. If you book open car transportation, chances are your vehicle will be transported on this type trailer that is pulled by semi-trucks.

A car being transported in an enclosed transport trailer will be traveling in one of these types of carriers:

1. An enclosed trailer with one level and one vehicle.

This is a specialized type of auto transport that's used to haul expensive cars and trucks over short distances. This type of specialized auto transport is used for hauling expensive cars and trucks short distances.

2. A multi-vehicle enclosed trailer with a single level

Enclosed carriers can also carry multiple vehicles, usually three in an enclosed trailer pulled behind a semi. The trailer transports the vehicles in a single line, which is high above the roadbed.

3. Multi-level, enclosed trailer for multiple vehicles

This enclosed carrier is taller than the open type and can hold two rows of vehicles, usually six to eight. These trailers can be pulled by powerful semi-trucks. They are loaded and unloaded in the same way as an open carrier, with adjustable deck ramps.

You should also note that enclosed carriers are available in both soft-sided (sometimes called curtain side) trailers as well as hard-sided trailers. Soft-sided trailers come with flexible PVC-coated vinyl side curtain panels instead of hard walls. This can make loading and unloading easier as there is more space for strapping and unstrapping. However, hard-sided trailers tend to be more common.

Advantages of shipping your car on an open carrier standard

Each type of trailer offers its own advantages. Let's first look at the advantages of open transport:

  • This is the cheapest way to ship a car
  • This type of carrier is more common on the road , so it can be quicker.
  • Open carrier shipping is more environmentally friendly because it uses less fuel

Advantages of shipping your car in an enclosed trailer

Open transport is fine for most cars. However, owners of expensive, rare, or special vehicles might want to have more security and protection.

These are the benefits of enclosed transport:

  • All road debris and weather will be kept away from special vehicles
  • Cars and trucks arrive looking stunning and ready to be displayed
  • It's private so you don't have to worry about strangers touching your vehicle

    What about other types of carriers?

    Are planes considered a type car carrier? What about a train car? Or a cargo boat. A car can be shipped as air freight, which is something most people don't think about. Manufacturers use rail more frequently than individual owners. For international car shipping, the only option is to ship by boat. These shipping options are more costly than shipping a car via truck in each of these cases. Shipping by air is the most cost-effective and fastest way to transport a car across the country or across the ocean. Although it is safer than shipping on a train, the process of moving an autorack on a train can be much more difficult. Shipping by boat is only practical if you are shipping a car internationally.

    Given the many options available for shipping a car, let us talk about which auto carrier is best for you. The security requirements of your vehicle should be your top concern. Open trailers are safe enough for your SUV or family sedan. You don't have to pay more for enclosed shipping. However, if your vehicle is valuable, unique, or antique (financially and otherwise), you may be able to justify paying more for enclosed shipping.

    No matter which shipping method you use, make sure to get estimates from at least three to five companies that specialize in auto transport management. This will give you an idea of the cost of shipping your car from your home to your destination and help you choose the right company. Are you still unsure which transporter you should use? Before you book , make sure to check out our list questions for auto transport companies. Talking to a representative can be a great way to find out how the company treats customers and how they will treat you.