Enclosed Vs Open Carrier Military Car Shipping: Which One Is Best For You

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When it comes to military car shipping, making the right choice between enclosed and open carriers is crucial. This decision can significantly impact the safety, cost, and overall experience of transporting your vehicle, especially under the unique circumstances of military relocations.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into the nuances of enclosed versus open carrier military car shipping. We understand the importance of your vehicle’s security and your peace of mind during transit. Whether you’re moving across the country or being deployed overseas, knowing the ins and outs of these two shipping options can make a world of difference.

Our aim is to provide you with detailed, insightful information, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your needs. From analyzing cost-effectiveness to evaluating protection levels against the elements, we cover every aspect to guide you in choosing the best car shipping method for your military move.

Exploring Enclosed Car Shipping

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Enclosed car shipping offers unparalleled protection and security for transporting vehicles. This method is particularly beneficial for military personnel who require extra care for their vehicles during relocation.

1. What Is Enclosed Car Shipping?

Enclosed car shipping involves transporting vehicles in a fully covered trailer, providing maximum protection from external elements. This method is akin to giving your vehicle a first-class journey, shielding it from weather, dust, and road debris. Enclosed trailers are typically equipped with advanced security systems, ensuring that your vehicle remains safe throughout its transit.

Enclosed auto transport is especially beneficial for high-value or sensitive vehicles. The added protection minimizes the risk of damage, making it a preferred choice for luxury, classic, or high-performance cars. The peace of mind that comes with this shipping method is invaluable, especially when dealing with the stresses of military relocation.

2. Benefits of Enclosed Car Shipping for Military Personnel

Military personnel often have unique needs when it comes to vehicle transport. Enclosed car shipping services cater to these needs by offering enhanced security and protection. This is crucial for service members who may be transporting vehicles with sensitive equipment or those of high sentimental or monetary value.

The benefits extend beyond mere protection. Enclosed auto shipping provides a sense of assurance and reliability. Knowing that your vehicle is safeguarded against any unforeseen circumstances during transit can significantly reduce the stress associated with military moves.

3. When to Choose Enclosed Car Shipping?

Choosing enclosed car transport is ideal when dealing with high-value vehicles or when moving through areas with harsh weather conditions. It’s also the preferred choice for long-distance moves where the vehicle might be exposed to various risks over a longer period.

For military personnel, enclosed shipping becomes crucial when dealing with vehicles that have specialized modifications or carry equipment that needs to be kept confidential. In such cases, the extra cost associated with enclosed transport is often justified by the added security and protection.

4. Cost Comparison: Enclosed vs Open Carriers

Enclosed car shipping costs are generally higher than open transport due to the additional protection and lower capacity of enclosed trailers. However, when comparing these costs, it’s important to consider the value of the vehicle and the potential risks of open auto transport.

For military personnel, investing in enclosed transport can be a wise decision, especially for high-value or sensitive vehicles. The extra cost is a small price to pay for the assurance that your vehicle will arrive at its destination in pristine condition.

5. Enclosed Carrier Safety Features

Enclosed carriers are equipped with features that enhance the safety and security of the vehicles they transport. These include air-ride suspension for a smoother ride, advanced tie-down systems to secure the vehicle, and climate control systems to maintain optimal conditions inside the trailer.

The enclosed trailers themselves are designed to offer robust protection against external elements, ensuring that vehicles are not only transported securely but also remain in top condition throughout the journey.

Exploring Open Carrier Shipping

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Open carrier shipping is a popular and cost-effective method for transporting vehicles. It’s a practical choice for military moves, offering reliability and efficiency.

1. What Is Open Carrier Shipping?

Open car shipping involves transporting vehicles on an open trailer exposed to the elements. This method is the most common form of auto transport, offering an efficient and economical way to move vehicles over long distances.

Open car transport is a straightforward process, where vehicles are loaded onto a multi-level trailer. This method is highly efficient, allowing for the transport of multiple vehicles simultaneously, which significantly reduces the cost per vehicle.

2. Advantages of Open Carrier Shipping for Military Moves

The primary advantage of open auto transport is its cost-effectiveness. For military personnel who are often relocating and need a reliable yet affordable vehicle shipping solution, open carriers offer a practical choice.

Open transport also tends to have more flexible scheduling options due to its popularity and availability. This flexibility can be crucial for military members who often face tight timelines and unexpected changes in their relocation schedules.

3. Situations Best Suited for Open Carriers

Open carriers are best suited for standard vehicles and situations where cost is a major consideration. They are ideal for short to medium-distance moves or when the vehicle being transported is used regularly and not of exceptionally high value.

For military personnel, open car shipping is a sensible choice for standard-issue vehicles or personal vehicles that do not require the extra protection of an enclosed trailer.

4. Cost-Effectiveness of Open Carriers

The affordability of open-car shipping makes it a popular choice. The cost savings come from the ability to transport multiple vehicles at once, reducing the overall expenses associated with the shipping process.

For those in the military, these savings can be significant, especially when dealing with frequent relocations. Open car transport offers a balance between efficiency and affordability without compromising the basic safety of the vehicle.

5. Weather and Environmental Considerations

While open-car shipping is efficient and cost-effective, it does expose vehicles to weather and environmental elements. This exposure can be a concern for certain vehicles or during certain times of the year.

Military personnel should consider the route, season, and weather conditions when opting for open transport. In cases where the vehicle might be exposed to harsh conditions, enclosed car shipping might be a more suitable option.

Read More: Differences Between Civilian and Military Car Shipping

Open vs. Enclosed Car Shipping Costs

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Understanding the cost implications of open and enclosed car shipping is crucial for making an informed decision. While enclosed auto transport typically incurs higher costs, various factors contribute to these expenses.

1. Comparative Cost Analysis

The cost difference between open and enclosed car shipping is evident when comparing quotes from top shippers. For instance, transporting a 2018 Honda Civic over 1,600 miles costs $1,399 with Montway Auto Transport’s open service, while their enclosed service is priced at $1,709.

Similarly, Sherpa Auto Transport charges $1,290 for open shipping and $1,490 for enclosed. This price variation highlights the premium nature of enclosed car transport services.

Enclosed car shipping costs more due to factors like the limited availability of enclosed trailers and the specialized service they offer. Enclosed auto shipping provides additional protection, making it a preferred choice for high-value vehicles, which justifies the higher price tag.

2. Factors Influencing Car Shipping Costs

Several factors affect the cost of car shipping, whether you choose open or enclosed transport. The type of vehicle is a significant factor; larger and more expensive models generally cost more to ship. Operable cars are easier to handle, attracting lower shipping costs.

Distance also plays a crucial role. Long-distance transport is more expensive overall, though the cost per mile decreases compared to short-distance shipping. Pickup and dropoff locations impact the price, with terminal-to-terminal options being more economical than door-to-door services.

3. Impact of Gas Prices and Vehicle Type

Fuel costs directly influence car shipping expenses. Enclosed car carriers are less fuel-efficient, contributing to the higher costs of enclosed auto transport. The type of vehicle being shipped also matters. Larger, luxury, or specialty vehicles typically incur higher shipping costs due to their need for extra care and space.

Enclosed auto shipping is often chosen for these types of vehicles, given the additional protection it offers. This choice, while more expensive, ensures the safety and security of high-value vehicles during transit.

4. Seasonal Variations in Shipping Costs

The time of year can significantly affect car shipping costs. Peak seasons like summer months and January see higher demand for auto transport services, leading to increased prices. During these times, planning and booking in advance can be crucial for securing better rates.

Enclosed car shipping services, being in higher demand for transporting high-value vehicles, can see a more significant price increase during these peak periods compared to open car shipping.

5. Choosing Between Open and Enclosed Transport

Deciding between open and enclosed transport involves weighing the cost against the level of protection required for the vehicle. Open car shipping is more economical and suitable for standard vehicles, while enclosed transport offers enhanced protection for luxury, classic, or specially equipped military vehicles.

The choice often comes down to the individual needs of the vehicle owner and the specific circumstances of the move. Military personnel, for instance, might prefer enclosed transport for vehicles with sensitive equipment or high sentimental value.

Read More: Tips for a Smooth Military Car Shipping Process

Enclosed Vs. Open: Which One is Better for You?

When deciding between enclosed and open car shipping for interstate transport, the choice largely depends on the type of vehicle and the owner’s priorities. Open car transport is generally the most practical and cost-effective option for the average vehicle owner. Its affordability and availability make it a popular choice, as there are more open carriers on the road, which often translates to quicker shipping times.

The primary drawback of open transport is the exposure of vehicles to the elements and road debris. However, this exposure is comparable to the regular wear and tear experienced during highway driving, and the likelihood of significant damage is minimal. In most cases, the extent of exposure might only necessitate a car wash upon arrival.

On the other hand, enclosed auto transport offers complete protection from the elements, making it the ideal choice for rare, valuable, vintage, or particularly cherished vehicles. If your car is a classic from before 1970, a high-performance sports car, or has significant sentimental or monetary value, enclosed car shipping ensures it arrives without a scratch.

This option is also preferable for cars with low ground clearance, as some enclosed carriers are equipped with special lifting equipment for safe handling. The major downside to enclosed transport is the cost, which can be 30% to 40% higher than open shipping.

Additionally, the availability of enclosed carriers is less compared to open carriers, which might lead to slightly longer wait times for transport. For those with high-value vehicles, however, the extra cost and potential wait are often a worthwhile investment for the added peace of mind and protection.

Why Choose Military Car Shipping: Tailored Transport Solutions for Service Members?

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At Military Car Shipping, we understand the unique challenges faced by military personnel when it comes to relocating vehicles. Our services are specifically designed to cater to the needs of those who serve our country, ensuring a hassle-free and secure vehicle transport experience.

  • Specialized Services for Military Moves: We offer both open and enclosed car shipping options, allowing you to choose the best fit for your vehicle’s needs and your budget. Our team is experienced in handling a wide range of vehicles, from personal cars to specialized military equipment.
  • Understanding Military Needs: Our team, comprising many veterans, has firsthand experience with the demands of military life. This understanding guides our approach to every shipment, ensuring we meet the specific requirements of each military move.
  • Convenience and Reliability: We provide door-to-door service, picking up your vehicle from your current location and delivering it directly to your new posting. Our extensive network ensures timely and reliable transport, regardless of the destination.
  • Safety and Security: For high-value or sensitive vehicles, our enclosed car shipping offers the ultimate protection against the elements and road debris. Our open transport option is ideal for more standard vehicle moves, providing a cost-effective and efficient solution.
  • Support and Communication: We maintain open lines of communication throughout the transport process, giving you peace of mind and keeping you informed every step of the way.


Military Car Shipping is dedicated to providing top-notch vehicle transport services tailored to the unique needs of military personnel. Whether you’re relocating across the country or to a new base overseas, we have the expertise, experience, and resources to ensure your vehicle arrives safely and on time.

Trust us to handle the logistics of your vehicle transport so you can focus on your service and family. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist with your next move.


What types of car shipping options do you offer for military moves?

We offer both open and enclosed car shipping options, allowing you to choose based on your vehicle’s needs and your personal preferences.

How do you ensure the safety of my vehicle during transport?

Our enclosed car shipping provides complete protection from the elements and road debris, while our open transport option is efficient and cost-effective. We use advanced securing methods and equipment to ensure the safety of your vehicle.

Can you accommodate last-minute military relocations?

Yes, we understand the dynamic nature of military life and offer flexible scheduling to accommodate last-minute relocations.

Do you offer any discounts for military personnel?

Yes, we proudly support our troops by offering special discounts for military personnel. Please contact us for more details on our military discounts.

How can I track my vehicle during transport?

We provide regular updates and have a tracking system in place, allowing you to monitor the progress of your vehicle shipment throughout the journey.