Open Vehicle Transport: How it Works and How Much It Costs in 2024

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Whether you’re relocating across the country, buying a car sight-unseen, or need hassle-free transportation for your prized classic, open vehicle transport offers a convenient and cost-effective solution (and a service Movewheels is proud to offer!)

But navigating the intricacies of this service can be confusing, especially with fluctuating rates and different companies vying for your business. This comprehensive guide sheds light on open vehicle transport, answering your questions and empowering you to make informed decisions.

How open auto transport works
What trailer types are used for open transportation?
Pros and cons of open auto transport
Open car transport rates: How much it costs & what affects rates?
How to compare open auto transport quotes?
What documents are required for open auto transport?

How Open Auto Transport Works: A Journey from Point A to Point B

Imagine your vehicle securely strapped onto a multi-level trailer, sharing the ride with several others. That’s essentially the essence of open auto transport. Specialized carriers with open-air decks efficiently transport multiple vehicles simultaneously, reducing costs and offering nationwide coverage.

Here’s how it works:

How open auto transport works
Get Quotes: Compare prices from reputable companies.So why not start your journey with Movewheels? We offer competitive rates, transparent pricing, and a dedicated team to guide you through the process.
Book & Schedule: Once you’ve chosen your champion, it’s time to lock in your preferred dates for pickup and delivery. Think of it as booking your car’s first-class ticket across the country.
Pre-Trip Checkup: A quick inspection ensures any pre-existing damage is documented (think of it as a pre-flight inspection for your car).
Secure Boarding: Your vehicle gets strapped in like a VIP passenger, using tie-downs and chains to ensure a smooth ride.
Cross-Country Adventure: Your car embarks on its journey, monitored by experienced drivers.
Welcome Home!: Upon arrival, another inspection confirms your car’s safe arrival and condition.

Open transport is a convenient and efficient way to move your car, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Stay tuned for the next part of our journey, where we’ll explore the different types of trailers, weigh the pros and cons of open transport, and unveil the factors that affect the cost of shipping your car coast-to-coast with Movewheels!

Unveiling the Fleet: Exploring Different Trailer Types

Now that we’ve demystified the open transport process, let’s delve into the different types of trailers you’ll encounter:

Think of these trailers as the various “ships” in your car’s open-water voyage:

Open-Air Trailers
Open-Air Trailers: The workhorses of the open transport fleet, these trailers offer the most budget-friendly option. One level holds several vehicles secured by tie-downs and chains, offering basic protection from the elements. Think of them as the economy class of car travel, perfect for standard vehicles on a tight budget.
double-decker buses of the car-shipping
Multi-Car Carriers: These behemoths take efficiency to the next level, stacking vehicles on multiple decks. Ideal for high-volume transport, they offer similar protection as open-air trailers but at potentially lower per-vehicle costs. Imagine them as the double-decker buses of the car-shipping world, maximizing space and affordability.
Open Vehicle Transport: How it Works and How Much It Costs in 2024 1
Enclosed Trailers: While not technically “open” transport, these enclosed trailers deserve a mention. Offering ultimate protection from the elements and potential debris, they’re the premium choice for high-value, classic, or collector cars. Picture them as the private jets of car shipping, providing a luxurious and secure journey for your precious cargo.

Choosing the right trailer depends on several factors:

Your budget: Open-air trailers are the most affordable, while enclosed trailers command a premium.
Your vehicle’s value and vulnerability: Classics or high-value cars might benefit from the extra protection of enclosed trailers.
The distance and weather conditions: Longer journeys or harsher climates might make enclosed trailers more appealing.

Remember: Transport companies like Movewheels can help you choose the right trailer based on your specific needs and budget. Don’t hesitate to reach out to their friendly experts for personalized advice!

Weighing the Scales: Pros and Cons of Open Transport

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on trailer types in the world of open transport, let’s dive into the crucial question: is it the right choice for you?

Like any good road trip, there are scenic overlooks and bumpy patches to consider. Buckle up as we explore the pros and cons of open transport:

Pros and Cons of Open Transport


Budget-Friendly: The biggest perk of open transport is its affordability. Compared to enclosed trailers, it can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars, especially on shorter distances. Think of it as the gas-saving option for your car’s journey.
Wide Availability: Open transport carriers are readily available across the country, making it easier to find a company and schedule your shipment. No need to wait weeks for a specific trailer, just hop on the next available ride like a spontaneous road trip!
Fast Delivery: Generally, open transport offers quicker delivery times than enclosed options. This is because the trailers can carry more vehicles, optimizing transport efficiency. Imagine your car zooming across the country, eager to reach its new destination.
Environmentally Friendly: Since open transport carries multiple vehicles per trip, it reduces the overall carbon footprint compared to individual car journeys. So, you can feel good about choosing an eco-conscious option for your car’s relocation.


Exposure to Elements: The biggest drawback of open transport is the lack of protection from the elements. Your car will be exposed to rain, dust, road debris, and potentially even hail. Think of it like an open-air convertible ride, with the elements adding a touch of adventure (or maybe inconvenience).
Minor Damage Risk: While professional companies secure vehicles carefully, there’s a slight chance of minor cosmetic scratches or dings due to road debris or weather. Imagine a tiny souvenir from the journey, although hopefully not one that affects your car’s performance.
Limited Protection: Open transport is not suitable for high-value, classic, or collector cars. These precious vehicles require the ultimate protection offered by enclosed trailers. Think of them as needing VIP treatment, not just a standard seat on the car-carrier bus.

The decision ultimately depends on your priorities and your car’s needs. If you’re on a tight budget and willing to accept some minor exposure risk, open transport could be a great option. However, for high-value vehicles or those requiring maximum protection, our top enclosed companies are the way to go.

Still unsure? Don’t worry, Movewheels is here to help! Our friendly experts can assess your specific needs and recommend the best trailer type for your car. Contact us today for a personalized quote and a smooth, stress-free open transport experience!

Open Car Transport Rates: Understanding Costs and Affecting Factors

So, you’re ready to embark on the open transport adventure with your trusty car. But before you hit the “book now” button, let’s talk about the most important factor: cost. Buckle up, because we’re about to demystify the factors that affect your car’s cross-country price tag.

Remember: Open transport is generally the most affordable car shipping option, but the exact cost depends on several key factors:

Open Vehicle Transport: How it Works and How Much It Costs in 2024 2
Distance: The longer the journey, the higher the price. It’s like a road trip – the further you go, the more gas you burn (or in this case, the more miles the carrier travels).
Vehicle Size and Type: Larger and heavier vehicles like SUVs and trucks typically cost more to transport. Think of it like packing for a trip – bigger suitcases require more space and effort to move.
Seasonality: Demand for open transport surges during peak seasons like summer and holidays, leading to higher prices. Imagine a crowded highway – the more cars on the road, the slower (and more expensive) the journey.
Fuel Prices: Fluctuations in fuel prices directly impact carrier costs, which can be reflected in your final quote. Think of it like fluctuating gas prices at the pump – they affect the cost of your road trip too!
Trailer Type: As we discussed earlier, open-air trailers are the most budget-friendly, while enclosed trailers offer superior protection at a premium. It’s like choosing between economy and first class for your car’s journey.

Here’s a quick tip: To get a more accurate idea of your specific costs, get quotes from Movewheels. We can provide personalized estimates based on your unique needs and current market condition.

Remember: Don’t be afraid to negotiate! Open transport companies often offer flexible pricing, so don’t be shy to ask for a better deal, especially if you’re flexible with dates or pick-up/drop-off locations.

Still wondering about specific costs?


Distance (miles)

Estimated Price Range

Los Angeles, CA to New York, NY


$700 - $1,200

Chicago, IL to Miami, FL


$550 - $900

Seattle, WA to Denver, CO


$400 - $750

Houston, TX to Boston, MA


$650 - $1,050

Keep in mind: these are just estimates, and the actual cost could be higher or lower depending on the factors mentioned above.

Ready to get a personalized quote and embark on your open transport adventure? Movewheels is here to help! Contact us today for expert advice, transparent pricing, and a smooth, stress-free experience. Remember, we’re your one-stop shop for all your vehicle transport needs!

How to Compare Open Auto Transport Quotes?

Don’t just settle for the first quote! Take these steps to ensure you’re getting the best Now that you’ve grasped the pros, cons, and costs of open vehicle transport (a.k.a. open car shipping, open transport, or using open car carriers), it’s time to tackle the crucial step: comparing quotes. Fear not, fellow road warriors! With a little know-how, you can navigate the quote maze and land the perfect deal for your car’s journey.

Here’s your guide to comparing open transport quotes like a pro:

Open Vehicle Transport: How it Works and How Much It Costs in 2024 3
Book in advance: especially during peak seasons, to secure better rates and availability, consider booking in advance to prevent tight schedules. Think of it like booking your summer vacation early to snag the best deals!
Apples to Apples: Ensure each quote covers the same services and timeframe. This means specifying your pickup and delivery locations, desired dates, vehicle details, and preferred trailer type (open-air or enclosed). Imagine comparing hotel rooms without knowing if they have a pool or Wi-Fi – not helpful!
 Beyond the Bottom Line: While price is important, don’t solely focus on the cheapest option. Dig deeper into factors like:
Company reputation: Check online reviews and ratings on sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to gauge customer satisfaction. Think of it like reading restaurant reviews before trying a new place.
Insurance coverage: Understand what’s included in the quote and consider purchasing additional coverage if needed. Imagine having peace of mind knowing your car is fully protected.
Experience and licensing: Choose a company with a proven track record and valid FMCSA licensing for peace of mind. Think of it like booking a flight with a trusted airline instead of a sketchy newcomer.
Communication and customer service: Assess the company’s responsiveness and willingness to answer your questions. Smooth communication is key to a stress-free experience. Imagine having a helpful travel agent instead of getting lost in confusing booking systems.
Leverage Resources: Use online quote comparison tools, but remember to verify the companies’ reputations and licensing independently. Think of it like using a travel aggregator but still researching the hotels for yourself.
Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask companies clarifying questions about their quotes and services. A transparent and informative company is a trustworthy one. Imagine having a friendly travel agent explain all your options clearly.

Remember, Movewheels is always here to help! We offer transparent pricing, a user-friendly platform for comparing quotes, and a dedicated team of experts to answer your questions and guide you through the process.

What Documents Are Required for Open Auto Transport?

Congratulations! You’ve compared quotes, chosen your champion open transport company (like the amazing Movewheels, of course!), and booked your car’s cross-country adventure.

But before your vehicle hits the road, there’s one more hurdle to navigate: paperwork.

Don’t worry, it’s not an Everest-sized mountain, more like a friendly speed bump.

Let’s break down the essential documents you’ll need for a smooth open transport (a.k.a. open car shipping, open car carrier) experience:

Open Vehicle Transport: How it Works and How Much It Costs in 2024 4

1. Proof of Ownership: This is the key that unlocks the car carrier! Depending on your situation, you might need:

Vehicle Title: The classic proof of ownership, held by the lienholder if your car has a loan.
Registration Certificate: Valid proof of registration in your name.
Bill of Sale: If you recently purchased the car, this document serves as ownership proof.

2. Government-Issued ID: Show the carrier you’re the authorized representative with a valid driver’s license or passport.

3. Vehicle Description and Condition Report: This detailed document, often provided by the transport company, outlines your car’s make, model, year, VIN, mileage, and any pre-existing damage. Both you and the driver will sign it, ensuring everyone’s on the same page. Think of it as a snapshot of your car before its journey.

4. Insurance Information: While the transport company typically carries insurance, having your own comprehensive coverage provides additional peace of mind. Provide your policy details for extra security.

5. Payment Information: Settle the transport fees using your preferred method, whether credit card, debit card, or certified check. Remember, transparent companies like Movewheels will clearly outline all costs upfront.

Bonus Tip: Keep copies of all documents for your records! It’s like packing an extra travel adapter – better safe than sorry.

Now that you’re armed with the right documents and the expertise of Movewheels, your car’s open transport journey is ready to roll! Buckle up for a smooth and stress-free experience!

So, there you have it! Your guide to open vehicle transport (a.k.a. open car shipping, open car carriers) in 2024. Now you know the ins and outs, from trailer types to paperwork prep. Remember, the key is to choose a reputable company like Movewheels, compare quotes, and ask questions. With a little planning and the right partner, your car can embark on its cross-country adventure with ease.

Ready to hit the open road (well, your car will)!

Contact Movewheels today for a free quote and expert advice. We’ll handle the logistics, leaving you free to focus on the exciting new chapter awaiting your vehicle at its destination.

Remember, Movewheels is your one-stop shop for all your open transport needs. Let’s get your car rolling!


Is open transport safe for my car?

Open transport is generally safe, but there’s a slight risk of minor cosmetic damage from weather or road debris. Opt for enclosed trailers for high-value or classic cars.

What happens if my car gets damaged during transport?

Reputable companies carry insurance, but having your own comprehensive coverage provides additional protection. Always document any pre-existing damage before transport.

Can I ship personal belongings with my car?

Generally, no. Most companies prohibit personal belongings for safety and insurance reasons. Consider shipping them separately.

How long does open transport take?

Delivery times vary depending on distance, route, and weather conditions. Movewheels provides estimated timelines for your specific journey.

What is the difference between a broker and a carrier?

Brokers connect you with carriers, while carriers handle the actual transport.

What if I need to cancel my transport?

Most companies have cancellation policies with fees based on the notice period. Movewheels offers flexible options and clear communication throughout the process.

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