All Types of Auto Transport Trailers: What Are the Pros and Cons of Each?

"Relocate your family!", they said. "It will be fun!", they said. It sounded like a good idea, now you're planning for it and you're not so sure.

If you've ever moved to a new state, you know it involves a lot of hassle. Moving the contents of your home and your family is an exhausting process.

Before all the packing and loading begins, you need to plan. Now you're wondering how to work out the logistics of moving your vehicles.

You could haul them behind a moving truck. But do you really want your favorite mode of transport swinging behind a moving truck? It's much easier to hire a car transport trailer.

If you've decided to hire a moving company for your car or truck, you've made a great choice! A car transporter trailer is a stress-saver well worth the expense.

Here's what you need to know about the pros and cons of auto transport trailers.

Open Auto Transport Trailers

Open auto transport trailers are the most common way to transport vehicles. These trailers haul cars and trucks by strapping them onto a platform or bed. The vehicles travel to their destination securely.

People use open auto transport trailers for a number of reasons.

Pros

Most notably, open transport trailers are less expensive than closed trailers. They are the most practical way to transport an everyday vehicle by far.

Drivers of open transport trailers also have the advantage of a clear view. This makes it easier to see if something has gone wrong during transport.

Open transport trailers don't weigh as much as closed trailers do. As a result, they are more fuel-efficient and better for the environment.

Cons

If you love your vehicle as much as your firstborn child, open car haulers aren't for you. Using open auto transport does expose your vehicle to weather and road conditions. If that tiny scratch on the bumper is going to keep you awake at night, spring for another option.

Nothing is as secure as giant walls, right? While drivers are highly trained in how to secure cars on trailers, accidents can happen. Since open car haulers don't have walls, they are more prone to damage in the unlikely event their supports fail.

Your vehicle is more likely to have an impact if it's hit in an open auto transport trailer.

Let's take a look at the different types of open auto transport trailers.

Multi-Vehicle Trailers

Multi-vehicle transport trailers account for about 90% of car haulers. Multi-vehicle trailers can haul up to nine vehicles at a time. These two-tiered car haulers are usually 75 to 80ft in length.

These are the most efficient means of transport because they accommodate more vehicles per trip than another car trailer.

Single Level Multi-Car Carriers

Single level multi-car carriers accommodate one to three vehicles at a time. Vehicles are lined up on this car hauler single file style.

Cars, trucks, and even trailers are strapped down and secured. Single level multi-car carriers can be attached to a heavy-duty pick-up truck. This eliminates a lot of the expense involved in larger types of auto transport trailers.

Single Vehicle Hotshot Trailers

A single-vehicle hotshot trailer is a flatbed style trailer. This car hauler can carry one vehicle at a time.

One of the great advantages of a single-vehicle hotshot trailer is its versatility. It can fit where large multi-vehicle trailers can't. If you have a car delivery route in the mountains or small roadways, a single-vehicle hotshot is your best option.

Because it's less efficient than a multi-vehicle trailer, hotshots are much more expensive. These car haulers don't protect your vehicle from road and weather elements, either. They can also be hauled with a pick-up truck.

If you're looking for short-distance transport, a single-vehicle hotshot trailer is a great option.

Enclosed Auto Transport Trailers

Enclosed auto transport trailers are, as the name implies, enclosed. While not as common, they are still the car transporter trailer of choice for many.

These types of auto transport trailers are great for classic cars, sports cars, or vehicles that cost more than the average American's home.

Another advantage to enclosed transport is the ability to add smaller things to the transport load. Read more to find out if these types of auto transport trailers are right for you.

Pros

These auto transport trailers offer much more protection. With enclosed auto transport trailers, you don't have to worry about rain or hail damaging your vehicle.

General road hazards are also limited with auto enclosed auto transport trailers. If another vehicle kicks up a rock on the highway, the trailer takes the ding, not the vehicle.

Cons

Because they are less efficient, enclosed transport trailers are a much more expensive way to travel.

They're much heavier as well. This makes them less environmentally friendly than lighter carriers.

Because vehicles are enclosed, there's no way for the driver to keep an eye on them. This could create a problem if something comes loose during transit or another problem occurs.

Multi-Vehicle Trailers

These are similar to multi-level open transport trailers but are enclosed. They carry up to seven vehicles.

Enclosed multivehicle trailers are more efficient than some other enclosed transport trailers. However, they are considerably more expensive than open multi-vehicle transport trailers.
Hard-Sided Trailers

The name is pretty much a dead giveaway. Hard-sided trailers are a type of enclosed auto transport trailer.

Hard-sided trailers are great for vehicles you don't want to drive or winch up a ramp. The back liftgate acts as an elevator for vehicles to be lifted up.

If you love your vehicle as much as your firstborn child, this mode of transport is for you. Hard-sided enclosed auto transport will cost 30%-40% more than open transport for your trip.

Being hard-sided has great advantages. Vehicles are fully shielded from wind, rain, and other types of weather. These vehicles are not susceptible to rocks or gravel kicked up by other traffic.

Soft-Sided Trailers

Soft-sided trailers are the in-between option of car trailers and car haulers. Soft-sided auto transport trailers have heavy-duty tarps for walls.

The sliding tarps are more forgiving than hard-sided trailers. They allow for oversized vehicles to fit on the trailer. Soft-sided tarps are a great option for irregularly shaped cars and trucks as well.

Soft-sided car haulers keep their load mostly protected from hail, rain, snow, and rocks. However, they can't offer quite as much protection as the hard-sided options.

Hotshot Trailers

Yes, hotshot trailers come enclosed as well. Enclosed hotshot trailers accommodate two to three vehicles at a time. These car haulers are great for shorter trips.

Since this car trailer can be hauled by a noncommercial vehicle, it may not be as expensive as a multi-car hard-sided enclosed carrier (trying saying that five times fast!)

Cost does heavily depend on the length of your trip. In longer journeys, hotshots can be more expensive because they can't accommodate as many cars. Cross-country trips may not be the best fit for an enclosed hotshot trailer.

If you need your auto hauler to get into tight spaces, use an enclosed hotshot trailer.

Protection from weather and road elements and the ability to drive in smaller spaces make this option a contender for shorter trips.

Insurance for Your Car Transport Trailer

Making sure the company you hire is legitimate is a must. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see how (or if) the company has handled disputes.

It may be a good idea to work with a car transport broker. A broker will help you determine which car transport trailer is best for you.

You should check with your insurance company to see what kind of coverage you have. The company you hired to be your car trailer should have insurance. However, your personal car insurance policy should also be reviewed.

The Benefits of Auto Transport Trailers

Selecting the right car transport trailer doesn't have to be stressful. With so many options available, it may feel overwhelming.

Maybe like your car, but you don't get too upset by normal nicks or dings. Maybe you're keeping yourself on a tight budget. If either of these describes you, a multi-level open transport trailer is the way to go.

Maybe you're a little nervous about elements of travel and weather, but don't want to spring for the expense of a hard-sided enclosed car trailer. Consider a soft-sided option instead.

If you're looking to haul a one-of-a-kind classic car, spring for the hard-sided option. Your peace of mind and car baby's safety is worth the expense.

Maybe you need a car trailer for a quick trip from your city home to your mountain home. A hotshot trailer is probably your best bet.

By carefully weighing the pros and cons of auto transport trailers, you'll be able to determine which is the best fit for your move.

Let us walk you through the many benefits of auto transport trailers. Give us a call at 224-218-2949, email at info@nexusautotransport.com, or check us out online. We'd love to partner with you to take some stress out of your next move!

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