Vehicle Transportation Types and Trailers

Learn about the equipment used to transport vehicles

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Deciding what car transport trailer and truck type to use is a matter of your timeline, budget, and concern over your vehicle being exposed to the elements.


If you have any questions on what would work best for your car, ask the carrier bidding on your shipment. They can tell you what type of towing vehicle is ideal for your car, and let you know if they offer that type. Let your auto transporter know of any special requirements or concerns; for example, transporting an SUV, car with low ground clearance, or after-market modifications like bumpers and spoilers. These things can make some transportation methods better than others.



There are two main types of trailers used for vehicle transport service: enclosed car transport or open car transport. You may choose one or the other based on your needs. Closed, or enclosed transport, is best for specialty vehicles, antique vehicles, or any type of car you want to protect from the elements of transport. Open transport is best for saving time and money as there are generally more open transport options available more often.



Multi-car trailers are a type of open transport, usually a better choice for discount auto shipping because they can haul more vehicles at once over greater distances, but they are slower and have a hard time navigating residential areas. You may need to meet your driver in an open parking lot to load and unload your car from a tractor trailer, or use a terminal.


Hotshot trucks can transport single cars or sometimes up to three cars at a time and can be more expensive, but will likely deliver your vehicle faster and have an easier time navigating neighborhood streets.


Communicate with transporters to find out what type of service and what type of trailer they will use when transporting your vehicle. Learn more about how to choose a vehicle transporter that’s right for you.