Yes and no. The strict interpretation is no, you can’t ship items inside your vehicle. The reality is that almost all auto transport carriers look the other way on items that weigh less than 100 pounds, roughly the equivalent of 2 suitcases. We recommend placing any additional items in the trunk and out of sight. The U.S. Transportation Law states that a carrier can be fined $10,000 for hauling household items in the vehicle, but it is rarely enforced. Please know that car delivery drivers estimate every vehicle’s weight that they carry and don’t want problems at weight scales. They must keep the personal items to a minimum to make it through the scales. Some drivers will accept a tip ($50-$250) for hauling extra stuff, and some won’t. Rule of thumb, don’t take advantage. The car transporter is there to ship a car, not move the owner’s personal belongings. Our car shipping calculator will not add a charge for extra items because it would be presumptuous to expect the driver to agree. If you want to include extra items in your vehicle, please discuss that first with the driver and come to a mutual agreement.
Open-Air Car Shipping Service
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Open-Air Car Transport Service
The most common form of car shipping service is called Open-Air. Approximately 97% of all car shipments are Open-Air Transport, which is exposed to the elements such as dirt and weather. There is no overhead protection, nor side protection from the outside elements.
It is still relatively safe, as evidenced by all the new vehicles you see rolling down the highway and nestled snugly in Open-Air Transport carriers. Automobile manufacturers know for certain that vehicles transported Open-Air are very unlikely to get damaged. The cheaper Open-Air car shipping cost combined with the low risk to physical damage, makes it the preferred method.
What Does “Open-Air Transport” Mean?
There are two main kinds of auto transport carriers, Open-Air and Enclosed. Their names are self-explanatory. We already explained Open-Air. Enclosed Transport, conversely, puts your vehicle inside a trailer with sides and a roof to protect it from potential debris or weather.
Open-Air Car Shipping is far and away the most common, making up 97% of all car shipments. While there is some variety in size, the most frequently used Open-Air trailers can transport ten vehicles.
There are several types of Open-Air carriers, which run the gamut from single car or two car trailers on a flatbed, all the way up to ten (10) car carriers on two tiers.
In between, three (3) or four (4) car haulers are sometimes long flatbeds, but usually two tiered trailers with two up and two down, which are usually used for shorter runs of 500 miles or less. It normally doesn’t make much economic sense to use a four car hauler on a 1,000 mile or higher route.
The mid-range auto transport routes of 500 miles to 1,000 miles are better suited for five (5) to seven (7) car haulers. But it is not unusual to see on the road, on those relatively shorter runs, the longer eight (8) to ten (10) car trailers as well. The more cars a transport carrier can haul, the more money to be made. But expenses also go up with hauling more cars.
The 8-10 car trailers are almost always used for long distance routes of 1,500 miles or more. Expenses play a huge factor in that.
What are the Advantages of Open-Air Car Transport?
There are two primary advantages of open-air auto transport, and they deal with two of the most important considerations for customers:
- Car Shipping Cost. Open-Air Transport is unquestionably the most affordable way to transport your vehicle over the road. Because they can fit more cars per transport, the cost per vehicle goes down. Compared to Enclosed Transport, Open-Air Transport costs on average 33% less.
- Speed. Because Open-Air transports are so much more common, getting assigned to a carrier and having it picked up and delivered to its destination usually happens faster.
Not as much as you would suppose. If only one thing goes wrong, a tire blowout or overheated radiator for instance, then it would be actually cheaper to ship a car across country. About 97% of all auto transport shipments are delivered in an Open-Air trailer. It’s proven to be a very safe method with statistically few problems. You may notice multiple vehicles being delivered to car dealerships near you in an Open-Air trailer, and that’s because it’s reliable. It is also cheap car shipping. If you have a collector car or really expensive automobile, however, then we recommend car shipping services with an Enclosed carrier. Expect to pay about 50% more for Enclosed transport. Our car shipping cost calculator automatically adds the extra amount to your auto transport quote
Making a nominal partial credit card payment to the auto transport broker is preferred by car shipping carriers but not essential. Carriers like getting paid with Cash or Money Order upon delivery, and who doesn’t? Services paid immediately for services rendered. But a full credit card payment upfront also works if the car shipping carrier trusts the auto transport broker. Carriers have known Direct Express Auto Transport for nearly twenty years and the trust is there. So either method works with us
The auto transport delivery is the final step in the process, and also the simplest part. Once your vehicle has been assigned to a car shipping carrier and picked up, not too much can go wrong. It generally takes one day of transit time for every 500 miles of distance. The auto transport driver will call ahead from the road to announce his estimated time of arrival.
Car Delivery Time Estimate
- 100-500 miles takes 1 or 2 days
- 500-1000 miles takes 2 or 3 days
- 1000-1500 miles takes 3 or 4 days
- 1500-2000 miles takes 4 or 5 days
- 2000-2500 miles takes 5 or 6 days
- 2500-3000 miles takes 6 or 7 day
Depending on the distance, weather conditions and population centers it could be a few days or weeks until a vehicle reaches its destination. The car shipping carriers usually estimate about 10 days on coast to coast trips, but they frequently arrive earlier.
We recommend scheduling your auto transport service anywhere from two days to two weeks in advance. We are often able to assign your vehicle on the very same day, but providing us with longer lead times allows us to schedule your auto transportation easier. You want the most current car shipping cost, and you get that by staying within two weeks of your first available date to ship. Believe it or not, the auto transport service market can change quickly. It is seasonal. If the car shipping quote is too low, that can delay your order getting on the road. To avoid that, try not to book more than a month in advance and preferably within two weeks, because seasonal changes can impact the current pricing. Conversely, you should enjoy the savings if the rates were to go down, so having the most current pricing is always best. Our auto transport rate calculator on this page was the first one in the industry in 2004.
Over 90% of our car shipping orders are assigned and picked up within one week. Mostly because the overwhelming majority of the U.S. population lives nearby a major metropolitan area.
Reviews From Our Customers
My Auto Transport Experience
I am so pleased with my decision to use Direct Express Auto Transport! Ashley was a knowledgeable and confidence inspiring representative and my driver was on time and my car was in perfect shape!
Great Auto Transport Service To Texas
Talked to Jessica on Wednesday to have 65 El Camino shipped from Calif to Texas. Was picked up on Thursday the 16th and delivered on Monday the 20th. Beautiful truck and great driver. Sebastian was the driver’s name. Also it was awesome to see all the other great cars.
Enclosed Auto Transport
Fantastic experience all around, from the office people calling me back on a Sunday when a question popped up, to getting the car delivered very quickly, the whole process went perfectly. Will use them again for sure.
My Car Arrived Sooner Than Expected!
Driver was very efficient and accommodating! Once he picked up the vehicle he stayed in contact with us all the way to delivery. Thank you very much for hauling this vehicle for us because we have no way of doing it ourselves.
Auto Transport From Florida
My car was picked up on a Friday morning and arrived at my destination two days later. The driver made sure that I was on time delivering my car and he made sure my car was delivered to me in a timely manner also. Great customer service from beginning to end. No complaints at all and will definitely use this company again. Great job!
Auto Transport Service To Arizona
Another excellent job by Direct Express Auto Transport! This is the 3rd time we’ve shipped with this Direct Express Auto Transport. They’re courteous, professional, and on time. I highly recommend this company and their services!
Car Transported California to Texas
I used the expedited shipping option and they told me it will be picked up within 3-4days. Luckily my car was picked up on the very first day. It was assigned to one of their transport companies and I received my car within 10days. They are very professional.