Open auto transport – the standard shipping solution

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People and companies move vehicles constantly and most of them choose open air carrier. Corsia Logistics team can deliver your car nationwide – we work with carriers from across the country to cover any route in the US. In our guide we will answer important questions about open auto transport.

What is open auto transport service?

Open car transport works for any make and model vehicle. This is the most popular method of transporting vehicles, and the most economical as well. Whether you are shipping an everyday car or a moving luxury or sports car, open carrier is the standard method to ship your car.

We have three main types of open auto transport trailers:

  1. double level multi-car trailer
  2. single level multi-car trailer
  3. single-vehicle hotshot / dully truck with tow trailer
Double level multi-car trailer

The most popular one is the double level multi-car trailer. These types of carriers we see most often roaming the highways.


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As economics and business 101 requires, transport must be efficient and economical, as well as convenient. The double level multi car carrier provides all that. Efficiency lies in that they can load from seven to ten cars at once and haul them to different locations. Most of these trailers are modern with fully hydraulic ramps. With a push of a button a loading ramp comes out of the back, sloped down to the ground level for smooth loading. With most double level or deck trailers, the top deck can come all the way to the ground which allows for fast and easy loading.

At loading and unloading the truck driver can drop the air out of the trailer to lower it a couple of inches. Most of the carriers use wheels straps, which are better than chain straps. Chains use rollers, just like the soft wheel straps, but they get hooked onto the bottom of the car and may cause frame damage. So, always make sure you do your proper inspection and look the bottom of the car if it was tight with chains.

Working and driving such a trailer requires some serious skills. Operating the trailer levels is something that requires training and experience to master. Drivers must learn how to leverage the weight distribution – they are allowed to a specific number of pounds on trailer axes (depending on trailer). They need to learn not only how to drive manual speed, but how to manage the tractor breaks and the trailer brakes. Drivers must track break pressure, air pressure, oil pressure and temperature.

Single level multi-car trailer

single level multi car carrier trailer


Single level / deck tractor trailer can load anywhere from one up to three cars. You will not see many of these driving across the country. Such trailers are usually meant for short distances. Yet, they are used for both long and short distance deliveries. They could be faster and more versatile navigating residential areas. Single deck tractor trailers are often preferred for expedited services.

Filling only a three spot trailer usually happens faster than when you need to fill a ten car trailer and this is one factor contributing to faster service. However, booking this type of trailer, or expedited delivery, is often more expensive. You can request such a carrier for your sports, luxury or classic automobile.

Single-vehicle dully truck with tow trailer

Single-vehicle dully truck with tow trailer

This is a popular type of trailer for short, local and time sensitive deliveries. The whole composition consists of a pick-up truck pulling a trailer that can fit from one to three cars.  This is a much easier to operate and this allows for faster services. Also, again, waiting for less cars to be booked and loaded is the other reason companies use this type of truck and trailer for express deliveries.

If your car has low clearance or any other noticeable modification it’s best that you hire a single level car transport trailer. They are flatbed trailers designed for one to three cars and are preferred shipping method for any modified vehicles and SUVs, as well as non-running vehicles. By modified we usually emphasize lifted or lowered. Certainly most modified vehicles can be transported on a multi-level, multi car carrier, but some actually can’t and we need to book a single-vehicle tow trailer.

What is the cost of shipping via open carrier?

Our car relocation coordinators will make sure to find you the best auto transport rate. Our rates are manual – we do not use a software. Our agents track the prices on the national central dispatch boards constantly and delivery the most accurate and realistic rates. Our rates are affordable to the customer and acceptable by the carrier. It is very important to calculate a realistic car shipping rate that will move the vehicle in a timely manner.

The rate that will ship a vehicle in a timely and professional manner we call the golden mean – not too high and not too low. A realistic market price that ships a vehicle. In the auto transport industry it is very important to be able to accommodate the customer. But we have to accommodate the carrier as well. This means, pay the current market price.

In the US almost all carriers are independent and the current market price is a decisive factor when it comes to timely shipping. A customer basically competes with other customers for a spot on the car carrier and better paying vehicles always get picked up first. Therefore, it is very important for the broker to hit the golden middle – the right price. Here at Corsia Logistics we understand that very well and we explain it to our customers. That’s why we say that our prices are manual because we have to track the supply/demand situation constantly in order to give realistic rates.

Supply and demand fluctuations usually decide the auto transport cost. Certainly, there are other factors such as vehicle make and model, transport type (open enclosed, type of trailer, expedited etc.), vehicle condition, location and distance as well as vehicle modifications. It is important to understand how much it costs to ship a car when it comes to pricing.

How long does auto transport take?

Open auto transport is usually the fastest way to ship a car. As mentioned, open carriers are almost 90 percent of the whole fleet in the US and this makes them readily available. It is always faster to schedule an open car carrier than enclosed, for example. This means that the pick-up time frame is shorter, as well as often the delivery. Yet, keep in mind that if you need expedited delivery this means paying a premium even if it is open. Often for an express shipping you need one to two car carriers and these are more expensive to book.

How does the open auto transport work?

  • The trucker will load your vehicle on a single or double ‘decker’ trailer to deliver your car from its origin to its final destination.
  • Open auto transport is safe and reliable method of shipping a car. Almost all new vehicles are transported via open car carrier
  • While on the open trailer the car is exposed to the elements, but this is something that every car can handle.
  • If you are shipping a high-end vehicle, or a very special classic car you can request enclosed auto transport. 

Auto transport is not a complicated process, but many people shipping a car for the first time are often reluctant and worried when they need to hand the keys to a stranger. An experienced company will help you understand the process of shipping a vehicle and give you peace of mind. Our logistics experts are experienced and knowledgeable and they will explain all details about how auto transport works, and specifically shipping via open air trailer. We work with the best carriers, who understand the value of the cargo they carry.

How do I choose a car shipping company?

Before you choose to hire a company you should research and make sure it is licensed with the US Department of Transportation and insured. Call several companies, ask questions and compare prices and services.

When you book with us we will be here to answer all questions and provide updates anytime you need information about your vehicle while it is in transit. You can call us or the trucker at any time to make sure your vehicle is on its way home. Contact us now online or call (818) 850-5258 to get a quote.

We have developed an extensive Questions section where you can find plenty of information. Our team will be happy to answer all of your questions and assist you in booking your car transport service with Corsia Logistics.