Open Car Trailers: Exploring the Pros and Cons

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Editorial Team

When it comes to transporting vehicles, whether you’re moving across the country or heading to a race track, the choice of trailer can significantly impact the convenience and safety of the journey. One common option is the open car trailer. These trailers have gained popularity for their simplicity and ease of use, but like any equipment, they come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. This article will delve into the world of open car trailers, examining their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

What is an Open Car Trailer?

An Open Car Trailer is a type of trailer designed for transporting vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles), and other small to medium-sized vehicles. Unlike enclosed trailers with walls and a roof, an open car trailer lacks sides and a roof, making it suitable for hauling vehicles that don’t require protection from the elements.

Open car trailers typically consist of a sturdy frame with a platform on which the vehicles are loaded and secured using straps, chains, or other tie-down mechanisms. The absence of sides and a roof makes loading and unloading vehicles easier, as there are no physical barriers to contend with.

These trailers come in various sizes and configurations to accommodate different types of vehicles and hauling needs. They are commonly used by car dealerships, private vehicle owners, race teams, and others who need to transport vehicles for various purposes, such as moving cars for sale, taking vehicles to shows or races, or for personal relocation.

One important thing to note is that while open-car trailers are more convenient in terms of loading and unloading, they don’t provide the same level of protection as enclosed trailers. Vehicles on an open trailer are exposed to the elements, road debris, and potential theft, so precautions such as proper tie-downs and regular inspection of the trailer are important to ensure safe and secure transport.

Pros of Open Car Trailers

Affordability: Open car trailers are often more budget-friendly than their enclosed counterparts. Their basic design and lack of elaborate features result in lower manufacturing costs, which translates to a more cost-effective option for those on a tight budget.

Ease of Loading and Unloading: Open car trailers offer unobstructed access to the vehicles being transported. This makes loading and unloading a breeze, especially for larger vehicles or those with low ground clearance. There’s no need to navigate tight spaces or worry about fitting within the confines of an enclosed trailer.

Visibility: One of the significant advantages of open car trailers is the improved visibility while driving. The absence of walls and a roof provides an unobstructed view of the surroundings, reducing blind spots and making it easier to maneuver and change lanes.

Weight Savings: Open car trailers are generally lighter than their enclosed counterparts due to their simpler construction. This can improve fuel efficiency and reduce wear and tear on the towing vehicle, making it a more eco-friendly choice in the long run.

Flexibility: Open car trailers are incredibly versatile. They can transport a wide range of vehicles, from cars and motorcycles to ATVs and small equipment. The absence of fixed compartments means you can easily adjust the trailer layout to accommodate different loads.

Cons of Open Car Trailers

Weather Exposure: One of the most notable drawbacks of open car trailers is the exposure to the elements. Vehicles being transported are fully exposed to rain, snow, dirt, and debris. This can lead to damage, especially during long journeys or adverse weather conditions.

Security Concerns: The lack of walls and a roof makes vehicles on open trailers susceptible to theft and vandalism. While some open trailers come with basic locking mechanisms, they are still more vulnerable compared to enclosed trailers that provide an additional layer of security.

Limited Protection: Open car trailers offer minimal protection against road debris kicked up by other vehicles. This can result in chips, dings, and even cracked windshields for the vehicles being transported.

Aerodynamic Drag: Open trailers create more aerodynamic drag due to the lack of an enclosed space. This can lead to reduced fuel efficiency and potentially put more strain on the towing vehicle, especially at higher speeds.

Less Privacy: If you’re transporting valuable or sensitive items, an open trailer might not be the best choice due to the lack of privacy. Passersby can easily see the contents of the trailer, which might make it a target for theft.

Considerations Before Choosing an Open Car Trailer

Before choosing an open car trailer, there are several important considerations to keep in mind to ensure you select the right trailer for your needs and to ensure safe and efficient vehicle transport:

  • Distance of Travel: The distance you plan to travel plays a significant role in determining whether an open car trailer is suitable for your needs. If you’re transporting vehicles over long distances, exposure to weather and road debris might become more of a concern.
  • Type of Vehicles: The type of vehicles you intend to transport matters. Open car trailers are ideal for vehicles that can withstand exposure to the elements, such as cars that aren’t sensitive to weather conditions.
  • Security Measures: If security is a top priority, you should invest in additional security features for your open car trailers, such as wheel locks, hitch locks, and even GPS tracking devices.
  • Maintenance Effort: Consider the level of maintenance you’re willing to undertake. Open trailers require frequent cleaning and maintenance to keep the trailer and the transported vehicles in good condition.
  • Budget: Your budget will inevitably play a role in your decision. While open car trailers are generally more affordable, remember that additional security features and maintenance costs should also be factored in.


Open car trailers offer a convenient and cost-effective solution for transporting vehicles, but they come with their own set of pros and cons. Whether you’re a car enthusiast, a hobbyist, or a professional transporter, it’s essential to carefully evaluate your needs and priorities before choosing between an open car trailer and an enclosed one. Consider factors such as the distance you’ll be traveling, the types of vehicles you’ll be transporting, and the security measures you can put in place. With the right considerations in mind, you can make an informed decision that ensures your vehicles’ safe and efficient transport while keeping your budget and preferences in check.