Can I Use a Car Cover to Protect My Car During Shipping?

by | Jul 29, 2021 | Transport Tips

When you ship a car you have two choices – transport it on an open trailer or an enclosed trailer. There are pros and cons of open vs enclosed car shipping, but the obvious difference is an enclosed trailer provides maximum protection of your car during transit.

Unfortunately, enclosed transportation isn’t cheap. Depending on the route of the transport, it can cost double what an open transport costs! Generally speaking, enclosed transportation is around 40-50% more than open transportation.

Given the expense, most of the cars that ship enclosed are rare and exotic cars or classic restored vehicles.

Are Car Covers an Option to Enclosed Transportation?

What if you’re just a regular Joe that purchased a new fully loaded Honda Accord? You’d love to ship it enclosed but you don’t want to spend that much on transporting it. What options do you have?

Can you ship the car on an open trailer with a car cover? Unfortunately, no.

Car Covers During Transportation Are a Liability to You (and the Driver)

Most car carriers will not allow the use of car covers during transportation and we’re one of those carriers.

The primary reason for this is because there is no reliable way to keep a cover secured on a car while it’s in transit. The wind force that is created from a truck barreling down the road is so great that no car cover is a match for it!

If the wind doesn’t rip the cover off it will rip the cover itself. We had a customer not to long ago that had just purchased a Corvette when he hired us to ship it for him on an open trailer. He purchased a car cover for it and insisted we allow him to put it on during the transportation. After some back and forth with the driver, the driver was willing to allow it. The driver didn’t get ten miles down the road when the force of the wind split the cover right down the middle. Take a look:

car cover split down the middle

Our customer was lucky the cover didn’t scratch or damage the car when it was torn open.

Even if a car cover survives the trip, it will likely cause more damage to the car than any road debris or rare weather event might cause. No car cover will fit “tight” around a car. There will always be some slack in the cover that will inevitably flap in the wind and potentially scratch the surface of the car. And if zippers or grommets and tie downs are involved, those too will flap against the car, scratching the car in the process.

Car covers during transportation are also a liability to the driver. If they fly off and go tumbling down the road, they can cause an accident. And if they do stay put in transit but cause damage to the car, who do you think is held responsible for the damage? The driver!

Drivers also don’t like the inconvenience of dealing with car covers. When they have to unload a car with a car cover on it, they have to take the time to carefully remove the cover so they don’t scratch the car. Then they have to carefully fold it and put it away and then if they have to reload the car again they need to take the time to carefully put the cover back on. You can imagine what a nightmare it would be to deal with a car that has a cover on it!

It’s for all these reasons most carriers will not allow car covers during transportation on an open trailer – and why you should never use one!

Putting Your Mind at Ease (Since Car Covers are a No-Go)

Open transportation is an affordable and safe way to ship a car. It is the best option for the majority of the vehicles being shipped around the country today. Unless you have a rare or exotic car, or a classic restored vehicle, there is no reason to go with an enclosed trailer.

Shipping a car on an open trailer is no “riskier” than parking your car outside or driving it on the road. Think about this: the longest transport you can do is from coast to coast, which is about a seven-day journey. Did the car you buy sit on the car lot for seven days? Probably. Do you drive your car over a seven-day period without losing sleep over it? Of course you do!

Your car is as safe on an open trailer as it is parked outside or driven on the road. Also keep in mind that it’s the driver’s truck and trailer that takes the brunt of rocks and road debris, not the vehicles on the trailer he’s hauling.

The other thing to remember is that most damage is caused when the vehicle is loaded and unloaded, not when it’s in transit. Driver error when loading or unloading a car on to an open or enclosed trailer is usually when damage occurs.

Finally, have peace of mind that damage during an auto transport is rare. For us, it’s less than 1%. That means if we do 100 transports, damage will occur on only one of those. When damage does occur, it’s usually minor, typically a scratch or ding that is easily repaired. We are fully insured to cover any damage and we don’t leave you hanging. We’ll stick with you until any damage is taken care of!

When you hire us to do your auto transport, you can have total peace of mind shipping on an open trailer, even if we don’t allow car covers!