What are the types of car haulers out there

What are the types of car haulers out there?

You may be wondering what type of car haulers are there?

To be fair, most of the time it doesn’t matter what kind of car hauler is moving your vehicle if they are a reputable, insured, and good company. There are times, however, that you may want a specific kind of hauler. They come in different types and sizes, and each type is suitable for different transport requirements. In this blog, we’ll discuss the different types of car hauler trailers and how they’re different from each other. 

Each type of trailer has its strengths and limitations. Inoperable vehicles, or those with modifications to height or ground clearance, will require specific equipment. For example, lowered racing cars usually need either an enclosed trailer with a lift gate (like an elevator), or specialty long loading ramps for a carrier.

The types of trailers include, flatbeds and wedges, open and enclosed trailers, and tow dollies.

Flatbed Trailers

flatbed for car hauling
source: https://www.bigtextrailers.com/

Flatbed trailers are the most commonly seen type of trailer. These types of trailers feature minimal strappings and are widely used for hauling cargo such as cars, boats, and other heavy equipment. They are also a preferred choice for specialty vehicles, including race cars and military vehicles due to their stability and ease of loading. They are usually small in size and can haul 1 to 4 vehicles at a time. Flatbed trailers come in a wide range of types and sizes depending on the type of cargo hauled. From economical flatbeds to high-end models, there is a flatbed trailer designed for any task and sized budget.

They provide stability and easy loading, making them a popular choice for those who want to transport cargo safely and efficiently. They also offer additional versatility by being able to fit into places where other trailers cannot. These are typically pulled by large pickup trucks rather than semis.

Wedge Trailers

wedge type car trailer
source: ttps://www.kaufmantrailers.com

Another type of car hauler, similar to the flatbed, is the wedge trailer. Wedge trailers are a type of trailer that is typically used for hauling cargo and vehicles. They are also known as car hauler trailers and are popular in industries such as construction, agriculture, mining, and transportation. These trailers are similar to flatbed trailers in that they have a frame, wheels, and a trailer hitch on the back. However, wedge trailers have a different shape and come with built-in storage capacity. Besides, they have a narrower body which makes them easier to maneuver when hauling cargo.

Wedge trailer sizes vary from those used for hauling one car at a time to those able to accommodate up to four vehicles simultaneously. In addition to their features, wedge trailers come with different types of bodies. Most common types include single-frame car hauler trailer bodies and semi-custom trailer bodies. The versatility of wedge trailers make them  an excellent option for hauling vehicles with low ground clearance, such as lowered trucks and SUVs. Their unique design makes them well-suited for maneuvering with such vehicles.

Open Car Trailers

An open car trailer is a trailer of the type that has no shelter over the loading area. This type of trailer is popularly used for commercial and residential transport. As the name suggests, open car trailers offer little to no protection against environmental risk factors. They are also quite affordable and have a high cargo capacity. However, they take longer to load and unload than enclosed car trailers. Open car trailers are often made of wood or aluminum. 

However, it’s important to acknowledge that open car trailers, while cost-effective, offer less protection against the elements. To safeguard vehicles from weather-related risks during transport, consider employing additional protective measures such as weatherproof covers or strategic loading to minimize exposure.

Enclosed Car Trailers

As the name indicates, these trailers are “boxed” in and shield their contents from outside elements. They offer great physical protection to enclosed vehicles from the elements, as well as keeps them hidden from potential vandals and thieves. Vehicles that would draw a lot of attention, such as high-end sports cars, vintage, or movie/television set cars usually ship inside enclosed trailers.

Enclosed trailers come in two primary types: hardside and softside. Hardside trailers are enclosed on all sides with a hard, durable material like metal, wood, or other material. There are two varieties of hard-sided trailers: single deck or double deck with a liftgate.


Hardside trailers are enclosed on all sides with a hard, durable material like metal, wood, or other material. There are two varieties of hard-sided trailers: single deck or double deck with a liftgate.

Single Deck

These are often enclosed “boxes” being towed behind a pickup. They typically carry one to two vehicles inside these trailers. Anyone familiar with a toy-hauler or utility trailer will get the idea.

Double deck with liftgate

These hard-sided trailers act like an elevator, using a back liftgate to lift vehicles up. They look nearly identical to trailers you see going down the highways carrying normal freight. These are required for many types of vehicles with very low ground clearance as the vehicle can roll flat onto the liftgate and be raised level for loading.


These trailers usually have flexible PVC-coated side curtains instead of hard walls, providing more room for strapping and unstrapping. The additional room also provides more space for winching an inoperable vehicle up a ramp.

Tow Dollies

Tow dollies are small, one car pieces of equipment usually rented from U-HAUL or Penske when someone is moving across the country. Typically, the front wheels of the car being towed are suspended from the dolly’s frame, while the rear wheels roll on the roadway. As such, the rear wheels take the wear and tear during transport. There are flatbed versions of tow dollies as well.

There are some downsides to this way of moving a car. Loading and unloading of these dollies is entirely on the person renting the unit. There is strapping of the wheels, driving the vehicle up onto the dolly… it is not for the feint of heart. Driving speed is reduced when towing a vehicle so transit time is increased. And finally, in inclement weather the trailers can sway the main vehicle and become dangerous.

While cost-effective, they are not universally suitable for all vehicles. It’s crucial to check the weight and clearance requirements before use, ensuring compatibility and safe transport.

A Quick Comparison of Car Hauler Trailers

Feature Flatbed Trailer Wedge Trailer Open Car Trailer Enclosed Car Trailer Tow Dolly
Pros Cost-effective, easy loading and unloading, suitable for heavy or high-value vehicles Good maneuverability, suitable for vehicles with low ground clearance Quick and inexpensive transportation, high cargo capacity Excellent protection from elements, suitable for high-end or vintage vehicles Cost-effective option for short-distance transport
Cons Minimal protection from elements, not suitable for inoperable vehicles Limited maneuverability in tight spaces Lack of protection from elements, requires more time for loading and unloading Higher cost, not suitable for vehicles with high ground clearance Requires more effort for loading and unloading, can sway in inclement weather
Use cases Hauling heavy equipment, boats, or vehicles with high ground clearance Hauling vehicles with low ground clearance, such as lowered racing cars Transporting vehicles quickly and inexpensively over short or long distances Protecting valuable or sensitive vehicles from the elements Moving a vehicle a short distance, such as when relocating locally

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Car Hauler

When selecting a car hauler, several crucial factors need consideration. These include:

  • Cost: Different types of car haulers come with varying price tags. Consider your budget and weigh the cost against the features offered by each type.
  • Insurance Requirements: Ensure that the car hauler company provides adequate insurance coverage for your vehicle during transport. Verify their insurance policies and understand the extent of coverage.
  • Reputation: Research and assess the reputation of the car hauler company. Look for customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials to gauge the reliability and quality of their services.


With car hauler trailers, you can transport cars both long distances and short distances. It all depends on your preferences, as well as the type of hauler trailer that best fits your car and loading needs. We’re certain that after reading this blog, you’ve gained a better understanding of car hauler trailers. If you still have any questions about car hauler trailer types, or would like to share your car hauling experiences with us, contact us!