Category Archives: Vehicles Transport

How Many Cars Can a Car Carrier Carry?

Car carriers, also known as auto carriages or auto haulers, are commercial vehicles designed to transport passenger vehicles. Their main purpose is to deliver new vehicles from manufacturing plants to dealerships or transport used vehicles for auction or between dealers.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into understanding car carrier capacity – how many vehicles they can haul in a single trip.

Types of Car Carriers

Before understanding capacity, it’s important to know the different types of car carriers based on their size and configuration.

Enclosed Car Carriers

Fully enclosed car carriers have solid metal sides and roof to protect the transported vehicles. They come in various lengths to carry varying numbers of cars.

Open Car Carriers

Open car carriers, as the name suggests, do not have enclosed metal bodies. They consist of a metal frame with adjustable securing straps to tie down vehicles. Open carriers allow for higher vehicle capacity compared to enclosed ones.

Multi-Level Car Carriers

More advanced car carriers utilize the vertical space by stacking vehicles on more than one level. This significantly increases the hauling capacity compared to single-level carriers.

Speciality Car Transporters

In addition to standard car haulers, there are specialized transport vehicles for motorcycles, high-end exotic cars, damaged vehicles, etc. Their configurations vary based on the type of vehicles they are designed to carry.

Car Carrier Capacity by Vehicle Size

The number of vehicles a car carrier can haul depends greatly on their size and layout. Here are some typical vehicle hauling capacities:

  • Compact Cars – Enclosed car carriers can carry 10-15 compact cars. Open carriers can haul 20-25 compacts.
  • Mid-Size Cars – 9-12 mid-size vehicles in enclosed, 16-20 in open carriers.
  • Full-Size Cars – 7-10 full-size sedans/SUVs in enclosed trailers. 12-15 possible in open carriers.
  • Pickup Trucks – 5-7 in enclosed, 10-12 in open car haulers due to their larger footprint.
  • Multi-Level Carriers – Can haul 30+ vehicles by stacking them efficiently over 2-3 levels.

So in summary, standard enclosed car carriers carry 10-15 average-sized vehicles, while open carriers increase that figure by 30-50%. Multi-level transporters nearly double the hauling capacity.

Maximizing Vehicle Capacity

Car haulers aim to maximize the number of vehicles transported in each trip to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs. Here are some strategies utilized:

Staggered Loading

Vehicles are not loaded in straight lines side-by-side. A staggered formation allows an extra row of vehicles along the sides.

Utilizing Dead Space

Every available inch of floor space underneath, between and around vehicles is occupied. Even small sports cars fill gaps between larger SUVs/trucks.

Adjustable Tie-Downs

Securing anchors, barriers and adjustable tie-down straps help accommodate vehicles of different sizes in irregular spaces.

Dollies and Risers

Mobile dollies and jack stands raise vehicles to efficiently double deck them. Leveraging height optimizes capacity.

Specialized Securing

Techniques like cradling, panel-to-panel contact & blocked wheels ensure maximum security even with tight vehicle packing.

Using these strategies, experienced car haulers have managed to cram in 30-40% more vehicles compared to conventional loading methods. Advanced planners can potentially maximize profits with every load.

Factors Impacting Capacity

While haulers aim to maximize capacity, there are limitations based on vehicle characteristics and regulations:

  • Vehicle Size/Shape – Large trucks/SUVs occupy more space than compacts. Oddly shaped exotics require custom securing.
  • Vehicle Condition – Damaged vehicles needing repairs may limit capacity due to special transport requirements.
  • Weight Distribution – Heavier vehicles positioned strategically maintain safe weight balance of the overall load.
  • Transportation Regulations – Federal & state laws specify maximum loaded weight, securement rules, safety modifications, insurance, etc.
  • Road Conditions – Narrow or twisting roads may necessitate reducing vehicle count to ensure maneuverability and stability.
  • Customer Needs – Special requests for protected/climate-controlled transport or delicate vehicles influence capacity.

Proper load planning factoring in these criteria helps transport vehicles safely within legal compliance without compromising service quality.

Car Carrier Fleet Size

Major vehicle transport companies operate large fleets to efficiently meet high-volume delivery needs across vast geographic areas. Here are some fleet size examples:

  • Manheim Auto Transport – Over 2,500 car carriers, making it one of the largest fleets in North America.
  • IFP Logistics – A leading auto transport provider with a fleet of 800+ car haulers transporting 500,000+ vehicles annually.
  • Easy Auto Ship Auto Transport – Operates a network of over 15k carriers and trucks carrying 100,000+ vehicles each year.
  • Todays Transport – Ranks among the top 10 auto transporters with a robust fleet exceeding 250 trailers.
  • Tommy Gate – A specialized motorcycle transporter with a dedicated fleet of 150+ enclosed carriers.

Proper fleet sizing enables companies to reliably service high order volumes within short lead times. It also provides capacity to accommodate seasonal fluctuations in delivery demand.

Parting Words

Modern car carriers are sophisticated vehicles engineered to transport passenger vehicles in large numbers as efficiently as possible. Enclosed carriers typically haul 10-15 average cars, while open carriers increase that count by 30-50%. Maximizing space utilization through advanced stacking and loading techniques enables certain haulers to cram in 30-40% more vehicles.

While vehicle types, condition, regulations, and road safety influence capacity, state-of-the-art multi-level carriers routinely transport 30+ automobiles in a single trip. Leading auto transport fleet operators rely on carrying capacities of their hundreds of trailers to efficiently deliver hundreds of thousands of cars annually across North America. Overall, car carriers play a vital role in moving both new and used vehicles across vast land distances daily.

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