Why Get The Best Car Covers?
Deciding whether or not you need a car cover and selecting the best car cover can be difficult. This guide was created to help you better understand car covers and what to look for when purchasing one so you don’t have buyer’s remorse.
The truth is that the right car cover can make your life easier and your car, truck, or motorcycle more enjoyable.
I’ve written a lot about cleaning and detailing cars, but not so much about what to do once you’ve finished restoring your car to showroom condition.
Even if our cars never leave the garage between detail sessions and cruises, they are constantly exposed to environmental hazards.
The solution, in my opinion, is to keep them covered.
Indoor and Outdoor Storage?
You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for the best indoor car cover to protect your vehicle’s paint while it’s parked. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to park their car in a garage.
You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for a car cover to protect the paint on your vehicle while it’s parked. We examine the best outdoor car cover on the market today, explaining their features and what they have to offer.
Most car covers may appear to be the same, but you should pay close attention to the material they’re made of and the number of layers they provide. Some car covers aren’t meant to be used outside, while others come with extra straps and buckles to keep the wind out.
When selecting a car cover, consider how frequently you’ll need to use it outside, as you’ll need additional features to ensure adequate protection.
Best Rated Car Covers in 2021
Best for Heavy-Duty: Budge Duro Car Cover
If you need a heavier-duty car cover, Budge also has the Duro model. The Budge Duro cover breathes and has ultra-sonically welded seams because it is made of three layers of polypropylene material. It’s ideal for use in a garage or carport, as well as for short-term outdoor use. It’s made of a soft, non-abrasive material that won’t scratch the paint on your car.
The Budge Duro car cover, which is available for cars up to 264 inches long, ensures a great fit with a full elastic hem and built-in grommets. It, like the Budge Lite, is gray and comes with a storage cover bag, antenna patch, and a five-year warranty.
The cover has a complete hem that ensures the cover stays correctly fitted around your vehicle. You can use additional rope or bungee cords (not included) to tie it down using the built-in grommets for more security.
This cover is water-resistant, however it is not waterproof. As a result, it is not suggested for use outdoors and should only be used when your vehicle is stored within, not outside in the sun, rain, or dust. As long as you keep this in mind, the product is adequate.
The substance is made up of three layers: a water-resistant outside layer, a micro-porous inner film, and a non-abrasive inner layer to protect your vehicle’s paint or clear coat.
It has an extremely good 5-year warranty and weights roughly 6 lbs. It is available in a range of sizes to fit your car.
Pros: Three layers of material, non-abrasive material, five-year warranty
Best for Indoor Use: Classic Accessories OverDrive PolyPro
The Classic Accessories OverDrive PolyPro car cover is designed for full-size sedans ranging in length from 175 to 210 inches. It’s made of soft fabric that won’t scratch your paint, and it has non-scratch tie down grommets and an elasticized hem for a quick, custom fit. The car covers protect against dirt, scratches, weather, and sun damage, and the fabric is water repellent and breathable, reducing mold and mildew growth.
The car comes with a storage cover bag and an antenna patch, and buyers are covered by a two-year limited warranty.
Some users say the cover isn’t very good at repelling rain, so keep that in mind if you plan on using it outside in a rainy area.
Pros: Affordable, variety of sizes for cars, soft fabric
Cons: Although water repellent, it isn’t great against rain
Platinum Shield Car Cover
The majority of car covers available on Amazon or other online retailers are universal, which means limited sizing and a baggy custom fit.
CarCovers.com, on the other hand, does not take the same one-size-fits-all approach, instead selling semi-custom fit covers with hundreds of different SKUs that are sized to the length, width, and height of your vehicle. (They also include a lifetime warranty for their product, which you won’t find on Amazon.)
If you’re looking for the ultimate in weather protection, CarCovers.com’s Platinum Shield is the site’s best-selling outdoor solution. This top-of-the-line cover protects your car from the elements as well as dust, tree sap, and other harmful pollutants that can harm your paint job.
The UV-reflective-silver material protects your vehicle from sun damage and keeps it cool, while the reflective polyurethane coating provides excellent water resistance, shedding water as soon as it touches the cover.
CarCovers.com’s Platinum Shield, made of lightweight yet durable woven polyester fabric, is also breathable, preventing mold, mildew, and rust buildup, and its soft fleece underlining ensures your car’s finish is perfectly preserved and protected.
A front and back hem with elastic ensures a secure custom fit. A free storage cover bag, cable/lock set, and antenna patch are included. Instead, do you intend to keep your car in a garage? CarCovers.com also has a premium indoor line that is worth looking into.
Pros: All-weather solution, durable synthetic fabric with soft fleece underlining, double-stitched seams for leak protection, limited lifetime warranty
Cons: Premium priced
Best for Outdoor Use: Kayme Four-Layers Car Cover with Cotton Zipper
If you’ve ever fully fastened your car cover only to realize you forgot something crucial inside, you know how inconvenient that can be. Even if it only takes a minute or two to put on and take off the cover, it’s still extra time that delays you from going where you want to go.
Thankfully, there are covers like the Kayme Six Layers Car Cover, which has a panel with a zipper that gives access to the vehicle without having to remove the cover totally. Simply unzip the bag and you’ll be back in your car in seconds.
It also doesn’t hurt that the Kayme Six Layers Car Cover is reasonably priced ($65 for a sedan), waterproof, and made with reflective aluminum to help keep the sun’s rays at bay. It’s no wonder that Kayme’s car cover is the best-selling item on Amazon.
The Kayme Four-Layers Waterproof car cover is a popular but pricey option. It is made of PE, aluminum, and cotton, with the PE providing waterproof protection and the aluminum reflecting harmful UV rays. The cotton lining on the inside protects the vehicle’s paint. This car cover has a zipper on the driver’s door for easy access, and straps at the front and back protect it from the wind. It, like the MATCC car cover, has reflective strips for use at night.
Fitments are available for vehicles ranging in length from 173 to 208 inches, with a separate fitment for SUVs ranging in length from 188 to 200 inches.
Pros: Four layers of protection, straps and buckle, convenient zipper for easy access, reflective strips
Cons: Price, limited fitments
Winter presents unique obstacles for automobile exteriors: snow falls on cars, sometimes building up and refusing to melt for days, weeks, or until you remove it away. You need the correct auto cover for such a demanding season.
The Leader Accessories Platinum Guard car cover is constructed of seven layers of material (four polypropylene, two UV coating, and one cotton) and provides snow and freezing rain protection. Because the cover is permeable, any moisture that accumulates inside will evaporate before causing damage to the car’s paint. It also has heavy-duty buckles that keep it fastened even in high gusts.
On Amazon, the Leader Accessories Platinum Guard presently has 4.3 out of 5 stars and over 400 customer ratings.
The Leader Accessories car cover is designed for indoor and outdoor use and is made of a breathable material that repels moisture and keeps your car dry. Like other car covers, it has an elastic hem around the bottoms for a snug custom fit, and it comes with a strap and buckle to keep strong winds at bay.
The cover is UV resistant, dust proof, and made of a biodegradable material that is friendly to the environment.
Fitments are available for cars up to 264 inches long, SUVs up to 240 inches long, and trucks up to 249 inches long. This cover also comes with a storage cover bag.
Pros: UV resistant, dust proof, includes a strap and buckle, variety of fitments
Cons: Not waterproof, thin compared to other car covers
The Budge B-2 is one of the most popular car covers on Amazon. The Budge B-2 is a low-cost product with a single layer of basic dust and debris protection. It’s a lightweight, easy-to-use car cover that’s ideal for indoor use or occasional outdoor protection from autumn leaves. The car cover is made of a single layer of polypropylene and is breathable to prevent mildew.
The cover has double stitched seams for added durability and a full elastic hem to keep the cover securely in place on your vehicle.
The custom fit cover is available in a variety of sizes to fit cars ranging in length from 157 inches to 264 inches, as well as SUVs ranging in length from 162 inches to 228 inches. It has a gray finish, a storage cover bag, an antenna patch, and a two-year warranty.
Pros: Affordable, double stitched seams, full elastic hem, variety of sizes, two-year warranty
Cons: Only offers basic, light protection
This recommendation is a low-cost, six-layer car cover from Audew, which comes in two sizes. One size is intended for cars measuring 175 inches to 190 inches, while the other is intended for larger crossovers and SUVs measuring 190 inches to 201 inches. Whatever option you choose, you’ll get six layers of protection, beginning with a soft cotton lining.
A single layer of EVA material is then applied, followed by a layer of PE material, which protects the vehicle from water and dust. An aluminum film layer is placed above those layers of material to repel harmful UV rays. Another layer of PE is applied to the cover, followed by a layer of protective coating.
This cover comes with five straps to keep it in place, four of which can be used on the wheels and one that passes through the middle of the car. This cover is considered windproof when combined with the elastic hem, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it blowing off. Reflective strips, as found on many high-quality car covers, ensure that the cover is visible to oncoming traffic at night.
Pros: All-weather protection, polyester and cotton material, reflective finish, straps and buckle
Cons: Limited sizes
XCAR Breathable Dust Prevention
The XCAR Breathable Dust Prevention car cover is available in fitments for cars up to 200 inches long and SUVs up to 240 inches long, and it has double stitch seams and elastic hems for a snug custom fit on your car. Unlike the other products on this list, the XCAR car cover comes with a cable and lock to help prevent the cover from blowing off in high winds.
Because this cover is intended for basic protection, it is best suited for indoor use and limited outdoor use. Its fabric is breathable, water repellent, and UV resistant.
The XCAR car cover comes with a storage bag and antenna patch in addition to the cable and lock. It does, however, only provide a one-year warranty, which is below average in the market.
Pros: Includes cable and lock, double stitch seams
Cons: One-year warranty, only suitable for limited outdoor use
MATCC Car Cover
MATCC offers an affordable option, with fitments ranging from 173 to 207 inches long. A separate product for SUVs is also available from the company. It is made of dustproof nylon cloth and protects against harmful ultraviolet rays, dirt, dust, industrial pollutants, snow, frost, corrosion, bird droppings, and other elements.
Six fluorescent strips on the outside of the cover serve as reflective safety warning lines for added nighttime protection.
It attaches to your car via an elasticized hem and hooks, and it has two elastic bands, a rope wind, and an elasticized hem that can be fixed to the wheel. It also has straps and a buckle at the bottom to provide additional wind protection. A storage bag is included with the silver car cover.
Pros: Fluorescent strips, elastic bands, separate rope for wheel, straps and buckle
Cons: Nylon cloth isn’t heavy duty, limited sizes
OxGord Car Cover
OxGord is a more expensive option, with sizes ranging from 97 inches to 229 inches in length. It has a double layer of strong spunbond woven polypropylene taffeta fabric, which provides excellent protection and breathability. Seam reinforcement and elastic hems with drawstrings ensure a snug, semi-glove fit.
A storage cover bag and antenna patch are included with the car covers, and tie down security grommets with a lock and wire help prevent theft and high winds.
Some owners have complained about the quality of this cover, claiming that the fabric isn’t long-lasting, while others have praised it as a solid product. So keep in mind that this one might have some quality control issues.
Pros: Double layer fabric, reinforced seams, lock and wire
Cons: Questionable quality
Benefits of Getting a Great Car Cover
Benefits of a Car Cover Depending on the type of cover and when and where you use it, a car cover can protect your car from:
- Dust, dirt, and pollen
- Bird bombs (poop) and tree sap
- Industrial fallout
- Cat claws
- Tree branches
- Sun and ultraviolet rays
- Rain, snow, sleet, and hail
- Dings from car doors, garage clutter, and children
These are serious issues to cover your car from. Both can cause etching of your paint if left on too long and can take a generous amount of elbow grease and chemicals to remove, each of which wears on your paint’s clearcoat (something you don’t have much of).
Dust, dirt, and pollen
Dust, dirt, and pollen To keep dust and pollen out of my car, I use an indoor cover. Even if I keep my car in a garage during the spring, it will quickly turn yellow from pollen. Instead of having to wash the car every time I want to drive it, I can simply fold up the cover and remove it.
These are things like acid rain, jet fuel particulates at the airport, rail dust from a nearby railroad, etc… These will embed themselves in your paint and slowly break down your clearcoat.
Cat claws and tree branches
If you’ve ever owned a clawed cat, you’ll know that they never seem to want to walk around or jump with those claws retracted. A padded car cover can protect your beautiful paintwork from these scuffs.
Sun and UV rays
While both automotive clear coat (the top layer of your paint) and automotive glass have UV filtering built in, some still passes through and degrades the materials beneath over time.
In the case of your paint, the clearcoat is the only thing that prevents the pigment beneath from fading. The longer you can keep that clearcoat in good condition, the longer your car will remain vibrant and reflective.
Even with high-quality heat and UV-reducing window tinting, interior temperatures in the sun can reach dangerous levels. Heat is the number one destroyer of the plastic, vinyl, and leather that comprise the majority of your interior.
The key to preventing theft is deterrence, which means making your belongings less appealing to thieves than those of your neighbors. Anything you can do to make your car, truck, or motorcycle more difficult to break into and steal will help.
The majority of the time, thieves are looking for easy targets. A car cover extends the amount of time a thief must be exposed while stealing your belongings. It also conceals what you have from casual onlookers, putting your valuables “out of sight and out of mind.” A quality car cover will also include a lock, making both removal and theft of the cover much more time consuming.
Door dings, garage clutter, and children
Another advantage of a car cover with some padding is that it protects your paint from damage from the doors of cars parked next to yours, clutter in the garage that may get knocked over, and children who typically have a reckless disregard for nice things.
Rain, sprinklers, snow, sleet, hail
Quality outdoor covers are water-repellent, which helps prevent rain from flooding the car’s body, which can lead to rust and other issues over time (hello every 90s GM pickup truck cab corners).
When the snow is contained by a cover, it is also easier to remove. While removing a snow cover may cause minor scratches to your paint, it is far preferable to taking a broom to your car in order to get to work on time.
Last but not least, a standard thick outdoor cover will keep sleet and small hail at bay. There are even specialized inflatable covers available to protect your vehicle from larger hail. While these covers may not be attractive, neither do golf ball-sized dents and holes in your glass, which will cost you thousands of dollars.
Drawbacks of a Car Cover
This is the single reason why car covers are such a contentious issue on detailing forums.
As you should know (if you’ve read literally any other post on my site), touching your paint risks scratching it, and polishing removes micro layers of your clearcoat, which you only have 0.001 inches (or.0254mm) of, reducing the life of your clearcoat.
The good news is that by using the proper technique for installing and removing your cover (which I will discuss later), using a quality custom-fit cover, and only installing a cover on a clean car, you can virtually eliminate this risk.
Caring for the cover
In the case of really nice indoor covers, this may entail the use of a dry cleaner on occasion.
As you can see, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. I’m a big fan of car covers. A good car cover has made car maintenance so much easier for me.
I’d never go back to having to quick detail or wash my car every time I wanted to drive it.
Condensation, Mold, and Mildew
If left in this condition for an extended period of time, mold/mildew can grow and leave stains on your paint that are extremely difficult to remove, even with machine polishing. This is something that high-quality covers should avoid.
Universal and Ready-Fit vs Custom-Fit Car Covers
Each of which is slightly more expensive than the previous but provides additional benefits.
I only believe in and recommend custom-fit car covers, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
I like to refer to these unflatteringly as shower caps because they fit the average vehicle so well.
Because they are easy to mass produce and import, these are the types of car covers you are likely to find at stores like Walmart.
The advantage of universal covers is that they are usually much less expensive than custom-fit covers.
The disadvantage is that they are extremely loose around the panels, allowing wind to blow the cover around like a wind sail, drawing dirt underneath and destroying your paint. They also lack mirror pockets and provisions for spoilers, louvers, scoops, canards, and splitters, which may protrude from your vehicle and put stress on these components, eventually causing damage to them.
These covers are also more difficult to install without dragging or pulling the cover across the vehicle, potentially scratching the paint.
I’m not a fan of these and don’t think they’re worth the material they’re made of. You’d be better off investing in a better tint and a higher quality wax for protection.
In my experience, they are at least cut to match the type of vehicle (hatchback, pickup, van, etc.) so they have some degree of fitment but still have all of the drawbacks of universal covers.
The advantage is that these covers are stocked in most detail stores, so you will receive it quickly after ordering, as opposed to a custom-fit cover, which may take a couple weeks to be manufactured and mailed to you.
Custom-Fit Car Covers
As the name suggests, these covers are custom-fit to fit your vehicle as closely as possible. They will be made to your specific make and model measurements and will include provisions for mirrors, antennas, spoilers, splitters, and other accessories commonly found on sports cars such as your Mustang, Camaro, Corvette, Porsche, and so on. Because these covers fit so closely to the body panels, the risk of them being blown around and damaging your paint is almost nil if used outdoors. If used indoors, it will not abrade the paint if rubbed up against.
You’ll have to pay more for these and wait for them to be made, but it’ll be worth it in the end, and you’ll be the happiest. Most manufacturers even allow you to choose custom color schemes to make it truly unique.
When I need to buy a car cover or am asked to recommend a car cover, this is the only type of cover I consider. It’s the epitome of “buy once, cry once.”
Indoor vs Outdoor Car Covers
Outdoor covers are built to withstand the harsh conditions that you won’t find indoors. They can provide protection both indoors and outdoors, but they are heavier and more difficult to store than a light indoor-only cover.
Indoor Only Covers
Even if you have a garage, shop, or other covered parking for your vehicle, you will still benefit from a cover.
If your garage is anything like mine, it has its own hazards, such as neighboring car doors, hanging bicycles, lawn equipment, children running by, and dust and pollen that accumulates every time the door opens in the spring and summer.
The right custom-fit indoor cover can protect against these while remaining lightweight, soft, and stretchable.
I purchased a cover to prevent dust and pollen from accumulating on my car between washes and drives. I despise how annoyingly imperfect that fine layer of dust is on an otherwise perfectly clean car; however, do not use an Indoor Only cover for outdoor use. They simply aren’t up to the challenge.
Outdoor Car Covers
Outdoor rated car covers, also known as all-weather or weatherproof car covers, are designed to be more resistant to water, dirt, ultraviolet rays, and impact, and will typically weigh more and cost more.
Water-repellent but breathable outdoor covers are standard (not water proof). This way, they can protect your vehicle from rain (including acid rain and other contaminants that can degrade your car’s paint, plastic, and rubber) while still allowing moisture to evaporate that would otherwise become trapped beneath and damage your paint.
When the rain stops, the cover, as well as your paint, will dry out safely.
Most outdoor covers are made of several layers to keep dirt, dust, and other debris out. They will prevent bird bombs, tree sap, leaves, and other fallout from clogging drain tubes and air intakes and ending up on the paint.
UV and thermal protection are two additional advantages of building outdoor covers. They will prevent the sun from shining through your windows, converting your home into a greenhouse and destroying your upholstery.
Leaving your car at airports for extended periods of time while traveling is a great example of how to use an outdoor cover. A good outdoor cover can help protect against door dings, airplane fallout, casual onlookers (thieves), and the sun and ultraviolet rays reflected off the pavement and other cars.
Furthermore, outdoor car covers can be used indoors as well. Because of the beefed-up construction of the material, they will simply weigh more and take up more space when stored.
Car Capsule Covers
Capsules or bubble car covers are another type of car cover that is available in both indoor and outdoor models. These are plastic inflatable covers that encase the entire car, similar to an airstream trailer.
The advantage of these is that they are essentially hermetically sealed capsules for your car that filter air into the car and protect it from any contact.
These are ideal for long-term storage of collector cars, especially in a shop, storage unit, or garage.
Recommended Car Cover Fabric – Synthetic Microfibers vs Cotton
Typically, only cotton-based covers are available for indoor use. Cotton does not have any inherent UV or water-repellent properties. The materials used in these covers range from light laminated cotton to thicker woven and napped flannel. This is an excellent material for use only indoors.
Synthetic fabric, on the other hand, is most commonly found in outdoor covers, though it can also be found in indoor covers. Synthetic fabrics, such as solution-dyed polyester and acrylic microfibers, have come a long way and can be as soft and easy to work with as cotton while also providing natural UV, mildew, and water repellency.
When it comes to the degree of protection in synthetic fabrics, the layers matter more than the specific material, so don’t get too caught up in which manufacturer’s proprietary fabric blend is best; instead, consider how many layers the cover has and whether it has a soft lining.
Personally, I prefer synthetic fabrics for both indoor and outdoor use these days.
Picking Out the Top Rated Car Covers
The type of cover you choose is determined by your intended use and location. You wouldn’t buy the same cover to protect a car in the Arizona desert as you would for daily 5 o’clock rain in Florida or a car that only leaves the garage on perfect days.
While color and cost are important considerations, your choice is ultimately determined by your use case.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the best car cover for all purposes and situations.
If you want to protect your car from the sun, UV rays, and scorching heat, you should look for a Sunbrella car cover. This solution-dyed acrylic material is naturally UV-resistant and extremely long-lasting. For a very long time, it will not degrade due to prolonged sun and heat exposure.
Sunbrella covers can be treated to repel water, making them good all-around covers.
For excessive rain, look for a cover with densely woven microfibers for high water repellency and mildew resistance. A good “rainproof” car cover, such as the Covercraft WeatherShield HP, will have 3-5 layers to increase water resistance and protect against falling debris.
These covers will be made of encapsulated fibers that are less prone to water absorption. This means that light rain will be quickly shed and easily shaken off.
Snow & Ice
For frost, snow, and ice, you’ll need a cover similar to what I described above for rain. This is because you don’t want ice to form under the cover against the car, as this could cause damage if you try to remove the cover while it’s frozen.
Never attempt to remove a frozen cover from a car. If you need to remove a cover with ice under it, pour some room temperature to lukewarm water (NOT HOT) over the cover to melt the ice and make it easier to pull off.
There are also covers designed specifically for ice protection. These covers are truly waterproof because they are designed to prevent the formation of ice under the cover and to be removable once the storm has passed or when you need to leave for work.
Anything other than light sleet and hail will necessitate hail storm cover. Hail smaller than a dime can be protected by a thick outdoor cover, but anything larger will still leave marks.
There are padded and inflatable hail car covers available that can protect against larger hail, such as the Hail Protector by Hail Storm Products. While they may appear silly, they are a lot better than dents, broken windows, and increased insurance premiums if your car is hammered.
Dust & Dirt
A custom-fit cover is required for dust and dirt. There isn’t any other choice. If you live in an area with a lot of wind and dust, a loose-fitting universal fit cover will trap dust between the cover and your paint, acting like sandpaper on your paint.
Look for a cover with densely woven and layered fabric that fits snugly around the car, like the Covercraft Dustop. This is applicable to both outdoor and indoor covers.
If you want scratch and ding protection, look for a thicker, layered cover like the Covercraft Noah. This will help with the odd basket ball or bicycle handlebar impact as your children move around in your car or truck.
If you only want to prevent light scratches from cat claws or family members brushing up against the car while walking in and out of the house, the thinner dust stopping covers will suffice.
Bugs, Bird Poop, & Tree Sap
If your car will be parked outside under trees, you should use a cover made of densely woven layers, such as the Covercraft Evolution, to keep contaminants on the cover’s surface.
These droppings will gradually work their way into your paint if you use a thin, cheap car cover.
Conclusion: Who Makes Great Car Covers?
We’ve learned a few tips and tricks over the years, and before we get into any of your other questions, we thought we’d share that knowledge with you, our dear readers, for free.
Before removing and storing your car cover, shake off any dust or debris to avoid contaminating the inner layer with potentially abrasive materials.
Before you cover your car, it should be washed and waxed. You don’t want grit or grime getting in between the car cover and the paint, trim, and glass. Wax adds another layer of defense.
To avoid confusion about which end is which, get into the habit of folding up the cover from the same end of the car every time. Unfold from the back, then fold again from the front. Alternatively, vice versa.
Clean the cover itself on a semi-regular basis to keep tree sap, bird droppings, and bug guts from piling up on your car cover. Excessive buildup can permeate the material and cause damage that you won’t notice until you remove the cover.