If you want to keep your car in tip-top condition, you’ll need to make sure it’s protected from the elements. Over time, exposure to wind, rain, snow, and sun can wear down the exterior of your vehicle, leaving the paint dull and discolored. Fortunately, it’s easy to protect your car against the elements. We’ve rounded up the best car covers below.
A car cover is a piece of material that snaps on and off your car with relative ease, protecting it from the weather, bird droppings, harmful UV rays, and wear and tear when you’re not driving it. While that may sound simple in theory, there are many different types of car covers, which can make finding the best cover for your vehicle challenging. you can get something generic or even buy a custom car cover with adjustable straps or reflective strips.
Reading: Best car cover reviews
Here are our recommendations for the best car covers in a variety of categories, based on customer satisfaction ratings and expert opinions. Read on later to learn more about the different types of car covers, how they differ, and the best ways to use them.
comparison of the best car covers in 2022
There’s a car cover available for almost every storage situation.
what to know about car covers
A car cover has more benefits for car owners than you might think. Yes, the right car cover prevents outside elements like rain, snow, and dust from accumulating on your vehicle. protects against scratches and other minor forms of damage, but also helps moderate the temperature inside the vehicle. after all, a cover will block the sun on a hot day and provide an extra layer of insulation on a cold day. If you have a breathable car cover, it can also prevent rust buildup, even if you live by the sea. Car covers are generally designed for outdoor or indoor use.
The wrong car cover can cause damage to your vehicle’s paint. Outdoor covers are designed to be more durable than indoor covers, but if they don’t have a smooth inner lining, they can cause scratches. Also, an ill-fitting car cover could rub against your vehicle, especially when exposed to the wind. Finally, if the fabric is weather resistant, but not breathable, it’s possible for moisture to get trapped under the cover (again, this is more likely when parking outdoors). that moisture could also damage the paint. For that very reason, you shouldn’t put a car cover on a wet car.
“When possible, place your car cover on a dry surface,” says kaitlyn short, senior content editor for bestcompany.com’s automotive vertical. bestcompany.com curates user reviews and creates business ratings in a variety of categories. “Best practice is to wipe any residual water off with a microfiber towel before applying the cover. You should also try to keep the cover and your car clean. Car covers can get dirty easily, increasing the chance of scratching the cover.” next time you need to use them try to reduce dust and debris in your car before applying the car cover.”
If you have a few bucks and prefer nothing to touch your car, the shell is a great car cover option.
Exterior car covers are subject to different external factors depending on the time of year, so it makes sense to find one that is versatile. Winter is a particularly important time to cover a car due to the risk of snow, but during the winter, your cover may have frozen and stuck to your car. Instead of trying to remove the lid, you should pour hot water over the lid until the frost melts and can be easily removed.
None of this is to say that interior car covers are any less necessary than exterior ones. They offer protection against a number of different hazards, many of which depend on whether you’re parked in a public or home garage. These risks range from pollen to moisture to animals, all of which can easily cause cosmetic damage to an open-top car.
choosing the right car cover
Car covers are available in a variety of materials, and the one that’s best for you will depend on your needs, such as the environment in which your car will be parked. Soft cotton covers, for example, are good for protecting cars that will be parked inside, but they’re not waterproof, so they’re not recommended for people who plan to leave their vehicles outside. Exterior car covers have to withstand more environmental hazards, so many companies use proprietary fabrics designed to withstand sunlight and precipitation.
exterior car covers are made from materials designed to withstand the elements.
“For interior-only car covers, the best car cover material is cotton-based, ranging from lightweight laminated cotton to thicker woven, plush flannel,” says Karen Condor. Condor is a writer, editor, and expert at 4autoinsurancequote.com, a company that connects drivers with insurance companies and creates content on auto and driver protection. “For car covers used outdoors, the best material is multi-layered synthetic fabric, such as solution-dyed polyester and acrylic microfibers, which can be as soft as cotton but also provide natural resistance to weathering.” ultraviolet light and mold and water repellency”.
Size is another concern when selecting a car cover, as a cover that is too large can cause the type of damage you are trying to avoid. Many manufacturers have their own size charts based on measurements or car makes and models for a more custom-fit cover. you’ll want to make sure you have all the necessary information before purchasing a cover. For this reason (and due to breathability issues), using a tarp as a car cover, or anything other than a cover specifically designed for your vehicle, is not recommended.
remember, your personal circumstances will determine what auto coverage is right for you. Consider factors such as where you will park, the weather in your area, and the size of your car before making your selection.
Proper car cover installation is important to prevent potential damage to your car’s paint.
how to use and care for a car cover
Once you’ve purchased your car cover, fitting it to your car is relatively easy. Usually one side is marked “Front” and you can put that side on the front bumper. After that it’s a matter of pulling it evenly so it doesn’t bunch up and then securing it to the rear bumper. The whole process doesn’t take long and can be done anywhere you park.
A car cover’s job is to protect your car, but it needs proper care to last as long as possible. Most car covers are machine washable, but each comes with its own instructions for proper cleaning, which must be followed exactly to maintain effectiveness and longevity. You shouldn’t use fabric softener and while hand washing is usually acceptable, dry cleaning is not. be sure to use cold water when washing a car cover.
don’t forget to keep your car cover clean with an occasional wash.
plus, you can wash the cover as needed; if you follow the instructions, regular washing will not damage the cover. Of course, car covers are likely to get dirty pretty quickly – there’s never a bad time to cover a parked car, so think of all the dirt (and worse) that can accumulate with that level of use.
“Since protecting your vehicle’s paint and reducing interior wear and tear can help trade-in value,” says Condor, “you should cover your car when you want to protect it from dust, dirt, pollen, bird droppings , trees sap and branches, sun and ultraviolet rays, heat, rain, snow, sleet and hail”.
When your car cover is not in use, the safest place to store it is in a storage bag. that way, you won’t have to worry about dust or any other environmental hazards.
worried about hail? the hail protector will keep your ride protected.
five things to know before buying and using a car cover
- Do you want an indoor car cover or an outdoor car cover? this will depend on where you mainly park your car, but if it varies you may want to get one of each.
- if you are going to buy an outdoor car cover, what is the climate like where you live? Do you live near large bodies of water? This information may seem obvious, but you’ll want to fully take stock of it, because the outdoor elements will likely affect the decking material you purchase.
- If you are going to buy an indoor car cover, what will happen in the garage where you park your car? if your car will be exposed to physical hazards, you may want to get a thicker or more padded cover.
- what size is your car? the size of your car will obviously affect the size of your cover. since you want a snug fit, it pays to be as precise as possible.
- what is the best way to care for your car cover? be sure to familiarize yourself with the storage and washing instructions before use to ensure your cover lasts as long as possible.
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written by scott fried for cnet cars.