You don’t need us to tell you that a vehicle is an investment. And though most car owners try to protect their vehicles the best they can, a quality car cover is an accessory that many forget about — or outright disregard.
The best car covers come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. They’re built to protect your vehicle, both the exterior and the interior, from the elements. There are outdoor car covers designed to keep rain, hail, snow, and the sun from damaging your car. And there are indoor car covers, which keep your vehicle pristine and dust-free when it’s parked in a garage.
Types of Car Covers
There are mainly three types of covers — indoor, outdoor, and all-weather.
Indoor car covers are meant to be used (you guessed it!) indoors. For instance, when your car is parked in the garage for a long period of time, you can protect it with an indoor cover. Most people see these covers as unnecessary, but they’re not. If you’ve ever left your car parked in a garage for long periods of time (for example, while on vacation), you’ll know just how dusty it can get.
Indoor covers are usually only water-resistant but not waterproof, meaning they can safeguard your vehicle from moisture up to a certain point. They’re also thinner and less robust because they’re not meant to be exposed to strong winds, hail, snow, or rain. The upside is that they’re usually cheaper.
If you regularly park your car in the driveway or on the street, you’ll want to look for an outdoor car cover. Because these covers are usually exposed to the elements (wind, snow, rain, and wind), they’re sturdier and more durable. Most of the time, they’re made with multiple layers to ensure water doesn’t seep through.
They’ll also have sewn-in buckled and elastic hems to keep the cover in place. On top of that, the best car covers to use outdoors have a UV-ray protection layer to protect your paint and interior from the sun’s rays. Since they have all these fancy features, you can expect to pay a bit more for an outdoor car cover than for an indoor car cover.
These top of the line covers are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions (within reason, of course). In addition to protecting your vehicle from the rain, snow, and sun, they’ll also safeguard it from hail and dirt and other debris flung around by strong winds.
Hail damage accounts for many car insurance claims, especially in states such as Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, and South Dakota. If you live in regions where severe storms pop up regularly, these car covers are for you — especially if you don’t have room in your garage for one more vehicle.
It’s not easy to find a good all-weather cover for cars and trucks. They’re relatively rare and some sellers try to pass off outdoor car covers for all-weather covers. Keep an eye out for a cover that is either super tough and can tense up when you install it on your vehicle or for one that inflates.
The Best Car Covers On The Market
Getting a car cover is definitely a good investment. After all, you’ll want to keep your beloved vehicle in top-notch condition. And the best part is that even the best car covers are pretty affordable. Below, we’ve listed some of the best car covers to get you started shopping for this much-needed automotive accessory.
The Autsop car cover has several sizes to fit cars, hatchbacks, trucks, and SUVs. With six-layers protection, you can rest assured that this four-season cover will protect your vehicle from something UV rays, water, wind, and dust.
The cover has a convenient buckle and strap system, which you can adjust to your get a snug fit on your vehicle. The long zipper on the driver’s side. gives you easy access to the inside of your car; no need to unbuckle and fold up the cover.
Lastly, when you’re not using the cover, you can neatly fold it and place it inside the included storage bag. Simply stash the bag away in the trunk until you need to use it again.
This Leader Accessories car cover is made from a breathable yet water-repellent material designed to repel moisture and keep it from coming in contact with your car or truck. The breathable three-layer design also helps protect against UV rays, dirt, dust, leaves, and more, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.
The cover has straps at the bottom to ensure no gust of wind will blow it away. All you have to do is simply snap the black buckles closed to secure the cover in place. Also, the cover has an elastic hem around the bottom for an added snug fit.
This cover comes in several different sizes so you should be able to easily find one that fits your vehicle.
This light-duty car cover is best suited for long term indoor storage. If you have a sports car or other garage queen that spends a good bit of time parked in your garage, this weighted car cover will help prevent dust, mold, and mildew.
The woven polyester cover has a weighted and waterproof apron that helps ensure a good ground seal. This should also help protect against unwanted pests like rodents or insects getting up under the car cover.
The cover comes in three sizes — sports size, mid-size, and full-size — and should be able to fit most cars and SUVs. The cover is water-resistant, breathable, and easy to toss over your car.
The ELUTO car cover has all the main features you want in a car cover without breaking the bank. Though it is not as universally compatible with all makes and models, if you have a sedan this is a good option.
The reflective silver coating on the polyester cover will protect your vehicle from UV rays. Not only will this help keep your paint in good condition, but it will also prevent the interior from fading. On top of that, this is also a waterproof cover. The high-density polyester prevents rain and snow from seeping through the fabric fibers and getting your car wet.
To prevent the cover from blowing off, this product has sewn-in adjustable buckles and wheel fabric straps. Additionally, this cover has four yellow reflective strips for added visibility — a nice feature if you park your car on the street at night.
This car cover from Audew has six layers for extra protection from sun, snow, and dust. And thanks to its double-needle stitched seams, the durable cover holds up well to the elements.
The six layers are all made of high-density, breathable material to help keep moisture away from your vehicle and protect it from the elements. Some of the layers have built-in UV-ray protection, which is an added bonus if you want to keep your paint looking new for longer. And the innermost layer is made from 100% cotton, making it soft to the touch and gentle on your car’s paint.
The cover comes with sewn-in adjustable buckle straps to keep it securely in place. And the reflective strips ensure your car is still visible even on a dark street. As an added bonus, you can easily fold up the cover and pack it in the included storage bag. This cover comes in two different sizes — one for sedans and the other for SUV/Jeeps.
This car cover is durable, tear-resistant, and weather-resistant. And with a price point less than $40, it’s definitely a good option if you’re on a budget.
The Bliifuu cover is single-layered. This means it doesn’t offer as much protection as other covers on the market, but it still gets the job done and is good for day-to-day use. You can use the cover both inside a garage and outdoors if you regularly park on the street or in a driveway.
The hem has sewn-in elastic, which keeps the cover nice and snug against your vehicle. In addition to that, there are also four fabric straps you can buckle around the wheels and the bottom of your car to keep the cover in place.
The Carbaba car cover may look like any regular old cover, but its clever design makes it stand out.
The first thing you’ll notice about this cover is that it has a long zipper. This is designed to give you access to the driver’s seat without having to uncover the entire vehicle. So, if you forgot something in your car after covering it up, you don’t have to go through the hassle of taking the cover off. Pretty convenient, right?
This six-layer car cover is made of woven polyester material coated with aluminized polyurethane and acrylic. Together, this offers unrivaled protection from the sun, rain, wind, and dust. Plus, the wind-proof elastic hems and buckles secure the cover in place even on windy days.
This Kayme cover is available in several different sizes, making it great for sedans, jeeps, and hatchbacks. This cover is that it’s waterproof, not simply “water-resistant.” If your car frequently sits outside through rain or snow, this is an added layer of protection you may want. This durable six-layer car cover protects your vehicle from the sun, dust, wind, snow, or rain.
You can trust this cover will keep your vehicle pristine even when you park it out on the street. If you want easy, convenient access to the inside of your vehicle even when it’s covered, this cover has a long zipper on the driver’s side door. This way, you can quickly pop in and out of your car without going through the hassle of uncovering it.
The cover has reflective strips on the mirrors and on the headlights so other drivers can easily spot your vehicle at night, even when it’s covered up.
If you’re looking for a trusty cover with good customer reviews that fits larger car models, the OxGord Executive should fit the bill. While it may look like a run-of-the-mill cover, this durable cover holds up spectacularly.
The cover has seven layers in total with five waterproof layers, all made from different materials. Each layer is designed to repel water while still being breathable so your vehicle won’t be covered in condensation when you pull back the cover after a rainy night.
The seams are double-stitched for added durability. The tie-down straps and elastic along the hem ensures you get a snug fit even on windy days and nights.
The GunHyi outdoor car cover is a good option to keep your car clean and protected against the elements.
This six-layer cover has an aluminum film layer that protects your vehicle from harmful sun exposure. The soft cotton inner layer prevents your car’s paint job from getting scratched. On the outer layer, you get reflective strips for added visibility at night.
The cover has easy to use buckles and an elastic hem for a snug fit. With several different sizes to choose from, you can find an option that fits sedans, SUVs, hatchbacks, and trucks.
Yes, you’ve read that right: this is a car cover that protects your car from hail and other storm conditions. As unbelievable as it may sound, it has glowing reviews and has saved many cars from getting completely wrecked while parked outside during a storm.
This cover comes with an airflow mechanism. When a storm is approaching, you can turn on the air machine to expand the car cover. This way, when hailstones fall on your car, the shock will be absorbed by the air inside the cover.
The cover has an anti-overinflating mechanism, so you don’t need to worry about the cover blowing up. You can leave the airflow fans on all night if a storm has been predicted and sleep worry-free. The fabric is very resistant and waterproof as well and can withstand hailstones, pebbles, or leaves or other storm debris.
On top of all this, you can also use it when it’s not storming outside. If you remove the airflow machine, it works perfectly as an outdoor car cover. It has a silver finish, which protects your car against UV rays.
Additionally, it comes in six different sizes, meaning it will fit virtually any car or truck. Also, when you’re done using it, you can just fold it up, detach the airflow fans, and stash it in the portable bag that’s included in the product.
Why Buy a Car Cover?
It’s true, a car cover isn’t a necessity. Your car will still run great if you don’t cover it up when it’s parked outside or in the garage. However, it will get dirty. Car covers prevent your vehicle from premature wear and tear from the elements.
For instance, when you use a car cover, your car won’t be covered in bird poop a week after you got it cleaned. It won’t get scratched paint when the wind picks up and flings small pebbles everywhere. And it won’t get covered in sap if you happen to park it under a tree. It also won’t get coated in dust after it rains.
As you can see, getting a cover for your car could be very beneficial. It avoids messes and keeps your car looking brand new for much, much longer. If you want to get the most out of the investment, we highly recommend using a car cover to keep your car in top shape.
(TIP: Always try to wash your car before covering it with a car cover, so the cover doesn’t rub the dirt into the paint.)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a car cover protect from the sun?
Yes, it can! Some outdoor car covers are made from fabric that can reflect UV-rays without absorbing them. The ones that have it always advertise it as one of their features. On top of that, a silver, almost mirror-like finish is typically a good indication that it will repel UV-rays.
Can a car cover damage your paint?
Unfortunately, there is a chance it could. To avoid having your paint scratched, look for covers with a soft inner lining.
It also helps greatly to have a clean car before using a car cover, so the cover doesn’t rub the dirt into the paint and scratch it.
Can a car cover be washed?
Generally speaking, yes it can. Some covers come with a label forbidding against machine washing. However, the vast majority of covers can be hand-washed if you do it gently and with the right kind of detergent. Follow the instructions on the car cover’s label.
Can a car cover scratch my car?
Possibly. Covers with a rough lining can easily lead to scratches.
Can a car cover prevent hail damage?
Only covers specifically designed to withstand hail can effectively protect your car or truck from hail. A run-of-the-mill outdoor cover will not prevent hail damage to your vehicle.
Can a car cover cause rust?
Some covers may cause rust and mold buildups if left on a car in a wet climate over a long period of time. If the cover isn’t breathable and you put it on while your car is wet, it could lead to rusting. Look for breathable covers to avoid this issue.
How often should I wash my car cover?
Whenever the cover is looking dirty, you could give it a quick wash. If it’s covered in sap or bird droppings, you should wash it. This will ensure the material doesn’t deteriorate and stays good as new.
How do I keep a car cover from blowing off?
Look for covers that come with adjustable buckles and elastic hems to help secure the car cover in wind.
Will a car cover protect from snow?
If it’s a waterproof cover, it certainly will. This is one reason to get a cover for your car or truck: so that on winter mornings you don’t need to scrape ice or snow off your car.
Kristen is a writer and editor based in Colorado. She came to motorsports by way of her husband's passion for track days, autocross, and fast cars and is now the proud co-driver of two E36 325s and an overland-in-the-making Lexus GX470. She is a volunteer driving instructor with the BMW CCA Rocky Mountain Chapter and enjoys any event that involves getting behind the wheel or navigating from the passenger's seat.