Next to a house, a car is typically the most valuable item someone owns, so protecting it is a priority. If you park your car outside, it’s exposed to wear and tear from environmental factors as well as to thieves. To keep your car looking and functioning its best, you’ll want to make sure it’s sheltered from damage. Quality car covers that are applied properly provide a thorough solution.

This guide will tell you what to keep in mind when evaluating what type of car cover to purchase and will show you how to apply your cover for the best possible results. Your car should be enjoyed to the fullest throughout its lifetime!

Car Covers Prevent Environmental Damage

Weather can have a big impact on paint jobs, causing significant damage over time. Car covers offer protection from frost, hail, sun, and the daily dirt and grime that gradually wear down surfaces.

UV rays from the sun are one of the most problematic weather-related threats, since they not only fade and damage paint, but also cause a vehicle’s rubber trim to crack. If you live in a warm climate and your car spends a lot of time in the sun, the interior can even experience damage from heat over time.

Car covers that contain UV ray inhibitors prevent the deterioration that UV rays inflict. Technalon Evolution® fabric, for example, is specially treated to deflect harmful rays. As an added bonus, this material also protects from dents and dings caused by hail. Sun shades offer interior protection from UV rays for shorter periods of time when you don’t have time to apply a full cover — such as while you’re at work or when you’re parked outdoors for an all-day event.

If your car is parked under a tree, you’ll also have sap, leaves, and bird droppings to deal with. A car cover will protect you from these factors, while simultaneously saving you from overly-frequent car washing!

Car Covers Prevent Theft

Theft is also something to consider. Vandals and thieves want to do their work as quickly as possible to avoid getting caught. Anything that would slow down potential criminals will discourage them from proceeding. Covers take time to remove, especially custom car covers. So cars that are covered will be less tempting to those with ill intent. Covers also serve the purpose of shielding valuables from prying eyes, making them less attractive to thieves.

Fit Options Give You Flexibility

The type of cover you need will depend on your make and model of car as well as on your own preferences. There are two main types of car covers to choose from: custom fit and universal fit.

Custom Car Covers

If you want a cover that’s specifically designed for your car’s year, make, and model, you should choose a custom fit car cover. These covers are manufactured to the exact shape and size of each vehicle for a perfect fit. They provide superior protection from dust, wind, rain, and other elements. Debris won’t be able to slide under the cover, thanks to the snug fit. If you’ll be storing your car or parking it for long periods of time, we recommend a custom fit cover.

Universal Car Covers

Universal fit car covers offer basic protection while staying versatile. They provide a loose fit and don’t have mirror pockets, so they won’t offer complete protection. Although they lack a snug fit, they are helpful when you need a fast, economical car cover or for short-term parking. If you’re just keeping your car outdoors for a brief period of time and you want to quickly throw on a cover for light protection, universal fit covers are an excellent choice.

Specialized Materials Provide Specific Protection

While many materials provide good all-purpose protection, if you know your car will be facing a specific threat, you may want to purchase a cover made from a material specially designed to protect against that threat.

Indoor Only

If you’re planning to store your car in a garage, you may choose a cover that’s primarily designed to keep dust away. Form-Fit®, Dustop™, Polycotton and Tan Flannel are all extremely soft and dust resistant, offering the perfect cover for indoor protection.

Extreme Heat and UV Rays

If your car will be parked in the heat and sun, you’ll want a car cover that provides special protection against UV rays. Sunbrella®, WeatherShield® HD, Weathershield® HP, Ultra’tect®, Technalon Evolution® and Reflec’tectall guard against heat and sun damage.

Harsh Winter Weather

If your car will be encountering rain, snow, hail, or ice, you’ll need a fabric that defends against harsh winter weather. WeatherShield® HD, WeatherShield® HP, NOAH® and Technalon Evolution® fabrics are made for this purpose.

All Weather

If you’ll be facing a variety of different threats, you’ll probably want to consider an all-weather car cover. The materials that these covers are crafted from provide protection from a multitude of problems, year round. These covers include WeatherShield® HD, Weathershield® HP, Sunbrella®, Ultra’tect®, NOAH® and Technalon Evolution®.

How to Apply A Car Cover Correctly

You may have heard horror stories from people who discovered scratches in their paint finishes after removing a car cover. This issue can result if a cover is installed over a dirty or dusty car, or if the cover isn’t clean. It’s important to thoroughly wash your car before applying a cover. Proper care and installation of your car cover will ensure that your vehicle is protected.

While each car cover (particularly each custom fit cover) is unique, most will follow the same general method of installation. By following these steps, you’ll streamline the process and ensure that your car is as protected as possible.

1. Clean your car and the cover.

If your car or the cover isn’t already clean, be sure to wash it. If the cover is breathable, it doesn’t need to be dried, since it will release all moisture into the air as it evaporates.

2. Orient the cover.

Locate the front of the car cover, which should be marked with a printed indicator or a tag sewn inside. Spread the cover over your car (but don’t secure it quite yet).

3. Mark your antenna.

If you’re using a universal fit cover and if your car doesn’t have a retractable antenna, mark the spot on the car cover where your antenna makes contact. Many universal fit car covers include a grommet that will provide an opening for your antenna while preventing tears in your cover.


Car Cover Over Antenna

4. Place the mirror pockets.

If your cover has mirror pockets (as most custom car covers do), place the pockets over the mirrors.

5. Secure the cover to the front bumper.

Slide the front of the cover completely over the car’s front bumper.

6. Secure the cover to the rear bumper.

Pull the rest of the cover over the vehicle. Secure the rear of the car cover over the rear bumper.

How to Remove a Car Cover

Removing a car cover can be a bit tricky, so you may find these steps helpful when the time comes to take off your cover.

1. Remove the cover from the bumpers.

Take the cover off both the front and rear bumpers of the car.

Correctly applying car cover to Corvette

2. Fold the cover up onto the roof.

Take each side of the car cover and fold it onto the roof of the vehicle. Note that the cover should be about two feet wide after this step.

3. Fold the cover toward the rear.

Next, beginning from the front of the car, fold the cover toward the rear in three-foot increments. You’ll end up with a folded cover in a 2x3-foot rectangle. This step will prevent the cover from dragging against the car.

4. Remove the cover and store it.

Many high-quality car covers include a storage bag with purchase, but you can store your cover in any clean, dry spot. If your cover doesn’t come with a bag, you can purchase one separately.

Don’t Forget

There are a couple of other things you should keep in mind to ensure that your car is protected as thoroughly as possible.

  • First, you’ll want to wash your car cover regularly, especially after it’s encountered dirt, leaves, or bird droppings. Each material has its own washing instructions, but most covers can be machine washed for convenience. Check your manufacturer’s instructions to be sure.
  • If you’re using an all-weather car cover, you can provide extra protection against heat by lowering your side windows about two inches. By doing this, the air will be able to circulate through the car, keeping the temperature at a reduced level.

With a high-quality cover that’s designed for your specific needs, your car will be sheltered from potential threats and damage. If you follow the steps above, you’ll make it simple to guard your vehicle and protect your investment — whether you’re parking short-term in the lot at your office, long-term while you’re away traveling, or anything in between.

Next Article: How to Protect Your Car from the Sun’s Heat and UV Rays