Is a Car Cover Bad for Your Car Paint and Car Components?

I get this question all the time. Is a Car cover bad for your car paint and other car components? Well, a car cover is designed to protect your car and it does so really well. It’s when you buy a wrong car cover for your car that you mess your car up. As long as you buy the right kind of car cover for your car, car covers don’t do any damage to your car.

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Car Covers for Indoor and Outdoor Use

indoor-car-cover-outdoor-car-coverThere are two types of car covers on the market- Indoor Car Cover and Outdoor Car Cover. As the name suggests, the outdoor car cover is designed for outside environment use while the indoor car cover is more for aesthetics and is used for indoor garage usage.

Since most of you are probably here to know about the outdoor car cover, this article will specifically focus on whether an outdoor use car cover is bad for your car paint and its components.

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How often should you use your Car Cover?

I see this happen all the time. People buy a new car and starting the next day, they start using a car cover on their car. They put it on when they return from work and put it right back the next day.

Unless you park under a tree and birds are always shitting, there’s really no reason for you to put on a car cover.

You will be doing more bad than good by putting on a. car cover on a daily basis.

It’s only recommended to put on a car cover if you are leaving your car behind for an extended period. Heck, I suggest you not to put on a car cover even if you will be away from your car for a few days.

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Do Car Covers scratch Car Paints?

Yes, if you use a cheap $20 car cover like the one Scotty Kilmer used on the video below, your car will get scratches from the paint. However, if you buy a car cover from a reputable brand that doesn’t use cheap harsh plastic material, car covers won’t scratch your car paint.

There are a few things you have to note, however. If you park your car outside and the area you live in is windy, make sure that the car cover is tied down perfectly.

If the car cover brushes over your car paint, your car will end up with micro scratches- no matter how good quality of a car cover you get.

Also, make sure that the cover material is something other than rough synthetic plastic. You will find that premium car covers are made out of rubbery materials or soft nylon material which don’t cause micro-scratching.

Also, if you are buying a car cover for your car, make sure there are no metal grommets. metal grommets are the No.1 reason for car paint scratches.

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Are Expensive Custom Fit Car Covers worth the money?

custom-car-cover-worth-moneyUnless you own a really high-end car or a brand new car with shiny paint, I don’t think Custom Fit Covers which cost north of $200 is worth your money and time. I am adding time because custom fit expensive car covers generally take 2-3 weeks to reach to you. On the other hand, a readymade car cover can reach to you in as little as 2 days.

However, when I am saying not to buy a custom fit car cover for your car, I am not recommending you to go and buy a generic car cover. What I am suggesting to you is to go and buy a car cover designed for your car. Look up your model number and the exact variant and get a car cover for your specific model

For example: If you own a Toyota Corolla, you can get a Car Cover specifically designed for the Toyota Corolla. They are cheap and have a perfect fit.

I recommend you to get a Custom Fit Car Cover only when you have a modified body panel or have installed accessories in your car which don’t come fitted from the factory. In this case, it makes sense for you to go out and get yourself a custom fit car cover even though it will cost you more money.

If you have a supercar or a hypercar or any car costing over $50,000, you may want to go the Custom Fit Car Cover route. I am sure spending $200-$300 on a custom fit car cover designed specifically for your car will be very much worth it.

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Car Covers with UV Protection

Car Covers provide UV protection in addition to protecting the car from the rain. While most of the car cover naturally provide UV protection to the car when covered, there are specific car covers that are designed to offer greater level of UV protection.

If you don’t live in an area where UV rays are deadly, it’s really not necessary for you to go and get specialized car covers with UV protection. There’s really no value addition in my opinion.

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Who makes the Best Car Covers?


While you may think that all car covers are all generic, you would be very wrong. There are some prominent players in the car cover space that have been selling car covers for decades.

CarCovers and Covercraft are two of the biggest car cover brands. Here is a list of car cover brands who are very popular in this space:

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How to put on a Car Cover?

Installing a car cover can seem like a daunting task- especially if you are doing it alone. And sure enough, for the first few times, putting a car cover can really be a painful task. However, like everything, once you master the proper technique, you will be able to install your car cover in under two minutes.

While not convenient, it’s always much easier to install a car cover when there are two people involved. However, it’s possible to do it alone.

Here are the steps I suggest you follow to put on a car cover:

  • Find the front of the car cover (Here’s one tip for you: If your car cover doesn’t have a label, use a marker denoting that it is the front part of the cover. You will save a lot of time later not having to find out which is the front part of the cover and which is the back)
  • Starting front, roll the cover towards the end of the car body
  • Reach to the front of the car and secure the front part of the cover by tucking the cover under the front bumper of the car
  • Then, reach to the back of the car and tuck the cover under the rear bumper.
  • Next, make sure that the car cover is stretched on all the sides with no loose ends
  • Now, cover the rear-view mirrors and also the antenna if your cover has dedicated cuts for them
  • Lastly, reach the buckle strap and run the strap underneath the car. (Here I suggest you tighten the strap so that wind doesn’t move the car cover around. (Avoiding this step will make you believe that Car Covers are Bad for Your Car Paint)

You can also check the video below on how to install a car cover.

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Are Car Covers Waterproof?

Most of the car cover manufacturers claim their car cover to be waterproof. But in reality, there are no car covers that are fully waterproof. That’s so because when it rains hard, the water strikes the ground and ends up hitting the bottom of the car all the time.

And even when that’s not the case, moisture easily gets between the car cover and the car ultimately producing droplets of water. And this can be bad for your car. The drops of water or the moisture can get trapped resulting in corrosion, mold or mildew. When this happens, people go out and complain that car covers aren’t good for your car paint and the car components.

While not waterproof, most of the car covers are water-resistant. If it is not an indoor use car cover, there are high chances that the car cover you are using is water-resistant.

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What are Breathable Car Covers?

You may think that a waterproof car cover is a great idea but it really isn’t. Like mentioned earlier, it’s not a great idea to have a completely waterproof car cover. If water or moisture is trapped between your car and the car cover, it can cause mold or even lead to corrosion.

When you have a breathable car cover, the material in the car cover allows the trapped moisture to evaporate. This is basically what you need to understand by breathable car covers.

Breathable car covers are made out of woven materials which allow moisture to pass. This is one really important characteristics and you should look into this detail while buying a car cover.

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Does a Car Cover Protect the Car from the Sun Rays?

Definitely! While no car cover will be 100% deflect the sun rays from entering the car, most of the car covers will prevent the harmful sun rays from getting inside the car.

And yes, the car covers will also prevent your car from getting extremely hot when parked outside in the sun. If you have items like a laptop inside the car, the car cover will certainly help keep the laptop safe inside a car. 

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Contour Fit vs Custom Fit Car Covers- Which one should you get?

I recommend 99% of the users to get Contour Fit car covers. Contour Fit Car Covers are significantly cheaper than custom-fit car covers but perform just as well.

Unless you have a limited edition supercar or a customized vehicle, it’s going to be wiser for you to go with Contour Fit Car Cover. For a general non-luxury car, it makes little sense to buy Custom Fir Car Covers which sell for upwards of $500.

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Do Car Covers protect the Wind Screen (Front Glass) in a Hailstorm?

Unfortunately, no. Car Covers are thin and cannot protect your car in case of a hailstorm.

If you park your car outside and have to protect the windscreen of your car, I recommend you try out specialized car covers that are designed to protect your car in case of a hail storm.

If you are buying a car cover that isn’t specifically designed withstanding hailstorm, don’t risk the car cover protecting your car in case of hail. I have often seen people complain about how the car cover is worthless and does more bad than good. But at the end of the day, it is the error in user understanding and nothing to do with the car cover.

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Should you buy a generic Car Cover from Amazon for $20?

If you have got a beaten car that you brought for 1000 bucks, go ahead and buy a cheap car cover! If you are buying a car cover just to prevent the birds from pooping on your car, buying a cheap car cover is not a bad option. Like Scotty Kilmer shows in the video below, buying a cheap car cover isn’t a bad option as long as you don’t want to keep your car paint looking new and fresh.

However, if you have bought a new car and are looking to buy a cheap car cover, it may not be the best thing to do. You definitely don’t want to leave micro-scratches on your brand new car. These kinds of Car Covers which don’t have any soft lining on the inside part of the cover certainly are bad for your Car Paint in the long-run.

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Main Reasons why you need to buy a Car Cover

  1. Keeps Car Clean- Fewer Washes required
  2. Protects paint from Scratches
  3. Protects oxidizing and corroding paint
  4. Avoids prying eyes from peeping inside the car
  5. Avoids Moisture and UV Protection
  6. Helps maintain Resale value
  7. Protect your car from debris (eg: a tree glue or a bird poop)
  8. Protect the interior from being affected by the sun rays

The thing I like about car covers is that you can avoid thousands of dollars of damage by investing in a car cover for a fraction of the price. And there’s also peace of mind. You don’t have to worry about any of the aforementioned issues if you have a car cover on.

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The Limitation of a Car Cover

No matter which brand you choose, a car cover is ultimately just a car cover. There are a few limitations of a car cover that you will need to keep in mind. Unless you are getting a specialized car cover (which I am sure most of you aren’t getting), here are few of the limitations of a car cover you will need to keep in mind:

  • It cannot protect the windscreen in case of a hailstorm
  • It cannot make your car waterproof
  • Car Covers wear out over time
  • It cannot prevent theft completely
  • Cheap car covers can cause micro-scratches on your car paint
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How to prevent your car cover from being stolen?

While uncommon, I have heard people’s car covers being stolen. And when I think about it, stealing a car cover does make sense. A good car cover costs around $300 and if a thief can get away with it in a minute or so, it’s a good steal, isn’t it?

So, there are a couple of things that you can do to protect your car cover from being stolen. If you aren’t buying a cheap Chinese car cover, you will find that your car cover has a grommet. The Grommet is actually designed to tie down your car cover in a windy situation. But you can use it to lock your car cover.

You will need to buy a get a specifically designed cable and lock to run the cable through the grommet underneath the car.

There you go. Now you know that Car Covers really aren’t bad and don’t cause scratches on your car. Just be wise while choosing a car cover for your specific car.

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