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Can a Car Cover Damage a Car’s Paint?

If you plan on parking your car outside in the elements, there is no better way to protect it than to use a car cover. However, there are different types of car covers that you use, so picking the correct one for your purpose is imperative to getting the best protection. And while the car cover’s sole job is to actually protect your car’s paint there is a possibility of it damaging as well.

There are two different types of car covers

There are two different types of car covers; those for indoor use and those for outdoor use. The car covers for indoor use typically fit more snug on the car and are made from a lighter material, like satin or polypropylene. The main function of indoor car covers is to protect the car against dust or other particulates that you find in an indoor garage, however, they don’t do well against the sun or other outdoor elements.

On the other hand, outdoor car covers are meant to protect your car when it’s parked outside. These types of car covers are generally much more durable and made from a reflective polyester material that can protect against UV rays and rain, although some low-quality covers are made from a breathable cloth material. Many of the high-quality outdoor covers will also have a fleece lining on the inside so that it’s softer on your car’s paint and sheet metal and use rubber grommets, as metal ones can scratch your car.

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Covered car at a car show | (David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Make sure that the cover fits

While car covers are meant to protect your car’s paint, they can do damage as well. One of the most important parts of finding the right cover for your car is to make sure that it fits well with your specific application. Indoor car covers will typically fit the best and form a tight cover around the car, thanks to the stretchy material that they use, while many outdoor covers fit a little bit looser due to the tougher material they are made from.

The reason it’s so important to get the correct fitting cover is that if the car cover moves or even flies off the car with a big gust of wind, then it’s possible for any metal grommets that on the car cover to scratch the car. Also, if the car cover falls off, then it won’t protect the car anymore. However, there are tie straps and cables that you can buy to secure the cover to your car better.

Moisture is also the enemy

Another important feature to look out for when purchasing a car cover is to make sure that the fabric is breathable. When a car is sitting in the outdoor elements like rain and snow, it’s possible for moisture to get trapped under the car cover, which can in turn do damage to your car’s paint. There are some covers out there that are completely waterproof, and while they are great for blocking out water, they can possibly also trap water underneath.

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There are many covers to choose from

There are many car covers to choose from, so it’s important to do your research. While there are cheaper, universal options that you can pick up from your local auto parts store, keep in mind that those covers might not fit your car well and they typically use metal grommets, which could scratch it. We recommend going with a better quality cover that is application-specific for your car, that way you can ensure a nice, snug fit.