Do Car Covers Do More Harm Than Good? (4 Warnings)

Car covers have always been a popular option for protecting our vehicles. 

They claim to safeguard our vehicles from elements, preserving their appealing exterior and insulating them from possible harm. But, before wrapping your vehicle in a cover, you have to consider the possible benefits and drawbacks. 

Surprisingly, car covers may occasionally do more damage than good, and it’s critical to be aware of the risks they pose. 

Here’s Why Car Covers Can Do More Harm Than Good:

If car covers are not made of high-quality materials or not properly fitted, they may lead to scratches, abrasions or paint damage. When moisture becomes trapped beneath the car, it can cause mold growth and rust. Furthermore, poor fitting could lead to movement of the cover, resulting in scratches.

4 Potential Dangers of Using Car Covers

Car covers are frequently regarded as an easy and practical solution to protect vehicles from a variety of exterior threats. 

They provide additional protection against severe weather, damaging UV rays, dust, and accidental scrapes.

While car covers might provide some protection, it’s vital to remember that they can also unintentionally contribute to some sort of damage when not used correctly, too. 

Let’s take a closer look at four potential hazards of utilizing car covers. 


It may appear contradictory that rust might build on your vehicle while utilizing a car cover. After all, the cover’s purpose is to shield it from the elements, correct? 

However, under certain conditions, a car cover may unintentionally contribute to the development of rust.

Rust can form as a result of moisture accumulation. Moisture might become trapped between your car cover and the surface of your vehicle if it is not breathable.

This trapped moisture, along with the absence of air, provides a humid environment that encourages rust formation, resulting in corrosion and damage to the exterior of your car over time.

Furthermore, if the car cover is not properly fitted or has gaps or tears, moisture from rain or humidity could seep through and come into touch with the metal surfaces of your vehicle. 

When moisture remains on the metal for an extended period, it creates ideal circumstances for rust to form.

It’s also important to remember that car covers can unintentionally retain moisture sitting on your vehicle. If your automobile is slightly damp or dirty before you cover it, for example, the cover is to seal in moisture, increasing the probability of rust formation.

To reduce the possibility of rust, use a car cover that is specifically intended to be breathable and allows for sufficient airflow.


When it comes to scratches, using a car cover could prove to be a double-edged sword. 

While the objective is to shield your vehicle’s exterior from scratches, there are times when a car cover can unintentionally contribute to the development of scratches on the surface of your vehicle.

One frequent cause of scratches occurs when the car cover is not properly cleaned. 

If the cover collects dust, dirt, or debris, these particles might become trapped between the cover and the surface of your car. 

As the cover moves or shifts due to wind or other circumstances, these particles can be abrasives, causing micro-scratches on the paintwork.

Additionally, when placing or removing the car cover, you run the chance of accidentally dragging or rubbing it against the exterior of your vehicle, leaving scratches or markings on the paint.

Another consideration is the fit of the car cover. 

If the cover is excessively loose or if sufficient securing mechanisms don’t exist, it may flap in the wind or move around, generating friction against the vehicle’s surface.

To avoid such problems, make sure that both the cover and your car are clean before fitting, and choose a cover that is soft and non-abrasive to reduce the possibility of scratching the paintwork.

Also, choosing a car cover with a snug and secure fit, especially with features such as elastic hems or tie-down straps, will help prevent excessive shifting and friction.

Paint Damage and Bubbling

While automobile coverings are intended to protect the paint, they can unintentionally promote paint damage and bubbling. 

This occurs in several ways, including: 

Poor cleaning and maintenance: Using a dirty or badly kept car cover is not a good idea. When the cover moves, accumulated dirt, dust, or abrasive particles on the surface can rub against the paint. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the car cover is critical.

Material quality: Low-quality car covers can have rough or abrasive textures that cause friction on the paint. Over time, the frequent friction, combined with the movement of the cover, wears the paint layer away. Use high-quality car coverings.

Moisture accumulation: When moisture is trapped, it creates a humid environment that may lead to paint layer separation, resulting in bubbles. This problem can be avoided by using breathable covers that enable moisture and heat to escape.

Improper fit and installation: An improperly fitted or secured car cover may cause movement and friction on the paint, increasing the possibility of paint damage. It’s critical to choose a cover with a snug fit.

By taking these aspects into account, you may limit the likelihood of having paint-related issues when using a car cover and keep your vehicle in top-notch condition.

Mold Accumulation

Mold thrives in dark, damp environments, and applying a car cover might unintentionally create a climate favorable to mold growth. 

Moisture can get trapped between the cover and the vehicle’s surface if the cover is not breathable or has inadequate ventilation. This retained moisture, whether from rainfall, condensation, or other sources, creates a moist climate in which mold thrives. 

This makes selecting a breathable car cover critical, enabling moisture escape and preventing accumulation.

Mold growth can also be aided by storing a wet car cover. To reduce the possibility of mold growth, make sure the car cover is completely dry before storing it.

Overall, mold growth can be reduced by ensuring adequate airflow around the covered vehicle. 

If the automobile has been covered for a lengthy amount of time, it is best to remove the cover regularly for the vehicle to air out and avoid moisture from getting retained. This encourages ventilation and discourages mold growth.

Do Car Covers Trap Moisture?

Car covers may hold moisture if they are not breathable or do not have inadequate ventilation. 

When a car cover is not intended to enable moisture to escape, a microclimate can form between the cover and the vehicle’s exterior. 

This entrapped moisture can be caused by several factors, including rain, condensation, or leftover moisture on the car.

Moisture trapped between the car cover and the vehicle can produce a wet environment that encourages the formation of mold, mildew, and other moisture-related concerns. 

The absence of airflow and ventilation aggravates the problem by hindering moisture evaporation and creating a humid environment.

It’s vital to remember that not all car coverings are created equal when it comes to ventilation. 

Breathable fabrics are frequently used in high-quality car covers, as are specific ventilation elements such as vents or mesh panels. These characteristics promote appropriate airflow and help to minimize moisture buildup.

Waterproof car covers, while effective in preventing rain from falling on the car, can cause moisture to get trapped under the cover. This is because waterproof covers are often made with a waxy lining, making airflow nearly impossible.

Overall, buying a breathable car cover and making sure the vehicle is dry before covering it are critical steps to avoid moisture accumulation and potential vehicle damage.

Always Make Sure the Car Is Clean Before Using Car Covers

Making sure that your ride is clean before utilizing a car cover is an important step for safeguarding the condition of your vehicle and maximizing the cover’s effectiveness. 

Here are some of the reasons why you should prioritize cleaning before covering your car:

Preventing abrasions and scratches: When dirt, dust, or debris accumulate on the surface of your vehicle, it may result in abrasions or scratches. By thoroughly cleaning your vehicle before covering it, you limit the likelihood of such abrasions and scratches.

Avoiding Contaminant Trapping: If car covers are not properly cleaned beforehand, they may unintentionally trap contaminants on the surface of your vehicle.

Maintaining long-term paint protection: Cleaning your car regularly and keeping it free of dirt and grime helps the paintwork last longer. 

Improving overall aesthetics: By thoroughly cleaning your vehicle before covering it, you ensure that it remains attractive even with the cover in place. This cleanliness applies to the car cover itself, as washing and maintaining the cover regularly prevents dirt and debris from spreading onto your vehicle.

In conclusion, always prioritize cleaning your vehicle before using a car cover. This helps to minimize abrasions, avoids impurities, preserves long-term paint protection, and improves the overall appearance of your car. 

Please also check out my article about five things to look for in a good car cover.

Here’s How To Use Car Covers Properly

Car covers must be used correctly to provide adequate protection for your vehicle. 

Here’s a quick summary of the main steps to take when utilizing car covers:

#1 Thoroughly clean your car: When applying a car cover, make sure it is clean and free of dirt, dust, and debris. This helps to avoid scratches and keeps the cover in place.

#2 Choose the right dimension and type: Select a car cover that fits your vehicle securely while offering the necessary protection. Consider the environment, storage circumstances, and particular requirements (e.g., indoor versus outdoor use).

#3 Install the cover properly: To properly install the car’s cover, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. To avoid movement, ensure a snug and secure fit by utilizing any supplied straps, hooks, or elastic hems.

#4 Allow for adequate ventilation: Choose a breathable car cover or one with ventilation mechanisms to allow for air circulation and combat moisture buildup. This aids in the prevention of mold.

#5 Maintain and inspect the car cover regularly: Examine the car cover for any damage, tears, or wear. To keep the cover’s protective properties, clean it as directed by the manufacturer.

#6 Remove and clean the cover as necessary: Remove the car cover regularly to inspect your vehicle and wash the cover. This helps you to remove any collected dirt or debris and keeps both the car and cover in good shape.

Remember, effective car cover usage entails cleanliness, choosing the right cover, installing it correctly, ventilation, regular maintenance, and repeated cleaning.


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