It can be a rude awakening when you get up in the morning to drive to work or run an errand, only to see your car covered in debris that the wind has blown around or, worse, wintertime snow that you’ll need to scrape off. To avoid all that, you can use a car cover. An outdoor car cover is intended to help keep your car in pristine condition, no matter the weather. There are also car covers for indoor locations, such as garages, that are meant to protect your car from anything that could touch it, from other people to insects. If you decide to protect your vehicle with a car cover, your car will look better and last longer than without one, as it will preserve both the exterior and the interior from the surrounding environment. However, the type of material and the actual coverage of the car cover can affect how well it works, and that’s where we come in.
At the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Auto Lab, we test myriad car products — and the cars themselves. Our experts have spent hundreds of hours test-driving cars to determine our picks in categories like the best new family cars, reviewing car accessories, such as the best car vacuums, and finding the best winter tires. For this list, our experienced engineers and car enthusiasts vetted car covers in real-life conditions, testing them by using them on our actual vehicles and our test vehicles to see how well they fit and how well they were able to protect our cars. We also collaborated with our Textiles Lab to determine which materials are the most durable for dealing with external influences, such as weather and debris.
Our top picks:
Below, check out our favorite car covers meant to protect vehicles in almost any environment. Then, keep reading to learn more about the most important features to look for when purchasing a car cover for your vehicle.
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Best Overall Car Cover
6 Layers Car Cover
Best Value Car Cover
Waterproof Car Cover
Best Beginner Car Cover
Basic Guard Sedan Car Cover
Best Lightweight Car Cover
Lite Car Cover
Best Waterproof Car Cover
Rain Barrier Car Cover
Best Car Cover for Storms
Executive Storm-Proof Car Cover
Best Customizable Car Cover
Custom 5-Layer Indoor Car Cover
Best Luxury Indoor Car Cover
18-Foot Indoor Inflatable Car Cover and Storage
How we test the best car covers
Our GH Auto Lab pros used covers on personal vehicles and vehicles test-driven for review. For each car cover, we reviewed how easy they were to put on and take off of at least three vehicles each, how well they sat against the car and how well they’d likely hold up in various environmental conditions. We tested during several days of rain, so we could evaluate water-resistance firsthand. We also worked with our Textiles Lab experts to discuss which fabrics would work best against car exteriors and for weatherproofing. We decided on these picks based on popular reviews and our knowledge of each of the brands, as well as our engineers’ technical research.
What to look for when shopping for a car cover
When buying a car cover, it’s important to look at multiple factors to make sure you don’t purchase something unusable. We worked with our Textiles Lab to determine which material would be best for protecting your car:
✔️ What type of car do you have? Car covers are not universal. Make sure you purchase the proper size for your car, or it won’t protect it properly. No one wants a car cover to be blown away in the wind.
✔️ What type of weather are you in? Car covers can protect your vehicle from a multitude of elements. Whether it’s snow, rain or the sun, or dirt that’s been blown around, you’ll want to make sure that your car cover is capable of handling the environment you live in. Many car covers’ labels note they’re mainly meant for inside use, so it’s important to review exactly what a cover is designed for.
✔️ How many layers is the car cover made of? Depending on your environment, generally the more layers a car cover has, the more protection the cover will provide. Additional layers provide increasing levels of defense against both dirt and moisture, but the more layers it has, the more expensive a cover tends to be, as it does do more. Our team puts emphasis on how important it is for the last layer (the layer that touches the car directly) to be soft. If it isn’t, it can easily scratch your car during turbulent weather.
✔️ Is the car cover breathable? Our textiles team mentioned how important it is for the fabric to be breathable in order to prevent damage to the car. A breathable car cover is one that allows trapped moisture or condensation to evaporate. This prevents moisture from building up and ruining the paint.
✔️ Does the car cover have an antenna patch? Most car covers come with an antenna patch for people who have antennas that stick up high off their car. Essentially, this feature allows you to cut a hole the size of your antenna and then reinforce it with a patch. That way, the hole doesn’t tear any bigger than the size of the antenna, and a proper seal is still kept.
Not every car cover is customizable. Some you buy by size. To get the proper size, you’ll need to measure the longest points on your car. Make sure when you measure that it’s a straight line and you aren’t contouring around the car, as it won’t give you as accurate of a measurement.
- For length, measure from front bumper to rear bumper (and if you have any attachments on the front or rear bumper that make it longer, make sure to measure to there).
- For height, measure from the bottom of the frame of the car to the top of the frame at the roof.
- For width, measure from the widest point on one side to the widest point on the other. Exclude the mirrors from this measurement.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Alec Scherma is a test engineer with a mechanical engineering background. He’s tested cars, car accessories and a multitude of other products since he started at Good Housekeeping.
Rachel Rothman is the chief technologist and executive technical director at the Good Housekeeping Institute and led testing for car covers. She has more than 15 years of experience testing products ranging from toys to cars. Her experience in the industry helps provide the expertise to properly test all the products that come through the GH Institute Labs.
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