Best Outdoor Car Covers Review

Modern car paint is getting better, but cars are also being left outside and sustaining as much damage as ever.  Car covers provide a cost effective solution for those that cannot garage their cars full time.

Let’s take a look at the best ones on the market.

Introduction

We recently surveyed frequent drivers in the U.S. and asked them about what damage and exposure to harmful elements their cars have endured.  As most of us aren’t great at aggregating random data in our heads, people are usually very surprised when they see the cumulative damage their cars suffer.Summary of Damage to Parked Cars

The results are especially concerning when you consider most cars (70+%) are parked outdoors seven days a week.  For those that are interested, you may want to check out our detailed list of all the ways cars can be damaged while parked.

So, if you must park outdoors, your best bets are to learn to park defensively (i.e. park where risk of damage is low) and to use a car cover.

A Word About Budget vs. Premium Outdoor Car Covers

Outdoor car covers have a tough job.  They have to protect your car against ALL the different outdoor elements; they must do so for things that people value highly, namely their cars; and for people on a tight budget, the cost must be affordable, usually around $30-$60.

Car covered with autumn leaves

Even with low-cost, global manufacturing, this is a tall order because car covers are big and require a fair amount of material.  Not surprisingly, even the best budget outdoor car covers can’t compete with their premium cousins.

The better ones will do a good job for a couple of years but are simply not as durable.  On the plus side, they only cost one-tenth to one-quarter as much, so you could buy more than one and still come out ahead financially in the long run. For those on a tight budget, please check out our article on the most important things to consider when buying budget covers.

Higher quality covers are always “custom fit,” meaning they are tailored to a specific car brand and year model, and are made out of durable, multi-layer fabrics.  These generally run from $150-$250, although extreme protection models cost more.

A few companies that stand out for quality outdoor car covers include:

Product Comparison Table

AccoladeCar CoverModelPriceWarranty ASA Rating
Best 'Max Protect'Coverking
Autobody Armor
$$$$$$5 Years4.9
Best UV ProtectionCoverking
Silverguard Plus
$$$$3 Years4.8
Best Rain/Dust ProtectionCarscover
Ultrashield Black
$$$Limited
Lifetime
4.8
Best Ding ProtectionCovercraft
Evolution
$$$$4 Years4.8

Best Outdoor Car Covers

We have selected four of the best available outdoor car covers on the market today.  We break them out by protection type (e.g., Best UV Protection), but truth be told, they are all excellent all-around outdoor car covers.

Best Max Protect

The Coverking Autobody Armor’s name says it all…it provides top-of-the line protection.

Coverking Autobody Armor Protection Summary

A true custom fit cover, it is designed to tightly contour to your specific make and year model.  Tailored mirror and antenna pockets add to the custom fit.

The Autobody Armor is made from three layers of highly durable fabric, each with a different purpose.  The outer layer is woven polyester and is excellent at repelling debris and pollutants.

The middle layer is polyurethane and is designed for strong moisture resistance.  Lastly, a soft inner lining protects your car’s finish and clear coat.  Breathability (i.e., allowing moisture trapped under the cover to evaporate) is good but not top of the line.

The way it’s constructed screams quality.  Coverking uses the minimum number of seams possible, coupled with double stitching and heavy wax-coated threads to increase moisture resistance.

We say “moisture resistance,” as no breathable cover is truly waterproof.  That said, the Armor is about as good as it gets.

We rate the Autobody Armor as follows:

  • Dust (5 out of 5)
  • Sun/UV (5 out of 5)
  • Rain (5 out of 5)
  • Snow (5 out of 5)
  • Breathability (4 out of 5)
  • Ding protection (4 out of 5)
  • Bird/tree droppings (5 out of 5)
  • Inner lining softness (4.5 out of 5).

Note: even though we label this as a ‘max protect’ cover, even the best traditional car covers cannot prevent damage from serious hailstorms.  Specialized hail protection systems offer the only reliable protection for cars parked outside.

With a Coverking’s typical 30-day return policy and a 5-year warranty, the Autobody Armor is an excellent choice for anyone that is serious about protecting their car.

Who is it best suited for?  Anyone living in harsh climates such as by the ocean or heavy rain areas; anyone who leaves their car parked outdoors long-term; and anyone who wants the best protection and isn’t worried about cost.

Best Sun and UV Protection

Sun, and specifically ultraviolet (UV) radiation, can harm your car in a few different ways.  First, with enough exposure, UV rays will fade and oxidize paint even with all the advances in modern paint technology.  Modern paint is MUCH more durable than in the past but is also far from indestructible.

Secondly, sun also damages car dashboards, steering wheels and other interior parts which are much less resilient than car paint.  Lastly, sun and extreme heat can make other risks like bird poop more damaging.  Heat causes clear coat to soften and absorb or “wrap around” debris effectively sealing it into the paint.

The best sun protection car covers have highly reflective polyester or acrylic fibers in the outer layer.  These reflect light and help keep cars cool.  The Coverking Silverguard is one of the best UV covers on the market.

It comes in two models, the Silverguard and the Silverguard Plus.  They perform similarly in terms of UV protection.  The Plus model has more reflective properties and a softer inner lining for a $50-$80 premium in price.

The Silverguard is a custom fit model.  This means you provide the brand, model and year of your car when ordering, and the manufacturer tailors the car cover to fit perfectly including custom fit antenna and mirror pockets.  The outer material is a very tried and true fabric, Denier 300 polyester, that is treated for water resistance and is also breathable.

In terms of protection and functionality, we would rate the Silverguard as follows:

  • Dust (4 out of 5)
  • Sun/UV (5 out of 5)
  • Rain (4 out of 5)
  • Snow (4 out of 5)
  • Breathability (4 out of 5)
  • Dings (3 out of 5)
  • Bird/tree droppings (4.5 out of 5)
  • Inner lining softness (4 out of 5 for the Plus model).

The manufacturing is excellent with double-needle overlapping seams and wax- coated threading for leak-resistant seams.  In addition and like the Autobody Armor, it is made with as few seams as possible.  This makes the cover last longer as tears more frequently occur on the seams.

Like most premium covers, the Silverguard has elastic hems in the front and back to ensure a tight fit.  It also comes with grommets (or eyelets) on the side so that the cover can be secured even more tightly with cables and locks.

The Silverguard has guarantees and service truly befitting a premium cover. It comes with a 30-day return policy, a 3-year warranty and lifetime factory repairs (note: there is a fee after the warranty expires).

If you live in the South or Sun Belt, the Silverguard is a great all around outdoor cover that provides max UV protection.

Best Rain and Dust Protection

The Carscover Ultrashield offers 5-layers of protection making it an excellent choice for rain and dust protection.

Carscover Ultrashield Black Car Cover

The five layers include a fleece lining for excellent softness.  This is a custom fit cover with elastic hems in the front and back.  To ensure an ultra-snug fit side grommets (eyelets) and a strap and buckle system are also included.  This helps secure the cover so it won’t blow off in windy conditions.

Ultrasonically welded seams and a UV stabilizing agent called “Remafin” really increase the long-term durability of this car cover.  Not surprisingly, it has a limited lifetime warranty (reading the legalese is, of course, always recommended).

We would rate its performance as follows:

  • Dust (5 out of 5)
  • Sun/UV (4 out of 5)
  • Rain (5 out of 5)
  • Snow (4 out of 5)
  • Breathability (3.5 out of 5)
  • Ding protection (4.5 out of 5)
  • Bird/tree droppings (5 out of 5)
  • Inner lining softness (4 out of 5).

Overall, the Ultrashield is a very good performer at an even better price point. It should definitely be on your short list.

Best Ding Protection

If you hit a car with enough force, it will get dinged.  That’s simple high school physics.  However, a good car cover can prevent many, if not most, everyday dings. The most important features are the thickness of the cover, the number of layers of material and the quality of the materials.

One of the best car covers on the market for protecting against dings is the Covercraft Evolution Car Cover.  It is custom fit car cover made out of 4-layers of Kimberly Clark’s premium Evolution fabric.

The outer layer is polypropylene fibers bonded with a non-woven finish.  The inner layer is soft, bi-component poly blend. Breathability is good, but as with most heavy, multi-layer covers, it’s a notch below best in class.

Construction is what you would expect from a premium manufacturer like Covercraft.  Overlapping, double-stitched seams are standard as are reinforced side grommets.

overcraft Evolution car cover double stitched seam Covercraft Evolution Car Cover Reinforced Side Grommet

We would rate the Evolution’s performance as follows:

  • Dust (4 out of 5)
  • Sun/UV (5 out of 5)
  • Rain (4 out of 5)
  • Snow (4 out of 5)
  • Breathability (3 out of 5)
  • Ding protection (5 out of 5)
  • Bird/tree droppings (5 out of 5)
  • Inner lining softness (4 out of 5).

It comes in three different colors and a standard 4-year warranty.

The Covercraft Evolution is a great outdoor car cover.  If you live in a sunny area and are at risk of having your car dinged, the Evolution is a smart choice.

Conclusion

All of the covers we selected are excellent custom fit car covers.  Importantly, they all have very good, long term customer feedback.  You can’t really go wrong with any of them.  It is more a matter of choosing what is most important to you.

The Ultrashield is very affordable and a good all around performer.  The Autobody Armor offers better overall protection at roughly twice the price. You will have to be the judge if the incremental boost in performance is worth the price.

If UV protection is your biggest concern both the Silverguard and Evolution are excellent.  The Evolution is bulkier, but that extra bulk means added protection from door dings.

These are four great choices, and your car will definitely thank you for whichever one you choose.

 

Leave a Comment