If you’re lucky enough to have a garage, barn, or other covered area to store your car, consider yourself ahead of most automotive enthusiasts. It is out of the elements and immune to the detrimental effects of acid rain, falling debris, and leaves and seeds that work themselves into every nook and cranny before decomposing into dirt. But even when a vehicle is inside, it still needs protection. In this article, we’ll highlight five of the biggest reasons why using an indoor car cover is in your best interest.
Note that there are car covers meant for outdoor use, and those meant for indoor use. An outdoor cover will be thicker and stronger to provide higher protection against grueling conditions that aren’t found indoors. While an outside cover will provide effective protection inside, an indoor cover should be limited to indoor use, Indoor covers have the advantages of being lighter, easier to store, and typically less expensive.
Reason 1: Dust And Pollen
Unless your garage is hermetically sealed, a car is still subject to dust settling all over it throughout the entire year. This is compounded whenever a lawnmower or leaf blower is used by you or a neighbor. Leave the door open when yard work is being done, and you can literally see dust clouds floating toward your car. During autumn, opening the garage door even for a minute invites a swirl of leaves inside. Somehow, those leaves always find a way to settle on top of your car and leave dirty crumbs as they flake apart.
Springtime pollen is particularly pervasive, and its fine consistency makes it difficult to wipe off clean. A car cover with maximum dust protection is ideal for high pollen count areas.
All this dust, dirt, and pollen form a cataract of sorts over the glass that hampers your view out, and makes things look dingy and old to those outside looking in. Paint appears dull and faded instead of glossy. Chrome doesn’t gleam. You’ll find car covers further below that block varying levels of dust and pollen.
Reason 2: Damage From Items Stored Near Your Vehicle
Sure, a garage-kept vehicle is protected from falling acorns and branches. But that vehicle is also subject to impacts from bicycles, lawnmowers, sports equipment, and other objects when space gets crowded. Got a basketball hoop right outside in your driveway? Then you know how kids simply cannot play without leaving the garage door open. If your vehicle faces scratch and ding risks, a thicker cover with more layers and greater softness will offer the best protection.
Reason 3: Wrenching, Cleaning, And Spraying Objects Inside Your Garage
Maybe you also work on your car inside the garage. If you’re like us, there’s always a part that needs cleaning, reconditioning, or painting. Grinding wheels throw sparks. Impact tools are in constant motion. Other household projects take shape in the garage, because it’s the most logical space to work.
Meanwhile, your car sits nearby, waiting for you to slip up. An indoor cover takes all the worry out of garage projects. And if you’re working on the engine or another part of the car, you need not remove the entire cover – just lift the section you need off the vehicle out of the way.
Reason 4: Airborne Moisture
You may notice a thin haze of condensation on your vehicle during extremely humid conditions – even inside a garage. This is particularly detrimental to chrome plated surfaces, and can cause discoloration or pitting. An breathable indoor car cover will keep moisture from settling on your vehicle, and will also prevent the trapping of moisture by allowing it to evaporate.
If you live near the ocean, you know how salty ocean spray combines with moisture to form one of the most corrosive forces we know. Garage-kept vehicles aren’t even fully safe from it. An breathable inside cover is your best bet.
Reason 5: Pets In Your Garage
As much as we love our furry friends, their claws can do a number on a car’s paint if they spend any time in the garage. Typically, their desire to explore all areas leads them to hop up on your vehicle, and the cool (or warm) nature of body panels makes it a more comfortable place to stay. A thicker car cover with maximum ding protection is your best bet for pets.
Before you make your choice, consider whether you prefer a custom-fit (“vehicle-specific”) or universal-fit car cover. Universal fit covers are designed to fit multiple makes and models, and are not shaped to individual dimensions as are vehicle-specific ones. Each type has their advantages: universal-fit ones are typically priced lower, while vehicle-specific ones offer a superior fit. For a more in-depth look, we invite you to read our related article Should I Get A Custom-Fit or Universal Car Cover.
For best value, we will first look at universal fit car covers. We have the Budge Lite Gray Car Covers (for big cars/SUVs or small/mid-size cars) featuring a single layer of polypropylene. Note that this is a thinner cover, with less overall protection in all categories. For a higher level of inside dust protection, Budge offers this cover with 3 layers of polypropylene as the Duro Blue Car Cover, available in different universal size configurations on our Budge page.
Moving up to vehicle-specific indoor car covers, the best value is the single layer OER Diamond Blue Car Cover for Chevy Camaros, Pontiac Firebirds, assorted GM models up to 1987, and vintage muscle car-era models from Chrysler. Covercraft’s Polycotton Custom Car Cover features one layer of woven polycotton for a wide range of cars and trucks back to 1917. Both of these covers may allow some dust to get through - however they also offer excellent breathability to let moisture out from under the cover if your garage has high dampness.
Moving up to a higher level of dust protection for a wide variety of import and American vehicles, we have the Covercraft Form-Fit Custom Car Cover made from elastic, form-hugging lycra spandex that’s easy on paint finishes. There is also the Coverking Satin Stretch Custom Car Cover made from polyester and spandex. This is a good choice for those who appreciate custom styling, because it’s available in solid or 2-tone color patterns, with or without optional embroidered logos on the front and rear. There’s even the option of selecting center racing stripes running the length of the cover from front to back.
If you want a vehicle-specific cover designed to be extremely soft on paint finishes, we have several. The OER Softshield Flannel Cover (assorted GM models) and the Covercraft Tan Flannel Custom Car Cover both feature flannel construction that’s thick and soft – giving you a high level of protection from dings and scratches. These are extremely breathable, and are best for climate-controlled environments.
We also have several multi-layer covers with soft fleece on the inside. Thanks to layered construction, these will more effectively block dust while providing good breathability and ding protection. Choose the Covercraft Fleeced Satin Custom Car Cover (wide variety of years, makes, and models) or the OER Diamond Fleece Gray Car Cover (assorted GM models).
For the highest level of dust protection, choose the Covercraft Dustop Custom Car Cover (wide selection of vehicles back to Ford Model Ts) featuring 4 layers of non-woven fibers. Because of its more elaborate construction, it also provides strong levels of protection against scratches and dings – plus it’s highly breathable.
Whether it is an old project car or a spanking-new truck, if you have a garage for it, we can only recommend going the extra step and also getting an indoor cover for it. We follow our own advice, and it is worth it!