Do Car Covers Scratch Paint?

It’s important to be careful when using car covers. The car covers are designed to do what they’re supposed to do, but should only be used occasionally to avoid damage.

I will provide you with all the information you need if you are considering a car cover, but I will answer this common question of whether or not it will scratch the paint.

Car Covers

Can a Car Cover Scratch Your Paint?

It’s true, car covers can scratch your paint. Regardless of the material your car cover is made out of, you do risk scratching or damaging the paint if you are not careful.

This is mostly due to dirt, debris, and water trapped underneath the cover.

Tips to Prevent Scratching

To avoid this from happening, there are a few things that you want to be.

  • It’s not a good idea to put car covers on after a vehicle has been washed and is clean. If you live in an apartment, I would only recommend a car cover if you plan on storing the vehicle for an extended period.
  • Taking a car cover off is the most dangerous thing you can do because you can leave two scratches behind. If you are looking for a more permanent solution for leaving a car outside, I would recommend purchasing a canopy or a carport.
  • There are a variety of materials that can be used for car covers, from cotton to felt, to tarp-like materials designed for outdoor use.

When using an outdoor car cover you want to take precautions to prevent scratching. Since your cover is exposed to the elements, you need to guard against that.


Many outdoor covers have tie-down to keep the tarp from flapping. Make sure to use them as directed and make sure the cover is snug.


A waterproof tarp is the best for outdoor covers. It is huge, as was mentioned previously.


If you live in an area where the sun is likely to take a toll on your clear coat and paint, you must have car covers that contain UV protectants.

Fit Matters

The car covers come in a lot of different colors and materials, but they also fit differently.

If you have a specific model of vehicle, the higher the car covers are, the less room for the cover to slide around when taking it off.

One of the safest car covers you can buy fits your car and is made out of a softer material like neoprene.

If you want to take your cover on and off fairly often like when protecting a show car from dust, a waterproof cover is not going to be your best choice.

Get a Waterproof Car Cover

Before you put a new car cover on your vehicle, you want to make sure both the car and cover are dry.

If you are going to use your car cover outside in the elements, you need to make sure it is waterproof.

If you use a cover during a rainstorm, be sure to inspect it from time to time to make sure it doesn’t have any tears or holes in it, because I generally don’t recommend covers in extreme weather conditions.

I’ve heard stories of water spots on the paint caused by water oozing under the car covers. This can cause staining that could ruin the clear coat.

If you leave a vehicle in a humid area with a car cover on it, you should always be careful because this type of humidity can cause mold, which is why you always want to be cautious.

Breathable Car Cover

It’s a good idea to use a car cover material that’s breathable if you’re storing it indoors where there’s less of a problem.

Since their main job is to protect, many waterproof covers don’t fall in this category. When a lot of water is trapped underneath, it can be difficult to evaporate it.

Car Covers


When it comes to car covers, the most important thing to know is that they should only be used occasionally to avoid scratching or damaging your vehicle.

For long-term storage, they are a great option, but for everyday use, I wouldn’t use them. It is recommended to wash your car cover from time to time.

Instructions for cleaning the car covers are important to avoid scratches.

Selecting a high-quality cover and never putting a car cover on a dirty vehicle should keep you out of harm’s way, even during extreme weather like hail and rainstorms.

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