What to Look For in an Indoor Car Cover

This simple car storage solution can keep dust, scratches, and dents at bay if you store your vehicle.

Indoor car coverGetty Images

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Even if you are lucky enough to have long-term indoor car storage, a cover is a good idea to maximize the protection you're providing your vehicle. Why is a car cover necessary, and what should you look for when buying one? Here are a few ways to ensure your car, truck, or SUV sleeps safely and sound until it's time to drive again.

What Are You Protecting Against?

While it might seem unnecessary to cover a vehicle being stored indoors, two main concerns are associated with long-term car storage:

  1. The first is dust. Even in the cleanest garage, dust will gradually accumulate on top of an automobile, and over time it will work its way into cracks, vents, and crevices that are difficult to clean. Pollen is also a threat to sully your vehicle's finish, especially if the area where it is stored regularly has the garage door open or closed.
  2. The second is scratching. Scratches are a threat to any stored vehicle. No matter how careful you might be, it only takes a moment of carelessness for a belt buckle, set of keys, or child's bicycle handlebars to scrape along the side of a car or truck—not to mention the possibility of items falling off shelves or hooks on the wall and impacting against your auto.

Look for a Soft and Breathable Car Cover

A quality car cover protects against dust and scratches by forming a barrier between the vehicle's paint and trim, and the outside world. It does this by presenting a tough exterior layer with a soft interior layer that can absorb an impact while resting against the automobile (without scratching).

Most interior car covers use a material that combines these two attributes while maintaining breathability. The latter is important for making sure moisture and condensation don't get trapped under the cover, where they can lead to rust and paint damage. Also, look for a lighter cover if possible, as they are easier to store when not in use.

Form-Fitting or Not?

An indoor car cover isn't exposed to the wind like an outdoor one. That means there's less chance it will rub against the paint due to being blown around. With this in mind, it's not as vital to purchase a form-fitting cover for indoor car storage if you are looking for a less expensive option. On the other hand, a design that tucks nicely under the bodywork and includes pockets for antennas and mirrors will take up less space in your garage, as it won't billow around the vehicle.

How Much Should I Spend?

Covers come with a wide range of price tags, with a base entry-level car cover costing around $30 for smaller vehicles. A recognized brand, such as California Car Covers, provides custom-fit covers for around $200 to $400.

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Benjamin Hunting
Benjamin Hunting is a writer and podcast host who contributes to a number of newspapers, automotive magazines, and online publications. More than a decade into his career, he enjoys keeping the shiny side up during track days and always has one too many classic vehicle projects partially disassembled in his garage at any given time. Remember, if it's not leaking, it's probably empty.