The Best Car Cover Materials

Car covers have gradually grown to become must-haves for every conscious car owner. Covers are extremely useful as they not only shield against the harsh sun rays but also safeguard from dust and other unwanted elements. It is crucial to choose a cover that is designed explicitly for your vehicle's make and model, as an ill-fitting cover may still leave gaps for the dust to sneak in.

Car Cover Materials

For example, a cover that is made for Dodge Challenger wouldn't quite fit and fully cover any other vehicle. Covers are extremely useful as they not only shield against harsh sun rays but also safeguard against dust and other unwanted elements. It is crucial to choose a cover that is designed explicitly for your vehicle's make and model, as an ill-fitting cover may still leave gaps for the dust to sneak in. For example, a cover that is made for Dodge Challenger wouldn't quite fit and fully cover any other vehicle

Much of this rise has been due to the utility covers provide including:

  • Protecting the paint from damaging weather.
  • Deterring theft and unauthorized entry.
  • Shielding the finish from damaging natural and man-made hazards.
  • Preventing dents and scratches.

Even a seemingly harmless downpour, no matter how light, might get into cracks and blemishes and slowly start to damage your car. This gets worse with acid rain, a problem a water-proof cover takes care of excellently. Car paint is vulnerable to the intense heat of the sun and harsh UV rays. Using a car cover prevents photo degradation by blocking out harmful UV light and ensuring a cooling effect. Car covers also ensure moisture and salt do not get to damage the car’s finish.  Car covers also make it harder to access the car, therefore deterring thieves as they increase the time it takes to gain access, and time is crucial for any successful burglary. As such, often thieves pass by covered cars because of the inconvenience. Dust, trees, and birds are often the agents of serious damage. Bird droppings, debris, pollen, sap, fruits, and dust can all scratch and wear the car’s paint. For instance, dust and pollen cause minute scratches, the acidity of bird droppings corrodes the paint, and tree debris can significantly dent or break car parts. Car covers protect against all these as they are not damaged by acidity, are designed to keep dust and pollen out, and are thick enough to prevent or minimize the damage caused by falling debris. A similar type of damage can be caused by animals and people. It is not uncommon to see shopping carts seriously damage car paint. Using a car cover adequately cushions the vehicle from damage by animals and absent-minded people.

With all the advantages, not all car covers are the same. Different covers offer various protections depending on the material they are made from and we will talk about a couple of them in this article. No matter your preference, the most important factors to consider when looking to purchase one include the kind of weather you need to protect against, where you store your car, and which of standard- or custom-fit will work better. Protection needs vary depending on the weather conditions one operates in. This is important as you might be worried about either exposure to intense sun or frequent rain. Different car covers specialize in different elements so it is crucial to identify the material that best meets your needs. Cars stored in the open often have different needs compared to those stored in garages and there exist different materials for either although most are made for either use. Finally, your car might be best-suited for a custom-fit cover because of its size or unique features so it is important to factor this in as well. Using the wrong fit can keep the car exposed or increase its vulnerability. The most common materials used to make car covers include polypropylene, imitation satin and solution-dyed acrylic.


Polypropylene is a thermoplastic made from combining propylene monomers. This material has a slippery surface at the molecular level but it has a good amount of friction. Polypropylene is also relatively low-density compared to other plastics. This material has an array of applications including the manufacture of textiles, plastic components for various industries, and as packaging for consumer products.  Some of the characteristics that make the material ideal for use in the automotive industry include:

i. Fatigue Resistance: keeps its shape even after intense flexing, bending, or torsion.

ii. Transmissivity: produced to have an opaque color that can also reflect a substantial amount of light.

iii. Elasticity and Toughness – is elastic over a range of deflection but is considered tough because it deforms early without breaking.

iv. Chemical resistance – does not react readily with diluted acids and bases.

In addition to its flexibility and softness, the uniqueness of this material is especially due to its ability to act as both a fiber and plastic material. The properties of polypropylene mean that covers made from it offer excellent protection against the elements and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Besides, these covers are also breathable, which keeps dust or mold from being trapped against your car’s surface while simultaneously keeping moisture out.

Imitation Satin

Satin is a soft, shiny and elastic material. The fabric is characterized by a dull surface on one side and a soft, lustrous feel one on the other. Satin is not a natural material as it is a finish of a weave. Satin material is relatively more flexible with the following defining characteristics:

i.  Wrinkle - resistant: does not wrinkle easily with thicker satins having even more resistance.

ii. Durable – uses tautly-woven long filament fibers, a process that results in a material stronger than most plain-woven fabrics.

iii. Beautiful drape – the fabric is pliable and has a high concentration of fibers, resulting in a soft and easy drape.

iv. Shiny front - the warp and weft threads result in different-looking front and back sides. This weaving technique results in a soft and luxurious feel.

The feel of satin material comes at a hefty price and is more expensive than polyester. This material is made even more expensive by the fact that it is difficult to work with and snags easily so the manufacturing process has to be slow and methodical. Satin material’s characteristics make it ideal for soft indoor dust protection. Satin car covers protect the vehicle’s finish from scratches and are perfect for indoor use as they are lightweight and very durable.

Solution-dyed acrylic – Sunbrella

These materials are a product of mixing a liquid acrylic solution with dye, forming it into a fiber, and spurning it into a yarn. The result is a soft, colorfast, water-resistant fabric. Sunbrella is the most famous of all solution-dyed acrylic car covers. Sunbrella car covers are highly resistant to wear, staining, and fading, discourage mildew growth and dry quickly. These covers are also UV resistant and waterproof. The result is that your car is well-protected from all weather conditions, be it harsh sun, rain, or snow. These features make Sunbrella the most expensive of all car cover materials but also one of the best. Sunbrella covers can be sourced from a variety of dealers in the USA.


Car covers are an integral part of car ownership as they ensure their longevity and extended functionality. Car covers are made from different materials to cater to different conditions and protect from various elements and factors. These are important considerations to factor into a purchase decision as it ensures maximum return on value. Car covers are mostly made from one of Polypropylene, Satin, or Solution-dyed acrylic. Each material has its own advantages and features that distinguish it from the rest. Satin works excellently for indoor protection given its long durability and light weight. Sunbrella is the best in terms of overall features but it comes at a hefty price. Polypropylene covers are the best to use in terms of efficiency and pocket-friendliness. The material’s characteristics also make it top choice for outdoor use.

Image credit: Depositphotos