Do Car Covers Cause Rust? It’s Not What You Think

By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon and other companies are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks in advance for your support!

Many car lovers often wonder, “do car covers cause rust?” When it comes to taking care of our vehicles, we want to do everything possible to protect them from the elements. If you keep your car outdoors, you’ve probably contemplated if a car cover can do more harm than good.

Car covers cannot, on their own, cause rust. If you’re not careful and don’t keep up with the car’s maintenance, it may suffer from some serious rusting issues that could be made worse by your car cover. However, To avoid any potential problems, be sure to read your car cover’s instructions carefully and follow all of the recommended care steps.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the pros and cons of using car covers and determine if they are really do cause rust or not.

Benefits of Car Covers

If you’re a car enthusiast, then you know the importance of keeping your vehicle in top condition. Not only is it necessary for the longevity of your car, but it also makes it look good and drives up its value if you ever choose to sell it. One way to keep your car looking great is to use a car cover, whether it’s housed indoors in a garage, or outdoors. Here are some of the benefits of using a car cover:

  • Protection from the sun – The sun can quickly fade and damage your car’s paint job. A car cover will protect your paint job from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
  • Protection from the rain – When it rains, water can damage your car’s finish and cause rusting. A car cover will keep your car dry and free from water spots.
  • Protection from dust and dirt – Dust and dirt can also damage your car’s paint job. A car cover will keep your car clean and free from scratches.
  • In addition to the above benefits, a car cover will also protect your car from bird droppings, tree sap, and other environmental hazards.
  • Keeps your car cooler in summer months and warmer in winter months.
  • Reduces wear and tear on your car’s exterior.
  • Makes detailing your car much easier when it’s not covered in dirt, dust, and debris.

There are some clear benefits to using a car cover, but there are also some potential drawbacks that you should be aware of before making your decision.

Potential Drawbacks of Car Covers

While car covers offer many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks that you should be aware of:

  • Can cause rust? – If you live in an area with high humidity, car covers can actually trap moisture against your car’s surface which may lead to rusting.
  • Can scratch paint – If your car cover is not made of a soft material, it can rub against your car’s paint job and cause scratches.
  • Can be damaged by wind – If a strong gust of wind blows your car cover off, it can damage your car’s finish.
  • Can be stolen – If you live in an area with a high crime rate, car covers can actually make your car a target for thieves looking to sell the cover or the parts of your car.

As you can see, there are some pros and cons to using a car cover. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use one comes down to personal preference and your individual circumstances.

What is Car Rust?

It’s that ugly brown or reddish orange color that accumulates on the surface of a car. Rust is the result of an oxidation process that occurs when metal is exposed to air and moisture. Over time, the metal will begin to corrode, and eventually this process will form rust on the surface of the metal. But what causes rust, and how can you prevent it from happening?

Here is what you need to know:

  • How does rust form on cars? – Rust can occur on cars for a number of reasons, but typically it’s due to exposure to the elements or poor maintenance. You should also inspect your car regularly for any signs of corrosion so you can address the issue before it becomes a bigger problem.
  • How can you prevent it from happening in the first place? – The best way to prevent car rust is to keep it waxed and free of dirt and debris. As for the underside of the car, make sure to avoid getting it wet as much as possible. If rust does start to form, you can remove it with a wire brush and some paint or touch-up paint. Try to keep it covered when not in use with a good quality, breathable car cover, or in a garage or carport.
  • What happens if you don’t address car rust early on? – If you don’t address car rust early on, the metal will continue to corrode and weaken. This can lead to structural damage, as well as a decrease in the value of your car. Rust protection is important to keep your car looking and running its best.
  • Can car rust be completely eliminated, or will it come back over time? – Yes, car rust can be completely eliminated. One way to eliminate rust is by using a chemical stripper. This will remove the top layer of oxidized metal, and if done correctly, it will stop the rusting process from happening again. However, it’s important to note that once the metal has been stripped, it is more susceptible to future corrosion and should be treated with a coat of wax or car protection as soon as possible.
  • How much does rust repair cost? – The cost of rust repair depends on the extent of the damage. If you have a small amount of rust, you can treat it yourself with a Rust Converter. This will protect your car from further rusting and will cost around $15-20. For more extensive damage, you will need to take your car to a body shop for repair. The cost will depend on how much work needs to be done, but it can range from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Either way, taking care of rust early on is important to prevent it from spreading and causing even more damage to your car.

Do Car Covers Cause Rust?

There is a lot of debate on whether or not car covers cause rust. Some people say that the cover traps moisture and causes the metal to corrode, while others claim that the cover protects the car from rain and snow, which can lead to rust formation. Let’s take a deeper dive:

Common Surfaces where Rust Forms

Rust generally appears on automobile surfaces in areas that receive, and retain the most moisture, such as the underside, wheel arches and sills. This is particularly the case where cars are used in areas where salt is used to clear snow on the highway in winter. Salt speeds up the oxidisation process.

Also, rust develops more frequently on automobiles where the paint has been scraped or damaged, revealing the metal beneath. Although a car cover protects your vehicle from UV rays, the cloth from a cheaper car cover may scratch or chip your paint, revealing the bare metal underneath.

Note: Avoid using cheap car covers that may actually damaged your cars exterior.

Be Mindful Where You Park

It’s crucial to remember that leaving your automobile on a porous wet surface may have long-term effects. Moisture evaporating from the porous ground will condense on the underside of the car and chassis, which can cause rusting problems in the longer term.

Note: Instead, park on a solid surface like concrete to keep moisture from rising from the ground.

Breathable Cover Material

Plastic, non-breathable coverings, such as a tarp, might retain moisture and encourage not only rust to form on exposed metal, but also mold and mildew growth. Non-breathable covers are also ineffective at preventing condensation, as they don’t let the moist air escape.

Note: Find a quality cover that is both water-resistant yet breathable to allow moisture to evaporate.

Custom Covers vs Univeral Fit

Choose a good fitting cover that is suitable for your car’s make and model, or better still go for a specialist custom fit cover, rather than universal – it will be worth the extra investment. A well fitting cover will move around over the car’s body and paintwork less than one that is big enough to fit a wide range of cars.

Proper Cover Use and Storage

When you’re not using your car cover, store it in a dry place. If the cover is wet, allow it to air dry completely before folding it or placing it back in its storage bag. If the cover is left damp, mildew and mold can grow on it. Also, do not leave the cover on your vehicle for extended periods of time; try to “air” the vehicle by removing the cover ocassionally during warm periods.

Above all, avoid using a car cover when your vehicle is dirty – the dirt will act as an abrasive when you’re putting the cover on, and taking it off, and when the cover is blown around by the wind. To avoid this when using the cover regularly, owners often use a product like Quick & Easy Wash, that requires very little water and is, as its name suggests, quick to use.

Failing that, leave the cover off until you get chance to give your car a quick wash down.

Note: Make sure the cover is dry before storing away and do not leave it on your car for too long, and don’t put it on a dirty car.

The truth is that car covers do not directly cause rust. However, if they are not used correctly, they can lead to other problems that could eventually cause rust.

Final Thoughts

So, do car covers cause rust? The answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no.

If you use a quality car cover and follow some simple guidelines, your car will be just fine. On top of that, make sure you are maintaining your car cover my keeping it dry and storing it properly. Park your car on a hard surface and make sure to use a breathable car cover to keep moisture out- and you’ll be good to go!

We hope this article has helped shed some light on how to properly use a car cover and what to avoid. What are your tips for keeping a car protected from the elements? Leave them in the comments below!

We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.