How to Install and Remove Car Covers

Car covers protect your paint from birds, trees, dust, and debris. Here's how to use a car cover to protect your vehicle.
Written by Mindy Hood
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
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Car covers are a great way to protect your vehicle, either for a little while or during long-term storage. Made to fit snugly around your car to keep out dirt and debris, they can be pretty tricky to install, especially the first time.
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's steps to get your car cover in place the right way the first time.

Find a car cover for your specific car

Details about how to apply special features are in the sections below, but to have these features, you must choose the right product. You should be able to find a car cover that fits your make and model pretty easily.
Not all car covers will fit your car the same way, even if they are designed for the same type of vehicle. Some brands sell covers with pockets for the side mirrors, for instance, or special tools for non-retractable antenna holes.
In order to fit your car well, your cover may need these features. Consider your vehicle carefully before making a final purchase.
Filter by year, make, model, and trim
to make sure the cover is going to be the right fit.
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How to put on a car cover

Figure out which end of the cover is which

Figure out the back from the front. A car cover looks kind of like a tent, especially when it’s fresh out of the bag.
Figure out which end is which. Most car cover manufacturers either print cheats on the fabric to show you the middle of the front or they include a tag to indicate the front of the cover.
Shake out the cover. Once you’ve found the front, shake out the entire cover. You may be able to spot problems before you go through the trouble of putting on the car cover.
For instance, if the cover is clearly too small when you lay it out next to your vehicle, then you should double check the tags to make sure you received the right product.

Drape the cover from front to back

Secure the cover over the bumpers. Car covers are designed to fit around your car’s bumpers. These are the key points that will secure the entire piece of fabric and keep it in place.
You need to secure these two points before pulling down the sides, and you should always move from front to back.
Pull the front of the cover down and around your front bumper.
Different cover brands have different ways to secure themselves, but elastic, ties, or straps are usually involved. Once the front is secure, move toward the back.
Slide the mirrors into the pockets. If your car cover has special pockets for your side mirrors, you need an extra step before you reach the back bumper. Simply slide the mirrors into the pockets immediately after securing the front bumper.
Roll down the sides. Go to the rear of the vehicle and pull the cover over the back bumper. Once these critical points are secure, you can roll down the sides.

Be careful of the car antenna

In the best case scenario, your car will feature a retractable or removable antenna. If this is the case, then you can skip this step entirely. If, however, your antenna is fixed in place, you’ll need to buy a car cover with a specialized antenna patch.
The process is a little different for every brand, but the fundamentals are the same. Essentially, you’ll use the patch to make a custom hole in the cover for your antenna to slip through. The patch prevents the hole from damaging the rest of the cover.

How to remove a car cover

For the most part, you can remove a car cover by performing the same steps as you did when putting on the car cover.
Release the cover from the bumpers. Then you can loosen the sides, free your side mirrors, and lift the cover off your antenna.
Fold the cover. Instead of just hauling the huge piece of fabric off in a pile, however, you can save yourself time and energy by folding the cover while removing it.

How to fold a car cover

To fold a car cover, simply pile the sides of the cover on top of your car so you have a wide stripe that runs from bumper to bumper.
Starting at the front, roll or fold the fabric up. The next time you need to use your car cover, it will be easy to orient and install. It’s also much easier to store in the garage this way.

Benefits of using a car cover

Installing a car cover is a great way to protect against
, vandals, and even thieves who may not want to waste time removing the cover to steal the car.
It can even function as a car hood cover to keep temperatures in your car from getting ridiculously high in sun-intense areas.
Most commonly, covers are used for cars in short or long-term storage to
protect the paint
and keep dust out. Whatever the reason for using a car cover, you'll save yourself a lot of hassle by closely following the instructions above rather than trying to figure out the process by yourself.
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