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Can You Put A Car Cover On A Wet Car?

Car covers are intended to provide an extra layer of protection for your vehicle. But can you put a car cover on a wet car? Water trapped under a car cover can promote mold and mildew, which introduces a range of problems if left unchecked. In this post, we will look at why you should always put car covers on dry cars and the considerations around that.

Key Takeaways

  • It is strongly recommended that you do not apply a car cover on a wet car
  • Doing so can cause a number of issues, including mold, rust and damage to paintwork
  • You should dry your car thoroughly before putting a cover on it
  • This includes if you need to put a cover on during a downpour
  • breathable car cover is a good choice for helping provide ventilation

Can You Put A Car Cover On A Wet Car?

When thinking about how to put on a car cover, it is generally considered a bad idea to do so on a wet car. Putting a cover on a wet vehicle traps water underneath, leading to potential issues with:

  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Rust

Essentially, the space between the car’s surface and the inside of the car cover becomes a breeding ground for fungi and other harmful substances. These can lead to damage to your car’s paintwork, body and even components over time.

You may think there's no harm in putting the cover on overnight, but that isn't necessarily true. If you do this regularly, problems can persist and worsen over time. If your car gets wet from rain or washing, it's essential to dry it thoroughly before covering. This ensures your vehicle remains in good condition and that the cover effectively protects it from harm, rather than contributing to potential damage.

One solution is to use our breathable car covers which allow air to flow underneath. This ventilation promotes drying, even underneath the car cover.

What Will Happen If You Put A Car Cover On A Wet Car?

There are several issues that can arise from putting a car cover on a wet car. These problems can vary in severity, but all of them can be easily avoided by simply drying the car before using the cover.

A Car Cover Can Trap Water On Top Of Your Car

If the car is wet when the cover is applied, the water has no way of evaporating, resulting in it sitting on the car's surface and saturating the underside of the cover. This creates a dark, warm, moist environment - the perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other fungi.

These issues can damage your car's paintwork, the metal body underneath, and even components over time. Additionally, they can reduce the longevity of your car cover, as mold and mildew can spread into the fabric and compromise its integrity. Choose breathable car covers to minimize the risk of this even after following all the right steps for how to put on a car cover.

You Could Accidentally Scratch The Paint Too

The trapped water can gradually soften the paint on the car's surface over time, leading to unsightly patches of discoloration and peeling. Moreover, if the car cover rubs against the surface when you remove it, the following things could happen:

  • Peeling paint is ripped off in larger patches
  • Debris trapped on the car’s surface can scratch the softened paintwork
  • Swirl marks can also appear as the car cover is moved

When the paintwork is compromised on the car, it can not only ruin the vehicle's aesthetic appearance but also expose the car's metal body to the elements. This increases the risk of issues like rust, which can be detrimental to the car's overall condition and value.

Car covers with soft inside layers are a great solution to minimize the risk of scratching the paint. We sell various options for this, so be sure to explore what might work for you.

Water Spots Can Also Be A Problem

When a car cover traps water on the car’s surface, it can cause that water to evaporate very slowly. Doing so leaves behind impurities and mineral deposits. What this means is that your paintwork is left with water spots that can be difficult to remove and look very unappealing.

This can be avoided by drying the car before you apply the car cover.

Corrosion And Rust Can Set In

The presence of moisture can accelerate the process of corrosion on metal surfaces. If any areas of the car's body are exposed due to scratches or damage to the paintwork, the underlying metal becomes highly susceptible to rust in a moist environment. Once rust has set in, it can cause a myriad of problems for cars, including:

  • A weakened body
  • Reduced resale value
  • Threat to components
  • An ugly appearance
  • Costly repairs

It is best to protect your car against rust as much as possible. This is why drying your car is an important aspect of how to put on a car cover.

It Might Become Difficult To Remove The Cover Later

When you apply a car cover to a wet car, the water can soak into the fabric. This causes the cover to adhere to the car's surface, making it heavier and more difficult to handle. As a result, you may encounter problems when removing the cover later on. Additionally, you will have to ensure both the inside and outside of the cover are fully dry before you can fold and store it.

Again, a breathable car cover can help with this. We also offer fully waterproof car covers that will not soak up any moisture. However, the best solution is to thoroughly dry your car before applying the cover.


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Steps You Should Do Before Putting On A Car Cover On Your Wet Car

So how can you put a car cover on a wet car safely? The simple truth is that you cannot put a car cover on a wet car. A breathable car cover may mitigate some of the damage this would do, but it would still completely undermine the entire purpose of applying the cover. It will be harmful for your car, so we do not recommend that you do it.

If you arrive home and your car is wet from rain or washing, you should do one of the following things:

  • Dry the car before applying the cover
  • Leave the cover off and allow the car to air dry

Our car covers are designed to protect your car from the elements. Since leaving the cover off would mean your car is exposed, we advocate for drying the vehicle before covering it. Thus, the drying process is essential for how to put on a car cover properly.

Consider the following:

  • Park in the shade to prevent water spots from forming
  • Remove excess water with a soft, dry chamois or other absorbent cloth
  • Wipe down with a clean microfiber towel
  • Open doors and windows to air out the interior
  • leaf blower can be great for removing moisture around side mirrors, door handles and other hard-to-reach areas
  • Ideally, you should allow some time for air drying
  • Inspect for any remaining moisture and wipe it away with a microfiber towel before applying the cover.

Thoroughly drying the car is the best way to ensure it is safe to put on the cover. Even after drying, you might still want to consider our breathable car covers to facilitate air flow and protect against humid conditions.

How To Put A Car Cover When It Is Raining?

If it is raining, your car is getting wet. What’s more, your car cover will start getting wet as soon as you start to apply it to the car. This simply isn’t permissible, since all that moisture is a threat to the integrity of the vehicle. You need to ensure that the car, and the inside of the cover, are dry before you cover the vehicle. If possible, the first thing you should do is move the car out of the rain. You could bring it into your garage, park it in an indoor parking facility or move it underneath a bridge or other reliable shelter.

Once it is out of the rain, do the following:

  • Dry the car thoroughly, ensuring no moisture remains
  • Choose a breathable car cover so that any remaining moisture can air out
  • Consider a water-repellent car cover, particularly if the car is still outside

We strongly advise against covering the car in the rain as it will not be possible to avoid trapping water underneath the cover. 


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Can You Put A Waterproof Car Cover On Your Wet Car?

The simple answer to this is 'no'. This is not how to put on a car cover properly because trapping water inside the cover completely undermines the purpose that the cover is supposed to fulfill. A waterproof car cover will be the worst possible for this, as it will not be breathable. Instead, you should dry the car before you apply any kind of cover.

If you live in an area where your car is likely to get wet frequently, we recommend using a water-repellent, breathable car cover. This will offer a compromise between protecting against downpours and allowing ventilation to ensure any moisture that gets under the cover can dry out.

Frequently Asked Questions About Can You Put A Car Cover On A Wet Car?

No you can’t. If you do, you will trap moisture under the cover that could potentially cause a number of problems for the paintwork, body and more over time.

The trapped moisture will create a breeding ground for mold, mildew and other fungi. It could also be a catalyst for rust and weaken the integrity of the paintwork.

Car covers can protect against the sun’s rays to keep the car and its interior cool. They can also insulate against warm air outside, ensuring the car doesn’t heat up excessively.