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Custom Fit vs. Universal Car Cover: Pros & Cons

By Ryan Wegman
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Custom Fit vs. Universal Car Cover: Pros & Cons

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Protecting your car requires a comprehensive approach to prevention and maintenance. Even if you usually park indoors, a car cover can help protect your paint job from scratches and other damage. Your car’s resale value drops if it incurs even minor cosmetic damage, so taking all possible precautions is critical.

Universal car covers are a common option for providing basic protection against the elements. However, these one-size-fits-all covers have a lot of design flaws. Even if they’re secured in place with a cable, they may provide little or no protection around the bottom of the car. Custom fit car covers are a better option overall, and semi-custom covers work almost as well, offering an affordable alternative. Here’s everything you need to know about the pros and cons of custom fit and universal car covers.

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Universal Car Cover Pros

Universal car covers provide a quick and easy way to give your car basic protection. They come in a variety of types, including outdoor-only, indoor-only, and indoor/outdoor versions. Outdoor-only ones are designed to prioritize water resistance, while indoor-only ones typically feature a soft cover with little water resistance. Indoor/outdoor versions usually have two layers, with a soft layer underneath and a water-resistant layer on top.

Universal car covers usually have a few sizes available, like SUV, compact, sedan, and truck. Each one of these sizes is designed to fit almost every car within that category and may even fit multiple cars that you own. There is elastic around the bottom to help it snap into place around the bottom of the car.

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Universal Car Cover Cons

Universal car covers tend to be larger than necessary to fit over a broader range of cars. This means there may be sizable gaps in the cover’s fit, which can provide a place for small animals to hide if the elastic is loose enough. This may be especially true underneath your mirrors since a universal car cover won’t have custom-sized and tight-fitting indents for your mirrors.

Plus, loose-fitting car covers can flap and bang against your car in the wind, causing slight damage to the paint or metal finish over time. This damage can be especially noticeable if the cover is not lined properly or has an uneven hem. If there is loose dirt or sand nearby, the wind can even blow the dirt up and inside the cover, causing further friction damage. In some cases, universal car covers may fit perfectly in some parts but be too tight around key seams. This can make putting on and removing the car cover a hassle that discourages drivers from using it daily.

Custom Fit Pros

Custom car covers are designed to fit your specific car, with individual measurements to account for any optional add-ons. These covers are made to order to give you a perfect fit that slides on easily yet stays in place. They have minimal gaps throughout, and the elastic band is carefully measured, so it tightens just as much as you need it to.

They provide superior protection against bugs, scratches, dirt, bird droppings, and much more. They won’t come off easily in windy regions, and you can order one with additional grommets to make it even easier to secure it with a cable. Custom car covers also come in indoor-only, outdoor-only, and indoor/outdoor versions. They usually have better-quality materials as well, since they are a serious investment for serious car owners.

At CarCovers.com, our semi-custom covers are made using multi-layer technology to provide the ultimate protection. The soft interior liner protects your paint job against friction damage, the middle insulating layer prevents heat damage and helps minimize the effects of impacts, and the waterproof outer layer repels moisture while allowing for optimal breathability to prevent mold and mildew development.

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Source: isaravut / Shutterstock.com

Custom Fit Cons

The only downside to custom car covers is that they are somewhat more expensive than universal car covers since custom covers are made to fit your specific car. However, they are well worth the additional investment since they provide more robust protection against rodents, bugs, dirt, and more.

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You can get a balance of cost and high-quality fit with a semi-custom cover. Semi-custom covers are designed to fit a specific vehicle make and model and will fit well as long as your car doesn’t have add-ons like cargo cross bars or front guards. This balanced option is great for car owners who want to take great care of their cars but don’t need a made-to-order cover.

The Verdict: Get a Custom Cover

CarCovers.com has a full range of semi-custom and custom covers to keep your car, truck, RV, or other vehicle protected. We even make custom floor mats and disposable covers so you can always keep your car ready for anything. Get a free quote for your custom or semi-custom cover today, so we can get started on giving you more peace of mind.

April 15, 2021
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