Best Tarps for Covering Cars

More than 279 million vehicles are in operation in the U.S. If you’re one of them, have you stopped to consider how long your car or truck will last? Exposure to salt and water can ruin a car’s underbody and finish. Keeping it clean and keeping it protected from the elements is the best way to extend your vehicle’s life.

Several cars are worth well over $5 million. Some top $10 million. It’s an incredibly expensive investment that must be stored right. Not everyone spends this much, but people still spend a lot. Per Statista, the average price of a new car was $36,800 in 2019. It’s a lot of money to spend on something that can rust out when exposed to the weather conditions.

Even if you haven’t spent millions on a car, you want to protect your vehicle. You rely on it for transportation. You’ve probably invested money buying it new or used. Whether you’re storing your car for the winter in a storage unit or want to keep snow and ice off the windshield on stormy mornings, you need tarps that do exactly what you need them to do.

Choose the right tarps for covering cars by looking at the pros and cons of each type of tarp. You may enjoy the lighter weight of a canvas tarp, but it’s not going to protect against water. Treated canvas tarps will damage your vehicle’s finish and must be avoided. Here are our picks for the best tarps for car covers.

18 Ounce Vinyl Coated Polyester Tarps

There’s a better option for car covers, but 18 ounce vinyl coated polyester tarps come in second. They’re tough and waterproof. They resist tears and damage from abrasion. If you’re storing your car outside, the UV protection helps keep your finish safe from sun damage.

The vinyl-coated polyester tarp is a good choice if you need something durable to protect the rear and front windshields from ice during a storm. There’s a better choice if you’re covering your car for winter’s storage or while you’re away on an extended trip or work assignment.


  • Protects against UVA and UVB rays
  • Waterproof
  • Durable
  • Resists abrasion and tears

Iron Horse Polyester Tarps

Hands down, Iron Horse is the best car cover you’ll find. It’s twice as strong as cotton canvas, and it has a dry finish that doesn’t stain. It also doesn’t have any odors that may seep into the car’s interior while it’s in storage. It’s also breathable. Air passes through, which eliminates the risk of condensation building up on the underside of the tarp. When you’re storing your car for the winter, preventing condensation is important.

We get it. You don’t always have a home with a garage or carport. If you have to park your car outside and hate clearing inches of ice and snow in the morning before work, Iron Horse tarps are ideal as they’re waterproof and durable. Make Iron Horse your first choice for a tarp to cover your car.


  • Extremely strong
  • Dry finish with no worries of it staining your car’s finish
  • Breathable fabric
  • Waterproof

Why Not Just Buy a Car Cover?

Auto stores sell car covers. You may spot them on online discount retailers, too. They’re customized to fit, right? Why not just by those?

They do seem to be an easy option but is it the best choice? Don’t assume it is just because it’s sold by an automotive store. If your car is modded in any way, you may no longer have the same dimensions as the factory specs, which is how most car stores decide you have the correct car cover. Say your tire comes in a choice of 14-inch tire, but there’s a 15-inch option. You’ve upgraded your car to the option. A car cover designed to fit the standard specs will be a little too short if you’ve upgraded to larger tires.

Also, consider what most car covers are made from. A budget car cover is made from one or more layers of polypropylene. The more affordable car covers are often one layer. It’s not going to last for years. If your car is being stored outside in windy conditions, one layer of polypropylene material may not stand up to the weather conditions.

There’s one more fact to consider. Chicago Canvas & Supply has decades of experience. Our company has seen three generations of specialists in canvas and large, seamless fabrics. We pride ourselves in delivering exceptional service when doing exactly what our customers ask for. If you want a tarp to cover your car, we will work with you to make sure it’s the best car cover available.

Make Sure It’s Properly Sized

Contact Chicago Canvas & Supply for a custom size tarp car cover that’s designed to last for many seasons. Doing so helps keep plastics out of the landfill. Plus, it’s easier than you might think with our custom order form.

People can get confused when ordering a tarp for covering an item. If you’ve been tripped up by the terms finish size or cut size, you’re not alone. Cut size is the size of the tarp before hems, seams, and grommets being added. Finish size is the finished tarp with hems, seams, and grommets in place.

Carefully measure your car to make sure all of it will be protected. If you’re storing your car on blocks to protect the tires, which is always a good idea, measure to the top of the blocks. A flexible tape measure will make this an easy task. Go from one side to the other to get the correct width. Next, measure from the bottom of the front bumper to the bottom of the exhaust pipes. That’s your length. Measure twice to make sure you’ve accurately measured the car from side to side and front to back.

Tarps with Chicago Canvas & Supply are often given in cut size. When you send in your measurements for a custom car cover, make sure you specify that you need those measurements to be finish size. When you use elastic rope or cord to secure the bottom of the car cover, you don’t want to run short and leave some of the car exposed. Our team will help ensure that doesn’t happen and that you get the finish size using the measurements you’ve given.

Give us a call. We understand your car is important to you. That makes your custom car tarp cover important to us.