Car Tarps During Transport: Are They Safe?

When you ship your car from one place to another, you want to ensure it stays safe and the paint job remains intact for the journey. Many car owners opt to place car tarps over their vehicles during transport. Car tarps or car covers are flexible covers made of cloth or other materials that cover your car’s surface to protect it from dirt, debris, and water.

But are car tarps safe? For instance, will they damage your vehicle’s paint? Let’s answer this question and more now.

Are Car Tarps Safe?

Car tarps or covers are generally safe and come in two possible types. Indoor car covers traditionally fit snugly on a vehicle, crafted from light materials such as polypropylene or satin. Indoor car covers protect vehicles against small particulates found in indoor garages, though they don’t provide as much protection against sun damage/UV rays or outdoor elements. They may have mirror pockets, tie-downs instead of buckles, and even a storage bag.

Outdoor car tarps usually have more rigid builds made with materials like plastic or breathable cloth. Even as outdoor tarps don’t fit snugly, they offer designs perfect for repelling water, ice, dirt, and other outdoor hazards. The best water-resistant or waterproof car covers are heavy-duty, custom fit vs. universal fit, and offer excellent UV protection plus defense against all weather conditions. You can find outdoor covers for many vehicles, such as SUV car covers.

If fitted correctly, car tarps can be safe. That said, they are never 100% secure since they rub up against the surface of your vehicle.

Do Car Tarps Damage Your Car?

Yes, though generally not too much. If the tarp fits too snugly on your car, it has the possibility of rubbing against the paint, which can cause chipping, smearing, or other surface-level damage.

Furthermore, if your automotive vehicle or truck cover is overly snug, you might find that it scrapes the paint more severely. If you’ve waxed your vehicle recently, the wax layer might come off rather than paint; this can make using a car tarp much more manageable and safer.

Still, the all-weather protection and dustproof defense a good universal car cover offers may make it worthwhile. However, you should only ever get the right cover for your needs. For example, a sedan car cover is ideal for outdoor use when parking your car beneath a tree. An indoor-car cover is better when you don’t need it to be UV resistant.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Tarp on Your Car?

  • Keeps Car Clean
  • Offers (Minimal) Protection
  • Protects Paint
  • Simple To Use

Car Tarps Keep Cars Clean

There are many benefits to using a tarp or cover for your car. The first is that it keeps your vehicle cleaner than it would be otherwise.

Whether you store your vehicle in a garage or outdoors, the right car tarp can protect it from dirt and debris (such as bird droppings or mildew) and prevent dust from collecting on its surface. Remember, you need to choose the right car cover for your needs; indoor and outdoor car covers do different things and are suitable for different situations.

Car Covers Offer (Minimal) Protection

Next, car covers offer minimal protection against other damage, like people bumping into your vehicle and stuff dropping on the hood.

Outdoor car covers provide more general, though minimal, protection against random wear and tear. That’s because these covers offer some protection because of their durable makeup, using thicker materials that can withstand some strain and resistance before tearing or breaking.

Car Tarps Protect Paint

When appropriately fitted and left to sit rather than being moved around constantly, car tarps can protect your vehicle's paint in the long term. This protection is significant if you want a nice luxury or classic car to look great for as long as possible.

Car Tarps Are Simple To Use

Lastly, car covers are straightforward to use. Simply flip them over your vehicle, ensure they are tied down or secure, and walk away with peace of mind.

Disadvantages of Using a Car Cover During Transport

  • Hard To Secure During Shipping
  • Tarps Can Be Dangerous
  • Tarps Can Damage Your Vehicle
  • Inconvenient for Drivers

Car Tarps Are Hard To Secure During Shipping

However, car tarps can lead to disadvantages, particularly if you cover your car with them before transit.

For starters, car tarps can be tough to secure consistently during shipping. In transit, a car cover might get loose and rub around your vehicle’s surface, leading to paint or other damage.

Car Covers Can Be Dangerous

Car covers can similarly be dangerous for the shipping specialist moving your vehicle or other drivers on the road. If, for instance, your car has an insecure exterior, the tarp could fly out onto the freeway, creating a sudden traffic hazard.

Car Tarps Can Damage Your Vehicle

Of course, the wrong car tarp, or a car tarp fitted improperly, can damage your vehicle. Bad car covers can scratch the paint, mess with the wax layer, or cause other issues.

Covers Can Be Inconvenient for Drivers

Lastly, car covers can also be inconvenient for you, the driver, or the owner. When you fit your car with a tarp, you must take it off each time you want to take your vehicle out for a ride. Similarly, you need to replace the car cover anytime you want to leave your car unattended.

Car Covers During Transport: The Bottom Line

Car tarps or car covers can be safe. However, you need to carefully consider the shape of your car tarp, the material of your car cover, and whether your wax protects your vehicle or just paint before covering your car with one pre-shipping.

Alternatively, you can go with a trusted car shipping expert like Carvaygo. If you're worried about the health and appearance of your car, opt for enclosed shipping – that way, we can guarantee your vehicle will arrive in perfect condition at your chosen destination. Contact us today for more information.

Sources:
What is a Car Cover | Detailing Wiki
Best Car Cover for 2022 | CNET
How Often Do I Need to Wax My Car? | News | Cars.com

Three simple steps to get your FREE quote
Carvaygo Quick Quote
1
Vehicle Info
2
Transit Info
3
Contact Info
Enter a 4-digit year.
Enter a 4-digit year
It seems you want to move a Classic Car. To treat her right and get an accurate quote, you will need to talk to one of our Customer Service Representatives at 888-444-2612.
Enter the Make and Model of your vehicle
i.e., fender flares, lowered suspension, oversized tires, etc.
Enter a city and state.
Enter a city name.
In order to provide a quote, we need your valid phone number.
We do NOT sell Personal Information to third parties.
In order to provide a quote, we need your full name.
Enter your first and last name.
Enter your email address.