Is It OK To Cover Your Car With A Tarp?

Tarps can be very useful depending on the kind of weather conditions you use them in. A tarp can help provide good protection against snow. However, it’s not ideal for rain or dust because it can trap moisture and dust inside, leading to mold and scratches on your car. 

If you’re using a tarp to protect your car against snow and not too frequently, it can be completely okay to cover your car with a tarp. Frequent or long-duration use of tarp, however, is discouraged because it could lead to mold or scratches. 

Factors such as freezing, paint damage, and scratches are also part of using a tarp, but make sure it’s not too big or being used too frequently. It’s also not recommended to use a tarp against rain. 

Is It OK To Cover Your Car With A Tarp?

The car in a protective cover under shady home on a hot day

Tarps can be a good way to protect your car, however, only under some specific conditions. If you’re planning to use a tarp, it’s recommended that it’s not for a long time. A tarp can be a good addition for a short amount of time or when used infrequently. 

Consistent use of a tarp can bring about numerous problems, especially if it’s a cheap tarp. 

Paint damage: A tarp that is left on for a long time or is used very frequently can rub against the sides of your car, leading to paint damage. 

Freezing: If the temperatures fall to extremely cold, make sure the tarp is not moist because if it is, it can freeze to the ground. This will cause more problems than solving them. This freezing can make it challenging to remove the tarp, as well as cause paint damage to your car. 

Moisture growth: If you’re living in a tropical area or one which frequently encounters rain, it is not recommended that you use a tarp, at least not frequently. Extended use of a tarp with frequent rainfall causes moisture to be trapped inside the tarp. This leads to the formation of mold and mildew on your car. 

Scratches: A tarp is not ideal if you’re living in a dusty country, either. It can trap dust inside and, when taking it off or putting it on, can cause scratches and damage to your car’s paint job. 

Instead, if you have a covered space like a metal garage, that is an ideal place for you to use a tarp. Having two enclosures, a tarp, and a garage will give you double the amount of protection for your car. 

The garage will prevent any hail, snow, or dust from entering, and if anything does, the tarp which is wrapped around the car will further extend this protection. A garage will also reduce the amount of dust getting stuck inside the tarp. 

Can Tarps Scratch Your Car? 

If used under the right conditions, tarps shouldn’t cause any scratches to your car. This applies if you’re using a tarp only in snow and cold weather conditions. Moderate and infrequent use is a factor that coincides with the reasonable use of a tarp. 

However, there are conditions under which a tarp may end up scratching your car. If you live in a place that experiences frequent dust or sand storms, it’s best not to use a tarp. It will trap the sand and dust particles inside, and then taking off or putting on the tarp will cause scratches. 

Keeping a tarp on for too long can also result in scratches. Over time, particles can get stuck under the tarp, which leads to scratches on the paint and body. 

Getting a tarp that is the right size for your car is another important tip. If the tarp is too big, it will flap around and scratch the car. 

To avoid these circumstances from occurring, make syou’reu’re using a tarp under the correct weather conditions and not using it frequently or for too long. Dusty, sandy areas that experience heavy and frequent rainfall are not ideal for a tarp to be used. 

Having a garage or a closed space is another way of making your car even more protected. You can have a tarp on while the car is in a garage for double the protection. 

Do Tarps Protect Your Car From Dust and Pollen?

It shouldn’t be your first option when looking for something that will specifically protect your car from dust and pollen. Tarps are just big rectangles that can be used to protect your car from heavy snow or somewhat reduce the pollen and dust your car would otherwise come into contact with. 

However, for optimal protection against pollen and dust, you should use a proper car cover that is designed specifically for your car. Car covers are also more versatile in their offerings. They can be folded into a small form factor, and they come in both indoor and outdoor versions depending on which is the best for you. 

Car covers can also be made specifically for your car model, which means the fit would be perfect. This prevents foreign elements and debris like dust, sand, or pollen from entering it. They also eliminate the idea of flapping, which means no scratches. 

On the other hand, tarps are not made specifically for your car and are just big rectangles. They can be good to protect your car from snow and save time. However, they offer only minimal protection against fine particles like pollen, sand, and dust. 

Can a Tarp Protect Your Car From The Rain or Snow?

Gray tarp covering on a car in the snow by the brown fence

Tarps can be pretty useful and help you save a lot of time when it comes to snow. However, they’re not recommended to use in the rain because they block moisture. 

Tarps can be snuggled tightly around your car, and they will do a pretty good job at protecting it from the now. In areas that experience heavy snowfall, tarps can be especially useful because they can help shave off hours of cleaning snow off your car. 

Frigid climates can also damage the paint on your car, which can be avoided if you cover it with a tarp. 

However, unfortunately, the same cannot be said about a tarp when it comes to rain. Since the tarp traps everything inside, this means that it can let moisture in but not let it out. This is where the problem begins.

Areas that experience frequent rainfall mean the moisture will be trapped inside the tarp very often, which will lead to the formation of mold and mildew on your car. And no one wants that!

In addition, a tarp doesn’t protect your car from dust either since it lets in the sand/dust particles, which can lead to scratches and paint damage. 

So, if you want to use a tarp, make sure your intention is only for protection against snow, not rain or dust.