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Custom Truck Covers

Selecting The Right Truck Cover Fabric

It is true that for the typical passenger truck cover, there are only a few main choices: polyethylene, cotton, and vinyl-coated polyester or polypropylene.

But don't think that selecting the best truck cover fabric is a no-brainer. Consider that there are more than 150 companies that manufacture or supply materials, equipment, and services to the truck cover industry.

Different fabrics offer different kinds of protection, and some focus on protecting from a specific element, like intense sun exposure or dust. So to get the most for your money, and to get a vehicle cover that does what you need it to do, selecting the right material is key.

Here are the most important things to consider when buying your cover:

  • Breathability: Every truck cover material should be breathable. Otherwise, moisture will accumulate between the truck and cover, causing damage to the finish. For this reason, a plastic and non-breathable tarp should never be used.

  • Non-Abrasiveness: To avoid scratching the painted surface during movement by the cover, a good cover fabric will be made with a non-abrasive fabric. This is another good reason to avoid poly tarps.

  • UV Protection: In cases where your truck will be exposed to long hours of harsh sun, the fabric should have a high UV resistance. Not only does it protect the vehicle, without it, your cover will disintegrate in a short period of time.

  • Water Resistant: This seems obvious enough. The only exception here is for trucks that will be stored in the garage.

Fabric Choices For Your Truck Cover

There are several types of pickup covers available ranging from simple poly tarps to more advanced cotton/vinyl cover fabrics. Different fabrics offer different levels of protection performance, and some focus on protecting from a specific element, like intense sun exposure or dust.

  • Poly Truck Covers: The first and cheapest option are the basic polyethylene truck tarps. They are generally UV and water-proof, but not all of them allow water and moisture to easily evaporate though the fabric.

  • Cotton Covers: A second group of covers is made from 100% cotton, and should be regarded as an indoor truck cover. If you only need to shelter your truck from dust and debris, and plan to keep it out of the rain and snow, cotton fabric works well. And some are made with extremely soft material for use on a vehicle whose finish you really want to pamper.

  • Poly-cotton-vinyl Blends: The last and probably the most protective type of truck cover is made from a blend of cotton, vinyl, or multi-layered polypropylene fabrics. These materials provide maximum protection from rain, UV rays, dust, and airborne contaminants. Although a little more expensive, they give you the most of what you buy truck protection for.

The best protective fabrics provide maximum protection, yet are lightweight and non-abrasive. Some are even made with a weave that adds thickness, and thereby helpings protect against minor scratches and dings.

Two Final Considerations

Clean Before Covering: Wash your truck and let it thoroughly dry before installing the cover. And, do not remove the cover when wet and place it in storage before it has had a chance to dry.

  1. Cleaning The Cover: Keep your truck cover material clean by hosing it down periodically. Do not scrub the material with a brush, or use detergents as this could damage the fabric and destroy the UV rating and/or breathability. If needed, use a sponge or a rag to gently clean any soiled areas.
  2. Regardless of the fabric you feel is best for your situation, do not even consider a truck cover with something that isn't breathable. Good air circulation under the cover ensures that any moisture or condensation can easily evaporate. And it reduces heat buildup in the cab on hot days.

Although a little more expensive, the more advanced materials give you the most of what you buy truck protection for. Ultimately, your choice will depend on the protection level you want to achieve, and the amount of money you want to spend to protect your investment.

In the long run, the cost of even the best truck cover is minimal compared to the maintenance cost of what you are protecting.


Recommended Truck Covers

An excellent selection of truck covers is available at AutoAnything. They have over several fabric choices, and offer top quality covers at excellent prices.

For More Information:

Truck Covers - Information on standard and custom truck covers and cab coolers

Custom Car Covers - A review of the top 5 choices for harsh weather.


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