The 8 Best Car Shelters
This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in April of 2015. If your property lacks an integrated carport, or has a garage that's piled high with floor-to-ceiling junk, then take a look at these car shelters. Made with UV-resistant materials and durable frames, these canopies can shield any vehicle from harmful and hot sunlight and the elements. We've included both temporary and portable designs as well as some permanently mounted options. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
February 02, 2021:
While the FQNing Retractable was eliminated due to availability issues, we were quick to replace it with the Ikuby All Weather — an alternate model that shares the Retractable’s collapsible design, and is available in two sizes. Similarly, while the Snail Enclosure was also removed due to availability questions, we went ahead and replaced it with the Advance Outdoor Heavy Duty — which shares the Enclosure’s 200-square-foot footprint, and also presents a viable option for corporate events and big parties that require a beer tent, or similar accommodations. The last selection we removed was the KDgarden Portable Carport, which, in addition to also suffering from availability issues, was having a hard time living up to its claim of being portable.
December 19, 2019:
This round of updates saw a lot of comings and goings for the category. We eliminated the Quictent Canopy, Caravan Mega, ShelterLogic Garage and Ikuby CT001 all due to availability issues. We also instated a half-dozen new offerings into our rankings. Some of which include the FQNing Retractable, a collapsible offering that folds over your vehicle, offering full, dome-style coverage; the Palram Arizona Wave 5000, a particularly stylish model intended for permanent installation and supported by only two posts; and the Hasika Camping Tunnel, which might not be the most industrious model for regular use, but still serves as a suitable, temporary option for weekend warriors who can’t get enough of the great outdoors.
A few considerations to have covered before planning a purchase in this category:
Size: Assess the needs demanded by your plans for the shelter, and plan accordingly. The models we ranked are typically a car-width wide, but some – including the ShelterLogic Arrow – are offered in multiple lengths, so you can easily score a few extra feet to store a riding lawn mower or motorcycle. If that still isn’t enough space for you, the ShelterLogic Arrow is also an example of a double-wide offering, so you’ve now got enough room for that lawnmower AND motorcycle, plus your spouse’s vehicle – next to your own. Another example of a double-wide option we ranked is the Rhino Shelters Fabric Garage.
The Elements: What type of weather are you looking to guard against? While protection against mild rain is an obvious prerequisite for this category, those coping with heavy rainfalls will likely appreciate designs like the Palram Vitoria 5000 and the Palram Arizona Wave 5000, which incorporate rain gutters into their designs. The sturdy paneling Palram uses for their canopies is also well suited to coping with heavier precipitation, and is rated to hold 15 pounds of snow per square foot. If you’re looking for wind protection, then walls are what you want. Consider options like the FQNing Retractable or the Snail Enclosure.
Longevity: Remember, the very reason you’re considering investing in this purchase is so that it can absorb unwanted abuse for your vehicle, so make sure it’s tough! Many models in this category boast of powder-coated frames and UV-resistant textiles, and both are good ideas. The FQNing Retractable is one offering that doesn’t featured a coated frame, but should still stand up well to rust due to its stainless-steel construction. Palram not only advertises maintenance-free designs, but also offers a 10-year limited warranty on their products, which might help give you some peace of mind.
Carport Central On top of offering 78 styles of metal car shelters, this North-Carolina-based company offers packages for garages and workshops that have auxiliary car ports incorporated into their designs. They also offer several larger options, which is great if you're looking to park heavy machinery or a small fleet of cargo vans. carportcentral.com
Millenium Buildings This company offers 10- to 25-year warranties on their custom-build carports and buildings, all of which are made with American-sourced materials. Its repertoire features a host of designs, including single, double and partially-enclosed styles. They also offer discounts to military veterans and active-duty servicemen. millenniumbuildings.com
Shelters of America Among other things, this online retailer has over 2,000 tent-style shelters to offer (mostly ShelterLogic products). Its website features options to search by shape, color and more importantly width, length or height – which is nice if you're trying to find the perfect-sized selection to fit into an odd space. sheltersofamerica.com
The Elements Vs. Your Car
Invisible but insidious ultraviolet light is the main culprit for that damaged, sometimes even peeling auto paint.
Your vehicle faces a tough world out there, and that's true even without the travails of traffic, the ruts and potholes in city streets, the long miles logged on highways, and the occasional off road jaunt through mud and muck. Even when simply parked in your driveway, your car is continually subjected to the elements, with each change in the season bringing its new share of challenges.
The sunshine is one of the greatest enemies your car's exterior faces. When that ubiquitous summer sun shines down on your vehicle's paint job, it causes oxidation, premature discoloration, and fading. Invisible but insidious ultraviolet light is the main culprit for that damaged, sometimes even peeling auto paint. One way to fight back against the sun is to regularly wash and polish your car, as a clean and waxed car fights that UV light and resists the buildup of grit and grime that further damages paint when left untreated. Furthermore, water left to dry on the car can leave behind mineral deposits, making it look dirty, while simultaneously damaging its exterior.
Simple rainwater can leave your car looking soiled and, over time, can cause real damage to the exterior for precisely the same reason as above: rain leaves mineral deposits on the finish that will not just rinse away with the next downpour. In fact, they will only continue to build up over time.
An even greater danger not just to your car's paint job, but to its windows and body is hail damage. Hail can occur at almost any time of year in most any region of the country. Hail is a type of solid, frozen precipitation that consists of ice formed into irregular clumps. A single hailstone can measure just a millimeter or two across, or can be as large as six inches, which is about as large as these clumps tend to get. However, it should be noted that the current record set for largest hailstone saw a chunk of ice measuring almost eight inches across and weighing in at just under two pounds. Even a much smaller piece of hail than that could easily crack a car's windshield or dent its roof.
Depending on where you live, your car may face many other foes when parked on your property as well, including animal waste, tree sap, falling pine cones, and more. The best place to keep your car safe is inside a garage. The second best place to store your vehicle is underneath a car shelter.
The Temporary Car Shelter
If you require only temporary shelter for your car, truck, trailer, or boat, then a simple canopy style car shelter should suffice to keep your vehicle safe from the elements. Canopy shelters are little more than roofs stretched over solid, sturdy metal frames that offer enough surface area to completely cover your vehicle.
If you need a place to keep the sun off of yourself while you work on your car, a simple canopy car shelter is an ideal choice.
There are a few drawbacks to a simple canopy style of car shelter, and these include its inability to protect the car from sunshine coming in at an angle or from rain or snow blown sideways by high winds. Careful positioning of your canopy shelter can help mitigate the amount of sun that hits the car, and you can always set up the shelter where plenty of shadow already exists thanks to a home, outbuilding, trees, and so forth.
These simple car shelters do provide respite from much of the midday sun, from direct downpours, and usually from hail as well, as heavy hailstones tend to fall more or less straight down unless the wind is blowing with particular force. A simple roof-only car shelter also costs a fraction of the price of shelters complete with walls and even with doors, so the reduced protection they offer me be well worth the extreme reduction in price they afford you. An open shelter that blocks the sun can also keep the interior of your vehicle cooler, allowing the breeze to pass over it while rejecting solar heat.
If you need a place to keep the sun off of yourself while you work on your car, a simple canopy car shelter is an ideal choice. It allows you easy access to the vehicle from all sides, while still offering decent elemental protection. And the ease with which a basic car shelter can be set up and broken down is also a bonus. You can use one for a few days, weeks, or months as needed, and then efficiently break it down and stow it away until the next season's woes beckon.
The Long Term Car Shelter
Whether you live in an environment prone to harsh weather, are looking for a semi permanent place to park your vehicle each day, or you need a place to safely store a vehicle for a long period of time, a car shelter complete with walls and doors is a relatively cost-effective solution.
It's important you take the time to properly mount any car shelter, especially one that will be left standing for long periods of time.
While these car shelters can vary drastically in price, they are often far more affordable than paying for a third party to store your car, not to mention the cost of building a garage or permanent outbuilding on your property.
A good car shelter can be set up on grass, gravel, or concrete, and should feature flexible anchoring systems that work on these and other ground surfaces. It's important you take the time to properly mount any car shelter, especially one that will be left standing for long periods of time. While you might see your car shelter as protection from the elements, a strong gust of wind might see that untethered car shelter as a kite to be picked up and tossed around, potentially causing damage or even injury in the process.