If you hear strange flapping or banging noises coming from your car while driving, the most likely culprit is your car cover. A loose or damaged car cover can flap around at high speeds, creating an annoying sound. While the noise may seem harmless, ignoring it can lead to more serious issues down the road. In this article, we’ll explore the common causes of a flapping car cover and how to fix them.
What Causes a Car Cover to Flap While Driving?
There are several potential reasons your car cover may flap and make noise when driving:
Loose Mounting Hardware
Many car covers attach to the vehicle using snaps, Velcro strips, or other mounting hardware. If this hardware becomes loose or detached, sections of the cover can flap freely in the wind. This is most common with low-quality universal-fit car covers.
To fix loose mounting hardware, carefully inspect the cover and reattach any loose snaps, straps, or Velcro. Tightening straps or adding extra attachment points can also help secure a loose cover.
Damaged Panels or Seams
Over time, the fabric or seams on a car cover can become worn or damaged. Rips, tears, or open seams allow the wind to get underneath the cover, causing flapping. This problem tends to occur most often along hood and wheel well panels.
Carefully inspect the cover and repair any rips, tears, or open seams using cover repair kits. Avoid makeshift repairs like duct tape which can further damage the fabric.
Using a car cover that doesn’t properly fit your vehicle’s make and model is a prime cause of flapping. An ill-fitting cover has extra fabric that billows in the wind. Custom-fit covers contour to the exact shape of your car and have a tighter fit.
Double check that you have the precisely correct cover for your specific car’s year, make, and model. If needed, invest in a tailor-made custom cover for a perfect fit.
Loose Panel Adjusters
Some car covers have adjustable panels or tension straps along the bottom edging. These are designed to provide a tighter, wrinkle-free fit. If they become loose, the cover loses tension and is more likely to flap.
Check any adjustable straps or elastic edging and tighten as needed. This helps remove wrinkles and create a smooth, tight fit over the car’s surfaces.
Damaged or Sagging Headliner
For convertible or t-top cars, a damaged, sagging convertible top headliner allows more wind underneath the cover. This makes the cover prone to flapping and billowing at speed.
Inspect the convertible top closely and make any needed repairs to the headliner or rear window. Tightening or replacing the top can help resolve noise issues.
Aftermarket Modifications or Body Damage
Aftermarket modifications like spoilers, ground effects kits, or roof racks can create new surfaces that aren’t accounted for in a standard car cover. Body damage like dents or misaligned panels can also prevent a proper tight fit.
For modified or damaged vehicles, investing in a fully custom car cover tailored to your car’s unique shape provides the best fit and reduces flapping.
Where is the Flapping Noise Coming From?
Knowing where on your car the flapping sound originates can help diagnose the exact cause. Here are some common problem areas:
Front or Rear Bumper Cover
If the flapping is coming from the front or rear bumper area, this indicates loose cover mounting hardware. Check that bumper straps and any under-bumper attachment points are securely fastened.
A hood cover that isn’t lying flat is a common source of noise. Ensure any perimeter attachment hardware is tight. On some covers, detached or loose hood straps can also cause flapping.
Noisy side door or mirror panels usually indicate an overall loose fit. Try tightening adjusters or side grommets to achieve a tighter contour across door surfaces.
Wheel well cover panels that aren’t snug can flap against the tires, creating banging or rubbing sounds. Check for loose mounting hardware or ripped seams around wheel wells.
If the noise seems to come from one side, look for damage or detached hardware on that side. A loose snap, strap, or seam may need re-securing to stop the flapping.
Paying attention to where the noise originates provides helpful clues to get to the root cause of the problem.
How to Prevent a Car Cover From Flapping
While fixing an existing flapping issue is important, prevention is ideal. Here are some tips to prevent your cover from flapping in the first place:
Purchase a Quality Cover
Cheaper universal or budget car covers often lack reinforcements and weather-resistance. Invest in a cover from a reputable brand made of durable fabrics like Technalon or WeatherMax.
Ensure a Precise Fit
Ill-fitting covers are prone to flapping. Measure your car precisely and order a cover made for your exact model’s dimensions. Custom-fit covers provide the best results.
Use Cotton Flannel Lining
Lined covers with a soft inner cotton layer help reduce wind noise. The lining also protects the paint finish from damage caused by flapping fabric.
Choose a Cover with Wind Straps
Some car covers come equipped with special gust-proof wind straps along the bottom edge. These provide extra stability in windy conditions.
Check Fitment Regularly
Make it a habit to check the overall fit of your cover every few months and tighten any loose hardware as needed. This prevents small issues from becoming major noise and damage problems.
Store Properly When Not in Use
Don’t leave unused covers flapping in the wind. Follow storage instructions to prevent fabric damage – many covers benefit from being folded or rolled when not on a vehicle.
Dirt, debris, and dust getting embedded in the fabric over time can cause abrasion and wear. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines to keep your cover looking and fitting like new.
With some preventative care and proper use, your custom car cover should defend your vehicle silently for years to come without annoying flapping. Pay attention to minor issues early and carry out repairs promptly to keep your cover quiet. Invest in a high-quality cover, take time fitting it properly, and check it regularly – this offers the best protection against noisy flapping problems down the road.
Frequently Asked Questions About Flapping Car Covers
Car cover flapping while driving often raises common questions for vehicle owners. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
Can a Flapping Car Cover Damage the Paint?
Yes, an improperly secured car cover flapping at high speeds can potentially damage your vehicle’s paint. The repetitive motion rubs against the clearcoat finish, creating swirl marks and fine scratches. Flapping in the wind also increases the likelihood of loose debris becoming embedded in the cover fabric – which can then scratch the paint surface. Prevent flapping to avoid paint damage.
Why Does My Cover Flap With One Window Open?
Opening just one window slightly while leaving the rest closed creates an aerodynamic imbalance. This channel of uneven pressure causes the cover to billow and flap excessively. If you need ventilation with the cover on, it’s best to open all windows equally to maintain equilibrium.
Will Flapping Damage the Cover Fabric?
Over time, the repetitive flapping motion can weaken cover fabric causing premature wear and tearing. Prolonged flapping also strains mounting hardware and stitching. Excessive damage to the cover material can reduce its effectiveness at protecting your car’s finish.
Can I Prevent Flapping at High Speeds?
Driving at higher speeds increases aerodynamic forces on the cover, making flapping more likely. Using tighter-fitting covers designed for high speeds helps. Some covers also include special wind straps, speed-Viewport adapters, or belly straps to add stability during highway driving.
Should I Remove My Cover When Driving?
For maximum convenience, some car owners drive short distances with the cover still on. However, this significantly increases the risk of flapping damage and isn’t generally recommended. For driving, it’s best to fully remove the cover and place it in the trunk until parked again.
Does Temperature Affect Car Cover Flapping?
Yes, driving in very cold weather can make covers more prone to flapping. The cold causes some fabrics to contract slightly, creating a looser fit. Soft cotton flannel linings also become stiffer in cold temperatures. Parking in a garage allows covers to acclimate to ambient temperatures before driving.
Preventing annoying car cover flapping is all about identifying the specific cause and addressing it promptly. Don’t ignore banging noises coming from the cover – inspect for loose hardware, tears, or poor fit. With some simple maintenance and proper use, your cover should remain secure and quiet for many miles of driving.
Dealing with a flapping, noisy car cover can be frustrating, but is easily fixable when you understand the root causes. In most cases, flapping issues come down to loose hardware, damaged fabric, ill-fitting materials, or poor mounting – all things that can be remedied with close inspection and some minor repairs. Be thorough when diagnosing where the noise originates, whether it’s wheel wells, bumpers, mirrors or other areas. Taking preventative steps like choosing quality materials, proper care and storage, and regularly checking fit will minimize annoyances down the road. With the right combination of quality materials, secure hardware, proper fit and regular maintenance, your custom car cover will defended your vehicle’s finish smoothly, silently and for the long haul.