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Welcome to winter—where leaving home after a snowfall comes with a few extra steps. Want to leave the driveway? You better grab a shovel. Need to see out your windows? Grab your ice scraper. For those of us who spend six months a year with snow, we know the choreography well, but it surely doesn't mean we enjoy it.
In recent years, windshield covers have emerged as a faster, easier way to clear your windshield. We ordered, unboxed, and installed five top-selling windshield covers to see what the hype is all about.
Things to Consider
There are numerous considerations when it comes to buying a windshield cover. For example, it only covers the windshield; what about removing the snow from the rest of your vehicle, as commonly mandated by law? Moreover, once you pull it off to reveal a clean, dry windshield, what do you do with a wet cover? Finally, in icy precipitation in very cold temperatures, won't the cover just freeze to the windshield?
We maintain that the best snow removal tools are trusty snow shovels and ice scrapers. But if you're truly considering buying a windshield cover to keep your auto's glass free of snow and ice, here are some other important things to think about.
Before shopping for a windshield cover, first determine your windshield's dimensions. A windshield cover that fits adequately will cover the entire windshield, with a bit of slack left over for tie-downs.
During unboxing and testing, we noticed many of the covers we tested show dimensions as follows: full length with security wings by width of windshield coverage by height of windshield coverage. To best determine the correct size for your needs, only the last two dimensions (width by height) are truly required to pick the right size.
Most windshield covers can be folded up and easily stored in your vehicle when not in use. Before buying one, though, know that a used cover will probably be wet. If you do not have storage space to drip-dry a cover, we recommend buying a polyester one. Polyester is generally water-resistant and any moisture accumulated can be shaken off the surface before it's put into your trunk or cargo hold.
A quality windshield cover will come with a securement method of some sort. Different covers will use various types, like magnets, elastic, or mirror covers. Most have an anti-theft wing that's inserted into the cabin and secured by closing the car door. In our experience, the more anchor points, the better.
How We Tested Windshield Covers
So far, our Michigan winter has seen far more wet than white. Still, for this test we unboxed the covers, installed them, and evaluated how well they kept moisture off of windshields. Our luck with weather was mixed, but we acquired plenty of information to evaluate these windshield covers based on:
The Best Windshield Snow Covers
AstroAI Windshield Snow Cover
Once again, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of an AstroAI product. This large quiltlike cover has a water-resistant reflective material on the outside with inside layers of polyester and cotton for insulation. The cover features integrated-wing mirror coverings with hi-vis material. With anchoring points featuring the wing mirrors, security flaps, and an elastic band with hooks, the AstroAI didn't go anywhere on a windy day.
While we love the full coverage and layered material, we recommend you have a garage or storage space for this product. After we removed our AstroAI cover from a classic Michigan snow-turned-to-cold-rain storm, the cover was rather wet and needed to be shaken off and hung up. While it dried quickly in our garage, it would have made for a messy trunk if it hadn't had a chance to dry.
EcoNour Windshield Cover
EcoNour uses Oxford polyester for its wide variety of windshield covers. This material is the best choice for shoppers using their covers away from home, since one hefty shake of the cover will dry it enough to be stowed away in the vehicle. If you've got several vehicles of varying sizes, EcoNour has an expansive selection of car-glass covers. You can find sizes from compact to XXL, wing mirror covers, and even a cover for the rear windshield.
Interestingly, the EcoNour and the Cat Cover (below) were identical products in almost every way—look, feel, material, right down to the identical buttons on the storage bag. There was one important distinction, though, regarding durability: unlike its Cat counterpart, the EcoNour's double elastic bands survived the tug test.
Tanyaxue Windshield Snow Cover
If you're looking for a budget option, this is a good one. The Tanyaxue was ordered primarily out of curiosity; we wanted to see how a budget brand compared to pricier name-brand windshield covers. However, the materials were noticeably subpar; the quilting is thinner, and the outer material has an almost tacky feel to the touch. We installed this cover on a Toyota Corolla before a night of light snowfall and pulled it off in the morning to reveal a clean, dry windshield. It wasn't a heavy snow or a thick layer of ice, but it prevented moisture from accumulating and made for an easy departure in the morning.
Like most budget gadgets, this windshield cover will perform just fine if you're looking for a fast solution to the ol' ice-scraper hustle. Just don't expect high quality or lasting durability.
Frostguard Plus Winter Windshield
While many of these covers are similar in style and construction, the Frostguard Plus set itself apart by using internal anchor poles to hold its form and weigh itself down. Situated on the passenger's and driver's sides, the anchors are a fairly practical solution—but we found that fit and performance of the Frostguard would have been vastly improved by the addition of another pole to run along the bottom hem of the cover. One windy afternoon, we returned to find the bottom portion of the cover flipped up, exposing the windshield wipers.
Also of note: The storage bag is a thin poly bag, like the kind you'd store a tent in. And like most tents, squeezing the entire cover, poles and all, back into the bag was a bit of a tight squeeze. We found it easier to store the cover inside the separate wing mirror covers instead.
Cat Automotive Windshield Snow Cover
Caterpillar is the world's leading construction equipment manufacturer, so we assumed its officially licensed windshield cover would be designed for toughness, quality, and durability. The material is water-repellent polyester and the cover has double elastic loops to anchor at the mirrors. The cover comes in one "universal" size of 78.0 by 45.0 inches and claims to fit most sedans, trucks, and SUVs. We tested it on a Land Rover Discovery and a Toyota Sequoia. The Land Rover was a great fit, but on the Sequoia, it was stretched pretty tightly.
After removing the cover from the Sequoia, we found the elastic loops to be limp, frayed, and torn. Confounded, we gave a strap a tug—and it ripped completely away from the cover. Sure, maybe we shouldn't have installed it on a full-size SUV or tugged the loop as hard as we did. But we also think a brand-new product shouldn't break so easily.
It should also be noted that while the pictures in the Amazon listing linked here clearly indicate this windshield cover uses "nine heavy-duty magnets" to secure it to the vehicle, the Cat cover we received had zero internal magnets. Further examination of the listing shows multiple reviews with the same complaint. As they say, buyer beware.
Even though it's clearly a licensed product, we expected better quality from a renowned brand like Caterpillar.
How We Tested Car Windshield Covers
This winter in Michigan has brought more rain than snow, which posed some challenges for our original testing plan. Instead, we conducted a less controlled test where we focused on installation, fitment, materials, construction quality, and more to evaluate the featured windshield covers.
First, we examined the covers, noting their unique features and attachment points. Next, we noted the materials and construction quality while installing them on various vehicles. We installed the covers on different cars throughout December and January, gauging fitment and coverage. Unfortunately, we couldn't convince Mother Nature to provide equivalent precipitation to test and compare all five of these windshield covers adequately.
Nevertheless, the unboxing and installation process provided valuable insight, particularly as pertains to the performance of each cover in keeping moisture off the auto glass and how repeated use impacted durability.
What is the correct size windshield cover?
Cars and windshield covers come in different sizes, so you'll want to make sure you buy the correct size. To determine your windshield dimensions, use a cloth tape to measure your windshield height and width directly through the middle, like a plus sign. This will give you the height and width dimensions, and you can shop accordingly.
What material is best for a windshield cover?
Materials generally come down to two main categories: single-layer polyester or stitch-layered materials. Single-layer polyester will repel water more easily but won't protect your windshield from heavy precipitation like hail. Stitch-layered quilts will become wet and heavy with moisture and need to be dried out regularly, but they will insulate your cabin and better protect your windshield.
Do I need a windshield cover?
Windshield covers address a specific need, so it's up to you to decide if this product is for you. First, we should say that, yes, they do make cleaning your windshield much easier. However, it doesn't protect your roof, windows, and rear windshield, so you'll still need your snow shovel and ice scraper.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to gauge how effective these would be for heavy, wet snow and ice. But, to clean your windshield from a layer of fresh, powdery snow, this is a great product.
How do I use a windshield cover?
First, you lay the windshield cover on your windshield, open your doors, and slot the security wings into the cabin. Close the doors to secure the cover. Next, fasten other security measures like elastic bands, wing mirror covers, or magnetic strips. Now you have a wind- and theft-proof windshield cover.
Why Trust Us
Hearst Autos combines the talent, resources, and expertise of three of the largest, most influential automotive publications in the world. The Gear Team has tested a wide variety of automotive products, parts, accessories, and gear, such as dash cams, portable jump starters, and snow brooms and ice scrapers. We get our hands on each and every product we test. Most are purchased; some are supplied by manufacturers.
Hearst Autos doesn't need to game algorithms for traffic or promote lousy products. We're more concerned with our legacy, our reputation, and the trust that our readers have in Car and Driver, Autoweek, and Road & Track to deliver honest opinions and expert evaluations.
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