Perhaps you have not thought about getting an umbrella for your car, but they are very handy devices. There are two distinct types. The first type fits to the roof of your car. It opens up and provides protection for your paintwork from UV light and debris. They are also highly effective at keeping your car cool – even on a hot day.
The second type is more like a portable shade for you and for any activity that you wish to do outside, be that a picnic or a work project. They fit on the hitch or on the back of your vehicle and fold away when you are done. If you are still not quite sure as to which car umbrella would be suitable for your needs, check out the following guide to the best car umbrellas available.
The Best Car Umbrellas
This Semi-Automatic Car Tent is available in silver or blue. It’s 165-inches long, weighs 11 pounds, and takes only seconds to install on your vehicle. The PU silver-coated material is designed to reduce the temperature in your vehicle by as much as 45 degrees during the summer. It’s waterproof and also designed to protect cars from frost, ice, and snow.
The product is easy to fold and unfold and uses TPU rubber soft suction cups as well as adjustable windproof ropes that lock in the four corners and detach automatically when it gets really gusty. It also has anti-theft rope and steel wires for added security. The umbrella is compatible with a wide variety of sedans, minivans, trucks, SUVs, and more. However, it’s not designed for heavy snow conditions, so you need to remove it if you’re expecting over an inch of snow. Also, the manufacturer warns that it’s not to be used when driving.
- 165-inches long
- Semi-automatic operation
- 30-second installation
- Compatible with many vehicles
- Brand LLC – Carports
- Weight 11 pounds
Simple to use
Folds up for trunk storage
Not good in heavy snow
Cannot be used while driving
You can use this car umbrella on all sorts of cars and SUVs. It provides an effective block to heat because it creates a layer of air above your car. It also protects the car from acid rain, bird waste and snow and frost. It can be operated automatically or manually. The clever “Y” shaped frame makes it very stable and more resistant to wind.
In the automatic mode, you simply press a button on a remote-control device or press the “Start” button on the umbrella itself. It takes only minutes to set it up and take it back down again. You can remove its battery for charging. Once folded, the umbrella takes up little room in your trunk. There is an anti-theft steel wire to keep it safe.
- Suitable for all cars and SUVs
- Can be operated manually or automatically
- Comes with a remote control
- Folds up into a small space
- Brand ISHOWStore
- Weight 13.9 pounds
Anti-theft wire is useful
Keeps cars very cool
Perfect if you don’t have a garage
Will not cover big trucks
Not suitable in high winds
Takes a bit of time to set up at first
The LopazShade Empowered Living – Automatic Tent is available in blue and camouflage. It’s designed to lower the temperature inside a vehicle by up to 36 degrees and provides protection against sun, snow, wind, rain, bird droppings, and more. This car umbrella takes just 30 seconds to install and features one-click open and close operation using a remote control.
It’s designed for a wide variety of vehicles, from sedans and minivans to trucks and SUVs. The water-resistant umbrella features anti-rust stainless steel elements, and it can withstand wind speeds up to 30 mph. It weighs just over 12 pounds and folds up to 33 inches for trunk storage. Unfortunately, depending on what type of vehicle you have, this car umbrella may not cover the entire body, so some sections may be exposed to the elements. Also, it’s only designed to withstand a small coating of snow.
- 30-second installation
- Four-season protection
- Wireless remote control
- Lowers interior temps by up to 36 degrees
- Brand LopazShade
- Weight 12.3 pounds
The Hilyo Car Umbrella is designed for sedans, hatchbacks, small cars, and luxury vehicles. It’s available in blue and silver and is 157.5 by 82.7 inches. The oxford material is waterproof, easy to clean, and protects vehicles from sun, snow, frost, and ice. The silver-coated PU material blocks 99 percent of UV light and greatly reduces the temperature of the interior even if the temperature on the umbrella increases.
One of the best things about this umbrella is its price compared to the other products on this list. It’s a budget-friendly option that is lightweight and simple to install. The biggest drawback with this car umbrella is that the skeleton is not included, and you must purchase it separately, which can drive up the cost.
- 157.5 by 82.7 inches
- All-season protection
- Blocks UV radiation
- Brand Hilyo
Easy to clean
Skeleton not included
This Car Sun Shade Canopy is made of oxford canvas and can reduce the temperature inside your vehicle by as much as 45-degrees Fahrenheit. It provides protection from the sun and blocks 99-percent of UV light through the use of silver-coated PU materials. It features a mesh ventilated window and durable carbon steel frames.
It takes just 30 seconds to install this umbrella, which includes features that prevent it from getting damaged in windy weather. The product includes anti-theft steel wire and anti-theft rope as well as TPU soft suction cups that won’t damage your vehicle’s finish. The umbrella is adjustable to accommodate different types of vehicles, but not those with more than seven seating positions. Another downside is that it’s a little on the heavy side at 15.4 pounds.
- Oxford canvas
- 30-second installation
- Carbon steel frames
- Mesh ventilated window
- Brand CarAutomatic Tent
- Weight 15.4 pounds
Lowers interior temp by as much as 45 degrees
Adjustable to accommodate different vehicles
It’s a little heavier than other options on this list
Not designed for larger vehicles
The Versatility Teardrop Awning is designed for car camping and other activities. Unlike the other products on this list, this car umbrella works with hatchbacks, vans, and other vehicles and serves as shelter/gazebo for sun protection. The umbrella provides up to 76 square feet of shade and is big enough to cover a table and chairs and to keep out sun, rain, and wind.
The canopy is made of ripstop 210T polyester, and it has vents on the top to allow air to pass through. A mesh window on the side also provides ventilation. Simply use the steel poles and rope to secure it in place. The height is adjustable for more versatility. Users note that it is easy to set up, is fairly sturdy, and is compact and simple to store when not in use. One downside is the instructions are not very good, and installation varies depending on the type of vehicle you own. The suction cups are also inferior.
- 138 x 95 inches
- Ripstop polyester material
- Adjustable poles
- Brand Hasika
- Weight 9 pounds
Easy to install
Ventilated for airflow
Inferior suction cups
What to Look for When Buying a Car Umbrella
There are several brands of car umbrella to choose from. Before you place an order for one, check out this handy list of what you should look for.
- What do you want it to do?
Some umbrellas are designed to protect a car but others are there to provide shade for other activities.
- Will it fit your car?
The majority of car umbrellas are universal so they will fit most cars and SUVs. If you have a very large or a very small car, you should carefully check the dimensions to make sure that it will fit. When they are folded down, they will fit easily into the trunks of most cars. Umbrellas that fit on hitches will fit most two-inch hitches.
- How do you put it up?
Some car umbrellas have to be manually put up so you pull on them to open them. Others are automatic. They have a small motor and a battery and they are often operated via a remote control. If you feel that you will not be physically capable of dragging it open, then an automatic model would be best for you. If you choose an automatic one, you will need to keep the battery charged.
- Will it get stolen?
Sadly, there are thieves out there who will try to steal your car umbrella. Many models have anti-theft wires. These are attached to the framework of the umbrella and feed inside the car. The thieves would have to cut the metal wires to remove the umbrella so at least that will deter opportunistic thieves.
- How heavy is it?
Weight is important. Remember that you will have to lift the umbrella onto the roof of your car and you may have to manually put it up. You may need an extra lightweight model if you cannot lift very much.
- How strong is it?
Car umbrellas need to be sturdy and durable. They should be designed to withstand the process of you putting them on the car and taking them back down again over and over again. Also, the fabric and the structure should withstand light winds. Most are made from materials such as polyester and fiber glass which are lightweight yet strong.
- Will it blow off?
All models will have some a type of suction cup that attaches the umbrella to your car roof. Some car umbrellas are supplied with extra ropes. These are used to anchor the structure of the umbrella to the wing mirrors of your car. These are highly effective in light winds but are unlikely to withstand a gale or a storm.
Why You Should Use a Car Umbrella
If you are new to car umbrellas, you may not realize how useful they are. Here are a few reasons why you should invest in one yourself.
- They fit most cars
Most car umbrellas will fit the majority of cars and trucks and so once you get one, you don’t need another when you change your car.
- They protect your paintwork
UV light in sunlight causes a lot of damage to paintwork. It breaks down the chemicals in the paint and this can cause it to crack and fade. A car umbrella provides protection from this effect.
- They keep debris off your car
A lot of debris can land on your car from the environment and this includes bird poop, dust, leaves and sap. Acid rain is another problem. All of these can cause unsightly damage to your paintwork.
- They can save you money
If the paintwork of your car gets damaged, it reduces the value of your car. Therefore, protecting it with a car umbrella can save you money in the long run.
- They are portable
Car umbrellas can be collapsed down and stored in the trunk of your car. This means that you will always have it with you when you need it.
- They keep your car cool
Getting into a boiling hot car is very unpleasant. Sometimes, it is just not possible to park in a garage or in shade. A car umbrella is like a portable shade. It traps a layer of air above your car’s roof which insulates it and it reflects infrared light. This can keep the temperature inside your car to a more bearable level.
- They provide shade for activities
There are some umbrellas that fit on the hitch of your car or truck and these have a different purpose. These are for shading other activities such as hunting, picnics or work areas.
Tips for Using Car Umbrellas
Car umbrellas are successfully used by thousands of car owners every year. To make sure that you get the most out of yours when it arrives, here are some top tips for using car umbrellas.
- Watch out for wind
Car umbrellas can withstand light gusts but you need to remember that they are made out of fabric and fiberglass. They won’t be able to stand up to strong winds. Check the weather forecast before you set yours up.
- Use only when parked
It is not safe or sensible to drive around when your car umbrella is set up. Always take it down if you need to use your car.
- Snow can cause problems
Whilst a car umbrella will protect your car from light falls of snow, it will not cope with heavy snowfall. The weight will be too much for the structure and it will collapse. Again, check out the weather forecast during the winter months.
- The battery can run down
You do need to remember to charge up the battery. If the battery does not have a lot of power, it will not be able to put the umbrella up. Some batteries can be removed from the umbrella and charged up inside your house.
- Keep the suckers clean
If the suckers get dirty, they could cause damage to your car’s paintwork.
Best Car Umbrella FAQ:
Q: What is a car umbrella?
A: Car umbrellas are portable tent-like structures that fit on the roof of your car. They open up and protect the paintwork from dust, debris, rain and snow. They also provide protection from the damaging effects of UV light. They create a layer of air just above the car roof and so this insulates the car from heat. On a hot day, it can reduce the temperature in the car by tens of degrees and makes it much more comfortable to get in it.
There are other types of car umbrellas. These fit onto a car or truck hitch and look much like a very large regular umbrella. They are used to provide shade for outdoor activities such as picnics and work projects.
Q: How do I install a car umbrella?
A: Car umbrellas come with full instructions on how to install them. Most take very little time to put up. If you do get stuck, there are plenty of videos online which will help you.
In general, the instructions will ask you to place the umbrella on the roof of your car and make sure that it is at the center. Then, pull down the levers on the suction cups to secure them. If there is an anti-theft wire, this goes in through your car door.
Now, all you have to do is open up the umbrella manually by pulling it out or automatically using the remote control. There will usually be wind ropes included to stop the tent from being swept away by a gust of wind. These need to be attached to the wing mirrors.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick is the Semi-Automatic Car Tent. It comes in silver or blue and provides protection from snow, frost, and anything else in the environment that could damage your car’s paintwork. It comes with an anti-theft rope and soft suction cups. The car umbrella detaches automatically when it gets really windy. This product can be used on a wide variety of sedans, minivans, trucks, SUVs, and more.
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