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It’s a Dangerous World Out There without a Proper Car Cover


ou’ve just bought a new car and can’t help peeking out the window of your living room every now and then to admire it — how it gleams in the sun, how it seems to radiate power and strength, how raindrops bead up and gleam like diamonds on it’s hood. Wait! Raindrops!

That’s when it hits you — it’s a dangerous world out there. Snow, hail, sleet, ultraviolet radiation, acid rain, bird droppings, scratchy particles floating on the wind, even the razor-sharp claws of the cat next door. You feel yourself breaking out into a cold sweat until the answer comes to you, suddenly, like a bolt of lightning: YOU NEED A CAR COVER!

But when you go to your local auto shop, you’re assaulted by a vast array of different covers: plastic ones, waterproof ones in a bewildering assortment of fabrics, weights, and types, even plain old cotton covers. And you have no idea which one is the best cover to protect your investment.

There are some important facts you need to be aware of before you buy a car cover. Buy the wrong type and it may actually damage your car. A cover that doesn’t fit properly may actually be more damaging than no cover at all. Too loose, and wind may cause it to flap against the paint and scratch it severely. If your car is not clean, the dirt caught between the cover and your car will cause scratches when the cover is installed or removed. You can order a cover that will be custom fit to your particular car, but they are expensive. The “one size fits all” are cheaper, but will not give you the tight fit that a tailored, custom-fit cover will.

The key to avoiding damaging your car without going to the expense of a custom-fit cover is to put a cover that fits tightly on a clean car. Buy one that has a bottom locking system with a plastic coated cable holding the bottom of the cover snugly.

Besides fit, you need to figure out which type is best for your needs. There are three basic types — waterproof, water-resistant, or “breathable” covers which are only water-resistant. They both have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Waterproof covers are usually made from plastic film or plastic coated fabric. They keep the water off your car, but they also trap condensation between the cover and your car. This moisture may corrode your paint job with worse results than if you had just left your car out to fend for itself against the elements. If you store your car in a garage over the winter, a plastic cover with a flannel cloth cover against the surface will be useful. The flannel will protect the paint job from moisture, and the plastic adds a tough outer layer to keep rodents, squirrels, and the like from nesting in the soft cloth.

Water-resistant covers are available in a variety of fabrics, weights, and types. These covers will repel most of the water while allowing air to circulate, preventing condensation. Many have an ultraviolet screen woven into the mesh to help prevent UV damage, and they are often mildew resistant.

The lightest weight cover is made from a material called Tyvek. Weighing around 3 pounds, it is easy to put on and take off, very water resistant, and will shed most of the water. However, because it is so light, the wind will tend to beat the cover against the finish, which is something you definitely want to avoid unless you want your car to become an Etch-A-Sketch. You must make sure this type of cover is very tightly fitted. Tyvek covers are best for short-term use, such as daily parking in your office parking lot.

Another car cover is called Evolution made by Kimberly-Clark. It was created to provide the best combination of water resistance and breathablity in a car cover fabric. The fabric is a laminate of a fabric called spunbond on the top and bottom and two layers of a fabric called meltdown in the center. The spunbond provides strength and durability, and the meltdown filters out dust and rain. It provides excellent protection from the elements, is available in many colors, and is thick enough to soften the blow of chips and dings. The fabric blocks most UV rays from damaging the paint and interior trim, and has an ingredient that prevents the sun from degrading the car cover itself. The bad news is that they are heavy, difficult to put on and take off, and if your car is not clean, they tend to scratch the surface. They are best used if you are storing your car outside for a long period of time.

Another type of composite cover, more suited for short-term use, utilizes a breathable nylon or polyester outer layer with a foamed acrylic lining. It is not very water-resistant. Instead, it filters out the dirt from the water, so only clean water reaches your car. However, it does not protect from acid rain. These covers are lighter and easier to install and remove.

The third major type of cover material is good old 100% cotton or cotton/polyester blends. They are available in a regular cloth or a flannel style. Take note that the polyester fibers may scratch the paint. These covers are not water-resistant and should not be used outside for any length of time. For indoor use, however, the cotton flannel cover is as gentle on your paint job as a pair of pajamas.

Read your car cover’s directions for washing and drying instructions. Never store your cover when it is wet. If it is wet when removed, dry it out as soon as possible. Remember that solvents like gasoline will eat holes in your cover, and if draped on hot exhaust pipes, the covers tend to melt and leave behind a stubborn gooey mess.

If you value your vehicle and want to preserve its beauty and functionality, a car cover is a wise decision. Just make sure you have the facts before you purchase one.



Also see:

Your Car's Exterior

Selecting the Right Tires for Your Car -get the scoop on selecting the proper tires.

Are Drive-Through Car Washes Safe For Your Car? -Get a professional job or do-it-yourself?  Find out here.

A Bucket, Soapy Water & Elbow Grease-Cleaning The Exterior -great how-to tips for getting rid of the grime on your auto.

Choosing a “Plastic Surgeon” for your Car -had an accident and need a body shop?  Learn the questions to ask.



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