Do you protect your car, truck or SUV with a car cover? It needs to be considered by every new vehicle or collector car owner. Premium covers come with full warranties. With proper care they will last four or more years with constant use. One way to look at it is the average yearly cost. With proper care it costs $40 to $100 per year, but that’s insignificant compared to the amount it saves you in vehicle restoration expenses or reduced vehicle resale value.
Choosing the right cover for your situation is essential. Do you garage your vehicle or park outside? Are you living in a dry or humid climate? What about harsh weather such as snow or heavy rain? These are all factors that will help you decide the best car cover to use. By this I’m referring to the material used to make it.
A premium custom-fit product starts at about $175. On very large automobiles they can cost as much as $500, so be sure to do your homework and get the right one the first time. You are well advised to investigate the type of fabric that works best for your situation.
When looking at your climate and use situation, you may be forced into a trade-off or two when it comes to the fabric. If you’re not comfortable with the trade-off then you may need to consider one for indoors and another for outside. I mention this because waterproof car covers are not something most people want to hassle with if they have a garage. A good trade-off is to find a material that’s breathable and light enough to use inside for dust protection and yet has the capability to protect in mild weather conditions outside.
If you are still shopping, the sheer range of fabrics can be a bit overwhelming. Let me assure you that all of the materials have a distinct purpose and their own benefits. Simply take the time to understand what each fabric can do and how it applies to your situation.
Let’s discuss when you should and should not be covering you car. One mistake I often see people make is covering a dirty vehicle. If a car is just a bit dusty you might get a few swirl marks. No big deal. However, when the paintwork is really filthy it’s going to start looking like someone took a stiff scrub brush to it.
Here’s what works for me. It’s a super simple solution, too. Dust your car. Use a California Car Duster. It’s like a giant Swiffer. In about a minute your car is dust-free. I’m not kidding.
The way you use the duster is just like a Swiffer in the house. Shake it out before use, start at the top and dust away. You might be thinking you’re too busy to do it, but let me tell you that it’s actually a time-saver. It’s quick and it keeps your car clean which reduces soap and water washing. That’s a good thing, right?
You might be wondering if the car duster will scratch, and I can tell you that I’ve never had an issue. They are saturated with a paraffin wax. The wax coats the fibers and makes it work like a dust magnet, even on black cars. It’s fantastic.
Another thing makes my skin shiver is watching some people put their cover on. Maybe you’ve seen people do this, as well. What I’m talking about is the car cover jerk. That’s when you just grab it by a corner and give it a quick pull and wad it up into a ball. It never fails that the big ball of fabric gets hurled onto the back seat or into the trunk. Being a car lover it breaks my heart to see, and here’s why.
A car cover is made from yards and yards of fabric. When you take the time to neatly fold it and stow it properly, there’s no issue. When you don’t stow and use it properly you are forced to spin it around, slide it and twirl it all over the surface of your car. All of that swirling and twirling on the paintwork make swirl marks and causes light scratches. Removing them will cost you time and money.
Here’s a proper way to do it. Start by putting the cover on. Next remove it starting at the front. The easy way is to neatly flip the front edge up in the direction of the windshield. I recommend 12 to 18 inch folds. When you reach the middle of the roofline go to the rear of the vehicle and do the same thing. This will make a long, neatly folded run of fabric across your car. From the passenger side roll the cover up towards the driver’s side. Avoid sliding the fabric by finishing from the driver’s side.
When it’s time to put it back on, all you need to do is go to the middle of the car on the driver’s side and toss the roll over. Be sure to hang on to the loose end. Next, unfold to the rear, unfold to the front, and you’re done. This way you completely avoid dragging the fabric over the paint surface. It’s so easy!
This brings me to the next point, and you might already be thinking about it. I’m talking about windy weather, and it brings with it the same issues as sliding the fabric over the surface, only worse. Be sure to be uncovered in windy weather. That’s not to say you should be concerned about a light breeze. That isn’t an issue. What you need to concern yourself with is sustained winds in excess of 20 MPH. Winds that high can cause very bad scuffing on your clear coat. Can you imagine the damage your paintwork will have if sand or dirt gets underneath from the wind?
As you may know, there are a few wind control accessories. These devices simply keep the front and rear elastic edges from puffing out so a light wind can’t get under the cover and turn it into a sail.
Speaking of dirt under the cover, a dirty one is no different that having a dirty automobile. The ten dollar question is how do you clean it? One thing I know for sure, and that’s it takes a commercial size washer to do it. Just be sure to use a tumble washer, because an agitator could cause damage and it’s not covered by warranty.
Here’s a little trick an old timer taught me. It’s easy, too. All you have to do is scrub it while it’s on your car using a wash mitt and your car wash soap. Obviously you’ll want to make sure your car is clean first. Wash the outside first then flip it to do the underside, and don’t forget to rinse really well. Let it drip-dry for a bit then put it in the dryer on medium heat.
I hope I have shared a bit of information that let you be the best car cover owner. If you have not made the plunge yet, just know that it is the only car accessory that will help you keep your car in excellent condition. Use it as intended and you will reap the rewards.