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Car covers are a wise investment, especially for cars you aren't driving daily - or that may be older and need to be protected. Whatever you do, do not just get a simple plastic tarp and think that will protect you car. Car covers are specifically designed to let water run off and they are made of materials that will not degrade in weather, heat or humidity. Tarps trap water and have been known to melt onto cars. They can cause signifigant damage to your paint job and since they can trap pooled water, you actually run a higher risk of rusting on your car.
The best car cover manufacturers have a broad range of materials and car covers that will meet your individual needs. You need to consider several factors ahead of time because otherwise when you are ready to order, for example, covercraft car covers, you will be lost!
1. Is the car going to reside indoors or outdoors?
2. What kind of weather do you need to protect against: sun, snow, rain?
3. Do you need dent protection?
4. Is your climate extremely windy (for putting the cover on and making sure it stays in place)?
5. Do you need storage space in the car cover?
6. Does it need to resist mildew or rot?
Once you have the answer to these questions, you will be able to make an informed decision. Most companies will rate their car covers according to their strengths.
You may think all car covers are the same so it doesn't really matter if you choose one that is fitted for you car. You would be wrong. The whole purpose of a car cover is to hug your automobile and keep it safely protected from the elements of every season. If you get a car cover that is too small or too large, you run the risk of spending money on something entirely counter productive. Additionally, if you have a spoiler or strangely sized rear view mirrors, you are going to run into huge problems getting the cover over the car - unless it is designed for that purpose. So if you are going to make the investment in the first place, you may as well get the right cover for your car!
Some people mistake car covers for front end masks or car bras. A front end mask will protect the most vulnerable part of your car from rock chips and bugs. You may think - why do I need a car bug shield when I can just hit the car wash?
The solvent usually needed to remove bug carcasses can actually damage your paint job, which can be reason enough to invest in a front end mask for some people. You can also get front end masks with special bug deflectors installed that help keep bugs from hitting your windshield.
In some cases, a standard car cover may not give you the amount of protection you feel you need for your car. Perhaps what you really need is a car pocket or cocoon. Car pockets have a panel that you literally drive onto and a sperate cover that sits over the top of your car or motorcycle. Once you have the top and bottom aligned, you fasten them together. This gives the kind of complete car protection and coverage many car enthusiasts are looking for. Don't get one of these if you plan to use the car semi-regularly - as simple as a car pocket sounds, they are certainly more cumbersome than a standard car cover.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|