Car Covers: Custom-Fit vs. Semi-Custom vs. Universal
If you have come across this blog post you probably do not need to be convinced of the benefits to purchasing a cover for your vehicle, but in case you need a refresher, we will name a few. The most significant reason to use a cover on your car is the protect the paint on your vehicle from wind, rain, bird droppings and scratches from other drivers. Not only will this reduce the frequency of which you will need to get your car washed, it will keep your vehicle looking newer for longer in addition to increasing its functional longevity. In addition, car covers help keep your car cooler in the summer and make snow removal easier in the winter months. Covers may even reduce the likelihood of your vehicle being stolen or vandalized. So, you have been convinced; your next step is to determine what kind of car cover to purchase. For in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of custom-fit, semi-custom and universal car covers please see below.
Custom-Fit Car Covers
For those intending to invest in a car cover to improve the cleanliness and longevity of their vehicle, a custom-fit car cover may seem the most obvious choice. While it is true that custom car covers will fit your vehicle snuggly, including pockets for your side mirrors, and will not require you to cut your own antenna hole, there are a number of disadvantages in opting for a custom fit. Firstly, custom-fit covers tend to be significantly more expensive than universal or semi-custom fit covers, especially for rare cars. Suppliers do not tend to carry covers for a-typical models or classic cars, so consumers are forced to order covers from remote locations. This results in long shipping times and exorbitant shipping costs.
Consumers often assume expensive custom-fit covers will be of a higher quality, however, the opposite is often the case. The high price of custom-fit covers is not indicative of quality material — what customers pay for is the particularized size of the cover. Often custom covers end up ripping at the mirror pocket seams within a year or so of use! Semi-custom fit covers, on the other hand, tend to be considerably more durable. Since they can be produced in bulk, semi-customer are less expensive to produce and therefore can be made available at lower prices.
Moreover, the aesthetically pleasing “snug fit” of custom covers, may ultimately prove a disadvantage to the car owner. If a car owner chooses to modify their vehicle, for example, by adding an extra spoiler, a skirt, or a spare tire in the back, their custom car cover will not fit. Additionally, custom covers can only be used on the specific model for which it is designed. This means, if an individual chooses to switch vehicles, they will need to purchase a new cover. Contrastingly, a semi-custom cover can accommodate a variety of different vehicles, and an array of modifications, allowing for greater flexibility.
Universal Car Covers
Another option for car cover purchase is a universal cover. This may be a tempting option because universal covers tend to be most inexpensive and come in the greatest variety of colours and patterns. However, in the case of universal covers, the old idiom applies: “you get what you pay for”. If you choose to order a universal cover you will have, at most, a choice between 3 or 4 sizes. This means that your cover will inevitably be loose on your car, thereby making it difficult to take on and off, and allowing water and dirt to collect in the excess fabric. With a fit so poor, one might as well simply tie a tarp over one’s vehicle!
Moreover, since manufactures of universal covers tend to prioritize quantity over quality, the cover material is often cheap and prone to tearing. Because universal car covers are not built to last, they are near impossible to resell. Also, due to their inferior quality, universal covers do not typically come with warranties. Perhaps unsurprisingly, companies who sell this type of cover do not provide customer service or after-sale support. For these reasons and more, a universal car cover is usually a quickly regretted purchase. We, at CarCover.com, do not sell and do not recommend the use of universal car covers.
Semi-Custom Car Covers
Investing in a car cover is, in many ways, similar to buying a pair of shoes. It is possible to get a custom pair of shoes, just as it is possible to purchase a custom car cover. The advantage to this option is that you will pay for a pair of shoes that are molded perfectly to the size and shape of your foot. However, there is a reason that most people do not choose to get their shoes custom-made: it is simply too expensive, and takes a great deal of time to manufacture. As elaborated above, the same disadvantages apply to custom car covers.
Custom-made shoes are ultimately impracticable for most people. However, buying a universal-sized shoe is an even less viable option (so much so that universally sized shoes are not conventionally available). Imagine paying for a pair of shoes that were only offered in one size or even three sizes! The fit would be so poor that the shoes could hardly do their job! Again, a comparison can be made to car covers. Universal car covers are available (indeed more widely than universally sized shoes), but end up yielding a very poor fit on almost every vehicle. In most instances, universal covers will be much too big for the vehicle they are meant to protect — leading to unruly installation and inadequate protection from the elements. What is more, an oversized car cover looks about as clownish sitting on one’s driveway as a person clomping around in oversized shoes!
Most shoes sold are, whether we realize it or not, a semi-custom fit. They come in a range of sizes from 5 to 13, typically including half sizes and often accommodating for wide and narrow feet. Semi-custom fit is the most reasonable option for shoe sizing, and it is also the most reasonable option for car-cover sizing. It is for this reason, almost 95% of car covers sold are semi-custom. While a semi-custom shoe or car cover cannot offer a perfect fit, they are typically fairly priced, good quality, includes free accessories, effective, and reusable among cars (feet) of a similar size. Since they are made in bulk, semi-custom car covers, like shoes are usually ready to be picked up from stores, or shipped from warehouses within a day. Thus, unlike custom fits, semi-custom can be made consistently and quickly available.
Buying from CarCover.com
We, at CarCover.com, carry both custom and semi-custom covers. In order to keep costs fair for our consumers, we only carry custom covers for the most popular car models. This includes Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Mini Cooper, Chevrolet Camaro, and Ford Mustang. All these custom fits are in stock and ready to ship at a moment’s notice. The majority of our business, however, is selling high-quality semi-custom car covers. We offer semi-customs in over 150 patterns which can accommodate all models, from sedans, trucks, coupe, wagon, hatchback to SUVs. Given the range of sizes and shapes, we have available, you are guaranteed a near-perfect fit — so snug you’d think it was custom! What is more, CarCover.com offers a lifetime warranty on all car covers, so you can be sure that you will get your money’s worth out of your purchase.
Those considering purchasing a car cover are presented with many options including custom, semi-custom and universal fits. Many factors will weigh into the selection of a new car cover from cost to quality to convenience, to shipping time. At CarCover.com we have considered all these factors in order to provide the best option for you and your vehicle. We offer affordable custom covers for some models without added cost or shipping time, and of a quality built to last. We also offer semi-custom fits which you can trust to protect your car as well as any custom cover. We cannot say anything about other car-cover providers, but we can guarantee your purchase from CarCover.com will be a worthwhile investment.