While some may recognize the importance of a vehicle cover as a no-brainer, others might benefit from an overview of its perks – of which there are many. For those who do not know, a vehicle cover is a (usually) fitted wrap which is placed over a vehicle in situations where exposure might have negative consequences. As I will explain later in this article, those situations are more common than one might anticipate. While car covers are the most well-known kind of vehicle cover, almost any automotive imaginable can be fitted with a cover, and all automotive are likely to benefit from this treatment. Due to the wide range of use cases for vehicle covers, as a product they vary greatly to cater to those different needs. Some covers are for universal use, striking a balance between, for instance, indoor and outdoor covering, or resilience against both hot and cold weather. At other times, covers can be highly specialized. This applies to the fit of a vehicle cover as well: there are completely custom covers, with pockets for mirrors, precise tailoring for contours and modifications, as well as near-universal fit covers that will be malleable enough to accommodate any vehicle of a given size.
Vehicle covers are especially prevalent and important in a "car culture" like the one found in the United States. When vehicles are important symbols of both freedom and status, taking tender care of your vehicle is paramount. Car covers thus express in many cases a certain attitude towards cars and what having one in your possession ultimately means. In these circumstances, not having a vehicle cover might be seen and foolhardy or ungracious.
Protection is Paramount
Purchasing and owning, even just leasing, a vehicle is regularly one of the largest expenditures in a person's life, second only to housing. Regardless of budget or the absolute size of the investment, it is natural to want to stretch your money. Indeed, in the case of a lease, failing to properly conserve your vehicle will result in substantial penalties at the end of your lease. Ultimately, even if you are the true owner of your vehicle, failing care for your vehicle adequately will affect its lifespan or resale value when the time comes to change or upgrade.
It is likely the case that most owners and lessees are aware of this, and that the average person does what they can to take care of their vehicle. Individuals will avoid accidents, keep up with their maintenance schedules, and clean their vehicle periodically. But the average owner is probably not aware of how consequential "superficial" damage and exposure can be to the overall longevity of their ride.
It is this "superficial" damage which makes a vehicle cover so pertinent. The daily wear and tear that merely removes sheen and introduces small blemishes acts as a gateway for larger, more permanent, and more structural damage to take hold of a vehicle. Covering your vehicle, whether it is kept inside or outside, goes a long way in limiting the ever-colliding contents of all of environments from slowly wearing down your precious investment.
Protects Against the Elements
Cars are intended for use outside – that is undeniable – but this doesn't mean that they benefit from stints left exposed to the elements when it is unnecessary. Garage storage is important for more than just security and the house presentation's sake – it keeps your vehicles better preserved. Unfortunately, not everyone lives in a house with a garage or an apartment with indoor parking access. If they do, they may have more vehicles than that storage can support. It is primarily in these situations where outdoor car covers find their use.
An outdoor car cover can be a properly resilient outdoor cover, or merely a water-resistant universal application car cover. These universal application covers will defend against most mild conditions but may give out in extreme temperatures and weather events. Genuine outdoor covers are often fully waterproof rather than water resistant and consist of more and thicker layers of protective material. These covers tend offer some degree of insulation, being coated to resist and reflect the majority of the sun's rays and having some kind of thermal material to maintain reasonable temperatures in the cold.
The obvious conditions that make a car cover important – wet conditions and those with a lot of aerial debris – are not all that make a car cover useful. Even as mundane an inconvenience as bird droppings is made less obnoxious and irksome with a cover. Most good covers are washable, and incidents that would usually be gross and time consuming to resolve can be resolved with a washing machine. It may be easy enough to spray down your vehicle, but sometimes there might not be time for such an intervention when you're off the work or an important meeting, and it is at those times that the buffer provided by a car cover is most appreciated. Indeed, barring the wear and dirt that accumulates in travel, car covers ensure that your vehicle is always ready to go when you are.
Fighting against rust and sun damage will work miracles on the longevity of any vehicle. While the threat of rust needs little explanation – it makes things brittle – the threat of UV damage is less well known. UV damage wears at the finish on your vehicle – a finish which in fact has practical, protective qualities, but its more dramatic effects come from the impact it has on car interiors. UV damage wears away at fabrics, making them more brittle, especially soft leathers. It can warp plastics and dry out sealants and rubbers, negatively effecting the barrier that is needed to exist between the cabin of your vehicle and the outside world. UV deterrence is a key factor which makes a proper outdoor cover desirable, though obvious some UV protection is provided by any kind of covering. UV damage is the silent killer when it comes to automotive longevity, comfort, and value – and it's something you can bet on having to confront every day.
Protection Against Theft and Vandalism
A regularly under-considered advantage provided by car covers is their deterrence against theft and vandalism. Thieves and vandals appreciate an easy and self-announcing target, and vehicle covers – especially the locking kind – reduce the temptation on both these fronts. Certainly, covers are vulnerable to destruction, etc. but there is less appeal in tampering with something so mundane, especially when the contents are unknown. This applies both to the vehicle and its contents. Assuming the vehicle doesn't have an immediately distinctive silhouette, and that the would-be violator does not have prior knowledge of the vehicle or its contents, the ambiguity of a vehicle cover (especially semi-custom and universal fit models) can make a luxury sedan pass off as a corolla.
Though they aren't indestructible, this does not mean that a vehicle cover won't provide improved resistance against a modest assault. Scratches, hits, and keying will do far less damage, especially if the vehicle is covered by a thicker outdoor cover. While you may have to replace the cover and its efficacy may be reduced, this is always going to be a smaller expense than the repairs needed from an attack on a naked vehicle.
Showroom and Indoor Protection
Based on comments made earlier, one might be inclined to believe that a cover is unnecessary when a vehicle is being stored indoors. While a car will last far longer uncovered indoors than out, there are still benefits offered by an indoor car cover which are worth considering. The benefits of an indoor vehicle cover are most immediate in shared parking garages. With modest scratch protection and a barrier against mud dirt and salt that is always being flung about between parking spaces as cars move in an out, a cover prevents unexpected tarnish and allows a public garage to be as preservative as a private one. The more specialized use case for indoor car covers is as an extra layer of protection against dust and micro-scratches which take away from the highly manicured appearance of high-end show cars. These specialized covers are manufactured using materials like silk which is thinner, softer, and lighter – all qualities that ensure the cover, while keeping the vehicle protected from airborne particles, does not itself tarnish in any perceivable way the high polish finish of the show car.
Vehicle covers are a wise investment which come with a whole slew of often underappreciated benefits. Apart from merely keeping your vehicle clean, vehicle covers extend any vehicles longevity and potential resale value. These covers come in a wide array of formats, suited variously to specific needs and climates. There are no situations wherein a vehicle fails to benefit from one of the many perks of covering. The larger an investment your vehicle represents, the more evident it should be that you ought to have it covered. If you own any kind of commodity vehicle – a vintage car for instance – and you don't own a suite of car covers: best practice urges you to make the investment, and fast!