Cars need to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis to guarantee an enjoyable and safe ride. Likewise, it’s important to perform the proper upkeep of your car’s accessories, especially your car cover. When your cover is in good condition, it ensures that your car will be properly protected.

Buying Car Covers

The first step is to pick a car cover that’s worth maintaining. Not all covers are made equal. Don’t make the mistake of buying the first car cover you see. The wrong cover can do more harm than good and actually do the one thing it’s trying to prevent – damage. For example, a loose-fitting car cover can move around on your car and you’ll risk marking it up. This is why, it’s important to make an informed decision regarding your purchase. You’ll want to ask friends and family for recommendations and also do some of your own research. Check a couple car cover websites and then go straight for the reviews. This way you can see what other people have to say.

You’ll also want to think about the purpose of your cover when shopping. If you live in a humid area, maybe you’ll want something that’s moisture repellent. If you keep your car in storage for long periods of time, you might want to invest in a higher quality cover, since your car will be more reliant on its protection. If you leave your car outside in the summer, you’ll need a cover that has a good UV protection. If you use your cover often, you’ll want one that’s lightweight, so it’s easy to take on and off of your car. Check out the following tips for a more detailed explanation of how to pick the best cover...

1.  Get the Right Size

This tip is easy. All you have to do is get a custom-fitted car cover. These are very easy to find, since they are offered by nearly all the online retailers nowadays. You’ll require basic information about your car to purchase a custom-fitted cover, like the year (ie. 2018), make (ie. Toyota), model (ie. Camry), trim (ie. Sedan 4-door). The custom fit will be specially designed to fit every contour and detail of your car. It’s a little more expensive than a standard cover however it guarantees full coverage and zero slip. You won’t have to worry about any exposed car parts or a loosely-fitting cover that could slip and etch your car’s paint over time.

If custom-fitted covers really exceed your budget, then you may still consider getting a good quality standard cover. It’ll be very important to get the correct size for your car. You’ll need to determine whether your car fits a small, medium, or large. You can also compare your car against prototypes for small, medium, and large. For example, a Honda Civic is considered ‘compact’, a Ford Fusion is ‘mid-size’, and a Chrysler 300 is ‘full-size’. When it comes to standard covers, it can be easiest to go to your local brick and mortar, like Walmart.

As mentioned, standard covers may not fit your car perfectly, and this could rub and damage the paint over time. One fix to this problem is to get buckle straps. These will hook onto the bottom four corners of your cover and secure it in place. You won’t have to worry about the cover moving around on your car, even if there’s heavy wind.

2.  Consider the Cost

Everyone has a budget and it’s totally normal to not be able to afford everything you see. Don’t get too let down. If a high quality cover is out of your price-range, you can actually hold off getting one, until it is. It’s almost worse to have a low quality cover than to use no cover at all.

If you’re adamant, your best bet will be to do a thorough search for car cover discounts. Groupon usually offers very attractive deals, just search for ‘car cover’ under the ‘Auto & Home Improvement’ tab. Your next best bet will be to look at any of the online retailers. Usually, they’ll be more affordable than in-store, since they’re shipped straight from the warehouse. This bypasses any added retail costs.

3.  Do you need an Indoor or Outdoor Car Cover?

If you’re one of the lucky ones, you have a garage where you can keep your car. Your garage means that you really don’t have to worry about any random scrapes to your car, nor do you have to worry about harmful UV rays and you certainly don’t have to worry about bird droppings hitting your car. Needless to say, a car cover can still be a good choice for you. Indoor car covers can protect your car from moisture build-up and are especially important if you live in a humid area, like by the sea. You’ll also want an indoor car cover if you store your car for long period of time, to keep dust from settling on its surface and etching the paint over time.

You may be more inclined to get a car cover, if you have to leave your car outside often. You’ll likely choose an outdoor cover. Outdoor covers are always higher quality than indoor covers, so you can really never go wrong with this choice. They’re designed to protect your vehicle from elements like snow, moisture, rain, dust, dings, scratches, and UV. Outdoor covers are typically made of the most durable materials, like polypropylene and polyester, which holds up well against all the elements.

4.  Select the proper cover Color

Just because you have a favourite color, it doesn’t mean that it should be the color of your car cover. The best color for car covers tend to be lighter, since they are usually fitted with optical whitening agents that strongly absorb UV. If you’re unsure about your white cover’s fitted with superior UV absorption capabilities, go for dark, since vibrant colors naturally absorb UV. The only time you should completely avoid getting a darker-colored cover is if you have a light-colored vehicle. Your cover’s color could bleed out onto your car’s exterior, affecting the color of your car paint.

5.  Do you use your cover often?

Before purchasing a car cover, determine whether you’ll be using it every day or rather, for long-term storage. Anyone looking to cover their vehicle long-term can go for a heavy duty cover that will weigh down on the car, guaranteeing zero dust can get into any nook or cranny. Those looking to use the cover on an everyday basis, for overnight storage for instance, will not need such a heavy duty cover, since it is unlikely for dust to settle. Also, having a lightweight cover will be much easier to take on and off the vehicle.

Caring for Car Covers

Let’s say that now you have your perfect car cover. You’re not going to want to let all that time and money go to waste, assuming that you spent time to find a good quality car, at a price. Here are some tips to maintain your car cover’s lifespan and simultaneously provide better protection to your car...

1.  Installing Covers

Some people make the mistake of improperly installing car covers. I mean, there’s not too much that can go wrong but you’ll want to keep in mind a couple of things...  

You’re going to want to make sure that your car is not very hot when putting the cover on. Sometimes, a very hot exterior can cause a cover to leave markings in the paint. Once your car has cooled down, you can put the cover on top, and you won’t have to worry about your car overheating.

You’ll also want to make sure that your car is clean, especially for long term storage. Any dust or debris on top of the car can etch the paint, especially if left for an extended period of time under the cover. Once you have your car on top of your clean car, you won’t have to worry about any dust or debris getting in.

Ideally, your car’s surface is not wet however a good quality cover should seep moisture. This means that any moisture should move to the covers surface for easy evaporation. You may want to avoid frequently putting your cover over a wet exterior, since this could cause it to wear out at a faster rate.

When you’re sure that your car is in good condition to take the cover, you’ll want to start at one bumper and work your way up. Be careful around protrusions, like the car’s mirrors. If you have a car antenna, you’ll want to be sure to put it through the car cover’s grommet, which is a specially designed hole in the cover. If you have a retractable antenna, then you don’t need to worry about using a grommet, since you’ll be able to push the antenna below the surface of the car.

2.  Cleaning your Car Cover

Every now and then your car cover will need to be cleaned. This isn’t rocket science. A regular wash in your washing machine will do the trick. Just use a relatively modern machine, that doesn’t have a central agitator to ensure that no damage is done to your cover. You’ll want to use warm water to thoroughly penetrate the material and get all the dust, debris, and possibly even bird droppings out, considering that this is what it’s been protecting your car from.  It’s not a bad idea to rinse your car cover twice to ensure that there’s no residual cleaner remaining that could affect the paint of your car. Like most precious articles of clothing, you won’t want to run your car cover through the dryer. Make sure to let it air dry.

3.  Hand washing your cover

If you don’t have a proper washing machine for your cover, it’s no worry. You can always hand wash your cover and it’s a lot easier than you think. You won’t even have to remove it from your vehicle. Fill up some soapy water buckets and then start dumping them on the cover. You can take a regular sponge to get out any tough spots. Let the soapy mixture sit for about 10 minutes and then rinse, using a hose. You’re going to also want to wash the inside of the cover, so simply flip it over on top the car and then repeat. You can clean your cover like this in about 30 minutes. Make sure to remove the cover from the surface of your car and hang to let it dry.

4.  Bird droppings

You don’t need to wash your car cover every day however if it has a bird dropping, you may want to wash it sooner than later. Bird droppings can seep through the cover over time and actually do damage to the paint, since they’re acidic. You don’t need to wash your entire car cover to remove the bird dropping. Use vinegar and a sponge to clean out the bird dropping and then rinse thoroughly with a hose.

5.  Winter use

The worst thing that can happen in winter is that you find your car cover frozen stuck to your car. This can happen for a couple of reasons... 1) you made a mistake and put your cover on when the car was covered in snow or ice and 2) to no fault of your own, there was some residual humidity that caused the cover to stick. Don’t panic if you find yourself in this predicament. The last thing you want to do is fight with the cover and risk damaging the paint or the cover. You’ll need to get hot water and pour it over the cover. It’ll be sure to unthaw to the point that you can easily remove it.

6.  Windy weather

Perhaps, you live in a windy city like San Fran or in a wind-prone valley. If so, you really need extra security against wind, so you’re cover doesn’t slip out of place. As mentioned, when the cover slips it can etch the paint. The easiest way to ensure your cover doesn’t slip is to get a fitted cover, since it’s designed to hug the car. If you’re really worried, you can also use buckle straps. These hook onto the four corners of your car with clamps. Then a rope is strung between the two rear clamps and another between the two front clamps. The only thing that could move this cover would be a tornado, in which case you’d be getting highly unlucky.

7.   Last words on Car Cover care

When you’re not using the cover you should keep it in a safe place. Before storing it, let it dry out and pat off any dust. Then fold it and put it in its original storage bag. Easy as that!

Conclusion

Buying the best car cover for your needs and then keeping it well-maintained is pertinent to protecting your car. Hopefully, this article has helped you to better understand what you should look for in a car cover and has given you idea of just how easy it is to maintain. Following these tips, you, your car cover, and your car should benefit for years to come.