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How to Choose a Car Cover, and Why It Matters
To the average automobile owner, car covers may seem like an unnecessary luxury used mostly by car collectors or by the enthusiastic young adult male who just invested in his first set of wheels. But, practical reasons abound for using car covers, and any automobile owner can benefit from using them on a regular basis.
Protection from Natural and Human Influences
One of the more obvious reasons for using car covers is to protect a vehicle from environmental damage. Depending on where you live, your car takes a multitude of abuses just by sitting on a driveway, along a street, or in a parking lot. Wind blown sand, sea salt, tree sap, bird droppings, dirt, dust, falling twigs or other debris, and weather conditions like rain, ice, and snow can take an expensive toll on a car’s exterior.
Additionally, car covers protect your car’s interior from sunlight. Interior temperatures are reduced to a more comfortable level on hot, sunny days when a car cover is in use, and interior fabrics and materials are protected from damage by the sun’s harmful UV rays. Materials like vinyl, plastics, upholstered fabrics, and leather that are exposed regularly and over extended periods of time to UV rays can become discolored, weakened, and cracked. Additional protection can be obtained by using an Auto Windshield Cover. Environmental conditions quickly age a vehicle’s interior and exterior, and car covers are one easy way to dramatically slow down that process.
Car covers are also useful for deterring theft because they keep expensive interior components out of view. And, car covers can prevent the innocent, but curious, passerby from peeking into car windows and leaving fingerprints on your car’s exterior. Thicker car covers can even prevent minor dings caused by careless neighbors in the parking lot.
Choosing the Right Car Cover
What is the best kind of car cover to choose? Comparing the available materials is an important first step. If your vehicle is kept outdoors for most or part of a day, look for a cover made with breathable material. Breathable car covers allow condensation to escape from underneath. Over time, moisture that is unable to evaporate from under car covers can cause mildew or corrosion and discoloration. Look also for a car cover that offers excellent protection from weather. The best materials are the newer, high-tech, multi-layered materials that that are lightweight, rugged, breathable, and can handle extremes in temperature and weather conditions. These materials will protect more effectively than cheaper materials like plastic or vinyl.
A car cover that fits properly is another important factor when it comes to choosing the right one for your vehicle. Covers that are too large for the vehicle can fill with air like a balloon on breezy days. If not secured well, a ballooning cover can tear or blow right off of the car. Even if the cover does not blow off of the car, the extra bit of loose fabric that whips against the car’s finish repeatedly on windy days can damage the finish over time. Car covers that fit snugly and that are equipped with elastic hems, ties, or drawstrings are the best choices. Even better are custom car covers that are made to fit your car exactly. Custom car covers generally cost more, but many automobile owners believe the extra expense is worth it.
Overall, taking care of our big investments, like vehicles, is more important than ever now that tough economic times make it difficult to trade in our existing vehicles every few years for shiny new models. Protecting a vehicle with a high quality car cover is a simple and practical way to keep that car’s exterior and interior in good condition for as long as the car continues to run.