All vehicle covers are not created equal. There are many types and weights of fabric, all designed to do a specific job. Selecting a vehicle cover is not something to be taken lightly, particularly if you're serious about protecting your favorite ride. Various factors should enter into your selection, but the most important is where you are parking or storing your vehicle. Do you need a simple dust cover or a super cover that can stand up to seriously bad weather? Both types, and everything in between, are available from several suppliers, but here we'll look at some of the criteria surrounding vehicle covers and how to select the right one for your application.
Performance The material you select should be breathable and protect your vehicle against one or more of the following—sun, heat, rain, snow, acid rain, dust, dirt, dings, scrapes, mildew, rot. Each manufacturer might have a different brand name for their individual product grades but the material and performance will be almost identical. Obviously a little research will be required to ensure that you have the right material for your storage conditions. Consult with your retailer about the features and benefits before investing in a cover.
Features We've all seen the torn cover blowing in the wind. The physical construction can differ dramatically between manufacturers. Regardless of the manufacturer you select, the highest quality covers feature double-stitched overlapping seams to prevent against rips, Neoprene elastic sewn into the front and rear hems to hold the cover in place, reinforced non-scratch grommets with protective flap and, optionally available, a vinyl-coated cable and lock for security. Many vehicle covers feature a coating or laminate on the outside only, which can wear off or delaminate. Always compare construction of the vehicle cover as closely as you examine the protection value of the material.
Air/Space Let's look at what type of cover will work for you. Some fabrics focus on protection from a specific element, such as intense sun or dust/dirt. One of the most important factors to consider is breathability; you don't want to trap moisture UNDER the cover. Condensation causes mildew and rot, and can ruin your paint in one season. If your vehicle is stored in a closed, dry garage, then a lightweight dust cover would probably be your best choice. It can breathe and protect the paint finish. If you have a carport or partially exposed exterior parking, then an all-weather cover would be the logical choice. For the completely exposed, out-in-the-weather parking condition, a specialty fabric is required for substantial protection.
Insurance Cover maintenance and storage are also considerations. Do you have to have the cover professionally cleaned or can you wash it at home? When not in use are you going to store it in the vehicle or in the garage? Obviously, having a cover you can wash and dry at home is advantageous, as is a tiny storage footprint in your vehicle. So you can see that buying a vehicle cover is not as simple as handing over your credit card. Once you make the decision on the type of cover that's right for you, check out the various brands, construction and what will fit into your budget. But remember the old adage "you get what you pay for." Buying a top-quality vehicle cover is like life insurance for your interior and paint finish. Don't skimp on the one item that will give your investment the protection it deserves.