cover on car If you don’t own a garage or choose to keep your vehicle parked outdoors, you might protect the paint with a car cover.

Unfortunately, purchasing a car cover is not as going to the store – some research is involved. Not all car covers are created equal or ideal for outdoor storage. As a result, the material may not be as effective or could damage the paint job.

Car Cover Basics

Leaving your vehicle outdoors exposes it to the elements, from UV rays that can fade paint to rain that can leave watermarks. Along with these factors, dust, bird droppings, tree sap and pollen can all settle on the car’s surface, potentially damaging the paint.

A car cover seems like the logical choice to shield your vehicle and keep the paint job fresh. Yet not every car cover is built for this:

  • Indoor Car Covers: These utilize a lighter material and fit closer to the vehicle’s surface. Indoor car covers are intended for garage storage and won’t provide the protection needed against the elements.
  • Outdoor Car Covers: Outdoor car covers use a more durable material, typically polyester or cloth, that’s treated to block moisture and UV rays. Many also include an interior liner to prevent scratching the paint. However, certain models feature grommets, which have potential to leave scratches and dings.

For outdoor car covers, you have a choice of fits:

  • Universal Cover: These are the most affordable solution when you want to protect your car from UV rays. However, the fit is not exact and there’s greater potential for the cover to blow off.
  • Semi-Custom or Contour Fit: These covers offer a more exact fit, taking into account the height, width and length of your vehicle’s make and model.
  • Custom Covers: These are made to fit your car exactly. Although semi-fit covers are perfectly acceptable for most vehicles, they don’t always fit vintage and classic cars.

What a Car Cover Should Do

Once applied, a car cover has the following benefits:

  • Protects the vehicle from UV rays. Ultraviolet light can fade the paint job through repeat exposure, in addition to cracking internal plastic parts. This could mean you’ll have to schedule regular paint jobs long term.
  • Protects the surface against weather. The heavy-duty material allows rain to roll off, rather than seep through or pool on the car’s surface. At the same time, having a buffer here can lessen damage from hail and wind.
  • Helps your vehicle stay clean. For everyday use, the cover catches dust, debris, bird droppings, tree sap and moisture, preventing them from accumulating directly on the paint.
  • Can act as a deterrent against theft. If your cover is locked, it’s not as easy for someone to steal or vandalize your car.

To provide these features, car covers typically offer:

  • Breathable Construction: Any condensation underneath can evaporate instead of getting trapped and causing mold and mildew.
  • Soft Lining: The part of the cover sitting against your vehicle may feature a softer or flocked interior to lessen potential scratches.
  • Security: Rather than a cover you simply throw over your car, look for one you can secure at the base to help it remain in place.
  • UV Resistance: Not only does the cover protect your car from the sun’s rays, but specific UV-resistant covers won’t gradually break down when continually exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Waterproof or Water-Resistant Material: Water-resistant covers tend to offer greater breathability. A waterproof cover, ideal for intense downpours, is more densely woven and less breathable.

How a Car Cover Can Damage Your Vehicle

Despite all of the positives, car covers still have the potential to damage your vehicle if:

  • It doesn’t fit well. A car cover should fit closely around the vehicle. If it’s too loose, it may blow off and expose your car to the elements. Also, if you select a cover with grommets at the base, this may lead to the metal rings scratching or denting the surface of your car. If the cover feels loose, consider tie straps to hold it in place.
  • It holds onto moisture. Breathability is important when choosing a car cover. Although a fully waterproof cover may be needed for certain months of the year, water-resistant material is perfectly suitable for most cars. Waterproof covers risk trapping moisture inside. Unable to evaporate, the accumulated moisture contributes to rusting, corrosion and may attract mold or mildew.

Is your car worse for the wear after being directly exposed to the elements? Work with DaSilva’s Auto Body to restore its paint job and keep it protected for the future. To schedule an appointment, contact us today.