Car guy in Virginia

Car cover recommendations & lessons learned

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Three questions, please, for those with experience with outdoor car covers.

 

What outdoor car covers (brand and product-line) would you recommend that meet the following:

 

  - soft underside that will not scratch or nick the car/paint (during removal/installation or when being blown around in windy conditions)

 

  - will stay on the car in moderate windy conditions

 

  - are designed (or conform) to the shape of the actual given make/model

 

  - provide meaningful, long-term UV protection

 

  - provide modest hail protection

 

  - and, are easily cleaned on the outer exposed surface (especially from bird guano)


What has been your experience with increased risk of rust underneath the covers, by virtue of the moisture not being able to normally readily evaporate?    

 

Any other important considerations or lessons learned with your experiences with outdoor car covers?

 

Thanks.

Edited by Car guy in Virginia (see edit history)

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I have never tried to use a car cover but based on the experience of friends here in the Northeast you are far better off either paying for rental space or purchasing a high quality portable garage ....... all of the problems that you mention can and do occur.

 

Just my opinion, others will chime in....

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California Car Covers would be a good place to call with your questions. I have used many of their covers and have been satisfied. I think, based on your questions, vermontboy has the answer.

 

Dave

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Car guy, I'm quite sure that any good cover

made for outdoor exposure will breathe,

so you won't have to worry about moisture and

rust underneath the cover.

 

Many covers will have a cord or cable that you can

run underneath the car, helping to keep the cover on

during wind. 

 

However, if you live in a windy area, you may

find that ANY car cover will rub the car's exposed

edges.  You might not have any damage, but then again,

you will possibly see some long-term effects of rubbing.

That's why, when a car is being transported on an

open trailer (exposed to wind), it should be uncovered. 

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5 minutes ago, vermontboy said:

 ...you are far better off either paying for rental space or purchasing a high quality portable garage...

 

Sure, a garage is great, but it depends on

how nice the car is, and a person's location.

A garage might cost $25 a month if renting

a spare bay from an elderly neighbor;  around

small-town Pennsylvania, it may be $50 to $70;

in metropolitan areas, people may pay $150.

 

If your car is an enjoyable but well-worn $3000 car,

you might not want to spend $1800 a year garaging it.

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John, right you are, going rate in my area on Long Island is around $200 a month to rent a garage. Tell tale sign that a garage isn't used is to walk around after a snowfall and see no tire tracks leading into a garage. Once I left about 15 notes asking if an owner wanted to rent their garage for $100 a month and got zero phone calls. I actually sold my '29 Model A because at $150 a month ($1800 a year) in storage, it simply cost too much for a car I didn't drive.

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Car guy, I have California Car Covers for all my cars. I don't know if they make a car cover that will meet all your demands. For my '46 Ford Station Wagon, I purchased what is advertised as their Noah model. Its probably the thickest cover that CCC makes. It isn't the best for wet weather though, but is better for ding (hail) protection. The cover they sell that they claim is best for weather protection is the Superweave or the Superweave Premium. The Noah is very bulky and the Superweave is lighter in weight. Both are excellent for rain. I stopped using the Noah, (because it wasn't waterproof) and now use the Superweave and so far it is leakproof. Unfortunately the Superweave isn't great for ding or hail protection. The fit will be as exact as you describe your vehicle to the person that takes your order, their catalog has several questions that your salesperson will ask. All covers have a grommet in the center of the car and can be tied down. They also make clamps for the front and rear at extra cost. Both the Noah and Superweave dry very fast. I can't say how much the cover will effect your paint finish due to long storage. If you really want to get crazy you can first use the Noah and cover it with the Superweave. Hail and rain protection. Perhaps someone from CCC will read this and design a cover that has all your requests.

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Covercraft - Noah - Great cover!  However, I wouldn't leave it or any car cover on outside.  I think it's just a formula for scratches and rust.  Indoors, or for use at short term meets, the Noah can't be beat.

https://www.coverquest.com/products/vehicle/mmy/covercraft?make=Ford&year=1954&model=Sunliner&sub_model=Base&features=Convertible without mirror pockets

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46, AJ,

 

Thank you both for the follow-up cover-specific recommendations.  That's the type of actual experience info I was seeking.

 

Had looked into WeatherTech before posting, but they offer no recourse if there's an issue, stating the covers are custom-made; and, they state it takes several weeks.  

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Yes, for sure CCC get a thumbs up.  If the car is stored out doors, what ever you do DO NOT wrap it in plastic.  There was a 57 Thunderbird stored in a backyard in St Paul Minnesota.  It was tightly wrapped in plastic all the way to the ground. 

 It was never touched for approximately 15 years. I was present when the cover was removed. The glass was perfect. a couple of tires still had air in them. the car was a total loss. It was almost unbelievable. The owner that covered the car actually broke down and cried. The only thing that survived was the engine which he had in the house.

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I had thought about covering my Confederate but no more.

In early Spring we had some crazy weather with widely fluctuating temps and humidity.

My 40 × 80 shed is a well ventilated shed but even that wasn't enough to prevent all three cars from getting frosted up windows.......on the INSIDE....... :blink:

I rolled down a window about 4" on each car which allowed them to breathe and the windows cleared up quickly.

That is something that never happened before but it will NOT happen again.

 

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I've been using a common garden variety large tarp from Amazon; it covers my '37 Buick bumper to bumper. The last thing I would want is a custom fit cover; these act like the outdoor grill covers that collect humidity and cause very destructive rust. A tarp allows the wind to prevent any accumulation of humidity. For very windy days I have short lengths of plastic rope in the tarp eyelets and I simply wrap these ropes around bricks.  If I'm in a hurry I stuff the sides of the tarp between the fenders and tires- that works very well.  Also, I use an old blanket on the car roof below the tarp; that prevents any scratching.  Keep in mind that in my case the car is not a pristine restoration, rather its a survivor driver with less than perfect paint. None the less for $25 the car is protected year after year from rain and snow.  And there's still no body rust.

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Whatever sort of cover you use, it is essential to put the cover on a clean, dust free car. Any dust on the paint when the cover is fitted (esp. at the corners and edges) will scratch the paint when the cover moves. And it WILL move, with thermal changes at least, plus wind etc..

 

Even a shipping container is not foolproof, although it could be a convenient way to go. A few years ago I saw a NSU Ro 80 that had been in a closed container for 15 or 20 years. It was a write-off. The inside was mouldy-black. Deep rust was on (or through) every bit of exposed steel. The carburetor was completely choked with aluminium oxide. You must use a vented container if you go this route.

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On 7/22/2018 at 12:14 PM, BuicksBuicks said:

I've been using a common garden variety large tarp from Amazon... The last thing I would want is a custom fit cover...

 

I would recommend exactly the OPPOSITE:

Plastic tarpaulins (if yours is plastic) are not appropriate,

whereas custom-made car covers breathe.

The manufacturers of good car-cover fabric have

spent countless hours and dollars developing appropriate

materials.

 

Virginia Car Guy, do not use a tarp.

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That Thunderbird mentioned above was wrapped in a cheap tarp.  I vote for California Car Covers.

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6 hours ago, Curti said:

That Thunderbird mentioned above was wrapped in a cheap tarp.  I vote for California Car Covers.

 

I saw a 1958 Buick Limited 4-door hardtop that had

been covered by plastic.  The lacquer paint actually

lifted off in a few areas.  Thankfully, it wasn't wrapped

for 15 years as the Thunderbird in Posting #11 was.

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I also use California Car Covers. Plushweave for the indoor cars, although it deteriorates after several years leaving car cover-dust all over the car.  I have a station wagon I keep in the driveway and have used their outdoor stormweave product.  It is lightweight, waterproof, but breathes.  I use the belly strap with a rubberized clip to hold it on.  I also put a small rubber soccer ball on the roof under the cover to assist in drain-off of water.  These last me about 3 years with the intense sun in Virginia and heavy weather/snow.

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On ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 5:49 PM, 46 woodie said:

Once I left about 15 notes asking if an owner wanted to rent their garage for $100 a month and got zero phone calls.

Probably because the garage is full of 'junk' while his $60K SUV is sitting out on the front driveway!

 

Craig

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I've used tarps for short term and made sure to remove them after it rained to dry stuff out.  Usually for anything I value that has to sit outside for any time at all,  even a day if it's going to rain.  I put a car cover light duty cotton type one on,  then put a body shop bag on with one rope around the middle,  then if it's really going to rain,  use one tarp like a 12 by 20 to go over the whole thing just tieing it good enough to keep from blowing off,  but again,  the first time the sun is out or I'm sure the rain has stopped,  everything comes off.  Rarely does anythiung have to sit out,  and now with a new 60 by 72 foot garage,  it won't. 

When I was dating my wife and driving down to her apartment in one of my old cars,  I would buy a new California Car cover for every car I took so they wouldn't sit out unprotected over night.  If the weather was going to be crappy in general,  I just took my regular truck. They were 200 each then but I was always happy with the fit.  At the time I didn't know about the body shop bags or I would have had them for an over cover when it really seemed like it was going to rain as it would have saved having to dry out the car covers each time. 

I've seen alot of neglected cars sitting under traces of Blue tarps on Craigslist and right here on the forums lately coming up for sale.  Do the cars a favor if they have to sit outside for more than a few weeks with a tarp,  sell them now before we chew you a new one for ruining them before offering them.  Besides they won't be worth more once you have ruined them than they are now.  I know of no old car that is appreciating fast enough that it will erase the depreciation caused by neglect in such manner.

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Thanks guys, especially the insight on the covers' deterioration rates and the idea to facilitate water run-off.  

 

 

On ‎8‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 8:27 AM, jaxops said:

I also use California Car Covers. Plushweave for the indoor cars, although it deteriorates after several years leaving car cover-dust all over the car.  I have a station wagon I keep in the driveway and have used their outdoor stormweave product.  It is lightweight, waterproof, but breathes.  I use the belly strap with a rubberized clip to hold it on.  I also put a small rubber soccer ball on the roof under the cover to assist in drain-off of water

 

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