Jump to content

Car Cover concerns/suggestions

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone!


Should we cover our 39 Buick 8 Special (in garage with cement floor)?


And if so, which cover would you suggest, and perhaps why?


It's only a little dusty right now...




Thad from RI

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only reason would be to keep the dust off.  I bought a cheap, universal fit flannel-like cover for my car for the same reason (just to keep dust off during winter storage).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Thad,


This is a question I had when I got my first old car six years ago.  This advice will repeat what other hobbyists shared with me then.  My experience supports that advice.


To start, a GOOD cover is a good idea.  A bad cover can actually do harm to your car.


So let's start with what to avoid:

  • Potential for scratching the finish.  Many simple tarps and even some car covers are made of relatively rough material that in and of itself can scratch the finish.  But the seams of any such material can be especially hazardous to a car's finish.  Grommets also risk scratching the car.  So look for a cover with reassurance that seams and grommets are designed to not scratch.  Of course that'll mainly matter if you car has better than a 20-foot paint job.  But still, inside a garage why choose anything that would add harm? 
  • NO breathability.  Humidity can accumulate in a garage as well.  So if the material isn't breathable then it might contribute to corrosion by trapping moisture under the cover.  

So why get a cover for a car that lives in a garage?


As EmTee stated it will helpfully keep the dust off the car.  It also offers the car a tiny bit of cushioning against being brushed by rivets on your jeans, a garden rake, etc.  An inexpensive 100% cotton or flannel cover, or even old cotton or flannel bedsheets made of such material should be safe for these purposes.


Cars are meant to go places...


I like to take my car on overnight driving trips.  I try to avoid leaving it uncovered overnight when it's out of the garage.  And even if you only take it on day trips or to car shows there's always the unexpected.  A rain shower comes from nowhere.  Strong sunlight on a beautiful day exposes the car to heat and UV.  Bird droppings are both abrasive and can etch the paint.   Some might suggest my approach is overkill but I like to cover the car if I'm leaving it out for more than a few hours.  (I don't always succeed in following my own advice mind you.)


If you're going to use a cover in the way I do when traveling then you'll want it either custom-sized or relatively compatible AND you'll find a gentle elastic hem will keep it securely on in spite of wind.  I laughingly  refer to my cover as a big shower cap for the car.


All of this led me to buy a Covercraft NOAH car cover.  The NOAH product is like Gore-Tex -- waterproof but breathable.  That product will also be custom tailored to the shape of your car which makes it really nice for quickly fitting on and off while traveling.  But a quick search there revealed such a cover for your 1938 Special would be $364.   Their more basic BLOCK-IT custom cover is $197.  I think I got mine at a discount through a third-party car parts supplies with one of the first-time online customer coupons.  (You know, give them your email and you get X% off your first purchase.)


I hope that helps.


And one last thing.  If you splurge for a good cover look for the pressure points where the cover fits over the car, like a hood ornament.  I have a cheap foam beer can cozy that I put over my hood ornament before I put the cover on to prevent prematurely wearing out the fabric there.





  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Yes you should cover the car and you will appreciate how clean it will be when you want to take the car out for a show or ride.

Yes you "can" cover it with old sheets and plastic tarps but you need to understand potential problems.

Do not use plastic for anything but short (like a week) storage.....plastic will trap moisture and you car can start to rust in places it would not normally rust.

I need to correct a bit of Colin's statement above...... "waterproof" materials do not breathe..... the correct term is "water repellant",  and some materials are more water repellant than others.  Water repellant materials do breathe and you want that.

I have been a Covercraft distributor since 1982 and specialized in collector cars.   Over the years I have had "new" patterns made for many old cars,  cars with non-factory spoilers and hood scoops.   Strange patterns like a RR pickup and Corvair Monza Jr (B&S power kid car).

When I started there were 2 materials..... standard cotton that was Scotch guarded, and Tan Flannel (like a sweat shirt).   Today Covercraft has roughly 14 different materials that cover a range of cost, and warranty.  

The new synthetic materials do a great job of protecting your car both for long term coverage and overnight stays at car shows.   The choices depend on your preference and pocketbook.    I have a Sunbrella cover made for a 1988 Bonneville on my 39 Buick that I purchased in 1991 and it may last another 20 years.

A good material may cost more but when it last 20-30 years (indoor) a $400 price is not much per year.

I will be the first to point out that "custom" covers have become more expensive to the point I am almost embarrassed to quote prices.    Covercraft makes a great product and has somewhere around 75,000 custom patterns (an will make a new pattern for a small charge)    The problem seems to be the base materials keep

getting more expensive as many fabric companies close and in some cased the product dies.


Last... a question you did not ask......what about outdoor storage.... Covercraft has materials with 4 year warranty and Sunbrella has a 5 year warranty so even if you

use them outdoors they are warrantied for that period,  but some owners call me wanting to store a car outside, over the winter,  or in some cases until they get around to working on the car and I do not recommend a cover for long term outdoor storage....many thing can go wrong that are not the fault of the cover.

Example...the car is covered and it rains...moisture gets under the cover and before it has a chance to evaporate,  it freezes.  Now the cover is frozen to the car (paint) this might not be a problem unless you attempt to remove the cover with it still frozen to the paint.

If you do not have a garage or hard cover and must store the car outside (and you HOA will allow)  make a 1" PVC pipe frame,  cover that with a Harbor Freight tarp and you are good for all winter.   The tarp may only last one year but the PVC frame will probably last 10+...... make the frame so the top is not flat and rain and snow will not push down and touch the top of the car.

Hope this helps



Edited by Barney Eaton (see edit history)
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

The main drag of a car cover is that sometimes my laziness makes me decide not to drive it since “the cover’s on it”. The advantage is that every time you DO decide to take off the cover, you remember why you love the car I the first place. 

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I like walking into the garage and seeing my cars. There are spray bottles of detailer on various hangers and a cubby of fresh polishing cloths. Some days it is nice to just walk around spritzing and polishing.


Opening the door with them under covers would make me imagine a toe with a name tag sticking out from under each.



  • Like 2
  • Haha 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

"Some people" had his wife look across the kitchen table and lunch a couple days ago and say "your hands look like a working man's".


I put one very black tipped finger and nail to my lips and went "Shhhhh".

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

"Some people" had his wife look across the kitchen table and lunch a couple days ago and say "your hands look like a working man's".


I put one very black tipped finger and nail to my lips and went "Shhhhh".


 LOL!   Nothing wrong with that!   



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...