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Modern cars are treated to withstand weather extremes, but should I use a car cover in winter?
There are a number of compelling reasons to use a car cover in winter, including protecting the paintwork and tires from ice, snow, and flying debris, as well as avoiding the need to defrost the windows and door locks when you need to use the car.
We consulted some garage experts and reviewed the forums to glean different views on this subject. There’s no doubt that opinions are divided on whether you should use a car cover in the winter, but in our view, it’s fairly clear cut. Having said that, it’s always better to garage your car, or use a carport if you can afford it.
So why use a car cover in winter, as opposed to summer, when you may feel there is less pressure to cover up your car? Read on below for the main reasons…
Car Covers Protect Your Paintwork
Custom-fit covers that snugly enclose your car will stop debris, dust, rain, hail, snow, and ice from impacting, or lying on, your paintwork and brightwork.
A high-quality cover will have contours for specific features on the car, such as mirror pockets or aerial holes, offering an extra layer of protection.
Will a car cover stop ice? No, it won’t stop it from building up on the cover itself, but it will stop ice forming on the car, thereby protecting the paintwork.
Get A Quick Start In The Morning
An outdoor car cover will stop – or at least reduce – the ice and heavy snow deposited on your car overnight.
Without a cover, your car’s windows – particularly the windscreen – will no doubt be iced up and require de-icer and the heater demister on max, possibly for 10 minutes or more.
You’ll spend time clearing snow, and probably get wet in the process.
Alternatively, you could use a propriety car window cover, which will simply cover the top of the car.
Not only will this achieve the same result – ie keeping your windows clear – but also it will be easier to handle, and quicker to put on and take off.
Whichever method you use, it will give a layer of extra protection which will save you time first thing in the morning, and even give you extra time in bed!
Keeps Your Car Clean
A High-quality car cover for winter will keep the snow and rain off your car’s paintwork, as well as the dirt that comes with inclement weather, helping to keep your car in pristine condition.
Even indoor covers used on a garaged car in winter will be beneficial in that they will provide dust protection and indoor protection from unseen vermin.
All this means fewer trips to the car wash!
Protects Car From UV Rays
Whilst there may fewer of them in wintry conditions, ultraviolet rays from the sun can be damaging to your vehicle.
They might cause damage to your car’s interior, tires, paint, and wheels. The sun and wind, rain, snow, and other harsh weather conditions can cause severe paint damage in particular to your car.
An all-weather car cover protects the vehicle’s value and keeps it in a new and better condition.
What other things should you consider in answering the question “should I use a car cover in the winter?”… read on below..
A Car Cover Provides Protection Against Salt
If you’re lucky enough to live on the coast, salty air whipped up windy conditions will take a sorry toll on your car’s paintwork and brightwork over time, and possibly encourage rust.
A cover for winter will provide basic protection which will help to lengthen the car’s life and protect its value.
Preserves The Car’s Soft Furnishings and Perishables
An all-season, breathable cover will help to protect and preserve the softer parts of the car from deterioration.
Examples include the upholstery, and in particular the rubber window seals and windscreen wipers.
Prevents Damage From Rust, Humidity & Mold
Water is one of the most destructive forces in nature, where rain, ice, and snow cover your vehicle with moisture.
A custom fit car cover decreases humidity to limit the risk of mold contamination in the vents and fabrics. It slows the metal oxidation which may occur in the chips or cracks in the paint.
Protects Your Car From Minor Damage
Car covers not only provide protection against rain, hail, and snow but also knocks and accidents when stored in the street.
Streets have lots of potential ways of damaging your car. Children playing on streets, debris kicked up from passing cars, and bad drivers could all cause dinks and scratches.
However, car covers can protect your vehicle from this minor damage.
A Car Cover Will Keep The Natural World At Bay
Outdoor covers keep leaves, bird droppings, sap, insects, scratches, pollen, and other harmful elements off your car.
A Car Will Start More Readily
This may be my imagination, but I swear my car will start quicker in the morning if it’s been covered overnight. A good all-season car cover will provide an insulated outer layer which will help to avoid extreme temperatures in the engine bay.
So there are lots of reasons you should use a car cover in winter – are there any disadvantages?
Will a Car Cover Scratch My Car’s Paint?
Quality car covers should not affect your paintwork, as they will be made from multi-layer material which has a soft inner extra layer, avoiding any abrasive action by the cover, say during its movement by wind.
Ideally, the car should be clean when the cover is put on, but for many using one on a daily basis, this is just not practical. With careful handling, your paintwork should be fine, though the paint workshop we talked to emphasized using a good quality car cover with a soft inner layer.
Will a Car Cover Cause Rust?
A car cover may cause rust if it retains moisture next to the car. Retention of moisture could cause mold and rust to damage both the structure and soft furnishings in the car.
This is why it’s important to choose one of the breathable car covers which allow moisture to escape, particularly if it’s one of the custom car covers designed to hug the shape of your vehicle. Avoid the cheaper plastic car covers at all costs. While this material is perfect for keeping water and moisture off the car, it also stops it from escaping.
How Do You Keep A Car Cover from Blowing Off in the Wind?
The secret to keeping the car cover on in windy conditions is to ensure the cover has strong and secure tie-down straps – and that you use them!
A Car Cover Could Be a Pain to Put On and Take Off
It’s raining and a howling gale and all you want to do is get in the warmth of your home, rather than struggle to get a cover on the car. I take the view that occasionally it’s ok to leave the car uncovered – it won’t do it much harm for a night or two.
So, should you use a car cover in the winter? There are many reasons to do so, and while it may be inconvenient sometimes, in my view the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages. Just make sure it’s a good quality one that is a reasonable fit for your car. And if you’re still not convinced, take a look at a portable garage, here.