How to buy a quality outdoor car cover | Garage Rescue Miata

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David S.
Update by David S. Wallens to the Mazda Miata project car
Mar 17, 2022

Our Miata isn’t the most weather-tight car out there. We’re pretty sure it’s still running the original top.

For those rare occasions when it has to overnight outside–say, while we’re on the road–we wanted a cover. And we wanted a good one, too.

We know every car cover comes with compromises, so we listed our priorities before walking into this project.

The biggest one: protection from light rain, bird droppings and the like. 

Since the cover would likely spend more time on the shelf than the car, it also needed to be compact when rolled up.

Next: softness. Our Miata still wears its original paint and, let’s be honest, values have been going up. Related to that, we wanted a cover that properly fit, not an oversized fitted bedsheet that would blow around in the wind and possibly rub the paint the wrong way.

Price, of course, was also a consideration. And since this cover would be for occasional, nighttime use, UV protection wasn’t as important.  

So we started exploring the Covercraft menu, as the company doesn’t offer a single solution for all circumstances.

First, indoor or outdoor? Easy: outdoor. (What makes an indoor cover an indoor cover? Often strong dust protection, and sometimes a thicker fabric that can protect the bodywork from minor dings–different fabrics for different situations.)

Then we checked out the covers rated for outdoor use.

WeatherShield HD? Sounded like a very strong contender for rain, but it came at a price–both in dollars and some bulk.

5-Layer All Climate? Another cover offering topnotch outdoor protection, but it looked a bit bulky for our needs.

Sunbrella? Not sure we needed that much UV protection. We were more concerned about rain.

Ultratect, Reflectect and 3-Layer Moderate Climate? They all seemed like very good covers–each with its own strengths–but we were looking for a bit more rain protection. And again, we wanted something that wouldn’t take up much room in the garage.

But what about WeatherShield HP? Covercraft gives it very strong marks for rain and dust protection as well as ease of storage, noting that it takes up a third the volume of the multi-layer covers. Covercraft also describes the WeatherShield HP as softer than flannel, the old gold standard for car cover softness.

More to love: high breathability, very fast dry time and fade resistance. The cover can be washed at home, while the price–$368 for our application–landed in the middle of the Covercraft lineup. (Note that the Covercraft site initially shows a $450 price for this cover; select gray for the color to see the $368 price.)

Sold.

Covercraft offers its WeatherShield HP in custom-fit covers, and the company tweaked its Miata pattern to accommodate our R-model front spoiler and smaller-than-stock Runabout side mirrors.

How does the cover fit? Perfectly.

It goes on and off without any arguments or stubbornness. One person can easily manage the cover, and it conveniently fits back into its shipping box. It takes up much less space than our Porsche’s multi-layer cover. 

Covercraft makes the WeatherShield HP covers out of a fabric made by Nextec called Epic. It’s also used for military clothing. As expected, the material feels like tech fabric–thin but not weak. It has a slipperiness to it.

The stitching seems solid, and the elastic has a lot of grip to it. Any moisture sits on top of the cover and just beads right off.

In the end we got everything we wanted: topnotch rain protection without any bulk.

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Comments
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irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/15/22 10:11 p.m.

I have the StormProof one from CoverKing (so creative in their company names lol).

My Porsche lives outside under the cover and it's held up great for 4 years full-time outdoors (including winter/snow). I especially liked that when I ordered, they asked me for any non-stock details on the car (it's a 924S, but it has the larger 944 Turbo spoiler on it) and they made the cover to fit the larger spoiler for no extra charge. It's literally a perfect fit. 

Only downside is that it was originally black but has now faded a good bit.

I know this is a plug for Covercraft in your article, but I'll also suggest CoverKing as a quality alternative with good customer service. 

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/15/22 10:21 p.m.

Good point–when doing a custom cover, you can deal with any mods or whatnot. My 911 cover was customized to accommodate the ducktail. Fits perfectly. 

I actually worked for a Covercraft WD back before GRM–so, back when all of our favorite cars were new. I've had a few covers over the year, and I have watched the technology progress. These new fabrics are so light and shed water so easily. And then then easily roll up. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/15/22 10:25 p.m.

So, I have my 1992 Automod catalog here. That's where I worked. 

Back then, a custom cover for a Miata-sized car in a lightweight, weather-poof fabric retailed for $197. In today’s dollars, that $398.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/15/22 10:40 p.m.

I have a Covercraft Weathershield HD, three years of outdoor use in the Central Florida sun and rain. The seams had started to unravel this winter, but the Mrs redid them. I'd buy it again.

VolvoHeretic
VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/16/22 12:15 a.m.

My dream car sat outside for 30 years after becoming a young father and moving to a place with no garage (how much do diapers cost?). I would buy a car cover every 3 years or so and cover that with a poly tarp every year. For a while.., but eventually gave up. My pride and joy turned from this to that. If only I had built a box for it out of OSB sheathing when it was $6 per sheet.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/22 12:46 a.m.

HP has been my go-to for a couple of decades. Far, far, far superior to the "quilted" fabrics that are basically Kleenex. I've only had one fail and that took several years of constant exposure to high altitude sun. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/18/22 10:07 p.m.

Welp, it's raining right now, so some pics. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/18/22 10:34 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

HP has been my go-to for a couple of decades. Far, far, far superior to the "quilted" fabrics that are basically Kleenex. I've only had one fail and that took several years of constant exposure to high altitude sun. 

Mine might be the HP, since Keith's recommendation sealed the choice. It's been good. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/21/22 9:52 a.m.

So in the morning, what do you do with a wet car cover? I rolled it up and put it back in the bag. Time to get going. 

When I got home later that day, the cover was, of course, very wet.

Put it back on the car so it could air out, and maybe 15 or 20 minutes later it was totally dry–like, bone dry. 

CAinCA
CAinCA GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/7/22 6:48 p.m.

I bought a Covercraft 5-Layer Softback All Climate Car Cover in June. It's two months old and it's started to shed tiny fibers all over my Cayman. CC has asked me if I'd like to exchange it under warranty. Is the "HP" Keith referred to above the Weathershield HP? It's about 50% more, but it looks like a more durable cover.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/7/22 7:58 p.m.

My Weathershield HP held up pretty well in the Florida sun, but was falling apart by the three year mark. I have a request for a warranty evaluation pending. 
 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/7/22 8:55 p.m.
CAinCA said:

I bought a Covercraft 5-Layer Softback All Climate Car Cover in June. It's two months old and it's started to shed tiny fibers all over my Cayman. CC has asked me if I'd like to exchange it under warranty. Is the "HP" Keith referred to above the Weathershield HP? It's about 50% more, but it looks like a more durable cover.

It is.

CAinCA
CAinCA GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/8/22 12:57 a.m.

Thanks Keith. 
 

BTW: is it just me or is the article above not available?

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