When I teach any enthusiast how to better take care of their car, we are often trying to overcome this obstacle. Awakening people to the concept that most damage is self-inflicted as a result of their own efforts to protect and beautify their car! People spend hours and hundreds of dollars with the intention of making their car look beautiful. Those same efforts often directly contribute to damaging the appearance of their car, specifically making their paint look bad!
You Could Be Chasing Your Tail With The Best Of Intentions
When you take your clean (just washed) car out for a trip to the grocery store, you now technically have a dirty car. It doesn’t matter if it is raining or if it is a sunny day. It doesn’t matter if you drove through the mud or pavement, you now have a dirty car. When you return home, are you going to put the car cover on the car?
It is incredibly unlikely (realistically impossible) for you to put a cover over a car without some friction. In essence, you are grinding whatever dirt, dust, or other foreign substance from when you were driving into your paint. Even if you are applying over a freshly cleaned vehicle, the friction mentioned earlier is unavoidable and can cause imperfections when putting the cover onto the vehicle.
I would not even put a plush microfiber towel over my paint in this situation without some appropriate lubricity (car soap, instant detailer, etc.). It is often to the surprise of so many car owners when I tell them the source of the swirls (1000s of micro-scratches) and random deep scratches came from their car cover!
For example, the accumulation of scratches here (below) were likely in large part a product of the use of a car cover.
The biggest obstacle most enthusiasts have is that they are focused so much on short-term cleanliness that they become distracted from worrying about long-term damage.
If (that’s a big if) you are going to use a car cover:
- Limit it to indoors.
- Get a high-quality Indoor Cover.
- Use it for inside garage storage immediately after washing.
- Never put it over a dirty vehicle.
Ideally, this will work if you have a weekend car that you don’t want to get dust on. That plan will result in the least amount of damage from a car cover.
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