Damage control for your car’s paint and interior
By Jim McGowan
Regardless of your British car’s vintage, make, or model, the only way to guarantee its continued survival is to protect it from garage encounters, road hazards, and Mother Nature’s fury. The best damage control technique is to be proactive rather than reactive: You don’t have to fix a paint chip, split upholstery seam, or scratch that doesn’t exist. Think of this protection selection as body armor for your paint and interior. An appropriate car cover, padded vest for the bonnet, and cockpit cover for the interior all perform relatively inexpensive but specific protective functions.
All covers are not created equal and, as the old adage states, you get what you pay for. A custom-patterned cover, specifically manufactured for your body style, is obviously a better choice than a generic bag-like cover. A model-specific cover remains in place in blustery weather, resisting rips and tears that can occur in moderate to heavy winds. Selecting the correct material for your storage situation is also extremely critical for protection. Is your car snug in a garage, partially exposed in a carport or barn, subjected to extreme changes in temperature and humidity, or completely exposed to the weather? Moss Motors stocks covers for every eventuality. Custom-fitted car covers, cockpit covers, and vests for all makes and models of British cars are designed specifically for environmental damage control.
Kimberly-Clark is the largest maker of car-cover fabrics in the U.S., and it provides most of the raw materials to the various cover manufacturers. These cover companies then use computer- controlled cutting and stitching machines to create their wide variety of sizes and shapes for various vehicles. Some manufacturers such as Covercraft can even create made-to-order covers that accommodate such add-ons as side mirrors, wings, roll bars, or body kits.
Here’s an overview of the basic car-cover materials and their functions:
Tyvek: This pliable plastic material is used for new-construction home-wraps and for some overnight shipping envelopes. Tyvek provides protection in all weather conditions without sacrificing breathability. Snow, acid rain, industrial pollutants, tree sap, and bird droppings are a few of the invaders it protects against. Moss Motors stocks universal fit Tyvek covers, which are backed by a 1-year warranty.
Flannel: Primarily for indoor storage, this woven material provides dust protection. Its thickness guards against scratches and dings, and flannel also breathes to let trapped moisture evaporate before it damages the paint or interior. Flannel covers from Moss come with a 2-year warranty.
Duravent: This material protects against caustic damage from tree sap and bird droppings, so it’s suitable for uncovered, outdoor use. Duravent is also rain-resistant but still breathes, allowing moisture to escape. Trapped heat is released, so this fabric helps prevent warping and cracking of interior vinyl and plastic components such as dashboards. Duravent covers from Moss are backed by a 4-year warranty.
Ultralon: A premium, durable fabric for indoor-outdoor protection, Ultralon provides an excellent combination of water-resistance and breathability while blocking UV rays and heat. It features an ultra-soft fabric that is non-abrasive to even the most delicate original lacquer or clear-coat paints. This material is excellent for four-season outdoor protection. Ultralon covers from Moss feature an embroidered Union Jack and a 5-year warranty.
Bras & Cockpit Covers
Another critical damage-control item is a front bra or vest to protect against paint chips and scratches. When shopping for a vest, check for these features: integrated air intake screens, attaching tabs that allow for adjustment (vinyl expands and contracts), reinforced air foils (if available) to prevent flapping and lift, perforations to allow the material to breathe, padded protective backing material, overlapped finish seams, and non-abrasive bindings. Remove the vest regularly and always keep the underside clean to prevent surface scratches. A coat of paste wax to the nose area under the vest before re-installation helps protect the finish.
Cockpit covers are a last—but certainly not least—item that are also one of the least expensive forms of protection. Widely used by British sports car enthusiasts, cockpit covers provide many benefits on a daily basis. The sun not only takes a toll on your paint, its UV rays are also vicious on your interior parts. Quality cockpit covers that properly fit the shape of the windshield glass and doors will protect the interior from fading or cracking. Plus, they’re lightweight and easy to store.
British car owners’ needs may differ, but the end result should always be the same: protection for your car. Buying the correct cover is not as simple as handing over your credit card; a quality vehicle cover is like life insurance for your interior and paint finish. Don’t skimp on the one item that will give your favorite car the protection it deserves.