Car junkies know how hard it is keeping a car clean from pollen, bird crap, rain and the occasional cat prints across the hood. Using a car cover seems like a logical idea, but can be worthless if you’re using the wrong type of covering. Turns out, there’s more to buying a cover than just finding one that fits your car.
It all depends on what elements you’re trying to keep away from your car and where it’s stored at. Manufacturers make covers designed for specific uses like indoor dust covers, outdoor protective covers, waterproof covers that guard against moister and mildew growth, and even sun-proof covers. They’re all designed to protect from different threats and all have their pros and cons.
Originally, I figured buying an OEM cover would be ideal; I mean, who can do it better than the car manufacturer itself? Well, one rainy day later, I found out that it is not waterproof, despite being rated for outdoor use. The last thing I need is water sitting on my car and increasing the chances of corrosion.
So, a few phone calls later, and Empire Covers shipped me out its top-of-the-line unit for me to sample. Their American Armor cover is their strongest model and is designed to protect against all the elements. With multiple layers and a microfiber lining, the American Armor cover’s main line of defense is Dupont Tyvek. The thick material ensures a completely watertight covering that is still breathable. Its top layer is UV resistant even in direct sunlight, while its thickness protects the car from falling acorns, twigs and prowling cats. While the cover isn’t cheap, as it carries an MSRP of $399 for our Porsche 911 test vehicle, the level of protection it grants, plus its 10-year warranty, make the cost justifiable.
On the downside, our tester was not a fitted cover, so there were no pockets for the Porsche ’s side-view mirrors. I was a bit bummed when I learned that because to me the mirror pockets really help keep the cover in place. After talking with the cover’s manufacturer, I learned that there is actually a reason the cover isn’t fitted; mirror pockets are often the first point of failure on a car cover. That makes sense to me, as the mirror pockets have to be pretty tight to be effective, so there is a good bit of tension every time you put on and take off the cover.
Anyways to solve the lack of mirror pocket to secure the cover, I used a set of bungee cords that fasten onto clips on the cover. Once I looped the cords into the rims, the cover fit nice and snug. This also allowed me to manage where and how the cover folds to avoid pockets for water to puddle in.
Once I got it all snugged up, I found that the empire cover actually provided good waterproofing and was breathable. Check out the images and you will see that the material had little hole in it, and despite this it was still fairly waterproof and had enough airflow to dry the little bit of water that seeped through. Again don’t think a car cover will replace a garage — water will go through at some point — but a good cover can really make a huge difference.
If a $399 car cover isn’t in your budget, Empire Cover offers a host of different cover options depending upon the conditions and budget, with the most cost-effect option being their Titan 3L Basic Waterproof cover.
Click past the jump to see the cover in action.