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How To Choose A Car Cover
There Are More Choices Than Ever For Protecting Your Mustang
The choices seem endless. Descriptions like woven, non-woven, flannel, breathable, water-resistant, indoor, outdoor, and many others only seem to confuse the decision-making process when purchasing a car cover for your Mustang. Then there are the marketing names, like WeatherShield, CoverBond, UltraTect, Evolution, and Noah. When you consider custom covers for all the various makes, models, and body styles in combination with the dozens of different fabrics, car cover manufacturers can offer thousands of different covers. CoverCraft alone offers nearly 500 just for Mustangs.
Of course, you know your Mustang's body style. That's the easy part. But when it comes to choosing the right cover for your Mustang, you need to consider your car's situation, environment, and how the cover will be used, including whether or not you have kids with bikes or a wife who thinks your Mustang's hood is a convenient place to stack the boxes filled with Christmas decorations.
First of all, you can narrow your selection considerably by determining if you need a woven or non-woven cover. Woven covers are typically thinner, which makes them easier to clean in the home washer and less bulky when storing in your trunk. They also tend to have better airflow to prevent heat and moisture from building up underneath. Most have some type of coating, like CoverCraft's Reflec'Tech for sun protection or UltraTech for water repellency. Some have spandex added for stretch, which helps the cover retain its shape and fit snugly on the car.
Non-woven covers, like those made from the popular Evolution and Noah fabrics from Kimberly-Clark, are made from a polypropylene material and are typically multi-layer. Thanks to the layers, they are stronger and thicker than woven fabrics, but that also gives them an advantage for dent and ding protection. On the downside, the thickness makes them heavier and bulkier when storing, and you'll likely need to clean them in a large commercial washer, like those found at local laundromats. Like woven materials, non-wovens are usually treated for sun and water protection.
Then you've got the brand names-CoverBond, SilverGuard, WeatherShield, Dustop, and many more. Even your basic flannel and polycotton. CoverCraft offers 13 different cover materials, and CoverKing has eight; most are available in custom-fit applications for Mustangs.
To help narrow down the choices for Mustang owners, we asked CoverCrafts' Rick Messmore for his advice on covers for the most common Mustang situations.
Weekend driver, kept in garage and used for shows and cruises on weekends: This is probably the most typical situation for Mustang Monthly readers, whether the Mustang is a nice '66 convertible or a brand-new Shelby GT500. "Dustop would be my number one choice for an indoor cover," says Messmore. "Especially if they aren't going to worry about covering the car overnight at a show. With fabric made by Kimberly-Clark, the car is going to be just as clean when they uncover it as it was when they covered it up. The drawback is that by bonding several different layers of non-woven material together, the Dustop covers tend to be bulkier than woven covers. The plus is that the multiple layers give you dent and ding protection, and they also prevent the dust from finding a pathway through the fabric and onto the car. It works OK outside but has no water repellency. It's not intended for a lot of outdoor use."
Show car that needs to be covered overnight at shows: "If they're in an area where there might be rain or dew, then I would use Noah, a non-woven. Or they could step up to WeatherShield or UltraTech, two woven materials that do a great job keeping the car clean, and they're pretty compact. WeatherShield is our premium fabric with a patented finish that not only sheds water but also blocks dust. The wovens are easily maintained because you can throw them in the washer and dryer. A clean cover helps keep the car cleaner."
Outdoor parking or storage: This is primarily the owner who lives in an apartment or has to keep his car overnight in the driveway. "Noah, UltraTech, or WeatherShield would be good choices. If it's an area with a lot of sun, then Evolution, which is a less expensive version of Noah, or Reflec'Tect, a woven polyester with a silver urethane coating. They are better at keeping out the UV rays."
Long-term inside storage: In this case, we're thinking primarily collectors who keep their Mustangs in a warehouse or owners who store their cars inside during the winter. "Dustop would be my number one choice for indoor storage. It provides dent and ding protection, plus the multi-layers prevent dust from going through it. I've known guys with woodshops in their garages, and even with all the sawdust they can pull the cover off and the car is still clean. If they really want to pamper their Mustang, they can go to Form-Fit, made from a knit-polyester woven material. The outside is stretch knit and the inside is 100 percent cotton loop that has been sheared, so it's pure cotton fleece against the paint. It's very expensive but it does a great job and looks pretty on the car."
With four locations across the country, National Parts Depot sells a lot of car covers for Mustangs. However, for stocking reasons, they've narrowed their selection to four-Noah, Evolution 4, CoverBond, and Durafin. "We carry three different outdoor covers," NPD President Rick Schmidt told us. "We sell equal amounts of the most expensive Noahs and the least expensive CoverBonds. When I was using covers for my personal cars, I always used the Evolution 4. I like the extra thickness, which isn't a bad thing when the cover is serving double-duty as the only cushion between the car and somebody's door."
Schmidt also likes the Durafin flannel covers for inside use. "Those things rock! That is the ultimate indoor cover. They give you enough material so you can wrap the entire car right down to the bottom of the tires. And it's really thick. You can literally throw a 10-speed bike at the car and it wouldn't scratch or dent it. They last a lifetime. I'm still using Durafins that I put into service back in the 1980s."
Nearly all of today's covers feature a breathable material, which repels water but also allows moisture to escape. "All of the fabrics we offer are breathable," says Messmore. "That's the first thing you want in a car cover because if any moisture-condensation, rain, etc.-gets under a cover, it has to be able to evaporate easily. If it can't, then the only direction it can go is into the paint, which creates these big clouds that are very difficult to get out. It can actually ruin a paintjob."
Some car owners think that water-resistant means waterproof. "If it's a light rain, the car will stay pretty much dry underneath," says Schmidt. "But if it's a heavy rain, there's no such thing as waterproof. The cover is there to protect the car more from the sun than to keep water off of it. Water is not going to hurt anything as long as it's able to evaporate."
Finally, there is the cost factor. The WeatherShield and FormFit from CoverCraft and the Stormproof from CoverKing are among the most expensive, but you may not need the top-of-the-line covers for your Mustang's situation. At NPD, Schmidt notes that the CoverBond covers are about half the price of similar Noah and Evolution covers, but the limited warranty isn't as good. "If the manufacturer offers a limited warranty, that is a definite plus," he says, noting that NPD once experienced a batch of covers that accidentally weren't coated with UVR protection.
With so many great car cover choices for Mustangs, the decision is yours. Most are custom-shaped for Mustangs from quality breathable material, so you just have to make the selection based on how your Mustang spends its resting time.
One choice is not that difficult-you need a car cover for your Mustang for protection from the sun, rain, airborne contaminants, and dust. And your wife's boxes.
Locating the Antenna
You've seen it before, perhaps on your own car cover-a big hole (or holes) or a long slit to accommodate the antenna because you weren't able to accurately target the right spot. Locating the opening on a new cover can be tricky, but a little studying and measuring can help you position the hole perfectly on the first try.
On newer Mustangs, simply unscrew the antenna, correctly position the cover on the car, and mark the location for the opening. However, because it's difficult to remove the antenna mast on vintage Mustangs, we've got a tip from CoverCraft.
First of all, don't try to locate the hole by stretching your new cover over the antenna. That's a guesstimate at best because the height of the antenna doesn't allow the cover to lay in its proper position.
We followed CoverCraft's instructions for our Evolution cover and it worked perfectly. First, place the cover on the car; on the passenger side, allow the cover to drape around the antenna. Elsewhere on the car, center the cover and align the seams with the fender edges and roof. On the passenger-side front fender, carefully pull the cover as close as possible to the antenna base. That will give you an idea of the antenna location. You can also compare how the seams line up on the other side of the car, which should be properly positioned. Most seams will run along the top edge of the fender. On the passenger side, you can use the seam as a distance guide by measuring the space between the edge of the fender and the antenna.
Why don't car cover manufacturers provide covers with the antenna opening already there? Rick Messmore from CoverCraft explains that vintage Mustangs were shipped to dealers with the antenna in the trunk to prevent damage during transit. Although a template was provided, dealer service departments didn't always install the antenna in exactly the same place, which makes it difficult for car cover manufacturers to know where to put the opening.
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Cleaning a Car CoverMost car covers are washable, which will allow you to clean your cover to remove dirt and dust that can build up in the fabric over time. A clean cover will help keep your Mustang clean and increase the life of the cover.
It's best to follow the cleaning instructions that come with the cover because the different materials require different cleaning processes. CoverCraft recommends never cleaning a car cover in a washer with a center agitator, nor should you use a fabric softener. Avoid the temptation to dry non-woven covers in a dryer; they should be allowed to air-dry because dryer heat can melt the polypropylene fabric.
CoverCraft's general instructions say to use a washer without an agitator (bulkier non-woven covers will likely require a large commercial washer). Place the cover in the washer and add 1/4 cup of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner after it's filled with warm water. Use the gentle cycle if available. After washing, rinse the cover twice to remove all of the cleaner, then air dry.