Should I Use A Car Cover Or Leather/Mesh Bra?
Why is a car cover (or leather/fabric bra) so bad, even with PPF and ceramic coating?
There are some limited circumstances in which you should use a car cover, such as potentially going out of town for a long time (our Fort Cavazos barracks soldiers) and being forced to park your vehicle outside where bird poop, hard water spots, and other contaminants could damage it. Ceramic coatings or PPF/clear bra/paint protection film are not impervious to damages of these types. So, we might reluctantly agree that car covers are appropriate in this situation, even though we generally dislike using them – in our Copperas Cove/Killeen/Harker Heights area, this is usually our Fort Cavazos clients!
Many of the same reasons the car cover is bad, are the same reasons these ugly bras are also bad. Keep that in mind when reading this article!
In general, your paint is fairly susceptible to scratching, even if you have ceramic coating on it. Clear bra/paint protection film will protect against these scratches, but ceramic coating will absolutely not. Even with PPF, over time, these car covers can scratch or scuff it enough to leave permanent marks.
A lot of times it’s not even the car cover itself, it is the method that the cover is attached. Many times they will have elastic, yet still have some method of tying it down for extreme weather.
For car bras (not clear bra/PPF – the ugly black/leather/mesh ones), they can flap in the wind while driving just like a car cover in the wind.
Dust and dirt being trapped
When you use a car cover, it is almost impossible to keep the underside of the car cover as well as the surface of the car perfectly clean at all times. It gets particular dusty in the Central Texas area. This is the same issue with these leather and mesh bras – they get dirt trapped underneath. When there is dust or debris trapped between your car’s clearcoat and the car cover/leather bra, it is no different than rubbing your car with a dirty rag (maybe even worse, in some instances). This is whether or not the car is inside or out, as even inside, the car cover may move or brush against the paint. If the cover or the bra is left to flap in the wind or weather, it can abrade the paint entirely down to the primer, metal, or substrate.
Outside, the situation is far more dire. Even a well-tied down, perfectly fitting car cover (or leather/mesh bra), will move in the wind. The tie-down methods as well as the car cover itself will move, abrading the paint and removing any ceramic coating from the surface. Remember that ceramic coating creates a semi-permanent bond with your paint, making the only way to remove it is with an abrasive material. A car cover with dirt trapped between the underside and the ceramic coating will certainly act as that abrasive material, just like a compound or polish will abrade the ceramic coating off (or an automatic car wash brush).
You would think that you cannot get dirt between the cover, leather/mesh bra, and the ceramic coating/paint if the cover is on, but that isn’t the case. It’s bound to get some dirt, however small, under there. If you’ve lived in the Copperas Cove/Killeen/Ft Cavazos area for awhile, you know that parking a car outside for even 15 minutes can attract dust. And even if it doesn’t, the constant movement of the material against the ceramic-coated surface (or bare paint surface if you have yet to purchase ceramic coating or PPF/clear bra) will damage the paint.
Here are some bullet points as to why car covers are bad for your car:
Scratches and Abrasions: If not used properly or if the cover itself is of poor quality, it could cause scratches or abrasions on the car’s surface. Wind or movement of the cover against the car can lead to this issue. This is no different with the leather/mesh bra blowing in the wind when driving in the Copperas Cove/Killeen/Harker Heights area highways.
Moisture Trapping: If the cover doesn’t allow proper ventilation, it can trap moisture underneath. This can lead to condensation forming on the car’s surface, potentially causing rust, mold, or mildew.
Paint Damage: If the car cover or leather/mesh bra is dirty or becomes dirty while in use, it can rub against the car’s paint and cause damage over time. This is especially true if there’s dirt or debris caught between the cover and the car. We talked about this above, and how dirt is bound to get between the fabric and paint (or PPF).
Wind Damage: Strong winds can cause the cover or bra to flap against the car’s surface, potentially leading to abrasion and paint damage. We have seen cars with completely bare paint from even some soft material flapping against the paint over a longer period of time.
Fit Issues: Ill-fitting covers might not provide adequate protection and can also cause issues when trying to secure them in place.
Time and Effort: Putting on and taking off a car cover can be time-consuming and cumbersome. This might discourage regular use, defeating the purpose of protecting the car.