Saturday, November 8, 2014
My brother told me the other day that he thought I was crazy for returning the E36 to daily driver status after having spent so much money on it. While I couldn't necessarily disagree with him, I don't have the luxury of owning more than one garage queen so I plan to take a few special measures to preserve the vehicle as I go about my daily business including using a car cover when necessary.
I did what research I could and ultimately selected a Covercraft model made from WeatherShield HP, a relatively lightweight single layer fabric that is considered near best in class for exterior use in the snow belt. Covercraft also provides a heavier multi-layer fabric called WeatherShield HD, but I decided against that because its bulk demands that it be cleaned in a larger commercial washer, while the HP fabric can (at least theoretically) be washed in a home horizontal axis washer. Why horizontal axis? Due to the lack of an agitator the horizontal axis machines can take a bigger load and reduce stress on the material.
If you're wondering why I didn't buy the BMW cover for about 60% of the cost, it came down to two things. First, the BMW cover is branded on the hood and I don't want to draw any attention to what's under the cover (not to mention that I'm not a brand whore...I don't know what they're thinking). Second, it's made of a material called Noah and I read far too many reviews of similar covers made of that material ripping after 9-12 months. Covercraft produces covers with Noah as well, but even their product matrix indicates the material is inferior to WeatherShield. I honestly don't expect the cover to last more than about 2-3 years, but even if it rips in 2 years I'm still ahead, financially.
As you can see from the pictures the cover fits the car well. I found the elastic on the front and rear to be more than adequate to secure the cover, though I did order a couple of optional clips that can be used in extremely high wind conditions to keep the cover secure. I doubt I'll need them unless we get another Sandy. The downside is that it's very difficult to install. The cover is large, slippery, and tends to fall off the car, even if you use Covercraft's recommended procedure. It's also hard to orient top vs. bottom because the fabric is the same color and texture on both sides, and despite there being a stenciled mark to identify the front when you're dealing with a ball of similarly covered fabric it's hard to differentiate front to rear. If I had to buy again I'd probably buy the HD fabric as it's multi-layer and thus easier to orient on the car. It sounds like such a simple thing but installing the HP fabric is quite annoying. Maybe I'll feel differently once I've installed it a few more times.