Why a Classic Car Cover is not a Protective Solution
The idea that placing a cover over your classic car will protect it from the elements is a myth that has perpetuated itself throughout the history of car ownership. So how do we protect them?
A classic car cover is often the first investment that people make after their initial purchase- but will it protect your investment?
The look of your classic car is inevitably the driving force as to why we end up spending so much money to purchase and look after them.
So why do we end up covering them in a cloth that stops you from being able to even look at it?
Why do we Place Covers on Classic Cars?
The idea that placing a cover over your classic car will protect it from the elements is a myth that has perpetuated itself throughout the history of car ownership.
While it isn’t a lie that a car cover offers protection from some risks like debris- the idea that a cover will protect from the elements is simply false.
Car covers aren’t without their benefits. If your vehicle is parked outside- then it is a valid method of protection for the environment that it’s in. The cover can protect from rain and UV light that will eventually be damaging to the paintwork.
This is about the extent of protection that can be offered by a cover. The real damage to any vehicle is caused elsewhere.
What are the Issues With Classic Car Covers?
The fact is that any rust damage that could happen to your car is a result of the atmosphere that it’s stored in.
Rust damage is caused by a high relative humidity (RH) level. Atmospheric moisture always seeks to reach an equilibrium with the materials within it- the effect of this on materials like metals is that it causes rust.
The average RH level in the UK sits at 80%. When you consider the fact that metals begin to show signs of corrosion at 60% RH – it becomes clear why protection is required.
There are a number of factors that exacerbate the development of rust in these conditions- temperature is one, another is airflow. This second factor especially is made more prevalent when a car cover is in use.
The most common place that you will start noticing rust on a classic car is on the underside of the vehicle. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, the use of salt on British roads to quell the effects of snow actually speeds up the formation of rust on bare metal surfaces. Given that the surfaces underneath your vehicle are also more exposed to debris, only increases the chance that metal will be exposed by a stray stone or branch.
Secondly, the chassis and undercarriage of your vehicle are also the hardest areas to get to for general cleaning and maintenance. How often when you clean your classic do you get to put it on a ramp and give the mechanics a proper clean and dry?
This is where there are potential issues with adding a cover on top of your classic car. Given our knowledge that reduced air flow accelerates the rate at which moisture (and therefore rust) deposits, then a cover will only succeed at trapping more air.
A car cover in an unconditioned environment will only serve to accentuate the atmospheric conditions that are the cause of rust.
In an unconditioned environment where humidity is the primary cause of concern- the place to start is obvious.
While it is possible to try and tackle the effects of humidity by increasing the temperature and airflow rate through heating and ventilation- these methods will only serve to alter the way in which ambient conditions interact with materials and increase your energy bill at the same time.
This means that the solution is abundantly clear: dehumidification.
By including a desiccant dehumidification unit into your classic car storage solution, there is a guarantee that moisture and therefore rust, will never be an issue while your vehicle is in storage.
A desiccant dehumidification unit will not only prevent moisture from being an issue- it will serve the dual purpose of keeping every material that makes up your car in its ideal conditions.