Regardless of whether your Corvette spends most of its time sheltered in a garage or forced to fend off the elements in your driveway, a good-quality car cover is essential for protecting it. Indoors, a car cover keeps dust and other airborne debris off your baby as well as affording it some protection from scratches. Outdoors, a weatherproof car cover shields your ride from tree sap, pine needles, rain, hail, dirt, bird droppings and more-especially the sun's UV rays which can destroy your Corvette's finish over time. But choosing the right car cover is not the no-brainer it would seem to be at first blush. While the right cover offers a wealth of protection, the wrong cover may actually harm your car's finish or, at the very least, deliver less than what you expect from it.
Unfortunately, a lot of folks are "penny wise and dollar foolish," to use a phrase my mother was fond of. What it means here is that some people will try to save a few bucks and purchase a cover that doesn't fit right or doesn't offer adequate protection rather than spending a little more for one that lasts for many years and delivers all that it promises. As with tools, the old adage "buy cheap and you'll buy often" applies here as well. If you think about it, such Scrooge-like penny-pinching when it comes to a car cover really makes no sense (pun intended) at all. You've invested a lot of money in your Corvette, so why skimp over a few dollars when it comes to getting a cover that will give it the protection it deserves and needs?
Car covers come in many different grades, price ranges, and sizes. In order to get the best fit and, subsequently, the best protection for your Corvette, don't go with a generic-fit cover-these are designed for "average" size cars and will have extra material that doesn't conform to the shape of your Corvette, meaning the cover will billow and whip against your paint job rather than fitting the contours of your Corvette like a glove. That being said, we'll confine our discussion from here on to form-fitting covers specifically designed for Corvettes.
There are covers intended and rated for indoor-only and indoor/outdoor. The main difference between the two is that the indoor covers aren't water resistant or water repellent-they're not designed to get wet, hence their indoor-only designation. Conversely, the indoor/outdoor covers offer excellent indoor protection as well as being able to handle rain and moisture, too. Not surprisingly, the indoor/outdoor covers cost a bit more than their indoor-only counterparts.
You'll do well to note that I described the indoor/outdoor covers as either water resistant or water repellent but not waterproof. You don't want a waterproof cover. Why? Because in the same way a waterproof cover keeps water out, it will also keep water or moisture (caused by condensation) in, and this can promote mildew, paint bubbling, and clearcoat lifting. On older vintage Corvettes with lacquer paint jobs, it can also cause lacquer "blushing," the appearance of milky-white streaks and blotches caused by moisture reacting with the lacquer itself, which is a potential nightmare to remove. In worst-case scenarios, it can't be buffed out, and a new paint job will be required.
Water-resistant and water-repellent covers, on the other hand, are made of more permeable materials that breathe, and, in so doing, allow air in and moisture to escape. Water-resistant and water-repellent covers cost a bit more, but they're definitely worth the additional expense.
Even if you garage your Corvette, it's a good idea to keep it covered, since this will prevent dust and dirt from settling on it and even provide some measure of protection against scratches. When you look at the overall prevention versus cure scenario, even the most expensive car cover costs only a small fraction of what it will set you back to repair even a minor scratch or ding, not to mention the aggravation, wasted time, and emotional duress such damage also brings with it. So when it comes to protecting your beloved Corvette-and your investment-always be sure to keep it covered.
Here's a cross-sampling of 15 custom-fit Corvette car covers from four manufacturers to give you an idea of what's available in various price ranges.