I don't have a garage to protect (and hide) my car. Is a cover a good idea?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 2002

Dear Tom and Ray:

Having recently gone through a horrible divorce, as a reward to myself I purchased a 5-year-old Infiniti Q45. The car is great. However, I need to hide this beautiful piece of machinery from my ex-wife when she drives by my house (if she sees it, she'll think I escaped with more than my life), and I need to protect it from the elements. I do not have a garage, and I live less than a mile from the ocean. No car's finish in this area can survive the salt air coupled with the acid rain without damage. So my question is, can I use a car cover? And what kind of car cover would you recommend to protect my new love from the elements? It's parked in my driveway, and I still have my other clunker, so the Q45 will only be driven about once every 10 days, and occasionally on longer trips. -- Lonnie

TOM: Sure, you can use a car cover. And if you really want to keep your ex off the trail, stencil "Custom Yugo Cover" on the outside of it.

RAY: What kind should you get? Well, there are a number of reputable manufacturers, including Mosom, Tyvek and Coverguard, as well as some companies that make their own. From what we've heard, Stormshield covers are among the best and most expensive.

TOM: But whichever manufacturer you choose, there are two important things to look for. One is that you want a cover that protects the car from your specific conditions. Some car covers are designed to block the sun; others are designed to keep out dust. Neither of those will help you. You need a cover that's designed for exterior use and that keeps out rain and snow. You also want a breathable material so moisture doesn't get trapped between the car and the cover.

RAY: You're also better off with a custom cover -- that is, one that's specifically fitted for your Q45. That'll give you the best fit and greatest protection from the elements.

TOM: And here are two more pieces of advice, Lonnie. One, throw a good coat of wax on the car every three months or so. And two, drive the Q45 every day. What are you saving it for? Your next divorce settlement?

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