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Leave your car parked up and unused for any length of time and you can guarantee than when you return it’ll be a mess of bird poo and weather damage, with sun-bleached paintwork and cracking lacquer.
How to store your car
For all those reasons it makes sense to invest in a protective cover, which also serves the purpose of keeping prying eyes away from your pride and joy. Here’s a run-down of our favourites on sale right now.
Best car covers in 2020
TopSoon waterproof plastic car cover - £11.17
If keeping your paint protected from bird poo or rain is your only concern then there’s no need to spend more than this – it’s basically a massive shower cap, with an elastic band around the bottom to stop the wind blowing it down your street. It’s see-through though so won’t block out UV rays or conceal the potential supercar that lurks within from view – on the upside, that does mean parking wardens will still be able to read your permit.
Vonluxe six layer weatherproof cover - £39.99
If you want a more substantial cover then you’ll need to pay more – quite a lot more in fact – for something like this Vonluxe six layer job. Made from a high density but breathable fabric it blocks out everything from rain, snow, dust and UV while the inside of the cover is cotton-lined so it’s soft against your paint. There’s an elasticated bottom and straps that attach to your wheels to stop it flying away, while a zip on the driver’s side means you can still get in and out of the car. Reflective strips keep it visible at night, too.
HailSuit inflatable car cover - £327
Both options above are great at blocking out lightweight damage from rain or UV light but neither will do much to deflect a golf-ball sized lump of hail or small branches falling from trees overhead. This inflatable car cover can be blown up in six minutes using an included pump and will protect the top and sides – it doesn’t do much for the wheels or sills though. Suppose it could also be used as an inflatable garden sun lounger in a pinch.
Remote control retractable car cover - £298
What do all of these covers so far lack? That’s right - a remote control, unlike this version that sits on top of your car and can be automatically deployed or retracted at the push of a button in just 40 seconds. It’s also equipped with an alarm to protect against malicious removal. If you simply can’t be bothered to stretch a thin piece of material over your car then here’s the cover for you.
Smautop car tent - £179
Unlike the soft material covers in this list, this version pops open like a car gazebo and protects it from UV rays without the need to stretch it over the bodywork. The downsides are it looks rather odd and only blocks out light and weather from the area directly underneath it, so it’s no good in sideways rain. The manufacturer also suggests it’s handy when you want to sleep in the car during the day, which is potentially a bit niche, but nice to know.
LK Auto iCarCover - £650
For the ultimate in protection look no further than this massive inflatable car zorb for your pride and joy. It’s even got an air recirculation system to stop condensation and mould. It is quite expensive though, and does require being plugged in to a power source, so you’ll need to put it in your garden or at least invest in a long extension lead. You’ll also have to wait ten days for it to be manufactured.
Camouflage net car cover - £7
All of these car covers offer wide-ranging protection from the elements but none make it invisible to enemy reconnaissance quite as effectively as this woodland camo net. Providing you park it in a woodland environment, of course. As well as disguising your car, the manufacture suggests it’s also effective at camouflaging tanks, missile launchers and command posts. So that’s handy.
Further reading: coronavirus and the car world