This time last year, we started a winter test on one of our Ultimate Outdoor car covers, which we used a size M cover on our BMW E30 Convertible. We chose this car because it has had two resprayed rear wings and is an old convertible with a fabric soft top, so we thought this would be the best car to use for testing purposes.
Last year our winter test ran as we expected, which was that the cover put up with all the elements, from rain, frost, ice, snow and wind. Every time we uncovered the car, the car was still perfectly clean and of course dry. Keep reading as we update this new blog on a regular basis.
Day 1 – 15th November 2019
We have parked the car up for winter on the tarmac up near a bank and semi enclosed by buildings/trellis. This should make it a better place to test, as the cover will need to cope with a much damper environment.
Day 4 – 18th November 2019
We checked the cover after a few days, early in the morning. It had rained overnight, and the cover was covered in water droplets. When inspecting the car underneath, nothing had penetrated the fabric of the cover overnight.
Day 5 – 19th November 2019
Last night, we had a very hard frost, where the temperature at 6am was -2 Celsius. The cover was covered in water from late at night, which then froze on top of the fabric. The cover was performing perfectly, where the water sat on top, froze and didn’t go through at all. The car was completely dry underneath. As the cover had water sitting on top as frozen globules, some covers may have let the water through as it slowly defrosted, but our cover performed perfectly.
Day 6 – 20th November 2019
We have had very changeable weather during this first week of testing. Today we had more rain, and a lot more wind, so the car cover was covered in water and a damp leaves. Once again today, the cover has kept all moisture out, even in the strong winds and rain.
Day 28 – 12th December 2019
We haven't updated our blog for a short while, as the lovely E30 has been away. This car is very much loved by Sam and Adrian, and this year it has been treated to a full winter detail at AutoWerX Telford. Ben at AutoWerX has looked after many of our cars between everyone in the office, and always does such an excellent job. Whether this is a full paint correction or a winter detail, the cars always come back looking like new.
This car is one we love, so it went over to Ben at the beginning of the month to have a winter detail. This included a thorough clean of the interior and exterior, wheels thoroughly cleaned, trims restored, leather cleaned and Ben even polished the tool kit. You will have to agree that the car has come back looking absolutely amazing. We just wanted to give the car a treat before it was left under cover for the rest of winter!
That night, we put the cover back on the car ready to continue our test.
Day 29 – 13th December 2019
The day after the cover went back on, we went to check it over to make sure it was performing as it should. The rain was quite hard overnight, so the surface of the fabric did look quite wet. This is where the coating on the cover can only cope with a certain volume of water, so will only shed a certain amount off the fabric until the water then does absorb sligthly into the outer fabric of the car cover. The covers are made up of a double layer of fabric, with an internal waterproof membrane. This means that evern though the fabric may look wet on the surface, the car will stay completely dry underneath.
Day 32 – 16th December 2019
After a couple more days, we have had further heavy rain, as well as fluctuating temperatures. We find this time of year, that when the weather is really warm at one end of the day and then really cold at the other (and visa versa), this natually causes some condensation to build up under the cover. The covers create a nice warm microclimate that does get a little build up of condensation, however this does evaporate back through the fabric again.
Once again, the cover looked quite wet after the heavy rain, but as you can see, the car is completely bone dry underneath.
Day 49 – 2nd January 2020
Happy New Year from Classic Additions! We have left the E30 under its cover over the Christmas break. We have returned to it now the offices are open, and checked the car at 9am. The weather over the Christmas period has been a real mixture; some warmer days of around 13 degrees, some dry, some very wet and other days where we had light frosts. Upon inspecting the car once we lifted the cover off, there was some noticable condensation that had formed on the bodywork of the car. It had rained that night, however we could see that the cover didn't have any noticable wet patches (including bone dry seams), so the cover hasn't been leaking, but was clearly condensation.
This was actually no surprise, as with this fluctuating but warm and damp weather, we had expected we would have seen some condensation underneath the cover before now.
CONDENSATION: This is nothing to be worried about, as this is completely natural for any car cover. The cover will create a small microclimate underneath it, so warm air will be trapped between the fabric car cover and the cold bodywork of the car. This will disappear as it will evaporate through the breathable car cover as the temperature starts to increase. That said, when the weather is particularly damp or wet, it can take a little longer for this to happen.
Condensation usually occurs whilst the weather is very up and down, and usually between September and March. If you do get condensation forming on your car, and have chance to remove the cover, it is worth letting it air for a short while if you can.
Day 50 – 3rd January 2020
This morning we pulled back the cover on the E30, and the car was dry underneath as it always has been before, even though we had heavy rain overnight. The weather must have been a little colder so there was less condensation forming overnight.
Whilst looking at condensation and dampness under the car covers, we have actually been testing another used Ultimate Outdoor cover that was returned to us by a customer. The customer wasn't happy with the performance of his car cover, claiming that water was getting through the fabric and it wasn't 100% waterproof. We decided the best thing to do was to send out a brand new cover to the customer, and have this one back to test. We have put the cover on our 51 year old Triumph TR5, which is in immaculate condition and our directors prized possesion.
When this cover returned to us, it was wet inside and out, so we decided to put the wet cover straight on this car as the ultimate test - to see what happened to a vintage car with a soggy cover on all night. You can see from the photos that this cover has been well used.
We put the car cover on the Triumph last night (Thursday 2nd January), and checked it first thing this morning. When we approached the cover we could see straight away that the fabric on the surface was very wet from the heavy rain, and initially were worried what we would find underneath. When we took the cover off the car, we were pleased to see that the car was bone dry underneath, and not only that, the fabric had dried itself out on the underside - showing that the moisture has evaporated through the the cover as it should, and no new rain has penetrated the surface.
This has meant we need to investigate where the customers car is kept and why he is experiencing excessive condensation forming under the cover. Sometimes this can be caused if the car is kept in a damp place, on gravel etc.
If your cover is collecting some condenstation, this is nothing to be worried about. If you have excessive condensation forming, then it would be best to firstly test the waterproofness of the cover. We recommend spraying it with a hose to see if any water penetrates the fabric - it shouldn't. The only time a little water may get through is under heavy rainfall around the seams. Providing the car cover is still fully waterproof as it should be, it will mean condensation is building up inside. From all of our tests, the Ultimate covers are performing perfectly, so the situation of where the car is kept might need to be investigated, and perhaps it is worth checking how clean the cover is - a dirty cover can stop the cover from breathing properly.
Day 61 – 14th January 2020
We have still been testing our E30 cover, and it is performing as it has been done. Whilst we have been testing the E30 cover, we have also tested the returned cover on the TR5. We had it on the TR5 this weekend as the weather has been appauling here. We left this cover on the car during this really heavy rain and high winds this week. We checked the cover yesterday afternoon, in the middle of high winds and during a break in the rain. As we approached the cover, it looked extremely wet and soggy. Nonetheless, when we took the cover off the car, the car was completely dry underneath, and no water had penetrated the cover. Once again, we found that there was a little condensation forming on the car once we took the cover off the car - this is a natural reaction where the cover has kept the bodywork at a slightly higher temperature and once removed, the warmer bodywork reacts to the cold air. This then disappears in seconds once the temperatures have equalised.
Day 84 – 6th February 2020
We have been continuing the test on the E30 cover whilst doing these other tests on the Triumph.
Our E30 cover has been performing as we would expect. We looked at it yesterday, and the cover was a little wet on top after some rain, as you can see below. We lifted the cover up, and the cover underneath is bone dry, and the car underneath was also immaculate.
There have been some cold mornings (such as today, where it has been -2 degrees), and other mornings it has been warmer and more humid. This can cause a little more condensation to build up underneath the car cover, however this is nothing to be alarmed about, as this is completely natural and will evaporate away.
Day 100 – 22nd February 2020
Whilst testing our other car cover, we have also had another cover made with a new waterproof coating applied to the surface. The cover still is the same design with the same waterproof membrane in the centre, however the coating on the outer surface has been enhanced. We are testing this for a short while to see how this performs compared to the existing coating.
Overall, we are very impressed with the coating, as it has been shedding water off the surface of the cover extremely well and very efficiently. This new coating is letting more water bead off the fabric and not penetrate the top layer.
A few days later after we took the above photo, we were experiencing a huge amount of rain here in Shropshire. We have had the worst weather in 150 years, with three storms and widespread flooding all around us. The rain has been torrential, and upon first glance the cover appeared to be soaking wet, with the surface no longer beading and shedding the water.
As you can see from the photo above, the cover looked extremely wet, however the underside of the fabric was bone dry, and the car was dry and immaculate underneath. We know that the coating, even an improved one can only withstand a certain amount of water before it starts to penetrate the top layer of the car cover.
We had also noticed that the surface of the cover around the seams were extremely wet:
Once we looked at the inside of the cover closely, we could see that the seams were keeping all the water out and keeping the E30 dry.
Day 111 – 4th March 2020
We have taken a look at the cover at the end of the day. The cover was beading the water well, and shedding the water very quickly. Along the rear where the spoiler is, the fabric looked a little wetter than the rest where the water was pooling slightly on top. Under the cover, the car was bone dry all over.
Day 117 – 10th March 2020
Overnight, we suffered another batch of heavy rain and consequently more flooding. First thing this morning after the torrential rain and high winds, we checked the cover over. The car cover was absolutely soaked on the outside, and the water was no longer running off the surface, but soaking into the top layer of the fabric. The side panels hadn't had as much rain hit them, so the coating could still cope.
We lifted up the cover and the waterproof membrane was working as expected - the car and cover were completely bone dry underneath. You can see from the photo below that the cover on the surface was very wet, and the underside of the cover and bonnet were dry.
Day 125 – 18th March 2020
We have been testing our Ultimate Outdoor cover now for around 4 months, and so far the cover has been performing perfectly. We have taken a video to show how soaking wet the cover is today, in this fine misty rain. You will see that the car is completely bone dry and immaculate underneath.
Now you've heard from us what we think about our Ultimate Outdoor covers, here are some independent Truspilot reviews from our customers:
We are extremely proud of our Trustpilot reviews, as these are completely independent and come directly from our customers. We have a 5 star rating - scoring 4.9/5. We have been slowly collectring more reviews and are nearly at 1000!
Day 137 – 30th March 2020
We have had the cover under its cover for a little while longer during all kinds of weather. We thought that we would check on the cover, despite having some lovely sun this week. As you will see above, we had this much loved E30 fully detailed in mid-December, with every part of car meticulously polished and cleaned.
Upon removing the cover today, you can see exactly how months later, the car is exactly as it left AutoWerX in December.
We have now tested this cover for two consecutive winters, and the cover performs exactly as we would expect it to, protecting the car from the elements months on end. We may continue this test again next winter, but we hope that both winter tests so far document how these covers work and how they perform.