There are countless reasons why you should be proud of your MX-5. It’s fast and fun, and it doesn’t cost anything to maintain and keep it clean. Regular detailing is not high on every owner’s priority list, especially on cars that aren’t used on a daily basis. However, keeping your car spotless inside and out is not just a matter of aesthetics. There’s an element of safety involved, keeping debris, dust and rocks out of the way and keeping the paintwork in pristine condition, like the first day you bought it. There will be no risk of developing rust pockets or nasty things like mold affecting your health.
Car cleaning products range from regular soaps or specialist car washes, degreasers, polishes, windshield glass cleaners, waxes, sprays and gels for wheel care, leather care, cloth seat cleaners and the list. to be continued. Most drivers will have them at home. But what most Miata owners don’t think about is the benefits of buying MX-5 car covers. And they do more than just ward off birds that also like your car in a special way.
Car Covers – Why You Need (At Least) One
The benefits of car covers cannot be denied. They will protect your beloved MX5 in countless situations. From the notoriously bad British weather, trees, curious birds, pets, children, neighbours, sun and heat damage and theft. Yep, car covers are a put off for those with sticky fingers. Depending on the type of cover you get for your Miata, there are dozens of different MX-5 car coversthe level of protection against all these and other evils varies.
car cover types
Inside vs outside car covers
First, you need to assess your protection needs. That depends on where you keep your car. Car interior covers are not the same as those that are intended to protect your car if you keep it parked outside. But despite what most people think, there are things that can also damage a car in the garage. Dust is the main culprit in poorly maintained garages, and moisture is not far behind. Also, in smaller areas and where there is a lot of foot traffic, passers-by can unintentionally scratch the paintwork. Furthermore, a cluttered space means that heavy, sharp items also pose a risk, however minimal.
Inner covers are generally lighter, as they must be put on and taken off more regularly. They’re also breathable to prevent condensation, heat, and mildew build-up, and they’re also softer and thinner than outdoor coverings.
Outer covers are another story. They are made to be waterproof and weatherproof, so they better resist water, UV rays, dust and debris. and are typically heavier, consisting of multiple layers. There’s a level of breathability to them, so any water or moisture trapped underneath soon evaporates and won’t damage the paintwork, seals or metal. And avoiding the consequences of bad weather or autumn pranks, such as flying branches or falling leaves and branches, helps with the Achilles heel in soft-roof MIatas, clogging the drainage holes.
But the main reason you want an outdoor car cover is to protect from the sun and the resulting heat. The paint stays intact and there will be no fading on the seat fabric or cracking the dashboard. Not to mention the damage caused by excessive heat in a car parked for longer periods.
Universal vs custom fit covers
Universal covers are just that. They are designed to fit a variety of different vehicles. And as such, they might not be suitable for something as small as the MX-5. They’ll hang loose on the front and back panels, not to mention the ceiling. Any stronger gusts will cause your car cover to fly away. But for temporary use and if you want to save some money, this might be all you need.
The custom fit covers are made to hug the contours of the MX-5. They take into account all the peculiarity of the MX-5 and fit like a glove. There are also covers that better match the smooth curves of previous Miata models or the sharper lines of the NC and ND variants. This takes into account the side mirror designs, the slightly higher front grilles on earlier models and the sloping rear ends on later versions.
Features like integrated mirror pockets and number plate window openings and elastic bottoms allow for a clean, comfortable fit. The tight fit, though, may need more time to get on or off if you’re worried about paint damage, despite most covers having a softer inner lining. However, they will hold up better in the wind and provide more protection from unexpected bumps. The only downside is that custom covers cost a little more, but you can choose from different colors.
Fabrics – Synthetic or Cotton?
Cotton is generally reserved for indoor coverings as it lacks the UV resistance and waterproofing of synthetic fibers. The advantage, however, is that it is lighter, despite the softer, scratch-resistant inner lining.
Solution-dyed polyesters and acrylic microfibers work best against rain, dust, and mildew and won’t fade or clump under higher temperatures. To offer that kind of protection, synthetics are woven in multiple layers (with softer polypropylene or nylon underneath), adding some much-needed weight against stronger winds.
car cover care
Just like cars, covers also need to be cleaned regularly. Dirt buildup is a given with any cover that has been used for a longer period of time, and this can affect water and UV resistance, as well as increased humidity due to reduced breathability. Follow cleaning instructions and common sense. Generally, cotton car covers can be machine washed and tumble dried, but there is more care needed for synthetics if you want them to last longer.
Choosing a car cover for your Miata
Car covers won’t dent your wallet no matter what type you choose. As mentioned, universal skins are the cheapest, but they don’t offer the same protection or longevity as a custom MX-5 skin that costs a few pounds more. The most important thing is to choose between an inner or outer cover, and that depends on how you use your car.
In addition, caring for your Miata involves a range of other products such as drain cleaners, cleaning and care kits for soft roofs, cleaners and stains for leather or fabric seats, and universal products that you can find in specialist automotive detailing stores or any MX-5 accessory dealer.