Mechanical maintenance isn’t the be-all and end-all of responsible car care. Covering your car is one of the best things you can do to keep it clean and protected from the elements.
Cars parked out in the open are prone to damage and faster wear because of natural factors like rain, hail, snow, tree sap, dust and so on. Of course, these threats will vary depending on where you store your car.
A good car cover goes a long way by protecting your car against such threats. It’s worth noting that sun/water damage is very expensive to repair and you can easily avoid this cost by simply keeping your car covered when parked.
Putting the cover on and taking it off every day may be a little tedious and annoying for some people but trust us, it’s worth it.
Car Care Tip: If you find your car coated in a thick layer of dust, avoid wiping it down with a dry cloth. Doing this will result in fine scratches as the dust particles scrape the car’s surface. Always wash the dust off with a hose first, then wipe the water off with a damp cloth in one direction, to protect your topcoat.
In this article, we’ll highlight the most important qualities that car covers need to possess and help you choose the best car cover for your Miata.
Why You Should Invest in a Good Car Cover
Car cover prices range from $20 to over $200. It’s only fair to wonder why you must spend a couple of hundred dollars on a simple car cover if you can get the same utility for a fraction of the price.
This depends on what kind of parking situation you have available. If you don’t have access to covered parking, especially in an area where it rains, snows or hails frequently, you’re going to want to seek out the very best car cover for your Miata.
With car covers, just like many other products, you get what you pay for. Sub $30 covers only provide bare minimum protection even though they’re advertised otherwise and they’re only really suitable for indoor use. Once you go beyond this price range, things start to get better.
Covers for superior rain/snow protection and other outdoor use will inevitably be more expensive as those conditions demand better quality fabrics and materials.
Either way, it’s a good idea to have a high-quality car cover lying around in the trunk. If you’re required to park your car somewhere other than your usual, covered spot, it will come in handy.
The cost of fixing sun or water damage is far greater than the cost of a car cover. That said, it makes sense to invest in a really good one.
Choosing the Best Miata Car Cover: Usage Types
Choosing the best car cover for your Miata has a lot to do with where you live and what the weather is like. Depending on what the cover is designed for, it will feature different materials, fabrics, layer designs, weight, etc.
Since it is not possible to have every protective feature in the same cover, depending on your needs, you may end up having to buy more than one; but again, this depends on your parking situation.
If you’re able to keep your car inside a garage at all times, you won’t have to be concerned about normal outdoor hazards like extreme weather. The main factors you need to consider if you’re storing your car indoors are dust and inner liner softness.
Indoor car covers are comparatively cheaper and usually aren’t good enough to protect your car outdoors. If you do end up having to store your car outdoors even just occasionally, we’d recommend you to focus your search on outdoor covers only.
It’s a common misconception that indoor covers are always cheaper however. You’ll easily find indoor covers that cost as much as heavy-duty outdoor covers.
Manufacturers redirect the cost into using luxury materials like fleeced satin and cotton flannel so as to have the softest possible inner liner that gives the best protection for your paintwork.
If you primarily store your car outside, you will be concerned about natural factors like rain, snow, wind, hail, etc. This will vary depending on where you live so you probably have a decent idea of what to expect.
Covers which are designed to withstand extreme weather are built using heavy-duty fabrics and materials which inevitably makes them more expensive. The price of an outdoor cover is often a good gauge of its quality.
Rain/snow, dust/dirt, UV protection, and breathability are the qualities you need to look for when storing your car outdoors.
Tip: A great way to make outdoor car parking even safer is by using a storage shed canopy. Combine this with a high-quality cover, and you’ll have the perfect outdoor car parking solution.
Abba Patio is a great option when it comes to “carport style” storage shed canopies.
Indoor/outdoor covers serve both purposes but with limited functionality. Covers in this category are most suitable for use when the weather’s nice and pleasant.
Some of these ‘indoor/outdoor’ covers are essentially outdoor covers that are advertised as indoor/outdoor. You can always just get a proper outdoor cover suitable for rain/snow and use it for both scenarios unless you never have to park outside.
Protection Categories & Features
Dust & Dirt Protection
One of the most common and frustrating issues about keeping your car uncovered is the accumulation of dust, dirt, leaves, tree sap and bird droppings.
This becomes a bigger problem especially if you live close to the beach or in a windy area as dust particles get bombarded onto the surface of your car, resulting in fine scratches all over.
If you’re looking for covers designed for dust and dirt protection, it’s best to avoid single-layer fabrics as they are quite thin and easily allow dust particles to get through. Covers that excel at dust and dirt protection use multiple layers of tightly woven fabrics.
How the fabric is secured is also just as important. Dust particles can easily find their way onto the paint if you choose a cover that is loose around the bottom edges.
Choosing a cover with strong and tight elastics combined with straps to hold it in place will help seal it as tightly as possible. This will be less likely to be blown away, or accumulate dust from underneath.
Some of our favorite entry-level covers for dust protection include:
Rain & Snow Protection
Rain and snow protection are the main reasons why many people decide to cover their car. Finding the best car cover for Miata owners who live rain saturated areas or high snowfall states is a crucial task.
Most car covers on the market are only water-resistant and not waterproof. This is actually a good thing because if the cover was waterproof, there would be no room for trapped moisture to escape.
Having moisture trapped beneath the cover for too long can damage your Miata’s paint, often resulting in the need for clear coat spot repair on wear points where the cover sits.
The level of how protective your cover is against rain and snow depends on how many layers of fabric it uses, and what type.
Covers known for rain and snow protection usually have multiple layers of densely woven microfiber fabric. This fabric is designed to prevent water from seeping through, while still allowing for excess moisture to evaporate through its pores.
The best Miata car covers for rain and snow protection include:
Sun & UV Protection
Prolonged exposure to harsh sunlight can wreak havoc with your paint and interior’s finish. Parking your car out in the sun for too long will heat up the cabin to dangerous levels, causing interior plastics to crack and fade.
Car covers that are designed to prevent sun and UV damage are made using reflective polyester and acrylic fiber. Using a cover with these properties will protect your car’s paint from UV damage and your cabin will stay significantly cooler even after having parked in the sun for hours. If you live in a place that sees extreme levels of heat, using a cover with UV protection is highly recommended.
These covers are known to provide exceptional UV protection:
Ding & Dent Protection
Ding and dent protection is a great feature to have in a cover regardless of where you’re storing your car. Even if you store it indoors, there’s always a chance of it getting dented or scratched as you move things around it.
Having multiple layers of fabric is the main attribute that makes a cover good enough to protect your car against dents. The more layers there are, the thicker the cover is and the more cushion it provides.
Breathability is sometimes a concern with thick covers. But manufacturers know this, and select fabrics accordingly. Some of our favorite Miata car covers for dent-protection include:
Rust, oxidation, and corrosion occur if water gets trapped under your car cover for too long. It then seeps into your clear coat, making it go cloudy. If this happens, an expensive repaint is the only solution.
There needs to be some room for trapped moisture to escape. If you use a waterproof cover that cannot breathe well, it may do more damage to the car; even more so than leaving it uncovered. But if the cover has enough pores to let the water evaporate, it will dry much faster.
The most breathable covers feature tightly woven multi-layer fabrics or woven single-layer fabrics. This type of material has pores small enough to prevent water from seeping through, but large enough for the moisture to evaporate.
The best breathable cover options for your Mazda Miata include:
Inner Liner Softness
The material used on the inner side of your cover is always in direct contact with the paint. This material needs to be selected carefully as a rough inner material may leave fine scratches on your car’s surface.
This category is not all that important if you aren’t too finicky about minute details. However, if you take pride in your Mazda Miata’s fine paint job, or you simply want to tuck your precious car in a soft, cozy cover, then inner liner softness is something to look for.
Polypropylene is a common fabric type that you will find on most entry-level covers with a soft inner liner. However, if you want a really soft and plush inner liner, nylon fleece and cotton flannel are the materials you should look for.
You will find some of the softest inner liners on these covers:
Miata Soft Top Covers
Soft tops are more prone to damage and require a little extra protection as they can easily absorb moisture. Keeping your Miata’s soft top or interior covered when you have the top down will ensure that its cabin doesn’t get musty or hot, depending on the weather.
Soft top covers are much smaller in size and have been known to prove extremely effective against rain, dust and harsh sun.
Pairing these with a triple-layer breathable cover seems to be the perfect solution as the soft top will get the added protection and your paint will also be covered. They’re also very convenient to use more frequently due to their small size.
Depending on the generation of Miata MX5 you own, take a look at these soft top covers:
The Best Miata Car Cover: Our Verdict
Manufacturers do their best to design covers that are suitable for all scenarios and so, most outdoor car covers can be used interchangeably and there’s very little that really differentiates them from one another.
If we had to choose, we’d go with one of these two covers:
With Mazda Miata car covers, it boils down to the price you’re willing to pay. Spending more on a good cover once and not needing a new one for years is better than constantly needing to replace a cheap one.
That isn’t taking into account how much better your car will look in 5 or 10 years either!
A good cover one will actually save you money by protecting your car in the long run and so, we encourage you to choose the best car cover you can justify for your Miata.