Selecting the correct cover for your Corvette is an important decision and not something to be taken lightly, particularly if you're serious about protecting your interior and exterior paint and trim. Various factors will enter into your cover choice, but the most important is where you are parking or storing your Corvette. Do you simply need a garage dust cover or a super cover that will stand up consistently to inclement weather? Both types, and everything in between, are available from aftermarket suppliers; but here we'll look at some of the criteria surrounding Corvette covers and how to select the right one for your contemporary or classic.

Kimberly-Clark manufactures most of the popular cover materials. Covercraft, a leading manufacturer of custom-fit Corvette covers, uses a variety of Kimberly-Clark fabrics. Available from Corvette retailers or OEM accessory programs, Covercraft covers are usually more expensive than generic non-fitted covers, but also do a much better job protecting your car. Covercraft offers fitted patterns for '53 to present Corvettes in any type of material you might need. Custom covers can be created using a special measurement template available on Covercraft's Web site.

Let's look at the most popular materials and what they can do to protect your Corvette. In the accompanying chart, each material is rated from poor to best, under the most common weather conditions. Not all car covers are created equal; we've all seen the torn cover blowing in the wind. Regardless of the manufacturer you select, the highest-quality covers feature: double-stitched overlapping seams to prevent against rips; Neoprene elastic sewn into the front and rear hems to hold the cover in place; reinforced non-scratch grommets with protective flap; and optionally available, a vinyl-coated cable and lock for theft protection. Some covers feature a coating or laminate on the outside only, which can wear off or delaminate. Always compare construction of your Corvette cover as closely as you examine the protection value of the material.

Let's look at what type of cover will work for you. Some fabrics focus on protection from a specific element, such as intense sun or dust/dirt. One of the most important factors to consider is breathability; you don't want to trap moisture under the cover. Condensation causes mildew and rot, and can ruin your paint in a short time. If your vehicle is stored in a closed, dry garage, Tan Flannel or Dustop would probably be your best Covercraft choice. Both breathe and protect the paint finish. If you have a carport or partially exposed exterior parking, then an all-weather cover like the Block-It 200 Series would be a good choice. For the completely exposed, "let it all hang out in the weather" parking condition, either NOAH or Covercraft's latest breakthrough fabric, WeatherShield, would most likely work best.

WeatherShield is a unique new fabric exclusive to Covercraft. It's lightweight (less than 5 ounces per square yard) and folds into a small, easy-to-store bundle, which is ideal for the small storage area in a Corvette. Constructed from materials developed for outdoor performance wear, the Nextec encapsulation process uses precision placement of polymers around the fabric fibers to create a durable, breathable barrier within the woven fabric. Therefore, the protection is inside the cover material as well as on the surface. WeatherShield sheds water immediately, allows heat or condensation under the cover to escape, prevents UV damage to paint, and is virtually dust- proof.

Cover maintenance and storage are also considerations. Do you have to have the cover professionally cleaned or can you wash it at home? When not in use, are you going to store it in the vehicle or in the garage? Obviously, having a cover you can wash and dry at home is advantageous, as is a tiny storage footprint in your Corvette. WeatherShield fulfills both of these important qualifications.

So, you can see that buying a quality cover is not as simple as handing over your credit card. Once you make the decision on the type of cover that's right for you, check out the various brands, construction, and what will fit into your budget. But remember the old adage: "You get what you pay for!" Buying a top-quality Corvette cover is like life insurance for your interior and paint finish. Don't skimp on the one item that will give your investment the protection it deserves.