No, were not talking about an umbrella insurance policy, were talking protection from the elements. Car umbrella’s have been doing the rounds for a number of years now. They are much more popular in America due to some states, like Texas, California and Florida getting so much sunshine throughout the year. A good car umbrella ultimately puts the car in the shade, helping to keep the temperature inside the car down, and working as a paint protector from the suns powerful UV rays.

Other than protection from the main culprit, the sun, it can also be effective against other annoyances like rain, dirt / debris, tree sap and bird droppings.

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Bird droppings can be a real problem. Park your car under a tree for a prolonged period of time and the chances are you may be coming back to a car that has been left a birds calling card. Not really an issue if you drive a little run around that you’re not too bothered about, but for more expensive / classic cars this can be a real headache. Bird droppings can damage a cars paint work permanently. Thanks to the Uric acid content, it can leave stains, blemishes, and even start to remove layers of paint. So, for an expensive motor, this can be a costly issue.

Tree sap is another concern. Once it makes contact, most commonly starting with the roof of the car first, and then gets a bit of time to almost cement itself to the paint work, it can be difficult to remove. In most cases, depending on how long its been stuck to the car, a soapy wash with warm / hot water will be required.

These types of covers can also work well for providing a dark environment if your someone who spends a lot of time on the road and regularly pulls over to get a few hours sleep before continuing on their journey.

Regardless of the brand, most car shelters / protectors like this have got the same, or very similar design. It’s fairly straight forward, basically working like a personal umbrella. Attach a suction cup-like attachment to the roof of the car, get the protective sheet and fit it to the connecting joint at the top of the suction cup.

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Then use the remote control to initiate the quick unfolding procedure, which automatically stretches the protective material over the width of the vehicle. Some are even solar-powered. All are very portable, and easily store away in the boot when not in use.

Apart from the design being similar, one other thing car umbrella’s have in common is the price. They are not cheap. So, you better have a car worth protecting. This isn’t the kind of product you would buy if you have an X reg Vauxhall Corsa you use as a run around. It’s for costly, prestigious cars that people really care about. Besides, on an old Corsa it would look funny, and probably get a few people saying – the cover costs more than the car.

Jokes aside, the one area where the majority of car umbrella’s seem to be weak is when the wind picks up. There are numerous complaints from reviewers stating that when conditions are windy / blustery, its pretty much time for the umbrella head back to the boot. If the design team could address this problem and make the product more sturdy in bad weather, it would make the product a lot more desirable and more worthy of its price tag. Specially for the UK market.

Always double-check the dimensions with covers like this, as not all companies are catering solely to the UK market and their vehicles. As a result, they don’t use the same, one size fits all small to medium-sized vehicle measurements. The coverage size may be different in the UK than it is for the American auto market.