UV Weather Test
All else being equal, any given car cover can only perform as well as the materials it is made from. However useful its features, however attractive or painstakingly constructed, in the end, its effectiveness boils down to the few layers of material that stand between the car and the damaging forces of nature.
And as any homeowner can attest, those elements deliver a beating over time. It is not one particularly hot day, blinding sub-zero blizzard, or spring monsoon that is going to damage the cover you count on to protect your investment. Rather, it is the constant onslaught of weather and the elements that will test the quality of a car cover’s materials over the years.
UV rays, moisture, and rapid temperature fluctuations have a particularly adverse effect on most types of surfaces, including car covers. These elements can therefore dramatically lower the effectiveness of a cover over time.
To ensure that we offer only the highest quality products available, the Empire Covers Research & Development Team conducts rigorous testing of our products before entering into commercial production. We, therefore, devised a Weather Test that allows us to systematically compare the weather-related durability of various car covers.
For our test, we investigated the weather-resistant properties of four different covers: Titan 3-Layer Series, Titan 4-Layer Series, Titan 5-Layer Series, and American Armor.
Samples of each fabric were cut into 6” x 6” squares, and then labeled for material direction - an important distinction, since the way fabrics are produced ensures they will always be stronger one way than the other. Once the samples were prepared, we tested the strength of each in both the material- and cross-material direction. This allowed us to establish a baseline for comparison.
Once the control was established, each sample was subjected to cycles of high UV radiation, moisture in the form of high humidity, and temperature swings. Samples were exposed to 228 and 576-hour cycles. This accelerated environment was intended to simulate the oxidation, temperature-based breakdown, and light-based breakdown of polymers that would be encountered over years of outdoor exposure.
After each exposure cycle, the fabrics were measured for tensile strength both in the material- and cross-material direction. To accomplish this, we performed what is known as a “grab test,” in which a sample of material is placed into the clamps of a tensile testing machine, and a force applied until the specimen breaks.
To summarize our results, we excluded the highest and lowest readings and averaged the force required to break the remaining four pieces.
Among all fabrics tested, each performed to a minimum standard of “good.” One was rated “Very Good,” and one was rated “Excellent.”
Here is a chart demonstrating the control tensile strength for each respective fabric, which was established as a baseline. The numbers below represent the Force in pounds needed to tear each fabric in each direction.
As you can see, the Titan 5-Layer Series Cover clearly begins with the strongest baseline tensile strength in both directions, but even the Titan 4-Layer Series Cover required a minimum of 34 pounds of force to cause a breakdown, prior to any exposure.
The table below indicates the amount of tensile strength remaining as a factor of the fabric’s original tensile strength. Interestingly, after initial exposure to the testing conditions, the American Armor Cover actually seemed to improve slightly in material tensile strength.
Predictably, with increasing exposure to the elements, the fabrics begin to break down. Even so, no cover lost more than a third of its tensile strength, even after 24 days straight of harsh testing conditions - a period that correlates to years of the worst Mother Nature has to offer.
In summary, anyone shopping for a car cover would find it useful to know how each option measures up in terms of durability. What EmpireCovers’ scientific weathering tests prove is that our covers are engineered to retain a high degree of their original quality and protection - even after several years’ worth of exposure to UV rays, humidity, and temperature fluctuations that outpace the harshest conditions found anywhere on Earth.
Shoppers would, therefore, do well to buy their next car cover from EmpireCovers regardless of their budget because, if properly used and maintained, even the most modestly-priced car covers at EmpireCovers will protect their investment for years to come.
Learn more about how our covers protect against other harmful elements.