Blowing in the Wind - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Blowing in the Wind

by | Aug 3, 2022 | Cool Gadgets, RVEXPERT

Photos by Lori Swaffer

Struggling to put on a car cover can be frustrating or funny, depending on your sense of humor. These lightweight covers love to billow in the wind — almost creating a new track-and-field event during installation — but using magnets will give you a leg up on the process.

Traveling to a new campground can be hard on your tow vehicle’s finish — and once you get there, well, not all campgrounds are clean, dust-free and void of trees. Those of us who are more fastidious don’t appreciate the mess trees and birds can make and certainly want to keep the dirt at bay. One way to prolong the washing of your tow or dinghy vehicle is to use a quality car cover.

Trying to cover a small car is usually painless but spreading the fabric over a large dually truck is another story. If you’re forced to cover the truck by yourself and have a good sense of humor, chasing a wayward cover can provide a bit of entertainment for anyone watching. By the time you get one end under control, the wind billows the fabric and it slides off while working on the other end. It’s almost a slapstick comedy show — and it’s even more entertaining if the paint is super-slick from waxing.

After many episodes feeling like a fool and providing a sideshow to onlookers, I finally came up with a simple solution: I use magnets to help hold the cover in place while I continue to roll the huge cover toward the back of the truck.

The procedure is so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it a long time ago. Unfold the cover and drape it across the hood about midway, then pull the cover down over the front of the truck and install two magnets near the rolled-up section. Now you can continue to roll the cover all the way to the rear without trepidation. If there’s a strong wind, add a couple of additional magnets on top of the cab.

RV technician places magnets to anchor the car cover on the front section of the truck

Trying to install a car cover in the wind can be a slapstick comedy act. You know the drill: Unroll the cover at one end and then run to the back to secure the other before the wind makes a sail out of the fabric. Placing magnets at one end will stabilize the cover, giving you enough time to walk to the other end and stretch out the fabric.

technician continues placing magnets with 20- to 30- pound pulls

We found that magnets with 20- to 30-pound pulls worked perfectly; there are hundreds of these products on the Internet. We first tried a 100-pound magnet, which turned out to be almost impossible to remove from the metal surface, even with the fabric serving as an insulator. The ones shown here serve double duty inside the RV as towel holders.

Since the magnets on the cover are insulated from the paint, you don’t have to worry about scratches — and you can even leave the magnets in place or add a few more to keep the cover from blowing off in stronger windstorms. Just keep in mind that once the cover hits the ground it’s possible for dirt and small, sharp stones to cling to the material and damage the paint when it’s reinstalled, so be sure to clean it off before storing.

There are hundreds of magnets for sale on the Internet, so finding some that will work should not be an issue. I employ a couple of magnets that are normally used for hanging towels; they are available with 20- to 30-pound pulls, which seem to offer plenty of power to hold the cover in place. Just don’t go crazy — mistakenly thinking that more power is better I first tried a magnet with a 100-pound pull, which proved almost impossible to remove without sliding it to an edge for improved leverage.

If you’re installing the cover by yourself there’s still plenty of walking from side to side to unroll the cover evenly, but it can be accomplished with control. One other trick I learned was to tie a brightly colored rope to a plastic clamp and attach it to the cover to identify the front without trial and error.

Now that the live comedy act is over, onlookers will have to get their jollies elsewhere — unfortunately, my popcorn sales also slowed down!

technician rolls out the rear portion of the car cover while the front is held with magnets
With the magnets holding the front of the cover, rolling out the rear portion was finally controllable in windy conditions, cancelling out the comedy act for our neighbors’ viewing pleasure.
close view of a plastic clamp attached to the car cover

A plastic clamp with a short length of rope attached was also affixed to the front of the cover. This made it easy to determine the proper position of the cover without trial and error.

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