Product Review: Polco Silver Car Cover for the Maruti Suzuki Swift
What is it?
Car covers are something we usually take for granted these days, given how paint quality, finishing and preserving techniques have come a long way in the last few decades. This has allowed cars parked out in the open to retain their sheen and shine for longer periods. But cars have also become more expensive these days thus making them even more valuable commodities in the modern era.
Naturally then, a car cover has become a sought-after tool to preserve this valuable commodity and that's where we are today with this product from Polco. It's a car cover designed to be compatible with the latest generation Maruti Suzuki Swift and here's everything we learnt about the cover after putting it through some rigorous tests.
What's in the bag?
The package comes with a carry bag that contains the car cover and that's about it. Now in folded form, the cover doesn't use all the space in the bag and thus there's a little bit of room for anything smaller than you would want to be kept with the bag like brushes or cleaning cloths.
If you are planning to keep the bag in the boot of the car then we would advise against storing any kind of cleaning products in the storage bag.
The material from which the cover is manufactured retains heat and this could convert the liquids into a fire hazard. As you can see, the bag even filled up doesn't occupy much space in the Swift's 268-litre boot and can be stored vertically against the rear seatback to make its footprint as small as possible.
The cover in itself is quite flimsy with a not so strong attachment of the zipper mechanism to the rest of the bag. In the kind of rough environment that the cover will live in, it is unlikely to stand up to long term usage.
It does, however, have instructions on how to use the cover on the car as well as Polco's entire product range across the various sizes of vehicles sold in India.
How do I fit it on the car?
If you park your car out in the open or even stilted parking that is open to the elements from any one side, then this becomes a two-person job. Firstly ensure that the wipers are down and that the body is free of avian droppings, stones, leaves, dust, dirt and rainwater too. Second, as much as possible, ensure that the car has cooled down if you have been driving it before putting on the cover, this is especially important in the summer months.
We would recommend passing the cover from front to back and only make progress once you have secured the elastic bands to the edge of the car.
It comes with slots for both the ORVMs as well as the antennae. You should be extra cautious while covering the latter as there is a certain amount of tugging needed to fit the cover on the back of the car and if not done properly, will put unnecessary pressure on the antennae and could even damage it. This also applies while removing the cover.
Once you have secured the cover on all four ends of the vehicle, pass one end of the latch from the right side to the left and secure it in place by locking the buckle and tightening as per requirement.
We found that leaving some slack in the tightening mechanism will allow you to lift the cover without unlatching if you need to open any of the doors with the cover on. Higher priced car covers usually offer a zipper mechanism on the side for this very purpose.
How does it perform?
If you live in an area that experiences heavy rain for a large part of the year and park in the open then the cover is going to retain a large amount of moisture which is not good for the car in the long run. If you are going to have the car standing in such conditions, then ensure that you remove the cover every few days and dry it out before putting it back on the car.
The design of the cover and the material used is such that water is wicked away from the body and if given even 30 minutes of dry weather will evaporate a significant amount of moisture from the vehicle.
As is evident in the pictures, the cover sits a few inches above the ground keeping its edges relatively clean and also ensuring that it's not floating in the water that's coming off the body of the car. The cover fits snugly around the car ensuring that there are no gaps anywhere for either dirt to collect or for strays to find a place to shelter inside.
The buckle mechanism is made of hard-wearing plastic which should allow it to endure for a long time provided you don't put too much strain on it by keeping the locking mechanism pulled too tightly. As we said earlier, leaving some slack with the locking straps will reduce this as well as give you access to the car without having to remove the cover fully.
The cover repels dirt and avian droppings easily and even by just spraying water, it washes right off though with the former, you might need to apply some soap depending on the age of the deposit.
We also tested the cover with colours and they, unfortunately, don't wash so easily and do leave impressions on the cover and this despite us applying soap to the marks and scrubbing repeatedly.
Repacking the cover is a challenge of its own mostly due to the elastic edges which essentially make it a really large fitted sheet. There are various videos available on YouTube on how to fold fitted sheets and with the help of the second person, you can do the same with the car cover if the need arises. However, a method that we used was to fold the cover into somewhat smaller squares, roll it up and secure it with the latch strap.
In repacking ensure that the cover is clean and dry before putting it into the bag.
Should I buy one and where can I buy one?
At this price point, this Polco Silver cover offers sufficient value in terms of usage as well as for the fact that it can be ordered to a specific model offering a form-fitting design. It's not a heavy-duty cover and will require you to 'reset' it every few days if you park directly in the great outdoors. While the cover can be shuffled up and down to allow access to the vehicle, an access zip on the side would have made things much easier.
This Polco Silver cover for the Maruti Suzuki Swift is priced at Rs 1092 (inclusive of taxes at the time of writing this story).
It is available for purchase on Polco's website listed here.
Photography: Kaustubh Gandhi