Richbrook Tailored Indoor & Outdoor Car Cover review

Richbrook car cover?

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Richbrook are a UK-based brand, who have been designing and producing car accessories for over 20 years. They are now selling tailored all-year car covers, and according to their press release, the Richbrook car cover is designed for indoor or outdoor usage, is lightweight, breathable, non-abrasive, with a strong, high tear-point material. They also protect against UV rays (which can fade paintwork), snow, frost, tree sap, bird dirt, pet paws, and dust. The covers are officially licensed by MG, Ford, and Vauxhall, but Richbrook say they have over 1,000 patterns, so it’s likely there’s one made for your model of car.

If you own a car special to you, or one you simply want to keep in good condition, winter is an unwelcome season fraught with plenty of all the bad stuff you don’t want your poor car to suffer: strong winds blow Autumns remaining leaves off their branches and onto your vehicle, filling every vent and gully, heavy rain lashes sideways, trying its best to enter your car through slightly worn rubber trim, or a dodgy sunroof seal, stinging hail beats down, ice grips every part tightly, and if you’re very (un)lucky a thick blanket of snow will sit over it for weeks on end.

In summer, powerful and damaging UV rays from the Sun try hard to fade the paint, your freshly-washed and waxed car goes from bling-tastic to dust-covered overnight, thanks to the dry ground and a light breeze, and should you park under a tree, you’re likely to have sticky sap or worse still the dreaded acidic bird muck, spread over various panels.

In either season if you like keeping your pride and joy clean, you’ll oft end up getting the bucket, car shampoo, and hose back out almost on a daily bases. Again. And again. And again. You don’t want that, and neither does your car!

With a car being stored outside throughout winter, this was the perfect opportunity to test the Richbook tailored car cover through the harsh months, and see how it fared…

UPDATE: I’ve had the Richbrook cover on the car for 14 months basically non-stop. Through that, it has been through two winters, months with some of the highest rainfall periods ever recored, and days when the winds has been pulling huge limbs off solid trees.

Through all of that, it has survived brilliantly, and while I think it does need more tie-down points around it – and I’ve had to strap it down better because of this and the high winds – the cover itself done very well, and while there is one small tear in the material in one place, there are no big rips or seam tears. 

It’s not full watertight any more, but I have sorted that by coating it with wax and it’s back to shedding water again. For the price, the Richbrook car cover is a quality product at a very reasonable price indeed. Well recommend!

Test time

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With test cars booked almost solid for the months ahead and winter just starting to take shape, the arrival of the Richbrook car cover was perfectly timed. A well-looked-after Lexus LS 400 would be wrapped in it for the next few months, and we hoped the cover would be good enough to protect the LS from the worst of the weather.

The Richbook car cover comes in its own decently-compact storage bag, and can be extracted in just a few seconds. First impressions of the cover are good: the material is not some thin, cheap-feeling stuff like you get when you pay for the lower-priced car covers, but it’s also not exceptionally heavy or bulky for when you do need to pack it away. The seams are double-stiched for strength, and the inner doesn’t feel rough or coarse.

Good, because this particular LS is well cared for, and although there’s always a layer of sealant on it and it’s regularly treated to good wax, it’s a relief that it’s going to be protected through winter instead of getting hammered by the elements and more.

TIP: We’d recommend washing and drying your car before pulling over the cover. This is so the dirt isn’t dragged around the paintwork, which would add scratches and swirls.

As the Lexus LS is a long and wide car, it took two of us to pull the cover over. The least bit of wind will catch it, so even if you’ve got a small car it’s probably best to get someone to give you a hand with it if possible. Richbrook car covers are tailor made, so they’re shaped to the same size as your vehicle’s panels, therefore hugging the car rather than being a simple tent-like version as the cheaper generic covers are.

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Some of the Richbrook covers also have wing mirror ‘pockets’, although our tester didn’t. Actually this isn’t a bad thing, as the less stitched sections you have, the less likely water will get in. At the front and rear are elasticated sections which pull the cover snugly underneath and keep it held down. Down the sides, there are attachment points (one each end) for the included two nylon straps and quick-release buckle clips. These adjust to pull the cover tighter underneath the car.

One problem we found was that passing the nylon straps under the wide LS proved problematic on the gravel drive, and we had to improvise a tool to pass them to each other.

There’s also an tie-down point in the centre of the cover to do the same. All done, the cover looks great as it pulls around the curves and lines of the LS, and way better than the shapeless budget covers that are available.

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However, even after we’d used all the tie-down points, a strong wind on the first night saw the cover start to get pulled off the front and rear, as the wind got underneath and billowed it out. The only way to keep it down totally secured was use thin rope over the front and rear and tie it onto the wheels. Not ideal, but necessary.

Once this was done the cover performed fine, and over several weeks with more than a few heavy rain storms and strong winds, the Richbrook cover stayed water-tight, and there was no moisture underneath when we lifted it off. All good then, and it’s done better than we assumed it would.

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The improvements we’d like to see are: more eye-hole tabs around the cover so it can be held down more securely, wheel sections that cover the whole tyre and rim – half of the LS’s rims stick out and expose the alloys and brakes to the weather – and something handy would be a fold-down thin pole with a hook that allows you to pass the straps under the car for attachment- a bit like the collapsable poles you get on tents.

Price

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(Figures correct Nov. ’14) The Richbrook car cover price is either £89 or £109, depending on what car you have. To cut to the chase, is it worth the money? Yes. They look and feel decent quality, and up to now ours has lived up to the manufacturer’s claims by staying waterproof in even the heaviest of rainfall and staying put in strong winds (with a little help from us). The price is also very competitive, which I’ll talk about later.

We’ve bought a few personal covers over the years, and they’ve always been the cheaper ones which flap about helplessly and are about as waterproof as a sponge after only a few days, and they’ve always ended up being dumped in the bin once they’ve ripped in heavy winds (which they will).

Looking at the competition, there doesn’t seem to be anything in the mid price range currently, which is where we’d consider the Richbrook cover to be. Instead, the other tailored outdoor covers generally start from £130 and push upwards of £330+. We can’t comment on the quality of the rival covers, but if the Richbrook cover continues to survive and perform well, we’re looking at a real bargain here.

Richbrook Tailored Car Cover verdict & score

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We’re impressed with the Richbrook cover up to now. Although the test is ongoing the cover has been tested by a fair few days of substantial wet weather, as well as strong winds. On lifting away the cover, there’s no evidence of water getting through, and there was no indication of moisture on any panel of the car either.

We ordered one to fit a Lexus LS and it certainly looks good and fits well around the body’s contours, rather than just wrapping around it like a giant sack.

Anything need improving? A couple of things: while there are tie-down points, and some straps included, we felt there need to be a couple more eye-holes at the front and rear to keep the cover from billowing and pulling off. It’d also be nice to have the option of wheel cover sections to keep the alloys and tyres completely covered up. While it’s a small point, a collapsable pole for passing the straps under the car would be very handy too.

UPDATE: I’ve had the Richbrook cover on the car for 14 months basically non-stop. Through that, it has been through two winters, months with some of the highest rainfall periods ever recored, and days when the winds has been pulling huge limbs off solid trees.

Through all of that, it has survived brilliantly, and while I think it does need more tie-down points around it – and I’ve had to strap it down better because of this and the high winds – the cover itself done very well, and while there is one small tear in the material in one place, there are no big rips or seam tears. 

It’s not full watertight any more, but I have sorted that by coating it with wax and it’s back to shedding water again. For the price, the Richbrook car cover is a quality product at a very reasonable price indeed. Well recommend!

Note: we will be updating the review over time, so keep an eye out for anything new

Score

Usability  9
Price  9
Design  7.5
Quality  8
Overall Score  8.5 / 10

Specs

Kit  Richbrook Tailored Car Cover
Kit includes  Car cover, storage bag, 2 x straps and clips
Options you should spec  Car cover lock: £14.95
 Fits  1,000 different patterns available. Visit the Richbrook website for options.
Price (Correct: Nov. 2014)   £89 – £109
Features  All-year protection, non-abrasive, waterproof (sheds 95% of standing water), breathable, protects from UV rays, rain, bird dirt, tree sap etc, weighs 2 kilo’s (4.4 lbs), includes 3 x tie-down points,
Buy from  If you’d like to advertise here please contact us

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

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