We found our test subject at Mike's A-One Auto Salvage.
"We've got an '02 PT Cruiser,” owner Mike Lehning said.
Lehning let us use one of his dent-free cars.
"I hope you don't damage it,” Lehning said.
The makers of the "Hail Protector" say that shouldn't be a problem. The "Automobile Hail Protection System" claims to shield your car from hail... any size. We spent $324.89 on this car cover. That does include shipping.
Don Trefethn leads our assembly process. The makers say it's "easy to install in minutes." It took Don more than 20 frustrating minutes. Finally, it's ready for our make-shift storm. Don hits the remote control to activate it. But it doesn't fill with air as quickly as Don thought it would. So Don makes a few adjustments. He switches-out the battery holder for an electrical source and closes a hole that was allowing the protector to breathe.
"It just went right up,” Don said.
Now, with a balloon of protection around the car, Don is ready to duplicate some of the maker's tests. He starts by putting static weight on top.
"That's 10 pounds,” Don said.
He adds another 10 pounds. Look at the view underneath. You can’t even see the weight pushing down on the cover.
Next, Don drops a five pound weight from 20 feet up in the air. It bounces off the cover.
He doubles it again. And, it bounces off again.
Now let’s see how the cover shields the car from some Shocker Softball experts. Former player and Catch-it-Kansas reporter, Jamie Hull lines up about 43-feet away for her first pitch. She throws another. Both come in a little more than 50 miles an hour and bounce off the cover.
Now to the pitching machine. Head softball coach Kristi Bredbenner speeds it up to 70 miles an hour and fires. She turns it up one more time. The pitch is more than 80 miles an hour.
Mike comes back to check-out the aftermath and notices a tear in the cover.
"It kind of came unsewn there and when it did, it just opened it up a bit,” Mike said.
However, the cover remained inflated. But now it's time to deflate and reveal any damage.
"I don't see anything at this time. It looks fine to me,” Mike said.
Does it work?
"Yes it does,” Mike said.
Don says the device wasn’t practical, but he agrees with Mike, saying it does work.
In addition to the cover, you also receive daily hail forecast and a 30-minute early warning of hail in your area with your purchase of the “Hail Protector.”
We called the company and explained how the "Hail Protector" performed in our testing. The owner responded immediately. He explained this product just launched eight months ago. In an email response he said, "We receive feedback from the Hail Protector Customer community and address areas of potential improvement as quickly as possible."
To see his complete response, click here.