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Jalopnik: The Case Against Bumper Guards [Auto Rants]

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500x_Bumper_Guard.jpgThese ungainly plastic diapers go by different names and they're all over the ass ends of cars in New York City. But why?

This I had not remembered from previous trip to the United States—maybe it’s a recent invention. In any case, bumper guards are perhaps the ugliest things affixed to non-tuner automobiles.

I realize this will read as impolite for the owners of expensive cars, especially coming from someone who is more used to seeing little beat-up city cars here in Europe, but what exactly is the deal with these bumper guards I saw all over New York City?

Do people drive with these things on all the time? Why not get a banger of a car for inner city errands? Why take a fine-looking sedan and Pampers it like a child with substandard bowel control? It’s like buying a nice leather shoe and wearing it all the time enclosed in the blue plastic shoe protectors one has to wear in hospitals.

This particular example, photographed at the Gansevoort Street entrance of The High Line, was manufactured by Parking Armor, who claim to be “the ultimate in bumper protection.” Who would have figured that one day we would have a strap-on contraption for an automotive part which was designed to sacrifice itself for the sake of pedestrians and car occupants.

And how long until airbags get their own feather pillows to rest on after a stressful, violent explosion?

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It's just sad that people suck at driving so much and have so little respect to warrant such a product to exist in the first place.

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It's just sad that people suck at driving so much and have so little respect to warrant such a product to exist in the first place.

Its not that people suck at driving so bad, these are because people in NYC willfully bump your car to fit into parking spots. God help you if you park in the middle of two spots, people will push your car 10 feet to make room.

I don't think you're supposed to leave these out when driving... I would think that it would flap around and grind dirt into your paint.

People also buy and adhere little rub strips that come in color close to your car... they are ugly, but pretty effective. I'd like to see them sell one with little 1" chrome spikes sticking out.

Of course, I found the best way to avoid people bumping your car is to remove your bumper cover. On the '95 Caprice, there are rusty steel bumpers underneath and NOBODY wants to rub their nicely painted plastic bumpers on that! A (locked) tow hitch is another way to keep people from bumping you.

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Its not that people suck at driving so bad, these are because people in NYC willfully bump your car to fit into parking spots. God help you if you park in the middle of two spots, people will push your car 10 feet to make room.

I don't think you're supposed to leave these out when driving... I would think that it would flap around and grind dirt into your paint.

People also buy and adhere little rub strips that come in color close to your car... they are ugly, but pretty effective. I'd like to see them sell one with little 1" chrome spikes sticking out.

Of course, I found the best way to avoid people bumping your car is to remove your bumper cover. On the '95 Caprice, there are rusty steel bumpers underneath and NOBODY wants to rub their nicely painted plastic bumpers on that! A (locked) tow hitch is another way to keep people from bumping you.

The people bumping into other cars in order to park are the suckie drivers I was talking about.

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The people bumping into other cars in order to park are the suckie drivers I was talking about.

Have you parked in NYC? There is NO parking, so you have to park in spots much smaller than the average person's comfort zone. I'm had to put cars into spaces barely 2 inches bigger than the car... its hard... especially as taxis fly by, or worse, as your half blocking traffic and 10 cars on a narrow alleyway are honking at you to move your POS. In a normal city, I agree that people bumping your car are sucky drivers... in NYC, I can't be so critical. Try living here and you'll see.

OTOH, in NYC, you don't always get to park your car. A lot of time you are handing your keys over to someone from a foreign country who might not have a license that could care less for your wheels. He's just trying to shove the most cars into his basement-sized parking garage for $35 an hour, of which he'll get a small fraction.

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