The Case Against Bumper Guards

Illustration for article titled The Case Against Bumper Guards

These 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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JRapp: now as good as new again

While I would never do this, I do undrestand the point. The problem is modern cars. On older cars you can simply undo four bolts, pull off the bumper, bang out the dent and bolt the bumper back on. If it's too badly damaged, you can get a new one for a reasonable price and put in on in your driveway. In modern cars that's just not possible. A bumper is too much part of the car now-a-days. There's lights integrated in them and wheel wells screwed to the end and so on.. Now don't get me wrong, to the most part the cars look good and from a safety standpoint I guess they work too, but just like anything else on newer cars, you're not going to fix it in your driveway.

And before you start calling me an old-timer, I'm only in my 20s.