In today’s world, the number of vehicles practically outnumbers humans! There are so many people on the road that even the most experienced drivers are virtually guaranteed to encounter a fender bender every now and again. Scratching your bumpers can lead to expensive repairs and leave an ugly stain on the appearance of your prized car or truck.
But bumper guards can prevent all of that. Relatively inexpensive, bumper guards are strategic cushions or padding set in place to take the punishment that your bumpers would otherwise suffer. They can be permanent or removable and might even be a stylish upgrade depending on the type you purchase.
Overall, bumper guards are a terrific investment for anyone who values the appearance and resale value of their car. In this guide, we can show you the best bumper guards for your particular vehicle and give you some tips about which type to get and how to install them. Let’s dive in!
Are Bumper Guards Worth It?
You might be wondering, “Do bumper guards make a difference?”
Given the fact that there are more drivers on the road today than ever before and traffic is more of a problem in metropolitan areas than it ever has been, the truth is that bumper guards are almost as important as bumpers themselves.
The odds of getting into a minor fender bender-type accident are high if you drive in high-traffic simply due to the sheer number of other drivers and cramped driving conditions that surround you.
Parking lots are another spot where bumpers can get scraped or scratched from careless drivers or trying to fit too many automobiles into a small space. The bumper is important for protecting the main chassis of your car, but it also has a lot of aesthetic value to your vehicle and is a point of pride for many car owners.
Even good drivers make mistakes, and even the best brakes can’t stop all minor accidents.
Bumper guards can prevent everyday damage from becoming an issue. They turn scrapes on your bumper into a forgettable event and keep your bumpers looking solid and clean. The improved aesthetic value and durability of your bumpers directly translate into a better resale value for your car, should you ever decide to sell it, too.
There are tons of improvements for bumper guards. To name just a few:
- Bumper guards prevent you from paying more money on insurance to the polls
- Guards can save you money in the long run by preventing damage to your bumpers themselves; bumper repairs are typically pricier than purchasing guards
- Bumper guards can make the resale value of your vehicle higher
- Bumper guards improve the look of your car or preserve it even after minor bumps and scratches
By adding bumper guards to your car, you’ll be boosting so many aspects of your vehicle that you’ll wonder why you ever waited to buy a set. Let’s get into the best bumper guards you can find online and see which set is right for you.
Bumper Guard Reviews
What To Look For in Good Bumper Guards?
Whether you’re eyeing some bumpers not on our list, or if you’re curious as to how we compiled our favorite bumpers, you might be wondering what to look for in the best bumper guards. Let’s go over the critical factors to keep in mind during your own search.
Make/Model/Shape of Your Car
First of all, you need to measure the dimensions of your vehicle’s bumpers so that you can purchase bumpers of any kind that are well fitted for your car. Even compact cars can have bumper guards, but they have to be sized correctly.
Improper dimension measuring can lead you to your purchasing bumpers that won’t fit with your car or truck, and you’ll have to purchase an entirely new set since most bumpers aren’t interchangeable.
Be sure to measure length, width, and thickness relative to your car’s bumpers. Certain bumper guards are described as universal. Universal bumper guards are great if you are not sure whether or not your car’s bumpers are viable for guard protection. These guards usually aren’t fitted quite as well as specialized bumper guards, so you should always try to see if there’s a specific brand or model available for your precise car make before you resort to the universal option.
The location of your bumper guards affects the price and heaviness of your guards. Bumper guards that cover both the front and rear bumpers, for instance, will cost much more than bumper guards only for the back of your car.
By the same token, you need to consider that the front and rear of your car are not shaped the same. Rear bumper guards will not necessarily fit front bumper guards and vice versa. While there are some bumper guards that are interchangeable, these are the exception rather than the rule. In addition, bumper guards that are specialized for one location or another usually provide better overall protection than bumper guards that are more generalized.
Is It a License Plate Protector?
Some bumper guards are designed to work with and protect your license plate. These are usually sleek and relatively lightweight or aesthetically pleasing and are designed to be installed in your vehicle’s license plate frame mount. In these scenarios, you install the bumper guard before you put in your license plate itself.
These are usually fairly thick in terms of their overall protection, but they only mount in the middle. License plate protector bumper guards don’t usually have much coverage in terms of the corners of your car’s bumpers. In these cases, it might be a good idea to combine license plate mounted bumper guards with corner bumper guards to ensure all-encompassing protection.
The material of your bumper guard directly affects how good it is at minimizing damage both to your bumpers and your vehicle as a whole. Certain bumper guards are designed to be made with cheap material, lowering your overall costs while still facilitating decent bumper coverage.
The downside is that these cheaper bumper guards will crumble and collapse relatively quickly. They can only take a few incidents before they need replacing entirely. On the other hand, more expensive bumper guards made of more durable materials will last for longer and can take repeated impacts while still retaining their shape and protecting your bumpers. As we said, these usually cost more.
In general, the best bumper guards are made of the best materials. Lots of great bumper guards are made of industrial-grade rubber, which offers a nice balance between durability, cost, and flexibility. Good bumper guard materials are not necessarily super hard; they have to be able to bend and flex a little bit in order to disperse the physical energy of an impact properly.
You can also find bumper guards made of metal or foam. Metal bumper guards are usually the largest kinds you can find and may or may not fit with your car’s overall aesthetic. Foam guards are usually smaller, and you can often find license plate mounted variants in this material type. They also usually look a little better when it comes to meshing with your car’s appearance or theme.
Overall, rubber bumper guards provide the best balance between appearance and protection, while foam bumper guards provide better protection than metal. Metal bumper guards are still valuable, but oftentimes don’t work for cars due to aesthetic clashing or a lack of long-term protection. In addition, metal bumper guards stand a chance of rusting over time, especially if they are exposed to water.
Tip: Get Weatherproof Guards
Weatherproof bumper guards are much better than their regular counterparts. Weatherproof bumper guards can withstand the elements and will last you a much longer time than those that can’t handle a little rain or snow. It’s much better to spend a little extra money on bumper guards that will stand the test of time and can continue to function even in extremely hot or cold weather than it is to buy some cheap guards that will fall apart sooner rather than later.
There are several major types of bumper guards that you can choose from, and each is specifically designed to be optimally used with a certain type of car or for a particular purpose.
Stick-on bumper guards are just like they sound: they’re “stuck on” your car using an adhesive that comes with the purchase. Although the adhesive material is fairly strong in its own right, it’s not meant to be a permanent bumper and is usually designed as a temporary solution to your bumper protection needs.
Stick-on bumper guards are best used for vehicles that only need bumper protection for a short while. For instance, if you usually have your car out in the country and don’t often interact with other vehicles, you can get away with using a temporary stick-on bumper guard during your time in the city when the chances for collision are much higher.
The benefit to these types of bumper guards is that you can remove them whenever you don’t need them again. They don’t typically look very good on any vehicle, but you can always return your vehicle to its original aesthetic glory once the guards are not in use.
Corner bumper guards are small and unobtrusive pieces of material (usually rubber or foam) that protects the corners of your bumpers from obtaining damage. This is advantageous because the corners of your bumpers are statistically the most likely locations to impact other vehicles or parts of the environment.
These are usually quite cheap and are generally made of hard plastic or other cost-effective materials. They are designed to last forever and can be taken off or placed on at your convenience. The downside is that they don’t provide protection for the bumpers all around your vehicle; they are far from comprehensive.
Corner bumper guards are designed to blend in with the appearance of your car in most cases. This can make them great choices if the aesthetic of your car is one of its primary values.
Truck-mounted bumper guards are those specifically designed for use with pickup trucks or larger truck-like vehicles. These are usually secured in place by attaching to your trunk with special straps, rather than using an adhesive or another installation method. This does make it easier to remove after you no longer need the bumper guards for protection.
Hitch-mounted bumper guards are propped right up on your vehicle’s receiver trailer hitch. These are rear-only bumper guards and provide tons of protection after they’ve been installed. However, they are typically rather bulky and can interfere with trailer hitch operations depending on the size of your hitch and whatever you need to tow behind your vehicle.
Therefore, if you plan to use hitch mounted bumper guards, you should carefully measure the size of the bumper guards and your towed cargo before finalizing a purchase. Ensure that everything will fit beforehand for the best results.
You can also find bumper guards that cover most of your front or rear bumpers and provide optimal protection.
These can be either permanent or temporary and are the most common type of bumper guards available. These are best if you are taking bumper protection seriously or if you frequently encounter situations where your bumpers are exposed to damage. Cities with heavy traffic and reckless drivers are a good example of an environment where your car practically needs bumper guards to ensure long-term safety.
Rear Bumper Flap Guards
Rear bumper flap guards are installed inside your trunk and protect only the very top part of your back bumper, usually near the section where it meets your trunk. These are ideal for defending your bumper from damage when you load and unload luggage or other heavy things from your trunk.
Bumper Protector Films
Finally, bumper protector films are available for very low prices. These are great for protecting your bumpers from minor scratches and scuffs but won’t do much against real collisions or impacts with other vehicles or the environment.
These are probably best used if the chances of your bumper sustaining real damages low or if you have a very low budget. Some protection is always better than none at all, even if the protection offered is rather meager.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Install Front/Rear Bumper Guards?
The method of installation for your bumper guards depends on the type that you have purchased.
Stick-on bumper guards require you to clean the bumper surface before placing anything on your car. You should use soap and water and thoroughly dry the affected area after you scrub away any major dirt or debris that could affect the adhesion about to take place.
Your bumper guards will usually have the adhesive already on their back surface, so all you need to do is carefully place the bumper guard along the length of your car’s bumper, trying to keep things even then steady along the way. You may want to enlist a friend’s assistance if the bumper guard is particularly long or unwieldy.
Whenever you need to clean the surface of your bumper for attaching a bumper guard, for stick-on types or any other, use a strong cleaning solvent that is particularly good at getting rid of grease or oil. While it is important to eliminate as much grit or dirt, this stuff won’t prevent adhesion the way that grease or oil will. These two substances must be eliminated to ensure adhesive strength.
In addition, be sure to dry the area really well. The liquid that remains on the surface of your bumper could affect adhesion integrity.
Truck-mounted bumper guards will be installed by fastening the attaching straps into place using screws that come with your purchase. You should take care to measure the distance between your trunk and the bumper of your truck before making a final purchase since the length of the straps dictates how well the bumper guard will actually fall into place and provide protection.
Straps that are too long made may drop in front of the exhaust pipe or drag on the ground, and straps that are too short may not reach the bumper at all. Either scenario will require you to buy a new set of bumper guards.
License Plate Protector Bumper Guards
These bumper guards require you first to take off the license plate holder or slot. Next, take the screws included with your purchase and screw the bumper guard into the same place that the license plate holder used to take up.
After installing the guard, you can reattach the license plate to the bumper guard itself. There should be clear markings indicating where to insert the plate; you should end up with the plate itself secure and snug inside the guard.
Hitch-mounted bumper guards are relatively easy to install. Insert your new bumper guards into your existing receiver hitch and use the holding pin that you would normally reserve for the hitch itself to secure the bumper guard to the receiver.
Depending on the type of corner guards that you have purchased, you may have adhesive guards (like stick-on) or screw-on variants.
Adhesive corner bumper guards require you to follow the standard cleaning procedure and remove all grease, oil, and other dirt and debris from the surface of the upper corner. Apply the adhesive included with your purchase to each corner’s wing or edge in a zig-zag pattern; this will ensure optimal adhesion along the entire length of the guard.
Push the corner guard firmly onto the bumper of your car and hold until it is attached.
For screw-on types, you’ll want to mark the surface of your bumper with a pencil to ensure accurate screwing. Drill the screw holes according to your pencil marks and wipe down the bumper of your car afterward to remove any dust or plaster. You may then screw the guards in after lining up their screw holes with the ones you’ve placed on your bumper.
Just like with corner guards, you’ll want to mark the screw-on points for your whole bumper guards with a pencil before you do any drilling. This will help ensure accuracy when you actually drill.
After marking, go ahead and drill the appropriate holes before sliding the guard into place. If done correctly, everything should fit snugly and not wiggle while still covering the necessary areas of your bumper.
Bumper Protector Films
These are installed by simply opening the films from their packaging and spreading them atop your bumpers after they’ve been cleaned, similar to the cleaning procedure you would follow for stick-on bumper guards.
Can You Fix Front/Rear Bumper Guards?
Fixing bumper guards is a rare thing, largely due to the types of materials used in their construction. Bumper guards are supposed to take the initiative that your bumpers otherwise would themselves.
That being said, you can always use heavy-duty glue to stitch together bumper guards that are starting to fall apart from damage or a lot of use. But in many cases, it’s smarter to purchase new bumper guards if the ones that you currently use aren’t protecting your bumpers any longer or are becoming a safety hazard from drooping or dragging.
Can You Interchange Bumper Guards?
This heavily depends on the type of bumper guards you purchased. Some bumper guards are universal and are designed to fit on either front or rear bumpers. Others (like corner guards) don’t really have any limitation and can be placed on the front or rear bumper corners like.
That being said, bumper guards that are specifically designed for one area of your car usually cannot be used for other spots. Typically, rear bumper guards can only be used for the rear of your car and vice versa for front bumper guards.
If you’re on a budget and can only purchase bumper guards for one location, rear bumper guards are probably a better bet. You can control whether or not you bump into someone in front of you, but whether or not you get bumped into from the back is up to other drivers. Having some extra protection on the rear, therefore, is always a smart idea.