What will protect my car from my garage?
March 2, 2010 6:31 AM   Subscribe

Our new car is slightly larger than our old car. We have the same narrow one-car garage. It's a bit of a panic every time we make the sharp turn from the alley into the garage and suck in to avoid the edges. Sometimes it doesn't quite work. What can we use as corner padding on the edges to protect our parking miscues?

Needs: cheap (or at least under ~$60), durable (it'll be outside year round in weather from ~0-100 F), reasonably attractive (ideally available in white), and simple to install (hoping for simple adhesive).

Up to a point, the thicker the better. For aesthetic purposes, I'll probably want to just pad the full height of the corner (about 8 feet high).

(Note, I read the question on pillar padding and couldn't find anything appropriate to simple/smaller garage corners.
posted by davebug to Shopping (10 answers total)
Here in Japan, the land of absurd parking spaces (no, really, you should see the hill/right angle/narrow alley our parking space is a victim of), I've seen more than a couple people using styrofoam padding. Just a sheet or block, maybe about an inch to an inch and a half, stuck at the height of where the car might hit the edges. It's soft enough so you won't damage your car, and cheap enough to replace without too much expenditure.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:37 AM on March 2, 2010

Best answer: A traditional cheap option for corner protection is pipe insulation. It already has a slit to get it around the pipe, so you just need to do another cut to remove a whole quarter. Then construction adhesive or something to attach it. Usually comes in dark gray / black, although white may be available.
posted by smackfu at 6:44 AM on March 2, 2010

Response by poster: @Ghidora Would styrofoam survive rain? Are there specific kinds that are more durable? Or is the idea you just replace it weekly?

@smackfu That seems like a reasonable option, though I also wonder about its weatherproofness. Also, googling "construction adhesive" I get Liquid Nails. I've never used that, but will need to check how awful it is to remove if/when the pipe insulation deteriorates.
posted by davebug at 7:06 AM on March 2, 2010

If it were me, I would do two things- the above noted pipe insulation, or maybe even foam rubber from the fabric store. Menard's types of places also have foamy stuff that you use to install air conditioners. Anything mushy.

Color doesn't matter, because while you are at the fabric store, get some white felt or some other non-marring fabric and cover it with that.

Or, hit up the all-seasons kind of store that has pool supplies and swingsets and the like, and surely they will have something acceptable, meant for all-weather installations.

Maybe even a boating store- whatever the fancy equivalent of tires hanging off the pier to bump into is.

Also, try backing in instead. With a little practice, backing in will give you a better line into the tight garage- the front of the vehicle is free to swing around in the alley, while you line up the rear. Like the below, if you take a few minutes to figure out what the clearances are, it will become easy as pie. (For example, when you are lining up for entry, look in your side mirror. If it looks like there is a foot (or whatever) or so of clearance, you know you are on the right track and can just straighten out and slip in) Or find/install markers so that you can figure out the correct line to take when you are pulling in. Like "if I pull as close to this pillar as I can and then cut the wheels as soon as I'm in line with this edge and then straighten out when I'm in line with the rake, them I'm good.
posted by gjc at 7:10 AM on March 2, 2010

Building on gjc's comment, what about some dock fenders/cushions?
posted by 517 at 8:05 AM on March 2, 2010

Glue tennis balls cut in half (or 3/4 for the corner) onto it? They'd stand up to the rain, I think.
posted by ctmf at 8:43 AM on March 2, 2010

Pool noodles are made to get wet anyway.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:06 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm going to go off on a limb and suggest an advanced driving course, get a better idea of where the corners are. Could be fun at the least. I'm not perfect either, put my share of damage whilst parking, but some things like the motorcycle courses I've taken since have sunk-in.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 12:11 PM on March 2, 2010

You can post to freecycle for some leftover foam carpet padding and carpet scraps. Use a staple gun to put it up.
posted by theora55 at 12:39 PM on March 2, 2010

I don't have a car, but I've seen the styrofoam on a lot of parking spaces here. I've seen some pretty beaten up pads near my inlaws' place, and it doesn't seem to ever change. Styrofoam is pretty heartily non-biodegradable, so water shouldn't really do much to it.

I think the idea behind it isn't so much as a pad as a "this is where you should stop" kind of thing, sort of like when your tires bump into the concrete bar in a parking space. If you were to use the styrofoam approach, the idea would be if you felt the car touch the foam, you'd back out and change angles, perhaps.

When I get around to getting a license, then a car, I'll most likely do that with our space. The utility pole in the corner looks like it would love to crush a fender.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:39 AM on March 3, 2010

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