Bumper Bully?
August 7, 2012 8:59 AM   Subscribe

What is the Best Bumper Protection device? I have a new car and live in the city where I have to parallel park on side street (unmarked spaces) daily. My car is white. Every white car I see in the city has black scuff marks on the rear bumper from parking. I have seen ads for Bumper Bully and Parking Armor. There are others as well. Does anyone have experience with any of these?

Interestingly, my insurance agent warned me that having something like that on my bumper might actually ENCOURAGE people to park too close to either see how well the device works or kind of to just be a jerk! Is this a valid enough reason to leave my bumper naked and vulnerable? also, do the rubber front bumper protectors (rubber license plate holder/extenders -Bumper bully makes one of these too) make sense? Please Answer soon....I am scared to drive my car to work and have been taking cabs!!!!!
posted by Lylo to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total)
What are you worried about, exactly? Adding some sort of bumper guard to your car is about 1000 times less attrative than a couple paint marks on your bumper, and if you end up getting black marks, you can always get the car repainted for the cost than not much more than a few cab rides. It's not an heirloom, it's a transportation device, and it's not a big deal if it gets scuffed up.
posted by brainmouse at 9:04 AM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]

Bumpers are for bumping - getting a bumper protection device is like wearing a second raincoat over your main raincoat so you don't get your main raincoat wet.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:11 AM on August 7, 2012

Response by poster: Brainmouse, the devices I am talking about are just left on the bumper while you are parked, not left on while driving. It is a BRAND new car. my experience with touch up paint on the bumper (my last car) is that it eventually peels and looks terrible. It is very expensive to do body work and I think black marks on a white bumper really look awful, even though I know this is just a car. I was hoping to get input from the hive on the efficacy and comparison of bumper protection devices that are on the market, not really looking for reassurance that I shouldn't worry about getting bumped.
posted by Lylo at 9:11 AM on August 7, 2012

I'd probably just keep a Mr. Clean magic eraser in the car and apply as needed to scuff marks if they bother you that much. I'm in the "bumpers are meant to be bumped" camp.
posted by peacrow at 9:11 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

After a couple scuff marks, you will stop caring.

That said, have you done the basic consumer research of going to Amazon and reading the reviews of the various products and the "Customers also looked at" items?
posted by chengjih at 9:15 AM on August 7, 2012

Sounds like you need to get a ball peen hammer and knock a couple of dents into your car so you can feel comfortable driving it around.

Taking cabs when you have a perfectly functioning automobile is taking things too far.

nth the magic eraser for black scuffs. Those things are fab. If it gets scuffed or scratched, oh well. You can always replace the bumper if it's that important to you.

Your car will get dinged and scratched and scuffed. That's just how it is.

Enjoy it for all it's worth in its pristine shape. It will be marred soon enough and then you can relax.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:25 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

There's the Bumper Bully and the Bumper Badger. Both do the same thing. I got the Bumper Badger as a gift and it works pretty well, although I haven't used it as much as I thought I would.

You could also have a body shop apply the clear protective film on your bumper. It's more permanent than either of the above options but costs more. It will still get damaged by a scrape but it should save you from repainting the bumper.
posted by eatcake at 9:29 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Several people in my neighborhood have the Bumper Bully and seem to use them regularly so I assume the work. Haven't seen the other brands.

As far as people intentionally hitting your bumper, I'll bet there will be a lot more people hitting your bumper because they are trying to cram their car in a barely-big-enough spot.

That said, you live in the city... if the worst thing that happens to your car is a few bumper scuffs, you have better luck than most.
posted by jshort at 9:41 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have to say, just from looking at those, that neither one of them covers the spots on a car where I routinely see scuff marks.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:47 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Looking at those bumper protection devices, it seems to me that it would be just as effective (and just as attractive) to just hang some carpet scraps over your bumpers by closing your trunk/hood on top of them. Or you could just keep a Magic Eraser in your car to clean scuff marks off your bumpers. Or you could just not worry about it, which I nearly guarantee is what is going to happen after six months or so anyway.

Someday, probably quite soon, somebody is going to ding your car's door in a parking lot or put a scratch in the paint with their car or their bike, or you're going to rub your hubcap on a curb, or brush up against a bollard or streetlamp or fire hydrant, or a piece of road debris is going to impact your hood or windshield while you're on the highway. There's nothing you can do about it. It's not worth taking it to a shop every time something like this happens -- cars just get scratched up, and all the bumper bullies and magic erasers in the world can only delay this process, not stop it. It's not worth spending a bunch of money and mental effort on.
posted by Scientist at 9:49 AM on August 7, 2012

What jacquilynne said. The vast majority of scuff marks I see on rear bumpers are on the corners, which neither of these seem to protect.
posted by rtha at 9:50 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes, bumpers are for bumping, but they are also things that need to look 'less than shit' and scratched and scrapes will do that. OP, you're fine caring about how your car looks, but you need to stop taking cabs to avoid driving your car. It'd be cheaper to just hunt nightly for the bigger spots/end spots that only leave one end of your car exposed.

I'd not put one of those hideous things on my car, though, and it only protects one end, which seems stupid. I agree that people will be more inclined to physically touch your car to aid their parking if you have one, which could be problematic.

I'd be more tempted to go with something that uses Heli tape and put this over the corners of your bumper. You may have to get a bodyshop or graphics specialist (vinyl sticker suppliers that specialise in vehicle wraps are likely your best bet) and get as much of the paint covered as you are happy with. Minimal (sometimes not really noticeable) cosmetic hit for great assistance. Rubber marks will just rub right off with tyre mark remover and leave the paint well alone.
posted by Brockles at 10:07 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

The first few results on this search are the kind of thing that will be what I am suggesting. The 3M stuff is great (we use it on race cars).
posted by Brockles at 10:14 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

One of my neighbors has the Bully. It's unattractive, and looks like it doesn't shield from anything other than a direct angle (ie. someone pulling forward/backward directly into the bumper). Diagonal scuffs from someone pulling into or out of a space look like they could still be an issue.
posted by judith at 3:56 PM on August 7, 2012

If you live in the city and your car is remaining parked while you take cabs to work, then I don't think taking cabs solves this problem since other cars will be moving in and out of spaces around you all day, right?

I agree with the advice to clean off the dark scuffs and try to hunt for end spots.
posted by NikitaNikita at 5:05 PM on August 7, 2012

The last new car that lived in a city with me and was parallel-parked on the street was in the row of parallel-parked cars on my street that were all keyed along the passenger side door. A month after I bought it. Every single panel of every single car's passenger side on the street, as far as I could tell. (This was in Worcester, MA, 1999).

My point is that there are a lot of things besides scuffs to worry about, that neither of these products will help you with, that you cannot predict or protect against. I saw a lot of cars with the products in Manhattan (UES) and a lot of people poking them. So, yeah, I would sum them up as a curiosity, and I agree that they will draw unwanted attention to your car, whether or not they live up to their claims.

And my new car that got keyed...I left it that way for a year or so (probably not a good idea in retrospect for the rust danger, but I lucked out), and then got it repainted. It looked soooo brand new. If you are very worried about keeping your car very shiny and new-like, I think you should just plan on doing this anyway or at least getting it all buffed and shined, and then you don't need to worry about scuffs...just plan on taking care of them. I now park my car in the garage where it is safe from all scratch and scuff possibilities and it still just hasn't retained that new car look....sometimes I think fondly back to that repainting :) But then I think, maybe I'll just save up for another shiny car....
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:44 PM on August 7, 2012

I would get a hitch for the rear and this for the front.
I rarely park in the city but my bumpers are like new in 3 years with using this. No scuffs or anything. Just some paint chips from the rocks in the front.
posted by AdamG8GXP at 8:25 AM on August 30, 2012

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