Hood protectors go by several different names. You might call it a wind deflector, a bug deflector or a hood deflector. They all boil down to the same thing. It’s a small, plastic accessory that fits along the front edge of the hood.
Buying a quality hood protector requires that you pay attention to several factors. Obviously, you want to buy one that’s sized to fit your car. You also want to get the right color (most are translucent black, but there are other colors available). Finally, look at how the hood protector attaches and choose one that offers a very secure fit. Keep these points in mind as you’re shopping for a hood protector:
Sized for you: Make sure that the hood protector you buy is actually designed to fit your make and model. Generic hood protectors are sometimes loose fitting. This allows movement while you’re driving (as the wind hits the deflector) and might scratch the paint.
Color: Hood protectors are made from plastic, but they come in an assortment of colors. Most are translucent black, but you may be able to find one that will match the paint color of your car if you prefer.
Securement: How does the hood protector attach to the hood? Make sure it uses a clip system with plastic protectors that prevent the mounting bolts from contacting the paint on your hood, or you could end up with damage.
Shape: There are several different shapes on the market (available under a range of brand names, like Bugflector® and Aeroskin®). Make sure you compare your options and choose a shape that appeals to you, but also that also offers the benefits you want. For instance, if you want to prevent bug buildup on the hood, one designed for that will do the trick. If you’re looking to make your car more aerodynamic, you’ll want something more streamlined.
The right hood protector offers protection, better air flow and more. It is a useful add-on that will prolong the life of your car’s hood.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality Hood Protector and was authored by Valerie Johnston.