Car Rubbing Strip Buying Guide

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Car Rubbing Strip Buying Guide

Rubbing strips, also known as trim guards or body mouldings, became standardised at a time when car body shapes were squarer and therefore more essential. The rubbing strip absorbs impact from neighbouring cars or runaway shopping trolleys when it marks the widest part of the car and set at a height prone to collision. As such, its inclusion became a non-negotiable car manufacturing standard for many years.

With the curved, moulded forms dominating today's car market, most manufacturers have ceased production of side rubbing strips as they often afford little or no protection. However, some new cars still benefit from the inclusion of the rubbing strip, and the manufacturer's decision to cease production of this once standard accessory means that it is now up to individual drivers to source their own. Rubbing strips are genuine components and are rarely found as aftermarket products; however, there are several online companies who produce rubbing strips guards especially for the aftermarket. eBay is the ideal place to begin a search for these products to glean an overview of the range available.

Before buyers purchase rubbing strips for their cars, they should consider how it may affect the appearance of their vehicle as well as its compatibility. Depending on whether a universal or model-specific item is purchased, this may require considerable research. If model specific guards are used, manufacturing guidelines must be consulted to find the necessary corresponding moulding strips.

The Functionality of the Protective strip

Unlike the front and rear bumper which is the shock absorbing part of the car that involves a whole section of the front and rear end built to withstand a degree of impact, the rubbing strip has no such capabilities. Although bumpers may include the addition of a rubbing strip on its corner and widest point of the front and rear to deflect scratches, the rubbing strip itself can do very little to absorb heavy impact and prevent body distortion in the event of an accident. What they do, however, is protect against very minor impacts and scratches that occur almost constantly in streets and car parks each day.

Traditionally, the rubbing strip added a strong design and decorative feature to a car, which imbued it with extra character and charm. Originally made of chrome, this protective strip served a great aesthetic purpose that could be used to accentuate the line of the car, add glamour, and even a sense of prestige. With time, however, some manufacturers came to see the strip as a design distraction. As cars are now more curvaceous, the rubbing strip is no longer in general use as they afford little protection to such vehicles.

Types of Rubbing Strip

Rubbing strips are designed for both the body and bumper of many cars pre-2008, although certain models are still being released with its addition. They are designed for both the body and bumper of the vehicle and may be mounted to the side of the car or around the corners of the bumper. The rubbing strip may be made of rubber, chrome or plastic, and may blend with the car or stand out with distinction. Within the broad scope of protective body mouldings, the common thread among them is their high resistance to scratches, scrapes and indentation.

It should also be pointed out that some people like to utilise the rubbing strip to detail their car for a unique and stylish appearance. For this reason, the various rubbing strips discussed below sometimes include design features pertaining to shape, material, and surface type with that purpose in mind.

Side Rubbing Strip

Side rubbing strips, side body mouldings or car door guards are straight pieces of protective material that are applied to the side panels of the car. These strips are normally adhered with a backing tape or glue. An exception to this is the chrome strip with end tips designed for classic cars. These are riveted into place instead of glued. Side rubbing strips can be applied to the midsection of the car body, as well as to the lower region extending only a short way up from the bottom of the car.

The prospective buyer may choose a universal rubbing strip that may be applied to any car, or a model specific type that must be chosen carefully. Great care should also be taken in the application method to ensure it is positioned correctly and matches the other side. Even if universal guards are used, style consideration is nevertheless important. For example, a chrome rubbing strip should be added to a pre-1980s vehicle to maintain style authenticity, just as a black plastic strip would match many models from the 1990s.

Bumper Rubbing Strip

Bumper rubbing strips fit over the front and rear bumper or tailgate, and which are curved to fit around corners. Most have a gum adhesive backing and can be simply pushed into position. Although some are made of rubber, plastic or chrome, other bumper rubbing strips contain highly elastic compounds for additional impact cushioning. These strips are quite soft and highly resistant to scratches. The same fitting procedure may apply as with the side rubbing strips, or depending on the model, they may fit into a relief section of the bumper with obvious provision already made.

Car Door Collision Strip

Not to be confused with the car door guard, door collision strips attach to the car door's inside edge. These strips are perfectly suited to circumstances where somebody opens their door onto the car beside them—such as is the case in many crowded car parks or even on-street parking. In this event, the collision strip protects both cars involved. The strip is usually made of rubber and highly flexible.

Wheel Well Moulding Strip

Protection from knocks and scrapes are not limited to bumpers and side panels. The lower region of the fender well surrounds is also prone to the same damage from doors and trolleys. Such protective strips were common on older cars and were normally made of chrome. Today's wheel well moulding strips are often designed to provide a subtle, disguised application or even one that blends seamlessly with the rest of the car. They may also be used to add accent or a trimmed finish, giving the vehicle a more dressy appearance. The below chart offers a guide to the more usual purposes of each type of rubbing strip and their most common material properties. It is designed to be read as a generalisation.

Rubbing Strip Type



Side Rubbing Strip

Body protection from car doors and trolleys

PVC or other plastic, rubber or chrome

Bumper rubbing Strip

Bumper protection from trolleys, bikes or other passing objects

PVC or other plastic, rubber, chrome or vinyl

Door Collision Strip

Door edge protection to both cars against door openings


Wheel Well Strips

Protects fenders from lower body impacts

PVC or other plastic, rubber or chrome

Although not exhaustive, this information is indicative of the different protective roles performed by the various rubbing strips. Of course, there are many types of incidents that may damage the body of a car aside from the examples mentioned.

How to Buy Car Rubbing Strips on eBay

As retail supply is quite limited, eBay is the logical place to look for this item. After determining the type of protection you want for your car, enter the search term for your chosen item, such as "bumper rubbing strip" and check all relevant listings. When you have found a suitable item, make sure you check all detailed information pertaining to the item, and whether your designated product is a universal fit or designed for specific models only.

If the listed information does not provide the answers to your questions, you should email the seller to clarify or expand on the information given. Most sellers expect questions if their listing is brief. It is also a good idea to check the seller's eBay reputation by consulting their ratings score. This, along with their feedback ratings score, gives you the best indication of customers' experiences in dealing with that seller.

Your choice of postage and handling may depend on the type, size and weight of the item you have purchased. Rubbing strips are not particularly fragile and transport equally well in whichever postage means are used.


Car owners have a choice in how they present their precautionary additions. Depending on compatibility, type and placement, protective rubbing strips may recede seamlessly with the rest of the car or draw attention to themselves as a feature. Many new cars, no longer manufactured with rubbing strips, also benefit from them when tastefully chosen and appropriately placed, protecting the vehicle from minor impact and preserving the body in original condition. eBay lists many other sundry car accessories that may complement the addition of rubbing strips, such as a detailing kit.

Nobody wants to risk having their newly purchased or restored car dented or scraped through such preventable incidents as car door impacts. These minor and all too regular mishaps occur especially often in situations when people lack both adequate time and ample space. Protective rubbing strips are the perfect way to deflect potentially countless minor accidents that can have such regrettable results.