Hooniverse Asks: Do You Miss Rubstrips?

Do you regularly park in the hinterlands lest some inconsiderate slob park next to you and dent your door with their own? Or, are you one of those terrible people who takes up two or more parking spaces to ensure your car or truck has enough room around it to prevent even the widest of doors from reaching its pristine sides? No? I didn’t think so.
You know what would save your car from both inconsiderate parkers and being seen as an unconscionable D-bag? That’s right, rubstrips, those handy-dandy auto accessories – or sometimes even standard equipment fare – that once were common on cars, but seem today to have gone the way of the mighty Dodo and necker’s knobs.
Whether for aerodynamics or aesthetics, cars today seem to eschew any sort of protective beading on their doors and fenders. That’s a damn shame because there’s little worse than coming back to your ride in a parking lot and finding that someone has marked it with their door, as though it was their property. That makes me so mad. What about you, do you share my anger towards inconsiderate door openers? Do you further think that – since those jerks aren’t going anywhere – that rubstrips need to make a come-back?
Image: ©2015 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

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45 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: Do You Miss Rubstrips?”

  1. Vavon Avatar

    YES! Totaly useful for protecting the bodywork and great when neatly integrated.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      And that is one of the most neatly integrated examples you could’ve chosen.

  2. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

    One thing’s for sure, you miss them when they’re gone…

    1. dukeisduke Avatar


  3. tonyola Avatar

    In large parking lots, I tend to be one of those hinterland parkers, even though my LeSabre has rubberized factory-installed rub strips on the lower part of the doors and fenders (the pictured car is not mine, though it looks very similar). Whether rub strips need to come back depends on the car. Lots of old cars never had them to their stylistic advantage, like my dad’s old ’63 Lincoln. That’s but one single example where strips would have spoiled the clean lines.

  4. Frank T. Cat Avatar
    Frank T. Cat

    My 245 certainly misses the one for her driver’s door that some asshat tore off in a parking lot:

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      It does look like a battle scar.

      1. Frank T. Cat Avatar
        Frank T. Cat

        Oh, Blanche has a lot of battle scars. She’s earned every single one of them.

  5. P161911 Avatar

    Not as much as I miss real steel bumpers.

  6. Sjalabais Avatar

    Factory rubstrips: Yes! I have perfected the art of one-swipe-between-the-white-lines-parking, but a Volvodriver leftover is a certain disrespect for inanimate objects. Just two days ago I moved a garbage can a wee bit while turning the car and my wife in the passenger seat was very clear that that was not smart. Somewhat true. First of all, I miss proper bumpers!
    Add-on rubstrips on the other hand are neither impossible to attain nor by any means a pretty addition to the car. If stuff like that doesn’t glide smoothly into the design effort that a car is, it usually just looks odd. Particularly the plastic kind that wants to be chrome:

    1. tonyola Avatar

      There must be something in the add-on strips that prevents them being installed completely straight. Just about every one I’ve seen is wavy or crooked.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        I’ve seen one Toyota Yaris (of all things) that looked pretty tidy with black rubber strips glued on. Pretty telling that I actually remember this…Occasionally, I’d like to reprogram my brain to remember important stuff instead.

  7. engineerd Avatar

    The Jeep is lifted, so when I open the door into the car next to me I always miss the rub strips.

  8. Lokki Avatar

    Sigh, I guess I vote in favor of them. I remember the first time my father saw my then-new 74 Alfa Spider. Since I was young and foolish, and he was old and wise, he was not impressed or amused. I took him for a ride somewhere, and on arriving, parked in the hinterlands of the parking lot. He said,
    “You’re wasting your time. No matter where you park, some fat, ahem,”butt” woman in a 63 Falcon is going to ding your doors.”
    Sadly, experience has proven him correct, although these days when I drive the 71, it seems to attract rednecks in giant trucks who deliberately park next to me more than classically indifferent WalMart shopper types.

    1. engineerd Avatar


    2. Alff Avatar

      Engineerd doesn’t strike me as a redneck.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        He doesn’t have to be a redneck to drive a lifted Jeep. You’ll see several on any Friday or Saturday night cruising the deco district here on South Beach.

      2. engineerd Avatar

        My neck did get a little burned while doing yardwork last weekend, but I’m not a redneck in the sense of Lokki’s comments. I do drive a lifted Jeep, but am more a connoisseur of unpaved routes.

    3. Kiefmo Avatar

      Solution: stop going to Wally World.

      1. Vairship Avatar

        That way you don’t have to get all dressed up either!

        1. Rover 1 Avatar
          Rover 1

          Adding a new meaning to the phrase ‘dressed up’,
          ( Does this just mean ‘dressed’ without the up?)

  9. Alff Avatar

    No. Mine will go away when the Alfa gets its long overdue body and paint restoration.

  10. dukeisduke Avatar

    I remember the ones shown on that Z car. They were big in the mid to late ’70s. The base is an aluminum extrusion, with a extruded vinyl insert that slides in from the end. The end caps slide in, and have a hole for a pop rivet. You had to line up where you wanted to install the molding, mock up the base (cut to length) and end caps (tape everything on), and drill holes for the pop rivets. Then, cut the vinyl to length, slide it in, put the end cap on, and push the vinyl back (compress it) so you could install the pop rivets behind the vinyl. Very durable stuff. Usually, over time, the vinyl would shrink, exposing the pop rivets to view.

  11. salguod Avatar

    The ones on the Z above? No, I always hated them. Ruined the lines of every car they’re applied to, even if applied well positioned and expertly applied.
    Factory installed, or factory designed and dealer installed, rub strips are usually pretty good looking and can even enhance a car’s style. Aftermarket ones are more likely to be a detriment.
    The C5 Corvette rub strips always struck me as a well integrated.

  12. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    Mercedes W124, 126, 201, 140 etc and early Lexus LS.The whole bottom part of the door is a rub strip.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      I always figured some of the intention was rust protection?

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        Yeah, that too. (Although some would argue that rust can spread un-noticed underneath. My 124s and every LS I’ve seen have no rust- but then we don’t salt roads here)

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Agreed. But strips and covers are notorious rust bubble kindergartens.

  13. Andrew Avatar

    Yes. Small protective strips are a great idea. But like most things, moderation is key. Take it from someone who lives with the “bumper car effect” every day.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Can’t you get the Preludicrous name back? It is more characterful.

      1. Preludacris Avatar

        You know what? You’re right.

        1. Rover 1 Avatar
          Rover 1

          Oooh, sorry I spelt it wrong but …
          Yay! Heeeee’s baaaaaack!
          And to celebrate… Drinks are on me! In accordance with long established tradition, a quiet, characterful ale. An Emersons Porter Dark Ale from Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South. Like many of our comments, dark, malty, mellow, warming and perhaps just a little bitter.
          Cheers!! (and welcome back.)

          1. Preludacris Avatar

            It’s kind of fun being that guy with the Prelude obsession instead of just another somewhat anonymous commenter. Thanks for the brew!

          2. Rover 1 Avatar
            Rover 1

            There’s nothing long with obsessions provided they’re about cars!

  14. Guest Avatar

    “once were common on cars, but seem today to have gone the way of the mighty Dodo and necker’s knobs.”

    Wrong on both counts. Necker’s knobs are available in any farm parts store, and are extremely useful on a loader tractor. They’re just not legal as a car accessory, although if you really wanted to, the tractor ones are universal for all steering wheels.


    Oh, and the Dodo? That’s what I call my brother, and he is certainly not extinct!

  15. crank_case Avatar

    The Citroen C4 Cactus takes rubstrips to another level..

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      But then the kids can’t slam the rear doors into neighbouring cars anyway. Makes me want to slap the designer’s winning over engineer’s again.

  16. Krautwursten Avatar

    I’m really staggered by the disappearance of rub strips considering they seemed to have played an increasingly big role in Wal Mart parking lots, up to the ’90s when Pontiac went all out for the soccer moms and turned their rubstrips into rubplanks. Forget about the zombie apocalypse, this is the car for the doorslammer apocalypse.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      I was all happy when minivans were popular, as the sliding doors meant at least the spawn in the back of the we-don’t-car-family-mobiles were unable to slam their doors into neighboring cars. But now SUVs and Cute Utes (basically lifted minivans without sliding doors) have replaced the minivans. Sigh.

      1. Krautwursten Avatar

        If family cars grow any taller, the doors will miss your rub strip entirely, and then what?

        1. Vairship Avatar

          If SUVs/CUVs grow any taller, their doors will completely clear my Corvair convertible (except maybe the windshield frame).

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      I’ve never seen a Pontiac with this front before…what were they thinking, giving their cars a sad Hitler moustache?

  17. neight428 Avatar

    They are slightly more attractive than dinged sheetmetal, which seems like an eventuality unless you are lucky enough to avoid civilization entirely on your drives. I have them on my ’79 Trans Am and they look nearly identical to those on the Datsun in the lead pic. They have saved dings more than once at the hands of my inattentive cohabitants flinging open the door of the family truckster that parks next to it in the garage. These people know and love me, I expect much less of Ricky Redneck in his haste to procure a new can of Skoal at the gas station.
    That said, I have a fairly substantial ding in the rear quarter panel of my Mustang that is high enough that no strip would have prevented it, so you’re only getting so much utility out of them.
    I’m resigned to door dings as I am with death and taxes. If you want a pristine vehicle, you probably won’t be able to drive it much. Such is life.
    That said, the sheetmetal on early Broncos is so thick that I think it would take a ball peen hammer to dent it.

  18. Javenlevi Avatar

    I’ve always found it interesting how rub strips became a universal styling feature in the late 80’s/ early 90’s. I think nearly everything looks better without them, and as others have said, they don’t really do much anyway. A better solution would be if all cars had something like Ford’s door ding preventer.