Rain Guards: In-Channel vs. Stick-On

Rain Guards: In-Channel vs. Stick-On

Rain Guards, also known as Wind Deflectors, Window Deflectors or Window Visors, are one of those underrated automotive accessories: You don't realize how effective they are until you experience them, and once you have them on your car or truck you wonder how you got along without them. Rain guards help to maintain your car's aerodynamics when the windows are down, reducing annoying wind noise. With rain guards you can drive in the rain with the windows cracked for ventilation and never get wet. And on hot summer days you can leave the windows cracked when you park without advertising to potential thieves.

Besides deciding on tinted or chrome finish, the biggest decision you have to make when selecting wind deflectors pertains to how they're installed. Wind deflectors can be installed in the window channel or they can be taped to the body.

Your preference depends on how much you like the way a particular wind deflector looks on your car or truck, and how much effort you're prepared to devote to installation. Let's take a look at each kind.

Stick-On Rain Guards

The first thing to know about in-channel window deflectors is that even some of them come with tape. And before we go any further we should also explain that this tape is not like that cellophane stuff on a roll that you have in your desk drawer. This is 3M™ automotive-grade double-sided foam tape. It's super strong and so effective it's used by the automobile manufacturers to attach chrome trim parts at the factory.

The foam core allows the tape to expand and contract with temperature changes and conform to surface irregularities. Installation is not only simpler; there are no unsightly fasteners to deal with. The tape comes with a protective backing that's peeled away before final installation.

In-Channel Window Deflectors
In-Channel Rain Guards

In-channel window deflectors have a thin flange that fits into the door's upper window channel. Lower the window and tuck the flange up into the channel, beginning at the front. Some deflectors rely on the tension of the deflector to remain installed; these deflectors literally "snap" in place. As indicated earlier, other in-channel deflectors use tape to stay in place. Always test fit these first because once the tape is applied, they're very difficult to remove. Once you're satisfied with the installed position, remove the tape backing and tuck the flange up into the channel. After installation, raise the windows to keep tension on the window deflectors. The manufacturer may specify that the windows remain in this position for a period of time to complete the installation.

Stick-on window visors are attached with tape to the door frame, just above the window channel. Installation of this type requires more "eyeball" work than the in-channel kind. Before final installation, you'll need to position the window visor and make sure the distance between it and the top part of the door and the body line is equal all the way around. If you're installing window visors on the front and rear sure the visors are even at the top.

To make test fitting easier, peel a small portion of the backing away from the tape at the leading and trailing edges of the window visor, leaving the end of the front tape backing sticking out when the visor is placed against the door. The small portions of exposed tape will keep the window visor against the door and allow you to reposition it as required while you're test fitting. Before final installation, clean the surface of the door where the tape will be applied with the surface preparation supplied with the window visor. This will remove wax and other substances that could keep the tape from adhering to the surface. Once you're happy with the window visor's position, remove the tape backing by pulling on the end of the backing that you left exposed, beginning at the front of the visor, while applying pressure to the visor. After removing the backing, use your fingers to apply pressure to the window visor from front to back on the surface opposite the tape, to make sure the tape sticks to the door. The manufacturer may specify that the vehicle not be washed or exposed to water for a period of time after installation.

We hope the preceding has provided you with some useful information. Regardless of which type you choose, all rain guards are practical and they'll look great on your car or truck. Finally, these are general instructions; we always recommend that you follow the manufacturer's specific instructions for the particular product purchased.

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