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Rain Guards: In-Channel vs. Stick-On

Tired of annoying crosswinds, buffeting noise, and rain spray when you crack your windows for ventilation? Whichever style you choose, rain guards cure these woes.
Front And Rear Wind Deflectors Installed

Rain Guards, also known as wind deflectors, window deflectors, or window visors, are an underrated automotive accessory - simply because it's difficult to know just how effective they are until you experience them. However, once fitted on your car or truck, it's hard to imagine how you got along without them. Deflectors improve your vehicle's aerodynamics when the windows are down, reducing annoying wind noise. Deflectors also allow you to drive in the rain with windows cracked for ventilation without getting wet. And when blistering hot summer days roll around, windows can be left cracked in a parking lot without being noticeable to potential thieves.

Other than deciding between tinted or chrome finish, the biggest decision to consider when purchasing a deflector comes down to installation method. More specifically, deflectors are made to either fit snugly into the window channel, or be taped onto the exterior of door frames or the vehicle body. Your preference may depend on how much you like the way a particular one looks, and on how much effort you're prepared to devote to installation. In this article, we'll take a look at what makes these styles different, and we'll look at some examples of each. For simplicity, we'll also refer to all these products as "deflectors".

In-Channel Wind Deflectors

In-Channel Wind Deflectors

In-channel window deflectors have a thin flange that fits into the door's upper window channel, and uses tension (and in some applications, tape) to stay securely mounted in place. It's important to clarify that this tape is not similar to rolled cellophane type found in our desk drawers. What's used in deflector installation is 3M™ automotive-grade double-sided foam tape. The tape is strong and effective enough that many automobile manufacturers choose to use it for attachment of chrome trim parts on their assembly lines.

Smoke Colored Wind Deflectors Installed

A foam core allows the double-sided tape to conform to surface irregularities, and to expand and contract with temperature changes. Installation is extremely simple, because the tape comes with a protective backing that's peeled away before final installation. Plus, there are no unsightly fasteners to deal with. Advantages of in-channel deflectors are easy installation without adhesive residue sticking to painted surfaces, a slightly more flush-looking profile that resembles OEM equipment, and ease of removal. Some potential disadvantages of in-channel deflectors include slightly more complex installation, marks on the window from regular up-down contact, and interference with power window motors that are extremely sensitive to any resistance - such as those equipped with an auto-reverse safety feature that would be triggered if a hand was blocking window-up travel.

WeatherTech Dark Smoke Window Deflectors
The WeatherTech Dark Smoke Window Deflectors.

When it comes to in-channel deflectors, we’ve got a great selection. If you prefer clear plastic with smoke-colored tint, there’s Weathertech’s In-Channel Side Window Deflectors, Wade In-Channel Smoke Window Deflector, and AVS In-Channel Vent Visor Smoke Window Deflectors. Should you prefer a more styled look that consists of double layers of wind fairings that’s ideal for contemporary vehicles, we’ve got the Stampede Snap-Inz Sidewind Deflectors.

Stampede Snap-Inz Sidewind Deflectors
The Stampede Snap-Inz Sidewind Deflectors.

If the brightwork of polished stainless steel construction would be a good fit for your vehicle, we also offer the AVS VentShade Window Deflectors. These are also available with additional black finish. Designed for vehicles with fixed vent windows, they cover only the topmost horizontal part of the window. Prefer an actual chrome finish? Take a look at Putco’s In-Channel Element Window Visors. And if deflectors with a matte black finish provide the right complementary look, there’s the EGR In-Channel Window Visors (also available in smoke tint) that wrap completely around all sides of the window opening.

AVS VentShade Window Deflectors In Polished/Black Coating
The AVS VentShade Window Deflectors are made from stainless steel, and are available in polished bright finish or with black coating.

Adhesive Wind Deflectors That Mount On The Exterior

Stick-on window visors attach to the exterior part of your vehicle's door frames (or roof if your windows are frameless) with afore-mentioned 3M tape applied 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 evenly between the top part of the window and the top part of the door.

Stick-On Window Visors

Advantages of stick-on deflectors include easier install, and no interference with auto-reverse power windows.

Rugged Ridge Window Rain Deflectors
The Rugged Ridge Window Rain Deflectors.

If the tinted plastic variety is your first choice in stick-on deflectors, we’ve got the AVS Tape-On Ventvisor Window Deflectors (chrome available for select models), Wade Tape-On Slim Design Smoke Window Deflector, and Rugged Ridge Tape-On Window Deflectors. If you’ve got a 4-door vehicle and are looking for deflectors with unique styling, the AVS Tape-On Accent Visor Window Deflectors feature a chrome insert that starts halfway along the front window section and continues onto the rear window piece. Untrimmed plastic sections feature a dark smoke tint.

Stampede Tape-Onz Sidewind Deflectors In Camo/Chrome Plated Finish
The Stampede Tape-Onz Sidewind Deflectors are available with camouflage, chrome-plated finish, chrome trim, carbon fiber look, or smoke tint finish.

When it comes to the dazzling shine of chrome finish over durable plastic construction, we’ve got several stick-on choices. There’s the AVS Tape-On Element Window Visors, Stampede Tape-Onz Sidewind Deflectors (also available in camouflage, carbon fiber look or dark smoke tint), and the RI Tape-On Window Visors (available in smoke tint or chrome depending on vehicle application).

AVS Low Profile Ventvisor
The AVS Low Profile Ventvisor is available in black matte finish, and may be equipped with a chrome trim strip on some vehicles to match original factory brightwork.

The AVS Tape-On Low Profile Ventvisor Window Deflectors (available in matte black finish or dark smoke tint) mount in a flush position on the door frame instead of sticking out to the side, and they blend in well enough to look like original equipment. If your vehicle was originally equipped with a chrome strip along the top of the door frame, these will feature trim to match a factory look.

GTS Smoke Bubble Ventguards Window Deflector
The GTS Smoke Bubble Ventguards Window Deflector is one of several stick-on deflectors that cover a larger portion of the window area.

If you deal with mud splash back on non-paved roads or drive at faster speeds, we offer several smoke tint plastic deflectors that cover a larger portion of the window area. For a variety of pickup models, we’ve got the Wade Tape-On Smoke Extra Wide Wind Guard as well as the GTS Tape-On Smoke Bubble Ventguards Window Deflectors. AVS also offers their Tape-On AeroVisor Window Deflectors that mount underneath side mirror assemblies, which are removed temporarily during installation.

Wind Deflectors Product Options Field
A product with a lead picture showing a smoke-tinted plastic deflector may also be available in chrome-plated or matte black finish, so be sure to check the Product Options field.

We hope this article has provided you with some useful information. Whether you ultimately choose the in-channel or the stick-on design, all rain guards are practical, and they'll look great on your car or truck.

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