What Are Door Edge Guards?

The simplest answer to the question of “What are door edge guards?” is this: They’re paint protectors for your vehicle, which is one of the biggest purchases of your life and likely among the most valuable assets you own. A follow-up question is generally “Why use door edge guards?” The answer to that is simple, too, but can use a little more explanation.

Your car or truck has paint on it for a reason, and that reason is more than just aesthetic. In addition to looking good, paint protects what’s underneath from rusting and deteriorating. So when that paint gets nicked or chipped, the issue is more than a minor visual annoyance, since it can lead to bigger problems down the road as moisture gets direct access to the metal. A door edge guard, also known as door edge trim, serves to protect that precious paint at one of the most vulnerable points on your vehicle, which is right there in the name: the door edge.

Every time you or a passenger swing a door open, there’s a risk of hitting something that can damage the paint along the edge. Each crunch into a curb, bang into a barrier, and knock into another car can flake a bit of paint away. Even the most careful of people are sometimes surprised by an accident, such as the sudden arrival of a runaway shopping cart or a rock kicked up by a speeding driver that hits in just the wrong spot. Door edge guards take the force of those dings so your paint doesn’t have to, protecting your car’s visual appeal, long-term integrity, and overall value.

How Door Edge Guards Work

Door edge guards work by lining or wrapping around the edges that tend to accidentally hit hard surfaces when vehicle doors are opened without regard to nearby trees, concrete walls, or even other cars and trucks. While there are some variations in size, shape, and how a strip of door edge trim is attached, all of the different types generally stick to the door with some sort of included adhesive, but can be removed as needed or desired.

Once installed, door edge guards serve as a first line of defense against nicks and chips, taking the brunt of the impact if the edge swings into a pole. If a line of trim gets too damaged to continue to function properly, it can be replaced with a fresh guard. This ensures that the door edge protector will be fully ready for the next impact, as well as keep your vehicle’s lines looking sleek.

Door Edge Guards vs. Door Edge Film

Car door edge film is very similar to car door edge guards, in that it protects paint against impacts. Unlike guards, however, the film comes in a single flat strip that can be pressed down along an edge, then folded around the edge over to stick down. It looks a lot like a stretchier, wider version of the clear adhesive tape you use around the house. The film is often thinner than door edge guards, which come in pre-set shapes and varying thicknesses intended for use on specific types of vehicles. The biggest guards, for instance, go on the biggest trucks and vans.

Color options may figure into your decision to choose either door edge guards or door edge film for your vehicle. While door edge guards come in an assortment of colors, door edge film is universally transparent, so it tends to be less noticeable due to its see-through design. Note that edge guards can also be clear.

Color Match Options for Door Edge Guards

Door edge guard color options include hues that can match or complement your existing paint job, as well as tones what will contrast or add a new visual dynamic. Chrome edge trim, for instance, can be applied to a red or yellow car to create a door edge that stands out. Door edge guards may also be clear, but still offer more variety in terms of shape and thickness than film.

A chart can help determine which door edge trim styles come in which colors. Popular colors that go with a variety of paint jobs are black, white, and chrome. High-gloss options are also often available.

Door Edge Guard Size and Shape Options

When it comes to types and sizes of door edge guards, the choice comes down to personal preference.

First, the shapes. There a three primary kinds, with each type taking its name from the letter of the alphabet it resembles. The U-shape wraps around the edge, the J-shape covers one side and has a lip, and the L-shape is similar to a J, but with even less wrap-around.

There are three primary sizes, too: reduced, for compact vehicles; full, which fits a wide range of cars; and large, which may also simply be referred to as “truck” size. Heavy duty door edge guards can help to preserve lines on big working vehicles that see a lot of use.

Door Edge Guard Cost

Many dealerships will offer to install door edge guards or film, and may charge more than $100 for the service. Compare that to a 25’ kit of chrome full-size U-shaped door edge guard, which is perfect for a DIY project and costs about $24. As for the cost of your own time, the whole installation job can be done in as little as 15 minutes.

Different styles and colors come in different lengths, from 25’ and 50’ kits to 100’ reels, find the size that is right for you. Download the Cowles Products catalog.