Why Buy a Car Bra?
Anytime you hit the road, your vehicle faces rocks, debris, bugs and many other enemies that are waiting to lay waste to your hood and grille. Safeguard your sensitive leading-end paint with a car bra, sometimes known as a car mask or front end mask, to:
- Preserve like-new paint
- Ensure resale value
- Eliminate worry from dings and dents
- Sport classic race-inspired looks that virtually scream speed
A guide to protecting your paint with a car bra
Your vehicle's front end is confronted by a barrage of attackers every day. Whether it's tire-tossed rocks, flying debris or exploding bugs, your paint ends up bearing the brunt of your commute. The results can be distressing: dings in your grille detail, chipping of your paint layers, and evil scratches. Not only are they unsightly, these damage marks also invite rust underneath your paint.
To stop this process, car bras employ thick vinyl material for deflecting these airborne adversaries away from your vehicle's finish. Small dings and scratches can't get through your car bra's outer layer, leaving your paint pristine.
Car bras protect your finish underneath the vinyl layer, too. They employ soft, paint-safe linings that pamper your vehicle and complete the network of protection over your front end. When installed properly, the quality protective outer layer, soft inner lining and custom-tailored fit ensure perfect front-end paint condition. You get like-new looks, boosted resale value and extra satisfaction with your vehicle.
If your front end's finish has already fallen prey to some road wounds, take a look into our Car Care Guide. It's chock-full of tips, advice and help on reviving your paintjob's luster.
A guide to the specialized fit of a custom car bra
The exactness of fit may be the most important part of a custom car bra. A specially-tailored car bra, otherwise knows as an auto bra, is the best way to protect the front end of your vehicle, as the skin-tight material easily deflects would-be debris that cause scratches, dings and paint chips.
Saggy, inferior car bras tend to bunch, bubble and flap at even moderate speeds. Beyond annoying, these factors are often abrasive and can actually damage paint. That's why a precise fit is so important for your vehicle. Maximum protection is best achieved when your vehicle and your car bra fit together like hand in glove.
A custom car bra not only fits your vehicle like a second skin, it knows the various functions and parts of your front end. Pop-up headlights, fog or driving lights and air dams are all accounted for with special design, so your new car bra allows complete use of your vehicle. That includes full hood access, too. True custom car bras won't require removal of your bra for simple tasks such as topping-off fluids and checking your oil.
Because they're designed for a tight fit, installing your car bra for the first time may take 20 minutes or more. Not to worry, though—installation gets easier each time. Plus, each car bra employs padded hooks that hold the bra tight without imprinting your vehicle's paint.
An introduction to the race-inspired history of car bras for Car Bra Research Buffs
In the early days of car bras, these front-end covers were made specifically to protect the paint of fine sports cars and prototype models. These testing conditions required a precise, custom fit that met the extreme demands of road testing and time trials.
It's this glove-like fit that gives a car bra its fast looks. Fine car bras are precisely trimmed and sewn to the shape of your vehicle—every curve, line and contour is taken into account. As such, a custom car bra never flaps, bubbles or bunches, making your vehicle sleek at any speed.
From American highways to the autobahn, car bras have grown out of a select group of enthusiasts to widespread use. And, the styles of car bras available have expanded from a few sports cars to include virtually all cars, trucks, SUVs, vans and minivans.
A reference guide to car bra shapes and styles
Though car bras used to be full-front end covers only, their growing popularity has made way for a variety of shapes. Some are merely a matter of preference, while others are specific to certain vehicle types.
Car bra shapes
Each type of car bra has its own unique set of benefits to choose from. Here is a quick rundown on the different styles.
Full front end car bras
The original full front end car bra design is still overwhelmingly popular with today's cars, trucks, SUVs, vans and minivans. These bras offer complete shielding for your vehicle's front end and look great, too. They employ separate pieces for the hood and grille/bumper sections of the bra, allowing full engine compartment access. Plus, they're designed to accommodate whatever factory air dams, pop-up headlights and driving/fog lamps your vehicle uses. All of the industry's trusted brands, such as Colgan, Speed Lingerie and Wolf, make these armor shields for thousands of vehicles.
Same paint-protecting concept of a full front end car bra in a smaller-scale version. Sport bras fit just the leading edge of the hood of your vehicle, stopping paint damage in the most commonly attacked area. The popular feature of sport bras is they allow the original looks of your vehicle to show through. And, they feature the same custom-tailored crafting as a full front end bra. Look to Colgan, Wolf and Covercraft for these sporty shields.
T-style car bras
Designed from the same concept as sport bras, T-style car bras stand guard over the larger hoods of trucks, SUVs, vans and minivans. Because these autos have raised hoods and significantly more vulnerable paint, T-style bras cover the leading edge and the center of the hood, stretching from front to back. They attach in much the same way as a sport bra and allow full hood access. For a quality T-style car bra, go with Colgan.
Aside from shape, car bras are available in a few different styles. Leading the way are classic car bras, the variety that started it all. Beyond these are all-weather car bras made to handle any driving condition. Color car bras offer excellent protection with a big helping of bright style. The crown jewel of the car bra collection is the luxury car bra, designed specifically to hug the exquisite curves of fine rare sports cars and high-end performance road racers.
Classic car bras
Fit is key to the effectiveness and looks of your car bra. Classic car bras offer the best possible custom-tailored fit for your vehicle. They're custom made-to-order at the factory and precision-sewn to act as a second skin for your front end. Classic car bras are the standard by which all other bra products are measured. Classic car bras also feature multiple style options, including full front end car bras, sport bras and T-style car bras. They're also available with finish options for the durable vinyl material: standard smooth black and modern carbon fiber imprint. Plus, classic car bras are custom-tailored to fit all types of vehicles, including cars, trucks, SUVs, vans and minivans.
Classic car bras can be used in the rain. However, anytime they get wet, classic car bras should be removed and allowed to dry completely. This prevents water that gets between the bra and your paint from becoming trapped and forming rust. Colgan is the leading name in classic car bras.
All-weather car bras
These custom car bras boast the added benefit of all-weather crafting for worry-free use in any season. A few all-weather car bras sport a slightly less exact fit than classic car bras, though the design is still customized to the lines and shape of your vehicle.
All-weather car bras employ micro-perforated vinyl that allows trapped moisture to escape from underneath the bra. They're good to go in rain and other wet weather with no issues. If the bra gets wet, just make sure to drive around for a while to allow the moisture to evaporate. If you plan on parking your vehicle outdoors in the weather or do not have time to drive your front end dry, just remove the bra and allow it to dry completely. Wolf, LeBra and Covercraft all craft top-shelf all-weather car bras.
Color car bras
The color car bras we carry feature the same moisture-handling benefits of an all-weather car bra with the added expression of bright color. The great customized fit provides full front end protection for your vehicle, plus the vivid color that best matches or accents your paint.
Ideal for sport and compact cars, color car bras are an excellent combination of flair and protection. Two companies specialize in color car bras: Speed Lingerie and LeBra.
Luxury car bras
Designed for the exact contours of performance luxury cars, these bras appeal to some of the rarest and most expensive automobiles on the road. Luxury car bras boast a precise fit that's coupled with a custom exterior color that blends seamlessly with the specific finish of your sports car—sometimes right down to the stripes.
This virtually invisible bra is only available for a limited number of vehicles, and made exclusively by Speed Lingerie. They're specialized to a narrow group of premier road racers with uncommon shape and style. Plus, luxury car bras feature a unique top layer and absorbent middle layer material for wicking away moisture. Luxury car bras dry as you drive, using the same properties as all-weather car bras to eliminate the need to remove your bra when wet.
Advice on selecting the right car bra for your vehicle
There are plenty of options available when you're picking a car bra for your vehicle. Fortunately, it's easy to narrow-down the field to the right one. You should consider:
- How much of your front end you want to cover
- The color/finish look you like best
- How frequently you drive or park your vehicle in wet weather
How much of your front end do you want to cover?
Each style and shape of car bra covers a different amount of the front end of your vehicle. The more paint your car bra covers, the more paint is protected. The less area the bra covers, the more your vehicle's original looks can show through. It's all a matter of personal preference.
- When you want to cover the most possible area of your vehicle's front end, select a full front end car bras.
- If you want to protect the most vulnerable paint on your front end and still show the original looks of your vehicle, pick a sport bra.
- To safeguard the exposed, sensitive hood of your truck, SUV, van or minivan, grab a T-style car bra.
What color or finish do you like best?
Car bras can be had in a range of finishes and colors, from black to bright and some shades in between. There's also a choice of textures on some models.
- If you want the original car bra look, select a smooth black finish.
- Late-model style is best had with an ultra-modern carbon fiber car bra.
- Express yourself with bright flair by picking a color car bra.
How frequently do you drive in wet weather?
No car bra is completely waterproof. Not to worry, though—every car bra can be used in wet weather and moist conditions. What happens after a car bra gets wet is the important factor. We recommend removing classic car bras after getting wet and drying them completely before reinstallation. All-weather car bras are perforated to allow moisture to escape, essentially drying while you drive.
- Select a classic car bra if you want the best possible fit, and either don't mind removing your bra or rarely drive in wet weather.
- Pick an all-weather car bra for a slightly less precise fit with less frequent removal needed than a classic car bra.
- If you frequently drive in wet weather, get a micro-perforated all-weather bra that dries while you drive.
Car bra materials and care guide
All of the car bras we feature employ heavy-duty vinyl for deflecting stones and debris from your vehicle's paint. While the exact type of vinyl varies by product, most car bras, including classic car bras, employ durable UV-resistant vinyl for the outer layer. This provides outstanding protection for paint and helps maintain a snug fit on your vehicle. Car bra vinyl is treated to prevent fading in the sun, shrinkage in the heat, and stiffness in cold weather.
Beneath the protective shield of the outer vinyl is a soft, paint-safe inner layer of cloth material for pampering your vehicle's finish. While the exact material varies by product, thick flannel and knit cloth layers are frequently used for protection, keeping your vehicle's paint in showroom condition.
Hooks and straps
Every car bra attaches differently to your vehicle, and uses different materials to get the job done. These include hooks and straps attached to the bra, and may also include strategically-placed Velcro fasteners.
Hooks are used in a variety of shapes and styles to ensure a tight fit to your vehicle’s front end. Almost all full front end car bras use hooks inside the wheel well for fastening around your fenders. Hooks are also employed on the ends of straps for attachment of the hood section of a car bra.
Some car bras attach to your vehicle using bare plastic hooks. The alternative hook is metal padded with vinyl, neoprene or another substance. These padded hooks are superior hardware that takes special care to protect your paint. They're typically found on classic car bras and luxury car bras exclusively.
There are two basic strap types used on car bras: bungee cord straps and woven nylon straps. Each has their upside and downside.
Woven nylon straps boast great durability. Their tough materials and precise weave mean your straps won’t wear out easily with regular use. They must be tightened like any standard strap, though, leaving the potential for loosening and ultimately a less tight fit for your car bra.
Bungee cord straps, conversely, maintain their tension better than a standard nylon design. This best preserves the exact fit of your car bra, and is usually found attached to classic and luxury car bras. The downside to a bungee strap is the possibility of overstretching. Once a bungee strap has been pushed past the limits, it’s pretty much useless.
Car bra quick care manual
More than just a cloth lining is needed for full protection of your paint. Following the manufacturer's instructions for care that are included with your bra is essential to your vehicle's protection and your driving satisfaction. Using and properly maintaining your bra is the best way to guard your precious investment. Simply put, take care of your car bra, and it'll take care of you.
Proper care when your bra gets wet is essential to the condition of both your bra and your paint. Moisture trapped between the super-tight material of your car bra and your vehicle's finish can cause a number of damaging results to both your paint and your bra.
Mildew is the most common problem with a neglected wet car bra, which can have effects on both your paint and your bra. Beyond mildew, trapped moisture can eventually cause costly clear coat cracking or paint bubbling. That's why special care for a wet car bra is so essential to your finish's condition.
Classic car bras can be driven in wet conditions, but should be removed when you're done driving. Lay your car bra out in a clean area where it can dry completely. Reinstall when both your car bra and your vehicle's front end are completely dry.
All-weather car bras are micro-perforated to allow trapped moisture to evaporate. If the bra gets wet, simply drive it dry. If the bra is thoroughly soaked, removal is the best idea. If you have no time to drive the bra dry, or if your vehicle will be parked outside in the elements for an extended period, remove the bra and lay it out in a clean spot. Allow the bra to dry, and reinstall when your vehicle's front end is moisture-free.
Be sure to follow the specific included manufacturer's instructions for wet car bra care. Your car bra may come with additional care steps for moisture and finish protection.
When you do remove your car bra, the best place to store it is in your trunk or in your garage. For the ultimate protection, you can pack it into a special car bra accessory: a storage bag. Plus, these bags even come in black and carbon fiber finishes to match your car bra.
Keep washing instructions for your car bra in mind, too. Each car bra we feature can be cleaned with a mild detergent and water, or common car wash soap.Classic car bras should be removed for cleaning. While all-weather car bras can be washed on your vehicle, they must be driven dry afterwards. Never machine wash a car bra.
Most manufacturers recommend removing and cleaning your car bra whenever you wash your vehicle. It's important to clean the paint surfaces underneath your car bra regularly, as dust and dirt can get trapped between the cloth lining and your finish.
Allowing this dirt to stay trapped under the car bra can have a "sandblasting" effect on your vehicle's finish, making your paint underneath the bra cloudy in comparison to the rest of your car. Weekly removal and cleaning is a safe practice.