The Purpose Of Bug Shields: What Do They Really Do?
Bug splatter is a significant deal, especially if you drive in the early evening and in conditions that are hot and muggy. Within minutes, your grille, hood, and windshield may be covered with hundreds of dead insects, potentially impairing visibility and ruining your paint. Bug shields are the solution to this conundrum and a low-cost remedy you can install yourself.
Your Vehicle, the Bug Magnet
Insects rove throughout the day and include the usual flies, stinging insects such as bees, and butterflies. You may find yourself driving straight into a swarm of bugs, or they may find your car’s reflectors or daytime running lights an allurement.
When your headlights and taillights are on, especially at night, your vehicle’s bug magnetism becomes heightened. If the insect mix at twilight seems different (and larger), you’re correct. Moths, which we know are easily attracted to a flame, are also drawn to your headlights in the same way. Instead of burning up in a propane light, moths and other insects will crush themselves on the surface of your fast-moving car.
In some areas of the country, in particular Texas, insects high in acidity known as “love bugs” take flight in late spring and again as summer gives way to fall in search of a soul mate. Once they make contact with your paint, the damage begins. And unless you take immediate action, you may find the remedy involves costly detailing.
How to Prevent Bug Splatter
Fortunately, your vehicle need not become a bug magnet. Or at least not something bugs can adhere to. The solution is a simple and low-cost one, where you’ll install a bug shield on your vehicle.
Bug shields, also known as air deflectors, span your hood’s leading-edge, running from side to side. They’re customized for your make/model vehicle to ensure a precise fit. You can understand how a shield works the moment you begin driving as it pushes the airstream upward at the front section of your vehicle. In this case, bugs sail over the roof instead of landing on your hood or windshield.
Deflectors have changed over the years for improved effectiveness. Early bug shields were simply tall, upright pieces of plexiglass attached to the front of the vehicle. Sometimes they worked quite well, but not always. What researchers found is that deflector height isn’t nearly as important as the fit. Because vehicle designs vary so much, the only way to ensure that a shield works is to design it specifically for a particular make/model. Thus, the custom design means that the deflector not only is optimally designed and fitted but looks great too. Importantly, they’re easy to install with no drilling required.
Not every insect will deflect as some will smash right into the shield. That’s acceptable as bug shields can handle any mess. You’ll simply clean the shield as you would the rest of your vehicle.
Bug shields serving in their joint role as air deflectors can also keep tiny pebbles and some road debris from hitting your windshield. You’ll still want to keep your distance from a salt-spreader, but at least what does hit your vehicle stands a chance of getting deflected.
Check out all the paint & body products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on bug shields, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Pexels.
Matthew C. Keegan View All
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.
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