When it comes to classic cars and vintage vehicles, there’s a one such accessory that has been a part of automotive history is the “curb feeler.”
These simple yet practical devices were once a common sight on cars, particularly during the mid-20th century.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the world of curb feelers, discuss their purpose, installation, and provide insights on finding the perfect fit for your classic or vintage car.
What Are Curb Feelers?
US Mine Safety and Health Administration defines curb feelers, often referred to simply as “curb finders” or “curb sensors,” are small, spring-loaded wire or metal rods attached to the fender or lower body of a car.
Their primary purpose is to alert the driver when the vehicle’s wheels are getting too close to the curb or other obstacles while parking or maneuvering at low speeds.
How Do Curb Feelers Work?
Here’s how they work and why they are valuable:
Curb feelers typically consist of a thin metal or wire rod, one end of which is attached to the vehicle’s fender or body, while the other end hovers slightly above the ground.
When the vehicle approaches a curb or obstacle, the feeler makes contact with it, producing a distinct scraping or tapping sound.
This audible alert signals to the driver that the car is getting too close to the curb, preventing damage to the tires, wheels, and rims.
What are the Benefits of Curb Feelers
1. Prevent Curb Damage
The primary benefit of curb feelers is their ability to prevent curb-related damage to the wheels and tires of a vehicle. By providing an early warning, they help drivers avoid costly repairs.
2. Enhanced Safety
Car Curb feelers improve safety by alerting drivers to obstacles, reducing the risk of collisions while parking or maneuvering in tight spaces.
3. Parking Aid
They act as a parking aid, especially for vehicles with long hoods or those with limited visibility, making it easier to gauge distance from the curb.
Installing Curb Feelers on a Car
If you own a classic or vintage car and wish to install curb feelers on old cars, here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Gather the Necessary Tools
These include Curb feeler kit, Screwdriver or drill, Measuring tape, Pencil or marker, Safety goggles and glove.
2. Determine the Ideal Placement
Measure the distance from the ground to the wheel’s outer edge on the front and rear wheels.
Select a height slightly above the curb or obstacle you want to avoid, typically about 2 to 4 inches above the ground.
3. Mark the Installation Points
Use a measuring tape and pencil or marker to mark the points on the fender or body where you will install the curb feelers.
Ensure they are evenly spaced and parallel to the ground.
4. Pre-drill Holes
Depending on your curb feeler kit, pre-drill holes at the marked points using a screwdriver or drill.
Be cautious not to drill too deep to avoid damaging the vehicle’s body.
5. Install the Curb Feelers
- Insert the curb feeler rods into the pre-drilled holes.
- Tighten them securely using the provided hardware or fasteners.
- Ensure the feelers are positioned at the desired height and are free to move and touch the ground when necessary.
6. Test and Adjust
Before hitting the road, test the curb feelers by slowly approaching a curb or obstacle. Listen for the distinct sound of contact.
Finding the Perfect Curb Feelers for Cars
When searching for curb feelers for your classic or vintage car, consider the following factors to find the perfect fit:
1. Material and Durability: Opt for curb feelers made from durable materials like stainless steel or chrome-plated steel. They should withstand exposure to the elements and provide long-lasting performance.
2. Length and Style: Choose curb feelers with a length that suits your vehicle’s aesthetics and practical needs. Longer feelers may offer better visibility and warning.
3. Mounting Options: Some car curb feelers attach directly to the fender or body, while others may require mounting brackets or clips. Ensure the chosen option is compatible with your vehicle.
4. Ease of Installation: Consider curb feelers that are easy to install, especially if you plan to do it yourself. Look for kits that come with all the necessary hardware and instructions.
5. Aesthetic Appeal: Curb feelers come in various styles and finishes. Choose a design that complements the overall look of your classic or vintage car.
Curb feelers may have fallen out of mainstream use, but they remain a charming and functional accessory for classic and vintage car enthusiasts.
By understanding their purpose, installation process, and factors to consider when selecting the perfect fit, you can add a touch of nostalgia and practicality to your beloved vehicle.
So, whether you’re preserving the authentic look of a bygone era or simply enhancing the safety and functionality of your classic car, curb feelers are a unique and worthwhile addition to consider.
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