CARS.COM — Yeah, we know those "adorable" car-window decals that "cleverly" represent each member of an SUV driver's brood get on your nerves. They're not hurting anyone, but at the same time, they kind of are if you count the stress you feel when stuck behind them in traffic as those happy little stick figures seemingly mock you with those stupid looks on their stupid little faces, they're just so stupid you wanna ... but we digress.
That stick-figure family is just one of today's car-accessory trends that will eventually become yesterday's car-accessory trend. And you can rest assured that your stress will be vindicated as they — like so many before them who jumped onto a bandwagon to passé pastures — will one day find themselves on the wrong side of car-accessory history.
Here are eight car-accessory fads we don't miss:
First embraced by New York City taxi drivers — reportedly for their therapeutic properties as it relates to hemorrhoids — this Asian import proliferated for a time in the 1990s as millions of American commuters swore the faux-hemian beaded seat covers massaged their backs, cooled their backsides and even cured their achy breaky lumbar. So what if experts dismissed all of this as marketing hype? To paraphrase those Marky Mark ads for Calvin Klein underpants of the time, nothin' was gonna come between us and our beaded seats.
The front-end bra truly was Victoria's Secret ... to making your car look ridiculous. This ill-advised automotive fashion fad from the '80s was supposed to guard against chipping paint and splattering bugs, though some argued that it actually caused more damage than it prevented. One might argue that this black vinyl undies-on-the-outside accessory was the first Wonderbra (as in, we wonder who would put one of these bras on their car). We know, we know: It looked totally bitchin' on your Pontiac Fiero. Be that as it may, bruh, the bra is one car fad we just can't support.
'Baby on Board' Signs
What exactly do you expect us to do with that information? Take care to crash into a different car as we're careening out of control on the highway? Not make an obscene hand gesture at you when you cut us off? Maybe drivers two decades ago understood the three-word declarative statement on that little yellow diamond-shaped sign suction-cupped to your rear window next to Garfield, but we need a little more info. (Related side note: No one cares that your older kid is an honor-roll student but you.)
No, no, we totally get it. Where else were you going to keep your bottle of Crystal Pepsi while you were steering and shifting? Who really cares how chintzy you make the interior of your car look with that cheap plastic hanger precariously clutching the sill of your crank window? I mean, practicality is all that really matters and appearances be damned, right? Wrong. Dude, it's not like we're in freakin' Myanmar, here — this is America, baby! Either choose one of the 50,000 other factory-equipped cars out there in the developed world that suit your cupholder needs or man up and hold that cold, condensation-covered Big Gulp between your thighs.
Ahh, cassette adapters for car CD players, you transitional-technology fossil, you — presumably once aimed at those nostalgic types who wanted to enjoy the advancements in digital electronics without having to part with the clunky, analog charms of the tape. Cars.com Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder was kind enough to loan us his old cassette adapter, which I assume he had stashed next to his Betamax VCR and Motorola Bag Phone. (I kept waiting for Indiana Jones to swing in on his bullwhip and yell, "That belongs in a museum!")
Neon Underglow Light Kits
For all we know, "The Fast and the Furious" acolytes out there may still be doing this, but a few years back, this gaudy, often illegal (always a crime against good taste) aftermarket add-on was really invading the mainstream. But seriously, why would you want the bottom of your car to be enveloped in a giant neon light puddle? Who do you think you are, Automan? More importantly, how old is the person writing this that they're making an "Automan" reference?
Ulchhh. This automotive abomination — known as the Landau roof, common on Cadillacs and Lincolns featured in, like, "Starsky & Hutch" and "T.J. Hooker" — was a vinyl treatment intended to approximate the look of a convertible on cars that were, you know, not convertibles. So if someone didn't wanna pony up the extra dough for a convertible but still wanted that ragtop swagger, they could pony up less extra dough to appear to the casual observer as ... someone who didn't want to pony up the extra dough for a convertible but still wanted that ragtop swagger.
Do-It-Yourself Window Tinting
The car equivalent of tinted prescription glasses first popularized by your cousin's high-school boyfriend Terry, at-home window tinting was/is a low-cost alternative to pricey professional work. The problem? If you're not careful about the quality of tinting film you use and confident in your application skills, you're just not gonna look as cool as Terry did. Plus, it might be illegal where you live. Plus, it very well may turn some shade of purple after sitting in the sun for one hot summer. Not that we don't love purple here at Cars.com, but ...