Use Rust Stickers To Make Your Stuff Seem Like Junk?

Here’s a clever idea: Rust stickers that you can apply to your car or bike to make it seem crappy… even though it’s secretly awesome.

Ha! We like it. No word on whether it really dissuades thieves, but the creator does offer this anecdote in the way of endorsement:

This anti-theft device is not guaranteed to work in any way.
However I have stuck them to my shiney new red bike and can confirm it hasn’t been stolen yet. 13 days of not being stolen in London probably equates to 7 years of non-stealing in the friendly countryside.

Anti-Theft Bike/Car Device [dominicwilcox via AutoBlog]


Edit Your Comment

  1. tinky XIII says:

    Hmm… I just cut out the middle man and buy semi-crappy cars. No one ever messes with a ’76 Beetle with no muffler and runny, spray-painted flowers on the side…

  2. therethinker says:

    In Make:, they outlined how to make a book look really old.

    Rather than buy these stickers, why not just slap some duct tape? It will look like its a real beater.

  3. Charles Duffy says:

    @therethinker: Heh. Brings back memories… not that distant of ones, either.

    My last car *was* a beater, and towards the end of its lifespan the front bumper, the molding under the passenger door and the rear license plate (carefully, to avoid getting a ticket for obscuring it) were held on with duct tape. Needed to be reapplied now and again, but it was certainly cheaper than taking it back to the body shop.

    I frequently left that car out in some moderately questionable neighborhoods with equipment worth many, many times its value inside; I don’t think anyone ever bothered to look.

  4. CoffeeAddict says:

    Cute idea but why would you want to make you car/bike look disgusting? I imagine it would do the trick but then your car looks like an eye sore and how attractive is that. Insurance is a great way to protect your car without making it look like junk.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Insurance doesn’t discourage the car from getting stolen.

  6. Chicago7 says:

    People have been doing this with bicycles for years. Look closely at some of those messenger bikes. Some of them are very nice bikes, but badly painted with Sherwin-Williams-like paint.

    A friend of mine had a $3000 Bianchi that she painted grey and covered up all the logos. She wasn’t in it for the “prestige” – she just like the bike.

  7. MercuryPDX says:

    This is akin to those Fake bullet holes (WHY?!?!) and even worse… the dreaded “baseball still stuck in the broken window” things. Bonus points if it has little Timmy’s team name and jersey number on it.

  8. Snakeophelia says:

    Posers. In the mid-80’s I drove a Toyota Corona that overheated after 45 minutes of driving and had to be left on the side of whatever road I was on. I never had to worry about thieves, as (a) something had once been spraypainted against the hood, and the outline of the object was still there, (b) the inside upholstery was in tatters, with fabric strips hanging down from the ceiling, and (c) I had smashed into someone in reverse and thus the left taillights were a different brand and shape than the right ones and were held in with duct tape.

    I WISH someone had stolen that car…

  9. K-Bo says:

    Wouldn’t help keep my car from being stolen… you don’t steal a 2000 Civic to drive, you can probably get 2x as much for the parts, so who cares about a little rust on the outside. It’s the only thing I hate about my Civic, insurance is insane for a 8 year old car, and someone did attempt to steal it once.

  10. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

    @CoffeeAddict: I think the idea is that people won’t steal a disgusting vehicle.

  11. FROST1 says:

    I hope this works if I buy a ferrari and put these on them, I dont think anyone would steal such a high class car in a slummed area that is rusted.

  12. swalve says:

    Do we really think car thieves are so stupid as to not notice the difference between a dent and a sticker? Haters. If I was a thief, I’d steal the car and leave the stickers just to send s message.

  13. empkae says:

    I get old cars in good shape and don’t bother to fix anything cosmetic. The mechanics are in good shape. No one bothers the car. It is a what it is, a mechanical appliance that gets a task done. It is not a suit of clothes. There are far better things to spend all that money on, like world travel.

  14. allthatsevil says:

    My only question is, are they decals that can be taken on and off with ease? I could see using them temporarily when you know you’re parking in a high-crime area, but I wouldn’t want my car to look like that permanently.

  15. Amy Alkon says:

    Never assume your car isn’t thief fodder. I had a 1960 powder pink Nash Rambler with a white top and a white continental kit. Stolen. Naturally, I tracked the asshat down and got it back myself. And had my mother call him and yell at him. Wrote a story about it for LAT Magazine, “Return of the Pink Rambler.”

    The pink thing worked better in NYC. Had a bike, painted it hot pink with orange leopard spots, covered the front with plastic flowers, also hot pink. I did have a good lock, but nobody stole it in the 10 or so years I rode it around NYC. I think, because there aren’t so many tranny bike thieves, and you’d have to be one to ride my bike.

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    I went thru a phase of Italian cars and motorcycles. I liked the spontaneity of not knowing if I would be trapped in a neighborhood I was visiting, or if the thing would start. (If it DID start, they were dreams. Sigh). On some occassions, the car/bike would start, but I’d turn it off and walk back with puppy dog eyes, explain the situation then we’d “share” their bed. Sigh (again).

    Excellent anti-theft as well. 33% of the time.

    Never slept with any of the car thieves, though. Fourteen year old joyriding boys not being quite my cuppa java.

  17. Shadowman615 says:

    Reminds me of a 1990’s SNL commercial parody about a luxury car on the inside that was completely ghetto on the outside to deter thieves.

  18. slowinthefastlane says:

    Reminds me of the “Chameleon XLE” SNL commercial parody:

    “Every inch of the Chameleon XLE is a pinnacle of urban design.

    There’s attention to detail. Like three mismatched wheel covers, and one exposed rim in school-bus yellow. Standard.

    A broken taillight repaired with duct tape. Standard.

    Retractable antenna. Standard.

    The body of a Pontiac with a driver’s-side door from an Oldsmobile Delta ’88. All standard.

    A car thief takes one look at this, and keeps right on walking. Of course, it’s equipped with an automatic alarm system – but do you really think you’ll need it?”

  19. TechnoDestructo says:

    @empkae: Never had a fun car, have you?

    Not that there’s any reason you couldn’t buy a beat up Miata and get it in good working order while still looking like a POS, of course.

  20. Rusted says:

    I just don’t wash it. Thieves need tetanus shots before they even get near it.

    My last pick-em-up had a tendency to stop running without warning every five to thirty minutes. I couldn’t get anyone to steal it. Especially since it would leave a large puddle of environmentally bad fluids beneath it.

  21. ViperBorg says:

    @Rusted: So, to keep my car from getting stolen, I should just park where your car was?

  22. Rusted says:

    Sorry, Viperborg, it got just too much when one day when it quit in a left lane on a freeway. You would have needed something to keep from tracking nasty stuff over your carpets.

  23. Amelie says:

    Unfortunately it wouldn’t work in my urban neighborhood. The cars that get stolen are the older ones, since they’re chosen for the purpose of committing crimes. The beat-up cars are hot-wired or have their glass broken, while the newer cars are untouched.

  24. kimsama says:

    @zouxou: Exactly. My 11-year-old crappy Ford was stolen. Don’t assume shitty cars won’t get stolen. They just don’t get stolen by people who care about the parts/look of the car.

    “Happy” ending: Police found it 3 weeks later, not destroyed (in other words, probably used for some nefarious purpose).

  25. quail says:

    Hey Slowinthefastlane:

    Loved the fake commercial “Chameleon XLE”. If you remember the anti-theft device, the alarm, caused the axle to bend and the tires to go flat.

  26. ChrisC1234 says:

    I think these would be great to put on someone else’s car :)

  27. Chicago7 says:


    That’s EVIL! I love it!


  28. mrwok says:

    That’s the right idea, putting these on someone’s Mercedes or BMW and watching them freak out.

    I’d also like to put one on my roommate’s forehead while he’s sleeping.

  29. magus_melchior says:

    @Lin-Z: Apparently, the practice of car thievery in the San Francisco Bay Area is to steal somewhat nice-looking cars and trashing them during a joyride. (Based on 2 anecdotes)

  30. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    Might as well paint a bullseye on your car. People will abuse your car if they dont think its worth anything. Its happened to before “Why do you care? Its already dented….”

  31. Me. says:

    What a great concept! I’m going to make temporary tattoos that look like herpes and other misc sores so no one will ever want to rape me!

    (Okay, end of my sarcasm… it just seems like there are 10,000 better ways to protect your property.)

  32. ikes says:

    Sounds like a great idea, until i remember that thieves twice tried to steal my old rusted ’89 accord…

  33. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    Cute, but sorta lame. Better idea: get some stickers from this fellow [] and customize your ride. How many bike thieves are going to risk taking the bike with a big ol’ “FIND THE CLITORIS” sticker on it? Not so many, I’m thinkin’.