Because of its location and function, car bumpers are bound to get damaged at one time or another. Damage to the bumper can range from minor dents and scratches on the surface to major buckling and distortion of its structure. When the latter happens, it's time to get a new one. Don't know where to begin? Here's a handy guide:
Things to consider when choosing a replacement bumper
Once the integrity of your car bumper has been compromised, you will need to replace instead of repair. Bumpers come in a wide range of materials and styles. Before you go shopping, make sure you know the basics so that you'll know exactly what to buy.
- Material ?Replacement bumpers are usually made of poly resin (plastic), fiberglass, carbon fiber or metal. Each offers specific advantages and disadvantages.
- Polypropylene or ABS Plastic bumpers ? Pros: Poly resin bumpers are used by most automakers. They are the sturdiest and most impact resistant; simply bends or rips on impact but can crack as well; and are ready to be primed and painted. Cons: It's not easily repairable and is non-sandable.
- Fiberglass bumpers ? Pros: These are used by most aftermarket parts maker; lightweight and strong; easily repairable; sandable and paintable. Cons: It is less flexible than plastic and more prone to cracking.
- Carbon fiber bumpers ? Pros: These are lightweight and durable; heat-resistant; ready for painting but can also be used unpainted. Cons: The quality of carbon fiber varies according to the manufacturer. Also, it can be repaired but must be painted afterwards. It is also more expensive than the other types.
- Metal ? Pros: These bumpers are strong and durable. Cons: Very heavy. Metal bumpers and winches should only be used on off-road vehicles.
- Vehicle use ? The right bumper may depend on how you use your vehicle and the conditions that your car and its bumpers will face.
- City driving ? If you use your vehicle mainly to get around town, you may choose any kind of bumper material and any style that you prefer. But, it is wiser to choose a lightweight bumper.
- Off-road ? If you often go on off-roading adventures, you will need a heavy and durable front and rear bumper. Metal bumpers and winches are the best choice for off-roading because these will allow you to navigate boulder-strewn terrain, mud pits and swampland.
- Racing ? For moderate racing, you will need something that can withstand the abuse of the race circuit. Plastic and carbon fiber bumpers can handle the scrapes and scratches but you may also use fiberglass if you race infrequently.
How much does a replacement bumper cost?
Bumper cost varies depending on the material and the car type and model. A basic steel chrome plated bumper can cost anywhere from $120 to more than a thousand. Prices of carbon fiber bumpers may range from $650 to more than $5,000.