It is impossible to imagine how vital a bumper is until stray animals barely miss your car’s fuel tank or engine by an inch. Bumpers are available in rubber, plastic, aluminum, and steel all with different features. Are steel bumpers safer given their strength and heavy mass characteristics?
A steel bumper is safe due to its high-quality welds, internal support, and rust-protective measures, which ensure a long-lasting, robust bumper. Even though steel bumpers are quite heavy, with the right material grading you can fashion them for a smooth easy ride.
No matter how serious your driving may be; you need bumper protection for your vehicle regardless of where you drive. Keep reading for more information on different car bumpers, as well as their unique features and various benefits.
Table of Contents
- Are Steel Bumpers Worth It?
- Are Steel Bumper’s Safer?
- Are Aftermarket Bumpers Safe?
- Which are the safest bumpers?
Are Steel Bumpers Worth It?
Bumpers are important for reducing physical damage to a vehicle’s front and rear when at low speed. Their functionality, however, has to match the standard global safety needs including the vehicle’s weight, and electrification among other factors.
Steel bumpers weigh about 60 to 150 lbs for the front bumpers and about 50 to 130 lbs for the rear bumpers. However, their additional mechanical weight may, or may not be relevant depending on your type of vehicle. The following factors are important for testing the worthiness of steel bumpers.
1. Performance Requirements
Vehicle bumpers vary in height and weight, with passenger vehicles having bumpers that are no taller than 20 inches and non-passenger vehicles having bumpers that are up to 30 inches above the road surface. The reason for the difference is that off-road operations require better clearance for non-passenger vehicles when they approach steep grades and when they are driving over large rocks and other large objects.
Therefore, despite the ground clearance, steel bumpers ensure stiff and strong counter crash protection for not only damage prevention on the car but also maintaining a suitable occupant compartment.
2. Material Grade
An inaccurate suspension balance can have immeasurable effects on your vehicle if you increase bumper weights excessively. Some of these effects include:
- Sagged factory springs
- Heavier steering
- Front tires exposed to more wear and tear
- Brake pads, steering racks, and ball joints will wear more faster
So considering the above effects, the steel bumper manufacturers take the following measures to avoid any excess mass effects;
- To reduce the bumper’s overall weight, they produce steels with tensile strengths of over 1900MPa.
- Use of Carbon-boron steel for its good ductility and high yield strength after heat-treating
- Use of dual-phase steel for its easy fabrications to high strengths as well as its outstanding formability
- Use of stainless steels for their high corrosion resistance and excellent strength
3. Manufacturing Process of the Steel Parts
The processes used to produce steel beams for car bumpers include hot, cold, and roll forming processes to increase their tensile strength. In addition to zinc and aluminum coatings, steel beams are electro-coated with various types of coatings to prevent corrosion.
4. Bumper Challenges Solved
In addition to the new high strength and reduced mass, the steel bumpers have an assurance of matching all customer preferences. These are in form of cost, new designs considering exposed and unexposed bumpers matching the vehicle’s model.
Are Steel Bumper’s Safer?
In reality, bumpers are primarily important for the protection of your car’s hood and trunk from damage. In addition to the airbags, seat belts, and other crush zones, the bumpers offer a minor degree of protection for the occupants.
However, in high-speed collisions, the car bumpers may not provide any protection even for the engine and other parts under the hood. With less impact such as when parking and colliding with something off the road, bumpers are of paramount importance
Therefore, with the following factors, you have a guarantee of safe steel bumpers.
- High-Quality Welds
During a collision, your car bumper is the first part of the car to get hit with most of its strength coming from the weld joints. So the weaker the welds, the faster they break off before resisting the impact. Therefore, for a smooth ride, make sure the bumper has quality welds.
- Internal Supports
These are entirely important for the general support of the bumper. However, many DIY bumper kits are not inclusive of this important feature. If anything happens, bumpers without supports are most likely to break or bend depending on the resulting impact.
Rust Protective Measures
Rust can wear off and weaken even the strongest steel materials. So if you can have steel bumpers with additional coatings on them, it will be a huge way to maintain an always strong bumper. Most steel bumpers have zinc, aluminum, powder coats, and prep paintings to ensure rust-free protection that can withstand the test of time.
Are Aftermarket Bumpers Safe?
Aftermarket bumpers have a guaranteed safety as compared to factory bumpers. However, before settling for a bumper replacement you may need to consider a few factors including the bumper’s weight as well as the operating terrain of the vehicle.
In part, aftermarket bumpers are more popular than factory bumpers because factory bumpers are only important in reducing damage in low-speed impacts. However, even the safest aftermarket bumpers should allow you to drive to your nearest town for mechanical assistance after a bumpy ride off-road or a minor accident.
Some of the factors you need to check for in your aftermarket bumpers include:
- Better Off-road Capabilities
It does not matter if you have an SUV or a passenger car, one day you will have to leave the tarmac, where you can be sure of your vehicle’s better approach and departure angles on rugged terrains. This is when you can detect the difference between steel bumpers and other materials in terms of strength.
So the approach and departure angles take into consideration the vehicle’s clearance to prevent both the front and rear bumpers from bashing on obstacles. Other off-road capabilities include:
1. Push Bars
These are very useful parts for protection on collision as well as in instances when you have to push a vehicle in front of you, whether on the highway or off-road. They are also important for double protection on the center Grille guards.
2. Bull Bars
These are added protection for the center face of your vehicle from frontal and undercarriage impact. It also has attachments for additional driving and fog lights as well as protection for soft body panels.
3. Grille Guards
These are excellent shock absorbers coverings for the full face of your vehicle, designed for protection of the front body panels and the headlights from frontal damage.
- Radiator and Hood Protection
Considering that the radiator is nearest to the vehicle’s bumper, any damage to it may cause an engine fault, stopping your journey. However, you will be sure of extensive protection for your radiator and other parts of your car’s hood with most aftermarket bumpers.
Truck bumpers, for example, are so strong that they hold their shape even during heavy collisions, which minimizes the need for repairs.
In addition to the radiators, aftermarket bumpers have assured vehicle lights protection and other engine components from a slight hit.
- Recovery points
They do not have to be hooks mounted on bumpers, but rather strong points that will suspend the overall weight of the vehicle. In the event of an emergency, towing vehicles with factory bumpers may seem challenging since; you might risk pulling off some parts of the hood. However, with strong bumpers, you can be sure to sustain the vehicle’s weight even after they are bent from a collision.
Moreover, if you find yourself stuck in the mud, instead of waiting for help from miles away, you can easily pull yourself from the mud using a solid bumper.
- Tire clearance
If you choose to use larger tires, it will require appropriate bumper replacements to match those tires; a feature not readily available with factory bumpers
- Added capabilities
An additional advantage of the aftermarket bumpers is the room for mounting grille guards, spare wheels, water tanks, and extra fuel cans without worrying about having too much weight on the bumpers.
Which are the safest bumpers?
A bumper is made to absorb shock resulting from low-velocity impacts, so the materials used to craft the bumpers have to be able to reduce or absorb the effects of such impacts.
However, these bumpers might not be completely safe based on the kind of hit your car gets, but they can help reduce substantial damage. Some of these bumpers include:
1. Ranch Hand Bumpers
These are stable platform bumpers with a maximum towing capacity that are powder coated in a black finish. Some also have matte finishes that are highly superior for corrosion resistance all engineered from a diamond plate of steel. In addition, it comes ready-to-fit structures, so drilling holes or cutting spaces will not be necessary.
2. Body Armor Bumpers
This is a super thick bumper that has an assured take of tougher hits in addition to their heavy-duty weight. It is also powder-coated to ensure it’s rust-free; though you may need to add the coatings to make it bolder to sustain all environments. However, its original type had no fit for fog lights but overall it is one of the best bumpers that give you a smooth ride.
3. N-Fab Bumpers
This bumper features a steeper ramp angle for a safer approach angle in addition to providing utmost protection under your front suspension and steering. The N-Fab also gives you perfect rear bumpers with a safe mounting for your spare wheels. It is also inclusive of additional light bars in case you may need plenty of light for dark off-road operations.
Furthermore, the bumper has a provision for doorstep protection for your car so if you cruise on bold rocks, you will not have to worry about spotting your car.
4. Fab-four Bumpers
The bumper has extensions below the front of the truck for greater protection as well as fittings for D-ring shackles and winch trays. This lightweight bumper might also work well on a passenger van; thanks to its steel metal with rubber pads to help absorb any impact on the frame.
This bumper also comes with factory lights and fog lights for easy installation in addition to their rust-free nature.
5. ARB 4×4
This bumper guarantees ultimate protection with maximum off-road functionality against all animal and low-speed strikes. Furthermore, it provides a safe and secure mounting location for winches, driving lights, and radio antennas.
In addition, the bumper’s manufacturers took into account that car designs can vary, so the bumper is fashioned to fit any style; featuring a powder-coated surface with a matte finish, and a high level of corrosion resistance.
6. Road Armor Stealth
This is among the most popular bumper for its heavy-duty and several styles from full grille guard style to base bumpers, each one of them matching different car shapes. It also has assured fit against breakage as well as having a perfect fit for factory lights, fog lamps; all with the largest selection for the rear, and front bumpers.
In addition to the excellent finish on the bumpers, Road Armor Stealth bumpers are a great option to change the truck’s appearance and ensure its safety.
7. Iron Cross Bumpers
This too has superb strength and appearance features; however, they may need few modifications to fit your truck. Therefore, before purchasing the Iron cross Bumpers you may need to first test its fit on your vehicle. Other than the modifications, this is a clean and very affordable flawless bumper.
It has availability for both rear and front bumpers in several styles including base style, full grille guard style, and the push bar-style among others. Its manufacturers also had the wrap design in their minds; that ensures full protection and maximum strength for your car’s front.
Some of these bumpers are safer because of the total modifications on them that include:
- An impact-absorbing spring device filled with cartridges mounted from the front bumper to the chassis. This ensures the bumper takes minor to moderate impacts with zero damages.
- Below it is the steel or aluminum beam with unique outstanding tensile strength. This may vary in weight depending on the modifications and specifications of the vehicle.
- The lowest unit in the bumper is the plastic or urethane cover on your vehicle. This always has black paintings or a car finish painting. With the best bumpers, this part can take any level hit with little damage.
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