The Do's and Don'ts of Buying a Car Bumper

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The Do's and Don'ts of Buying a Car Bumper

A bumper is the rear-most or front-most part of a car that is usually made of fibreglass, rubber, steel, aluminium, or plastic. Brackets or energy absorbers are used in various car bumpers. Some are even made with a foam cushioning material. The primary purpose of a car bumper is to absorb shock from impacts without damaging other parts of the car, including the safety systems. In low-speed collisions, car bumpers absorb the shock to eliminate or reduce the damage to the car, primarily the hood, fuel tank, exhaust, grille, cooling system, headlights, and parking lights. They are not designed to protect passengers inside the car, although they are mostly designed in such a way that injury to pedestrians struck by cars at very low rates of speed is often mitigated. In high-speed collisions, however, bumpers lack the ability to protect cars, riders, or pedestrians.

Car bumpers may be available at some large automotive shops and auto parts warehouses, but they often have to be purchased direct from manufacturers or through body repair shops. Alternatively, buyers can turn to the Internet and browse the possibilities from the comfort of home. As an example, eBay often features a selection of car bumpers for various vehicles.

Basics of Car Bumpers

Frederick Simms invented car bumpers at the start of the 20th century. The earliest bumpers were made of metal beams and were attached to the rears and fronts of cars to protect them in low-speed collisions. Like many other things, car bumpers have evolved tremendously over time, and their importance is increasingly recognised by consumers. By reducing the collision damage at low speeds, they safeguard many vital parts of a car.

Plastic reinforced by a bar of steel has traditionally been used for manufacturing car bumpers. Other popular materials include aluminium, fibreglass, plastic, steel, and rubber. Polypropylene foam is often incorporated into bumpers along with a bar and crushable brackets. These, however, are not energy absorbers and simply act as spacers between the bar and the bumper.

Although the primary function of a bumper is protection, some people use bumpers for style. A user should be careful not to decrease the dimensions, for example, just for style, as it may sabotage the primary function of this car component. Bumpers are a highly important component of a car that can reduce repair costs by leaps and bounds by protecting many expensive parts of a car. Some important attributes of a bumper include geometry, stability, and energy absorption.

A bumper sticker is a sticker that is placed on the bumper of a car. It is almost always adhesive and contains a message. They have multiple purposes, including humour, commercial, religious, secular, support, opposition, political, et cetera. Cars that frequently cross international borders often use bumper stickers with country tags. Some organisations may offer bumper stickers as a sign of membership or for car parking. Magnetic bumper stickers and 'easy to remove' bumper stickers are particularly popular with the masses.

Do's of Buying a Car Bumper

Considering their function and location, car bumpers are one of the most repaired and replaced parts of a vehicle, globally. Scratches and minor dents on the surface require repair, but distortion and major buckling require replacement of the car bumper. The most important considerations when buying a car bumper include the construction material, the intended use, and the styling of the bumper.

Do Choose an Appropriate Material

Every material used for manufacturing car bumpers has its own pros and cons. The buyer should base the purchasing decision on the need and the available budget. Polyresin or plastic, fibreglass, carbon fibre, and metal are some of the most common materials.

Material of Bumper

Pros

Cons

Polypropylene/Polyresin

Most common (easy to find)

Most resistant to impact

Bend on low-force impact

Crack on high-force impact

Not easily repaired

Not sandable

Fibreglass

Lightweight

Strong

Easy to repair

Paintable

Sandable

Mostly used by aftermarket parts makers

Less flexible than plastic

More prone to cracking

Carbon Fibre

Durable

Heat-resistant

Lightweight

Paintable

Quality depends on manufacturer

Repairable but requires paint afterwards

Most expensive option

Metal

Strong

Durable

Heavy

Only recommended for off-road cars

Do Keep the Intended Use in Mind

A buyer should keep the intended use of the car and the car bumper in mind before making a purchase. The right choice varies from condition to condition and buyer to buyer. For driving within cities, almost all types of bumpers are fine, and it is just a matter of personal choice. A wise idea for city driving might be to look for lightweight bumpers. If a buyer is an off-roading enthusiast, a heavy, more durable bumper is probably a better option. Metal bumpers and winches are mostly preferred in such cases. Plastic and carbon fibre bumpers are often recommended for moderate racing as they can handle the scratches of a racing track. Fibreglass bumpers are also a good option for such cases.

Do Consider Style

Car bumpers add a lot to the overall look of a vehicle and sometimes even make or break a particular look. Therefore, it is imperative that care be taken when making a bumper choice. Replacement bumpers, for example, often end up being a mismatch to the vehicle's style. It is recommended that a buyer look around at the various options and only make a buying decision when he or she is confident of the match. Online buying is an ever-increasing trend for this reason, as buyers have the luxury of going through the various possibilities in detail and taking their time.

Don'ts of Buying a Car Bumper

There are many considerations when buying a car bumper, and a buyer should be aware of the steps not to take when making a purchasing decision. The 'don'ts' could, in fact, be the deciding factor in some cases.

Don't Compromise on Originality

Buyers should always search for original products and not compromise and settle for duplicate or replica car bumpers that may lack the ability to perform as genuine bumpers would. There is always a price difference between originals and replicas, and a buyer should be careful not to be tempted by the cost savings when it stands against the long-term benefits of an original product. Buyers should only consider replicated parts when their budget is very tight.

Don't Favour Style Over Safety

Safety should always come first, and buyers should never favour style over safety. The main purpose of a car bumper is to safeguard the various expensive parts of a vehicle. If a bumper is over-styled in a way that prevents it from performing its primary function, a buyer would be better off passing on that bumper and looking for other options that do not compromise safety.

Don't Forget to Do Research

Thorough research, either online or locally, is an important part of the buying process. Buyers should never purchase a car bumper without doing plenty of research to compare characteristics and prices, especially when a buyer does not have very deep pockets. It is also a good idea to read product reviews and consumer reports to gain additional insight.

Buying a Car Bumper on eBay

Car bumpers of almost every kind are just a click away on eBay. You can use the search bar on the homepage to begin the hunt for the car bumper you like the most. eBay also suggests related searches for many user queries. You can also filter the results based on your own preferences by selecting or deselecting the various filters to get down to the right product.

Always look for local results, first of all. This can be done by simply entering your postcode as a filter on the results page. If you are lucky enough to find the desired car bumper near your location, you can save on the delivery charges, which could be a significant amount for a car bumper. In such cases, you can pick up your purchase at an agreed upon time once your transaction is successfully processed. If you are unable to find the desired bumper in your area, you can still search for options that can be shipped.

Reading user reviews and seller feedback is also a recommended practice, as it helps you get a feel for the seller's transaction history. Go through the comments to avoid any regrets later.

Conclusion

Car bumpers for the rear or front of the car are one of the most important safety features on a vehicle. Some car bumpers have brackets or energy absorbers, while others have a foam cushioning material on the inside. The main purpose of car bumpers is to absorb impacts and shocks to mitigate or at least reduce the damage to cars, particularly to engines and safety systems. Car bumpers are not designed for the security of the vehicle occupants but for the more expensive parts of vehicles. They can, however, sometimes reduce the injury to pedestrians in low-speed collisions.

Car bumpers are available at auto body shops and some automotive stores as well as online. eBay, for example, features a collection of car bumpers made of different materials that are suitable for different vehicles and purposes. Understanding some of the basic do's and don'ts of buying a car bumper can help a buyer make the right purchasing decision.

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